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5 ways to Help Create a Non-toxic Environment

Peppermint Dr. Bronners Magic Soap

We are exposed to toxins on a daily basis, but just how much depends on the foods we eat, the furniture we sit on, the lotions we decide to put on our bodies, etc. The degree to which we  potentially put our children’s health at risk depends on the different products we decide to bring into the house. Their exposure to toxins begins before they are even born. Whatever we inhale or ingest can have a lasting effect on our children.

It can be a little overwhelming, and challenging at times. When I found out I was pregnant in 2010, I just knew we had to rethink some products and revamp our home. We, however, did not just wake up one day and build a new non-toxic wooden bubble as our home. It was a learning process and we weighted what needed to be changed first and what could wait.

We decided that whatever products were going to be touching our new bundle of joy had to be non-toxic. You would think that would be easy. Wrong. Reading labels and understanding what each ingredients is and why it is in a particular product is exhausting.

You can’t even begin to imagine how many times I returned a product after looking it up on the Skin Deep Data Base or read somewhere that a particular ingredient was unsafe. At that point, I just decided to make it as simple as possible and not get pulled into all the hype “you need a different products for everything.” I also realized that so many products can actually be made at home and that way, you know exactly what is in your product.

And on top of all that, I wanted to be as environmentally friendly as possible meaning purchasing products make in Canada or the USA. If not, than at least fair-trade. That is a whole other hurdle that I have had trouble getting over.

If you are parent to be or looking to rid some toxins from your house, here are my top 5 must haves to less our environmental and toxic impact:

  1. Dr.Bronner soap. It really is the magic soap. It can be used for pretty much anything from washing your hair to laundry to baby wipe solutions. It can be bought as a bar or already in the liquid form. The bar option has less packaging (no plastic) associated with the product than its liquid counter-part. If you purchase the bar- simply grate it, heat it up so it melts and add water. Voila. It is also much cheaper than the liquid form and best of all it is an American product. Seems like the perfect product to me, don’t you think?
  2. Hemp cloths. I think it is important to have natural  fibers touching your little one’s most sensitive place. Therefore, we decided to make our own wipes and wipe solution (basically Dr. Bronners soap). I did not feel comfortable buying one time wipes that would end up in landfill or in our waters. Most wipe solutions had a long list of ingredients, and others had simple ingredients. I figured making my own was cheaper, environmentally friendly and less toxic. Easy choice for us.
  3. Organic sheets and mattress. We spend a large amount of time sleeping. Children tend to spend even more time sleeping. I did my research and found that conventional mattress usually contain petrochemicals, flame retardants, dyes, PVC, Phthalates and the list continues. I wanted to make sure we were all having a sound and healthy sleep. We have a nice set of organic sheets and once we are moved back home little E will be the proud owner of an organic mattress.
  4. Non-toxic paints. When we are expecting a little bundle of joy we want to decorate and create the cutest room possible. Have you ever thought of what is in the paints we use to plaster on our walls? The best option is VOC-free paints, which use water instead of  petroleum based solvents and contain no heavy metals or formaldehyde. These paints are readily available at most home improvement stores.
  5. Plants. Why you might ask? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, our indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than the outdoor air we breath. Yikes. House-plants help to rid the air of pollutants and toxins, counteracting outgassing and contributing to balanced internal humidity. Wondering which plants will aid in cleaning up your air?

There are various simple and effective ways to reduce our exposure to different toxins inside our homes. These are just a few suggestions to help you on the road to a cleaner and healthier you and family. Take baby steps- try one thing at a time and gradually work your way to living a little more toxic-free and reap the rewards!

What are your favorite non-toxic baby products?

Healthy Child, Healthy World is a great resource for helping parents learn about the toxins around us and how to keep our children safe.

This month, the Green Moms Carnival will be sharing their thoughts on “How to keep toxic chemicals out of our homes”. The carnival is hosted this month by Lori over at Groovy Green Livin. The carnival goes live Monday, March 19, 2012.  Be sure to stop by for lots of great information on ways we can all slowly rid toxins from our homes and make a difference one green step at a time.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Wow-thanks for all the linky love Stephanie. Much appreciated! I just had a few rooms in my house painted and used no VOC paint. It was incredible-no smell at all. I also love Dr. Bronner’s for everything. Thanks for all the great tips!

  2. I am with you and Lori, big fan of Dr. Bronner’s!! It really is perfect!! My little on has really sesitive skin and it never bothers her. never tried it for laundry. I learn something new every time I chat with you. 🙂

    • Tee Hee! I use soap nuts, but I add a capful of the peppermint “diluted with water” in my laundry as well and they smell oh so nice after the wash! I tried using Dr. Bronners in the laundry without diluting it, it stained some of my clothing because of the oil! Oops! 🙂

  3. I have been using Dr. Bronner’s for years and love it! I use both the peppermint and lavender scented soap. I’ve never tried it in the laundry, but will now. How much do you dilute it?

    • I usually dilute my Dr. Bronners 1/4 soap 3/4 water and use it for washing, laundry, cleaning pretty much everything. I once put it directly in the washing machine without water- not a good idea. It was too much oils and stunned some of my clothing. Oops!

  4. If you haven’t watched Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap Box you should, it’s quite entertaining. It’s on Netflix (or atleast it was a couple of weeks ago, you never know with them anymore). Dr. Bronner’s also makes a really great lotion!

  5. Have you tried just using a washcloth? That’s what I do (I have a pile of old ones I buy from garage sales for like a dime each!). We have SUPER hard water so the grippy texture of the washcloth works well to get all of the mineral deposits and soap scum off! I use old flat baby diapers (the ones that I’m pretty sure no one uses for diapers anymore) for cleaning things that don’t need as much scrub!

    • Thanks, Micaela! Means a lot coming from you. I need to get plants once I am home. I haven’t invested in any knowing we are moving in a few months. Can’t bring plants across the boarder 🙁

  6. The scented dr. Bronners soaps are really nice made into homemade laundry soap.

    • Thanks, Elisabeth for he recipe. I will check it out! When we move back home, I am hoping to keep some plants alive! I just killed one. In my defense, I did find it in the trash and tried to save it. No dice.

  7. Wow, that is great that you changed your kids bedding to organic. Have any questions shoot me an email. i am happy to help! Funny the sheets i bought are made by Magnolia Organics…..

  8. Wow .. I really admire your dedication to protecting your child, yourself and the environment. It’s so important. I didn’t realize how important until I rid my home of toxins. Before, I got headaches and had allergies but never really thought much about it. Once we got rid of the toxins, I all-of-a-sudden felt better … no more headaches, my allergies (for the most part) disappeared and I just felt better. So imagine … if an adult reacts to the toxins in our environment, how much more does a child feel it? And … what are the long-term consequences of continued exposure to toxins? In my opinion, we owe it to our kids to clean things up … and give them a pure environment to grow in. 🙂 Thanks for a terrific article!!

  9. I love that we are so on the same page. I use Dr. Bronner’s too and it is so versatile. You can use it for so many cleaning purposes, and it’s made in USA of fair trade ingredients.
    My general rule of thumb is if I wouldn’t eat it, I won’t use it.

  10. LOL. You are so funny Anna! Of course non-toxic paint! We will be repainting our condo when we get back home and will be looking for some good paints! Might have to hit you up with some suggestions.

  11. I must admit that when I saw the post title, I thought you meant toxic as in toxic PEOPLE. But weeding out toxic substances is much simpler! Thanks for the tips.

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