This can be the single most overwhelming task aside from switching to whole foods. De-toxing the home needs to be simple so as to prevent a husband/ partner meltdown and a household mutiny. Personally, when I help people in this process I like to start in the kitchen. Under the kitchen sink is usually a chemical nightmare but can pretty much be cleaned out with ease. The next four steps will be very similar room to room. You are on your way to a toxin free home!
Kitchen (and under bathroom sinks):
- Get a very large trash bag, preferably one with reinforced strength.
- Put any cleaning product that is not of a natural origin in the trash bag, i.e.: Windex, Clorox Clean-Up, Simple Green (only green in color, not safety), Soft Scrub, Mr. or Mrs. Bubbles, anything from GreenWorks (they not only made up their own seal, they approved themselves as a green product as well), Pledge, Raid, Fantastic… you get the gist…
- Set the bag aside, responsibly it should be dropped off at your local chemical waste drop off center. In St. Petersburg, where we live, this is a service provided by our city as a pick up at and at certain locations around the city. Check your City’s solid waste website or google Household Hazardous Waste pickup in (your city’s name).
- Okay, all that should be left should be disposables, like cleaning rags, extra sponges, paper towels, garbage bags, maybe your cleaning caddy basket (empty now?) and if you’re like me… my empty flower vases. You can add under the sink some safe brands that make life easier like dish soap from the Better Life company and dishwasher detergent like Ecover Zero. I also recommend LemiShine as an additive. It works great for automatic dishwashers. A gallon of distilled white vinegar and a box or shaker of baking soda are both a must have. They will be a huge part of your new cleaning arsenal and I’ll tell you how to use them in the next post.
Well this one will be easy…
- Get another trash bag ready.
- Toss out your current detergent unless it is Molly’s Suds. If you have a natural stain remover, that you can keep. If not, get a new spray bottle and make a 1:1 solution of Molly’s Suds All Sport and purified water. So 1cup of each wold be an example of a good equal amount. This makes for a terrific stain pre-treater! Spray it on grass stains, food stains, blood stains o stinky pits. Toss in your hamper and it will be ready when you do laundry.
- Same as above.
- So your laundry cabinet should have no more toxic fabric softener or the sheets of perfumed softeners, no caustic spray and wash, no more conventional detergent brands including “free and clear” versions or even dreaded Dreft. You should have distilled white vinegar, our Wool Dryer Balls, All Sport and our Laundry Powder. That is it.
- You may need more than a trash bag, like a sturdy box…
This is not an easy area. It’s also a very personal decision. We decided to toss out pretty much everything and find an alternative. There are some things that do not have alternative safe products on the market. Go through what you have and ask yourself if it’s really needed and if it is safe. The following list can be replaced by safer products:
- Paint (low or no VOC paint is a better option and now you can find paints that are safe for the planet)
- Pesticides (diatomaceous earth works wonders inside the home and in your grass, even on your pets. Also many pest control companies offer safe and non-toxic products)
- Motor oil (it is carcinogenic and not safe for people, consider taking your car to be serviced instead)
- Antifreeze (it contains ethylene glycol which can cause death it is so toxic, consider purchasing the less toxic kind with propylene glycol in it.)
- Fertilizer (there are safer brands on the market, do your research and store out of the reach of children).
- Car washing supplies (there are safe brands on the market and you can also use diluted All Sport)
- Same as above.
- This area can take some time to collect products that replace the toxic products you are getting rid of. As you need something for a task, take the time to do research on a safer alternative. Less is best.
- We keep a running list of products we like and feel are safe. You can also visit the website TrueGoods and EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning for products that are safe for your home!
- You are doing great! It feels like throwing away money in the beginning, but you will be pleasantly surprised at how much money you save when you buy safe products and less of the products society leads you to believe you need to have.