Chemical free home – 15 ways to detox your home

Chemical free home – 15 ways to detox your home

We’re exposed to numerous chemicals and toxins in our homes, which can negatively impact our health and contribute to a range of symptoms and illnesses. Here are 15 easy ways to detox your home to reduce the number of chemicals and toxins you’re exposed to and why a chemical free home can help improve health and ease symptoms.

Disclaimer: This post is intended for informational purposes only. I’m not a qualified practitioner and I’m not encouraging anyone else to make these changes. Please consult a qualified practitioner before making any changes to your current treatment plan. This post contains affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you I will earn commission if you click on a link and make a purchase. See my full disclaimer here.

 

Why is it important to have a chemical free home?

So much emphasis is put on diet for maintaining health and recovering from illness.  Whilst diet is essential, we are also exposed to numerous chemicals and toxins everyday in our environment, homes and work places that can also negatively impact our health:–

  • In the air we breathe,
  • Water we drink, bathe and shower in,
  • Cleaning products and body care products we use,
  • Furniture and other decorative items,
  • Radiation from Wi-Fi and electronic devices,
  • Plastics in the food containers, cups, bottles we use (1).

 

Our bodies naturally detoxify and remove these toxins via the liver, colon, kidneys, skin, lungs and lymphatic system. However, if the amount we are exposed to exceeds the amount the body can eliminate then they begin to accumulate and be stored in the body, which suppresses the immune system and causes inflammation (1).  This can cause a range of health issues like:-

  • Allergies,
  • Chronic pain,
  • Hormone problems,
  • Digestive problems,
  • Breathing difficulties,
  • Neurological problems and
  • Reproductive problems,
  • Autoimmune conditions,
  • Headaches,
  • Fatigue,
  • Dizziness and,
  • Nausea (2, 3, 4).

 

benefits of switching to a toxin free lifestyle

Switching to a toxin free lifestyle, in combination with identifying food sensitivities, activating my vagus nerve and supporting my 6 detox pathways has contributed to a reduction in fatigue, pain, shakiness, dizziness, headaches and nausea.

 

how to transition to a toxin free lifestyle

In my previous blog post, I listed 6 free ways you can start to transition to a toxin free lifestyle. Our homes, specifically, can contain 500-1,000 chemicals. So in this blog post, I’m detailing 15 ways you can detox your home to transition to a chemical free home and further reduce the toxins you are exposed to, which have helped improve my health and ease my symptoms.

 

15 steps for a chemical free home

chemical free home tip 1). Change to natural cleaning products

Regular household cleaning products contain harmful chemicals, such as fragrances, solvents and bleach, that can:-

  • Disrupt hormones,
  • Cause asthma and breathing difficulties,
  • Headaches,
  • Increase muscle and joint stiffness and pain,
  • Are toxic to the nervous system,
  • Cause skin irritation/allergies and
  • Potentially have carcinogenic effects (5).

Switching to natural alternatives has been shown to reduce these symptoms (5). Therefore, to reduce my exposure to these chemicals, I switched my regular cleaning products for chemical free ones. My favourite brand is Bio-D, who do chemical free:-

Their laundry liquid, fabric conditioner and washing up liquid is fragrance free, which is especially beneficial for reducing skin irritation, especially for those with sensitive skin like me (6).

 

how to check the chemicals in your normal products

I use the app Code Check or EWG Skin Deep to check my products. For Code Check, ideally products should contain ingredients with a green rating, where no concern is identified, and I replace any with ingredients with an orange or red rating, where a significant or high concern is identified. For EWG Skin Deep, I make sure my products have a rating of 1-2 and I replace any products which have a rating of 3 or above.

 

chemical free home tip 2). Change to natural body care and beauty products

Like cleaning products, regular body care and beauty products can also contain harmful chemicals, fragrances, plastics and heavy metals, that are absorbed into our bodies when we apply them to our skin or teeth and gums. However, even some natural alternatives may be harmful to our health. For example, In the Essentially You podcast episode, Why Brushing Your Teeth is Hazardous To Your Health, Dr Mariza Snyder says how natural toothpastes can contain glycerin, which coats the teeth and prevents them being remineralised. They should contain clays like Kaolin and Bentonite, which provide the minerals needed to strengthen and remineralise teeth.

