Welcome to our Spring Cleaning Home Detox Edition! We are about to walk you through the first steps of our tried and true process for creating a healthy home. We are excited to see how great you and your family feel after a day, a week, a month of safer and cleaner products. Our bet is that you’ll never what to use anything but fragrance-free, truly non-toxic products again – especially for laundry!
Once you remove the harmful chemicals from your daily life and your body gets a break, you’ll notice symptoms such as skin rashes, irritation, headaches, dry eyes, muscle tightness, achy joints, hormonal imbalances, and mood swings start to subside.
I know for me and my clients, it was the missing piece that no one talked to us about that has really improved our health and lifestyle.
How to Get Started
Cleaning products are the most toxic category of products found in the home just after pesticides.
So remove all pesticides from your home by following this Guide brought to you by Branch Basics: How to Replace Toxic Pesticides.
Review, Remove, Replace
To help you decide what cleaning products you should keep and which ones need to go, follow the 3 R’s:
Step 1: Review
Do a sweep of your home and garage and pull out ALL cleaning products that you’re currently using and any lurking int he back of cabinets and closets. Review the labels and look for toxic red flags and ingredients.
Paralyzed by all the chemical names and ingredients? Don’t worry, we’ve got a better way to decipher the safety of these products below, thanks to Branch Basics!
Here’s what to look for:
+ CAUTION, WARNING or DANGER
+ Warnings of EYE, SKIN, or RESPIRATORY IRRITATION
+ Directions recommending RUBBER GLOVES or MASK
+ Directions that require VENTILATION while using the product
+ Instructions for HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL
+ A COMBUSTIBLE or FLAMMABLE warning
+ CHLORINE BLEACH
+ DISINFECTANT OR SANITIZER
- Synthetic fragrances have been linked to asthma, allergies, skin irritation, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, cancer, nervous system, respiratory, and endocrine disruption. Look for red flag words – “fragrance”, “parfum” or indications on the label of a “fresh clean smell.” This is a concern with many “non-toxic” cleaners.
- Many essential oils are processed with solvents that have harmful VOCs, so botanical fragrances should be organic or wildcrafted and must be extracted through distillation, not with solvents.
- Studies have found that terpenes in pine, lemon, and orange oils react with ozone from outside air to create secondary toxic compounds such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone, and ultrafine particles in the indoor air. Avoid use on Ozone Alert Days.
+ UNSCENTED PRODUCTS
+ PETROLEUM BASED INGREDIENTS – An ending of “ol” or “ene”
- MIT (methylisothiazolinone) and BIT (benzisothiazolinone)
- Benzalkonium chloride
- Potassium sorbate
- Sodium benzoate
+ For any other ingredient in question go to:
- Made Safe Hazard List of Chemicals, Materials and Ingredients
- EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database –
- EWG’s Healthy Cleaners Database
- ThinkDirty® app
We recommend that your cleaning products have ingredients rated a 1 on EWG Skin Deep, an A rating on EWG Healthy Cleaners Database, or a zero on Think Dirty.
Step 2: Remove
Next we will remove all products from the home that contain the above criteria. Either properly dispose (check in with Earth911.com for disposal rules in your area) or put in an airtight container kept outside of the house (we recommend a BPS-free, phthalate free, biocide free airtight plastic container like Sterlite brand).
Just the simple act of removal improves the air quality and takes a tremendous load off the body’s detoxification system, increasing its capacity for handling unexpected environmental exposures.
If you want further improvement, open the windows and turn on a fan. Circulate fresh air and flush residual VOCs from the products just removed. HEPA vacuuming helps to remove incorporated SVOCs (semi-volatile organic compounds) from pesticides and cleaning products that linger after removal (especially from porous materials). Sprinkle carpets or upholstery with baking soda (neutralizes and absorbs VOCs) and let it sit for 30 minutes before vacuuming.
Step 3: Replace
If you’ve reached this step, you deserve a big CONGRATULATIONS! Your body thanks you! Our body is a brilliant, self-healing machine if given the right conditions, a big one being the purity of the air we breathe. Some of the biggest culprits to our home’s air quality are pesticides and toxic cleaning products, so now that you (quite literally) have a clean slate, don’t settle for less.
Choose safe, healthy alternatives to get rid of pests and clean up your home. The good news is you don’t need an army of different products! Simplify and get back to basics.
There are plenty of DIY cleaning recipes on the Internet and plain castile soap can work for general cleaning There’s also an option for non-toxic store-bought products that can safely and effectively clean, so don’t let this step overwhelm or inhibit you from the whole process!
Here is a list of our favorite non-toxic brands of home products separated by room. Here are some recommendation by Branch Basics.
DO BUY products that are:
+ Human safe: not an eye irritant, not a skin irritant, not a lung irritant
+ mild surfactants – either saponified plant oils or alkyl glucosides (Decyl Glucoside, Coco Glucoside, Lauryl Glucoside)
+ plant and mineral based
+ free of harmful fragrance + free of harmful preservatives
DON’T BUY products that have:
+ Signal words like CAUTION, WARNING, OR DANGER
+ petroleum-based ingredients
+ EPA registered pesticides – sanitizers and disinfectants
+ parabens, phthalates, SLS
+ synthetic fragrances
+ synthetic preservatives such as methylisothiazolinone, phenoxyethanol, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, & benzalkonium chloride
Interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the environmental toxins affecting your health? Click here to access a preview of our Detox, Reset, Restore Course. You’ll be educated, informed, and provided a 12 week head start to cleaning up your health and hormones!