There was a time when I bought products without a second thought to their ingredients. If it had pretty packaging and smelled good, chances are it would end up in my home. I was a sucker for good marketing and a well-presented package was sure to snag me, even if I didn’t actually neeeeed it. I was captivated by the promise of freshly laundered clothing that would emit an aroma of spring meadows, april showers, or fields of baby’s breath and cotton. What can I say? …I like pretty smells.
My cleaning closet, laundry room, and bathroom cabinet displayed only the very latest and prettiest products. I rarely ran out of one before a new one appeared…which would explain why I had so many. But one day…I dumped them in the trash. Which probably isn’t the best thing to do, by the way…all those chemicals should probably be disposed of in a safer way. For me, I had reached a point where they’d been there long enough and I refused to allow them to affect our health and safety any longer.
I’ve learned a lot and I’ve come a long way. But I’ll admit, when I first started hearing about all those “dangerous chemical ingredients” sitting in my pantry and cleaning closet I was pretty skeptical. I was convinced that people were overreacting and anyone who mentioned they were going more “green” or trying to be more “natural” was just being more than a little paranoid.
Oh, you’re making you’re own laundry detergent? That’s…nice.
Using vinegar to clean eh? Smells fantastic! …not.
You don’t buy Lysol because it’s dangerous? Well, the smell in your bathroom is dangerous.
I was convinced you couldn’t possibly clean without my precious Scrubbing Bubbles, Lysol spray, or Bleach toilet bowl cleaner. I considered my gagging and coughing every time I sprayed down my shower as hard evidence that my products were working hard to get my bathroom clean.
I had no idea I was actually coating everything I touched…everything my KIDS touched..with toxic chemicals that lingered long after I “cleaned”. I had no idea that every time I took a shower, I was splashing water on the residue of these chemical cleaners and releasing their fumes while I showered and worse….when my children took a bath.
Yes, my kids took a bath in diluted Scrubbing Bubbles. Doesn’t that make your heart stop just a little? I was so careful about keeping the cleaning products far out of reach and using the child safety gate at the door while I cleaned. Sometimes I even closed the door, so they wouldn’t smell the fumes. But then…I let them in, to touch and bathe to their heart’s desire, perfectly convinced things were now “properly” clean.
Oh my heart. It really puts things into perspective when you read that little warning label against ingesting or using while pregnant. Or how about “use in a well ventilated area”. I don’t know about you, but my bathroom is the least ventilated room in our house. This reality is always obvious after Friday night pizza or fast-food burgers. Don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about.
It’s scary to think we’re warned against ingesting or breathing in these products we so vigorously clean and sanitize with. Especially when you consider the fact that…you don’t even need to ingest or breathe them in in order to absorb them into your body. …say what!!? That’s right…I kid you not. Here’s the cold, hard truth…brace yourself. Your skin is the largest organ of your body. Since it is porous, it can and will absorb those chemicals straight into your body, to your blood and lymphatic system.
Are you still with me? Or am I now considered a fanatical and obsessed crazy woman? Stay with me, friend.
Studies have shown the absorption of these chemicals through the skin is very real. The underarms and genitalia in particular, showed an absorption rate of 100%.1 That statistic scared me especially, because my babies take baths all the time. They’re sitting in that tub I cleaned down with toxic chemicals! I could cry, I really could. Another peer-reviewed study showed 100% absorption for fragrance ingredients.2 Fragrance ingredients…like…sprays, shower gels and lotions from Bath and Body Works maybe? The thing is, if you don’t realize how bad those chemicals you’re absorbing are…there’s no alarm. There’s no concern. And certainly no reason to stop. But…what if you knew?
The majority of mainstream body care products contain a cocktail of carcinogenic chemicals, allergens, and irritants. Petroleum derivatives, preservatives, synthetic fragrances and dyes go by many names. Studies show Parabens and Phthalates in particular, negatively affect the brain and nervous system. They also weaken the immune, reproductive and endocrine system and cause damage to the liver, kidney and lungs.
If you really think about it…is it any wonder we’re experiencing an all-time high in illness, disease, allergies and birth defects? I truly believe we’ve accumulated an internal build-up of these toxins and chemicals. I hate to think of the consequences if we don’t stop allowing them in our homes and on our bodies. If you’d like to reduce the amount of chemicals in your home, but you’re not sure where to start, I recommend concentrating on one room first. For example, find a natural and safe alternative for your bathroom cleaners. You can start off with vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice or use a mix of water with Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap. I personally love Norwex cloths and my all purpose Thieves Household Cleaner from Young Living. I love that it has several essential oils in it and makes everything smell so good without the use of those toxic chemicals.
I recently replaced my laundry detergents with my own homemade concoction. Yes…I became one of those people. -shaking my head- If you can’t get with me on the whole “synthetic chemicals are BAD for you!” bandwagon, then hear me out on this…You are WASTING your money on those store-bought products!! I made my own laundry detergent (and YES, it works beautifully) for next to nothing! With some very simple ingredients and very little money, you can make enough detergent to last you 6-12 months depending on the type of washing machine you have.
I have so many wonderful recipes to share with you, so stay tuned or join my mailing list to make sure you’re the first to know when they’re posted!
What do you think? Is all the chemical warning just a bunch of hype? Or are you all for a simpler, healthier, CHEAPER way of life?
- Kasting and Kretsos.Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2005;18:55-74
- Robinson et al. The Importance of Exposure Estimation in the Assessment of Skin Sensitization risk. Contact Dermatitis 2000; 42:251-259