Toxins are everywhere and in everything, and unfortunately, you really have to go out of your way to avoid them. However, the benefit of decreasing external toxins in your home may be well worth your effort.
When you decide to take charge of your health, external toxins from those little everyday things you use in your home is an area you’ll want to address. When I started my natural living journey, I didn’t start with my diet. At that point in my life, dietary changes felt too big and overwhelming to me. Instead, focusing on minimizing external toxins I was exposing myself to was much more doable to me.
I started implementing these changes when I was pregnant with my first baby. I’d just had a baby shower where I’d received a bunch of bath products and over-the-counter medicines to help with common baby ailments. As I was organizing everything and putting it all where it was to go, I started reading the labels and realized that I couldn’t really read any of the ingredients. I automatically knew that this was just like not being able to read ingredient labels on food products. At that point, I suddenly realized that my baby was going to be born in a couple months, and I was preparing to cover my newborn with chemicals and fragrances among other things. It was right then and there that I decided to start making my own skin care products.
For me that was it. It wasn’t about myself. It was about my child. As a mother, you know what it’s like. You could have some pretty bad habits, but when it comes to passing those habits on to your kids or exposing them to them, you’re willing to turn your world upside down to change. Am I right? It’s the same with our diets, the products we use, or any of the other big-picture areas we’ll be discussing this week.
When it comes to external toxins that affect our bodies, two main things come to mind. Skin care products and household cleaners. Both of these things are loaded with ingredients that are harmful to our health, materials that are skin irritants, and poisons that are used to kill things. Who wants that on their or their child’s skin?
Skin Care Products
Using skin care products are obvious. You bath your kids on a regular basis using soaps and bubble bath before following up with a baby-scented lotion that makes their skin soft. Next add on disposable diapers, diaper rash creams, powder, and baby wipes. Now think about the detergents you wash your baby’s clothes in. These lay next to their skin day and night. That’s a lot of chemicals on your kid’s skin throughout the day! Using homemade skincare products or store-bought products that are organic and contain minimal, safe ingredients is your best bet. Not sure which are best?
Using homemade skin care products or store-bought products that are organic and contain minimal, safe ingredients is your best bet. Not sure which are best? Check out EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to find some good ones in a store near you. If you’re into homemade products, check out Etsy or your local farmers market for other mama’s who wanna share their love for healthy children’s skincare with you. If you’re into making your own skin care products, you can find many DIY recipes online. (You can read more about my Winter and Spring skincare routines here.)
Household cleaners are less thought of as external toxins that are harmful to your health than skincare products since they aren’t applied directly to the skin. However, chemical cleaners leave films and waxy residues behind so your exposure to them can last for days or weeks after using them. Think about it like this. You pour your floor cleaner into your bucket of water and mop away the dirt and dropped food on your floor. As the water dries, a clear film is left behind that is like a powder. In a couple hours, your baby is playing on the floor, rubbing her hands all over it, picking up dropped grapes and pacifiers, so on and so forth. You get the picture. These chemical residues get absorbed through a child’s skin or put directly into their mouth.
Beyond the residues left behind from chemical cleaners is their scent. The scent of cleaners (and many other fragrances for that matter) are known carcinogens, meaning they have been shown to cause cancer over time. We don’t want to clean with stinky cleaners so we buy ones that smell good, but these fragrances are far from good. We breathe them in our lungs while we spray away, then we cover up any other unpleasant smells with room fresheners or scented candles. All fragrances are simply chemicals in the air, floating around for you and your kids to breathe.
For more information on the toxicity of household cleaners check out Smart Klean’s Top 12 Cancer-Causing Products in the Average Home and Green Clean Certified’s Household Cleaning Products May Do More Harm Than Good. And if you’re interested in making your own homemade natural cleaners, be sure to check out my post on 42 DIY Recipes To Keep Your Home Naturally Clean!
So there you have it. Toxins are nasty, and they definitely affect your health in a negative way, especially your child’s health. Let’s purpose to start cleaning up certain areas of our homes and reducing toxins as we go. Are you with me?