 

For natural body care products, free from chemicals and heavy metals, I use the following: –

 

chemical free home tip 3). Air filters (UK Link/US Link)

Indoor air is 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air, due to chemicals released from furniture, scented candles, air fresheners, paint, dust and radiation from electronic devices etc (7, 8). One easy way of producing fresher cleaner air in my home is using an air filter (UK Link/US Link). Ideally you should have one in every room (make sure the filter can cover the size of the room) but if this is not possible, I prioritise having one in the bedroom, where we spend approximately a third of the day. It is recommended the filter has a:-

  • True HEPA filter, which traps harmful dust, pollen, and other harmful particles,
  • Active carbon filter to remove harmful volatile organic compounds, chemical odors and gases from the air, and
  • Ioniser/negative ion generator, which helps trap particles, cleans the air more efficiently and counteracts the harmful effects of positive ions which can:-
    • Increase inflammation,
    • Increase pain,
    • Increase fatigue and
    • Disrupt sleep (9).

 

chemical free home tip 4). Indoor plants (UK Link/US Link)

In addition to air filters, indoor plants can also improve the air quality by absorbing toxins through their leaves and pumping fresh oxygen back out (10). The most commonly recommended ones are:-

  • English ivy,
  • Snake plant,
  • Peace lily,
  • Spider plant,
  • Bamboo palm.

The NASA recommends one plant per 100 metre square feet (9 squared metres) (10). The average house size can be anywhere from 500 to 1,000 square feet (50-100 squared metres), which would mean 5-10 indoor plants.

Indoor Plant Collection (UK Link/US Link)

 

chemical free home tip 5). Himalayan salt lamp (UK Link/US Link)

Himalayan salt lamps (UK Link/US Link) omit negative ions which cleans the air by absorbing harmful chemicals and trapping them in the salt.  The negative ions also counteract the harmful positive ions produced from electromagnetic radiation from our electrical devices, such as mobile phones, televisions, microwaves and laptops, which:-

  • Increases energy levels, concentration and memory,
  • Reduces pain and inflammation,
  • Boosts mood,
  • Improves sleep and,
  • Strengthens the immune system (11, 12, 13).

 

chemical free home tip 6). Dust and vacuum at least once per week

Dust can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin, aggravating symptoms or contributing to allergens and irritation (14). For dusting, I use a dry unscented microfibre cloth (UK Link/US Link). This collects and holds onto the dust, rather than scattering and spreading it to other parts of the room like when using a feather duster (15).

 

For vacuuming, it’s recommended the vacuum has a HEPA filter and a HEPA filter bag is used, which ensures over 99% of the toxins, particles and allergens are absorbed and removed from the house, rather than spread to another place (UK Link/US Link) (16). Get someone to help you with this if you struggle to do this on your own.

 

chemical free home tip 7). Water filter

Tap water can contain hundreds of toxic chemicals and heavy metals, which can be absorbed into our bodies through drinking, and through our skin when washing, bathing and showering (17). To  remove fluoride, lead, copper, chlorine and other contaminants from the water throughout your whole house the following can be used (18):-

  • Whole house water filter system can be installed or, alternatively, use,
  • Individual water filters (UK Link/US Link),
  • Shower filters (UK Link/US Link) and
  • Tap filters.


chemical free home tip 8). Replace chemical bug/insect killer, weed killer and fertiliser with natural ones

The chemicals used to kill weeds and insects and help grass and plants grow are easily absorbed through the skin and clothing, and are associated with:-

  • Allergic reactions,
  • Chronic infections,
  • Breathing difficulties,
  • Neurological problems and
  • Reproductive problems (19).

They are also bad for the environment, poisoning the soils and water, which further harms our health (19). Therefore, replace chemical bug and weed killers and fertilisers with natural chemical free and, if possible, organic alternatives.

 

chemical free home tip 9). Buy organic

food  

When we think of organic, we often think of food. Non-organic food contains a higher amount of heavy metals, is grown using toxic chemical pesticides to kill weeds and stop insects eating our food and contains artificial colourings, flavours, additives and preservatives to preserve shelf life (20). Also, conventional meat and dairy products are produced using antibiotics and hormones, which all enter our bodies when we consume them (20).  

In contrast, organic food is generally higher in nutrients, contains a lower amount of heavy metals and is free from toxic chemical pesticides, colourings, flavours, additives and preservatives (20).  Organic meat, dairy and egg products are also free from antibiotics and growth hormones (20).

