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Not So Fresh and Clean ~ How to avoid hidden toxins in your home!

More and more people are starting to educate themselves on what they perceive to be healthy. With information being easier to come by, consumers of all types are no longer letting companies tell them what they should or shouldn’t do. As many of us know, we can find toxins and nasty chemicals in almost everything, but are we really paying attention to the many hidden toxins used everyday in our homes that are having lasting negative and sometimes deadly effects on our health over time. Some of  the main sources of hidden toxins in your home and how to avoid them are :

Cleaning Products – According to the US EPA, levels from pollutants indoors can be two to more than 100 times higher than outdoors, and the number one culprit for indoor pollution are our very own cleaning products. Some of the top-selling daily products are the most dirty and toxic: Lysol Antibacterial Spray, which ads encourage parents to spray wherever children play, contains denatured ethanol (which can cause central nervous system depression) and alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride, a known pesticide.

Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to avoid chemical-laden cleaners. Shop for cleaning products carefully –  Avoid any product labeled antibacterial. On safe cleaning products, they are usually listed. Most of the ingredients should be recognizable names — citrus or coconut extracts, for example — not what appear to be answers to a chemistry quiz. Or better yet, make your own! Good old unscented soap and water has worked for centuries, and there’s no reason to change now. Add baking soda; borax; essential oils, such as lavender; lemon and other citrus extracts; distilled white vinegar; vegetable soaps or dyes; and linseed oi. For more info about non toxic products to buy or how to make your own click HERE

Fabric Softeners/Dryer Sheets – Fabric softeners are made to stay in your clothing for long periods of time. As such, chemicals are slowly released either into the air for you to inhale or onto your skin for you to absorb. Dryer sheets are particularly noxious because they are heated in the dryer and the chemicals are released through dryer vents and out into the environment.

Vinegar (among all the other amazing things it can do) is a natural fabric softener. It also removes soap residue, neutralizes tough odors and reduces dryer static. You can add vinegar directly to laundry during the rinse cycle or pour vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser (or fabric softener ball if your machine is dispenserless) of your washing machine.

In the dryer, grab and old, cotton washcloth that is ready for retirement. Add 3-5 drops of essential oil of your choice (Whole Food’s 365 eucalyptus oil is my favorite – and very affordable!) to your cloth and throw it in the dryer with a load. Replenish cloth with 3-5 drops between each dryer load. Also, wool dryer balls are a great alternative for softness and will shorten the duration of drying time. To buy or to find out more click HERE.

Furniture / Mattresses – Flame retardants are chemicals added to furniture to reduce the risk of fire. Unfortunately, many of these chemicals which settle into household dust, get on our hands and enter our bodies when we eat—are also associated with endocrine disruption, reproductive disorders, and possibly even cancer. Before buying, always check to make sure it is free of flame retardants.