Organic products can be expensive so for fruits and vegetables I prioritise buying organic produce on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, where the levels of chemical pesticides are higher, and buy regular conventional products on the Clean 15 list, where the levels of these toxic pesticides are lower. If you can, purchase organic fresh foods at your local farmers’ market as the produce are likely to be fresher and more nutritious due to less storage and transportation compared to supermarkets.

chemical free home buy dirty dozen organic

 

other organic products

As well as food, chemicals and pesticides are also used to produce other products, such as clothing, bedding, flannels, skin care products and furniture. These chemicals and pesticides are absorbed into our bodies when they leach onto our skin and into the air we breathe (21). Cotton is the material sprayed with the most chemicals, with up to 8,000 chemicals are used in the production of clothing and other textile products, such as bedding and flannels (22).

Organic products are more expensive so I prioritise organic duvet sheets, mattress covers and pillow cases as we are in contact with them for approximately a third of the day when we sleep. Organic bamboo bedding (UK Link/US Link) specifically, is best as it is:-

  • 100% natural,
  • Chemical free,
  • Antibacterial,
  • Odour resistant,
  • Bug and dust repellent,
  • Thermal regulating, meaning it keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer, and
  • Hypoallergic/non-irritating, so perfect for people like me with sensitive skin. 

 

If buying organic is not doable, it’s recommended to wash new clothes and other textile products before wearing and using for the first time to reduce the amount of chemicals and pesticides (23).

 

chemical free home tip 10). Replace plastic with glass and ceramic

Plastic can be found in a range of products, such as food and cosmetic packaging, single use coffee cups, storage containers and toys.  Plastics, even BPA free, leach chemicals into the food and drinks we consume, which can weaken the immune system and cause a range of health problems, including:-

  • Hormone disruption,
  • Reproductive problems,
  • Respiratory and breathing problems,
  • Autoimmune conditions,
  • Impaired brain development,
  • Damage to the nervous system and
  • Cancer (24, 25, 26).

 

plastics swaps

Therefore, I replace all my plastic products with safe alternatives like bamboo, glass, ceramic, wood and paper. Below are 6 easy example swaps I have made to remove plastic from my home:-

  • Wrap food with beeswax wrap (UK Link/US Link) rather than cling film.

 

  • Swap regular toothbrush, where handle and bristles are made of plastic for a bamboo one, with natural bristles (UK Link/US Link).

 

 

  • When purchasing fresh produce at the supermarket, rather than single use plastic bags, use reusable cotton produce bags (UK Link/US Link).

 

  • Store food in glass containers with bamboo lids rather than plastic.

 

 

chemical free home tip 11). Replace teflon, aluminium and copper non-stick pans

The majority of non stick pans are coated with teflon, a plastic, which releases gases when heated that have been shown to cause flu like symptoms, weakness, shortness of breath and headaches (33). There is a risk that even teflon free non-stick pans made from aluminium, copper, cast iron or stainless steel can scratch, peel and flake, causing heavy metals to leach into the food when cooking (34, 35).

Xtrema‘s 100% pure ceramic pans are the safest as they:-

  • Don’t contain toxic chemicals,
  • Don’t scratch,
  • Don’t leach heavy metals into food,
  • Don’t release harmful fumes when heated.

detox your home use xtrema pans

 

chemical free home tip 12). Use non VOC, odourless paint when decorating

During and in the hours after decorating, indoor air quality is up to 1,000 times more polluted than outdoor air (27).  Regular paint contains harmful volatile organic compounds, solvents, pigments, binders and additives, which emit harmful fumes into the air that are inhaled by us for years, long after decorating is completed and the paint has dried (28).

 

Non VOC, odourless paints, made from plants, minerals, milk or clays, like GraceMary, Old Fashioned and Earthborn, don’t contain chemicals or emit harmful volatile organic compounds. If using oil based or water based paints is unavoidable, it is recommended to open the windows when painting to allow fresh air from outside to circulate (29).

 

chemical free home tip 13). Air dry cleaning air before bringing into home

During dry cleaning, clothes are cleaned with toxic chemicals, solvents and grease, which remain on the clothes. Clothes are then covered in plastic wrap, which traps the chemicals against the clothes (30). Therefore, ask the dry cleaner to not use a plastic wrap or remove it as soon as you can. Also, it is recommended to air your dry cleaning outside your home, such as in the garage, for at least 24 hours before bringing it inside (30). This minimises the amount of chemicals released into the indoor air in your home and the amount absorbed by your body via the skin when you wear them.

 

chemical free home tip 14). Buy used or second hand products

New products, such as clothes, furniture and toys, off gas for long periods after purchase, releasing greater amounts of chemicals into the home than older/used products (31). To solve this problem, buy products second hand from charity shops, ebay or depop, for example, which not only reduce the chemicals emitted but are also cheaper.  Alternatively, if buying new products, leave them in a garage for a few days to minimise the toxins entering your home.

 

chemical free home tip 15). Use wood, tile flooring or carpets and rugs made from natural fibre

Carpets and rugs are typically made with synthetic materials, like nylon and polyester, which are treated with toxic flame retardants and anti-stain formulas and fitted with chemical glues, adhesives and sealers. These chemicals all release harmful volatile organic compounds into the air, which are then breathed in by us (32). Instead, use wood or tile flooring or carpets and rugs made from natural fibres, with wool being the most common.

 

other blog posts on health and wellness

Click to read my other blog posts with tips and strategies that are helping me improve my health and wellbeing:-

 

Other blog posts on chronic illness

Click to read my other blog posts with other tips and strategies that are helping me improve my health and manage chronic illness:-

 

Contact me and Follow me on social media

Does anyone else follow a toxin free lifestyle and switched to a chemical free home? What changes have you made? I’d love to know your experiences. Leave me a comment below or message me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Youtube.

 

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12 thoughts on “Chemical free home – 15 ways to detox your home”

  • Thank you for such a comprehensive article. Since the onset of my autoimmune disorder, I’ve begun to notice sensitivity to things that previously hadn’t affected me. I’ve been simplifying and trying to avoid unnecessary contaminants, as well. We can never get it to be perfect, but every little bit helps!

    • You’re more than welcome, thank you for your message Sandy, I’m so glad it was helpful. Like you, I realised I was sensitive to lots of my regular cleaning and body care products and was amazed at how switching to natural products helped ease my symptoms. Wishing you all the best.

  • These are great ways to detox the environment around you and help with chronic pain symptoms. I didn’t realize that even my cleaning products would need to be updated to something organic. Who knew that products can give off gas!? Your posts are always so informative.

    • Thank you so much for your message Millicent, I really appreciate it. I’m so glad you found the post helpful. I never realised the negative impact chemicals in our regular cleaning and body care products and furniture can all have on our health either until I started researching it. Switching to natural organic products has made such a noticeable difference and really helped me manage my symptoms. I hope it benefits you too. Take care.

  • Thank you for such a great list! I have tried to do quite a bit when it comes to healthier, less toxic choices around my house, but a couple of these were new to me. I use a 10% vinegar solution to clean in the kitchen and a citrus-based natural cleaning concentrate for my bathroom. Not only do these products still clean well and are “cleaner” themselves, but it’s also so much cheaper than buying the name-brand stuff! I also try to avoid toxic bug killers, so I’ve tried to let beneficial bugs, like house spiders and house centipedes, live in the basement. Those house centipedes are so ugly and scary, but they eat everything! They also don’t bite or sting, so I just have to get over their looks. We haven’t had any trouble with ants or stinkbugs since we started letting them live.

    • You’re welcome, thanks for your comment Melissa. I’m really keen to make my own cleaning products with vinegar, it’s next on my list of things to change. Anything which saves money as well as being healthier is always a bonus!

  • Wow, what a comprehensive list! I love how you not only explain the why but give specific how’s which does make this comprensive detox doable. Thank you for the time and work you put into sharing this information.

  • Lucy,
    Thanks for gathering this information together! There is a lot to think about, and I feel fortunate that my partner and I seem to be relatively unaffected by these chemicals. I totally agree that if you are dealing with multiple sensitivities, cutting down on the stressors is always a good idea!
    I appreciate the research you’re doing and the work you’ve done to find better steps to manage environmental triggers.

    • Thank you Alison, I appreciate your comment. It’s definitely overwhelming when you realise how many chemicals are in so many different things that we use and encounter everyday. I’m sensitive to chemicals so toxin free living has helped me so much. Thank you again for your message.

  • What a comprehensive post, thank you! As a person with chronic illness myself, I am rather sensitive to certain chemicals etc. My soap is different from my family’s soap. So is my laundry detergent and many other things. They do cost more, but my body and skin can literally ‘feel’ the chemicals and react to them. 🙁 The cost of living with chronic illness!

    • You’re welcome! Thank you very much Sheryl, I really appreciate your comment. Like you, I’m really sensitive to chemicals too and had to switch all my regular cleaning and skin care products to chemical free products which are completely different to my familiy’s. I agree it’s a shame natural products are more expensive and not more affordable but toxin free living is so important for me to improve my health.

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