Your bathroom. You stress over it being clean, but have you spent much time looking through the products you use? Are your cleaning products really cleaning? And if they are… are they SAFE? Or could they be contributing to alienating your family’s health.
Stop toxic chemical exposure in your bathroom! Alternatives to cleaners, hair care, personal hygeine, perfumes, and colognes are available! You can have a clean home without using harmful chemicals. In this post, we will dive into how to identify and remove harmful products from your bathroom, with a few alternatives to choose instead.
Why is this important? The average man is exposed to 60 harmful chemicals and the average woman is exposed to 85 harmful chemicals solely during their morning routines (brushing your teeth, washing your face, taking a shower, and wearing deodorant or antipersperant). If you wear makeup, perfume, cologne, or aftershave… that number may exceed 250!
Is Your Clean Bathroom Really Clean?
Many of these cleaners may contain hazardous chemicals such as ammonia, sulfuric and phosphoric acids, lye, chlorine, formaldehyde, and phenol. The information about these chemicals is seriously downplayed by the same companies wanting you to purchase their toxic products. These products can cause:
- reproductive harm (including birth defects),
- asthma or other breathing problems,
- skin reactions
- neurological damage
- hormone and endocrine system disruptions
- … and more…
Most everything for me to write about cleaning was already discussed in my post, Removing Toxins From Your Kitchen. I highly recommend looking through that post if you haven’t yet for more information about what to look out for in your cleaners.
Knowing how to navigate labels is essential. Check out EWG’s decoding labels page.
The safest nontoxic cleaner we’ve found and personally use
I use Thieves cleaner (a plant-based toxin-free cleaner powered by essential oils), vinegar, and baking soda for all my cleaning needs in the bathroom. They provide excellent cleaning abilities and do a great job without exposing myself or my family to harsh chemicals!
- Soft Scrub – dilute the Thieves cleaner one cap full to 4oz water and add just enough baking soda to make it thick.
- Toilet bowl – pour a little Thieves cleaner into the toilet (or use the same soft scrub if I need something more abrasive).
- The rest of our bathroom cleaning needs call for the Thieves cleaner to be diluted 1 cap full to 8oz of water in a spray bottle.
- For the mirror, we usually use Thieves cleaner diluted half a cap to 8oz of distilled water in a spray bottle. Sometimes I use vinegar diluted 50% with water. Crumpled up newspaper seems to be the best trick for not having streaks (my grandmother’s trick)
The bathroom always smells great too! Well… except for when people blow it up. But we run the diffuser for that.
Ingredients to be aware of in your Shampoo and Conditioner
If you are anything like the way I was a few years ago, you probably thought the worst thing your shampoo can do to you is burn your eyes, but it turns out it can be deadly. In fact, over 100 shampoo brands contain illegal cancer-causing ingredients!! When I started out on my ‘detoxing our home adventure’ I didn’t even realize there were that many shampoo brands, let alone toxic ones!
Some of the most popular harmful ingredients in shampoo and conditioner we avoid are:
- MIT (methylisothiazolinone) is a chemical biocide, allergen, cytotoxin and neurotoxin. It is added to commercial shampoos to control bacterial growth in liquids. It destroys cell function and is toxic to fetus neurons.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (also known by Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate, SDS and NaDS) is used to enhance lather and remove oil. It is a biocide that eats away skin tissue and is absorbed in the body’s cells. It causes canker sores, dandruff, eye irritation, skin corrosion, skin infections, skin rashes, swelling of the hands, arms and face, and mimics the Oestrogen hormone.
- DEA (diethanolamine) is used in shampoos as a lather enhancement and wetting agent. DEA is a biocide, cytotoxin and neurotoxin. DEA mixes with other cosmetic ingredients to create NDEA (nitrosodiethanolamine), a known carcinogen. It’s also been linked to stomach, liver, esophagus and bladder cancers, as well as inhibits fetal brain development and causes miscarriages.
- Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate is a biocide that inhibits human development and reproductive harm and infertility.
- Parabens mimic estrogen, increasing the human risk of breast cancer, infertility in women and hormone imbalances in males.
- Propylene Glycol is a strong skin irritant that can damage the liver and kidneys.
- Tocopheryl Acetate can cause the human immune system to overreact and can cause skin itching, burning, scaling, hives and blistering.
- BHA is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” It can cause skin depigmentation, liver damage, stomach cancers, harms the reproductive system, and unbalances thyroid hormone levels.
- BHT (butyl hydroxytoluene) is often used to replace BHA, but isn’t much better in terms of health. It accumulates over time in the body, damaging the lungs, liver, bladder, and kidneys, and is also toxic to the immune system. The material staffers data sheet says for BHT to not enter the environment, that it’s combustible, that it can cause abdominal pain, confusion, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and liver damage, along with being harmful to aquatic organisms.
- Formaldehyde is used as a preservative because of its antiseptic properties. It is a known carcinogen, neurotoxicant and developmental toxicant. It can also cause asthma, skin reactions, and allergies. Bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, Imidzaolidinyl urea and Quaternium-15 are known to release formaldehyde. Although formaldehyde use has decreased, formaldehyde releasers are widely used in US products.
** Buyer Beware ** please note companies are trying to outsmart consumers by listing these ingredients under alias names now too.
Because of all the different chemicals and endlessly increasing health ailment plaguing our society, many people have flocked to healthier alternatives with the “no poo” method of using baking soda and apple cider vinegar in lieu of shampoo and conditioner. I admittedly admire them, but the routine did not work at all for me.
Instead, I have lessened my shampooing to a couple of times a week and still condition almost every day and use the healthiest option I’ve been able to find. I have failed more times than I would like to admit trying to DIY my own hair care, so I personally don’t.
Deodorant ingredients to be aware of
Stinky pits. No one likes them. They are embarrassing, and sometimes frustrating. But, have you ever tried reading the label of your deodorant or antiperspirant?
Common harmful deodorant ingredients include:
- Alcohol Denatured is linked to birth defects.
- Eugenol is toxic to the immune system, sensitized skin, and can cause itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering of skin. It also damages the gastrointestinal tract and liver, as well as is a neurotoxin.
- BHT, Parabens (as mentioned above in the shampoo section)
- Triethanolamine is toxic to the immune system and a carcinogen. It is an ingredient in fragrance and used to adjust pH. It is also a surfactant, emulsifying,buffering, and masking agent.
Switching to a natural deodorant can be frustrating, as it takes time for your body to adjust – usually a few weeks, sometimes longer depending on your body. I can tell you from personal experience that it is totally worth it! I do strongly recommend doing the switch to a natural deodorant in the winter because it is much less embarrassing as your body detoxes and adjusts away from the chemicals.
You can also search the EWG’s Skin Deep database for nontoxic deodorants graded 1-2, and see the grade listed for the deodorant you use.
I no longer use antiperspirants. Not at all. Antiperspirants clog your pores and disable you from sweating, which is an important way your body detoxifies.
There is also much speculation that indicates aluminum in antiperspirants produces health hazards, including increasing risk of breast cancer and some serious internal inflammation.
Some antiperspirants even include triclosan, which is neurotoxic and bioaccumulates, becoming more concentrated in fatty tissues. Triclosan is linked to cancer, developmental defects, and liver and inhalation toxicity.
Researchers found Triclosan to affect tested mice with irregular skull development and decreased fetal weight, provides evidence that triclosan may be a developmental toxican. It’s also known to be a hormone disruptor and negativity affect the thyroid. I was pleasantly surprised at how much less I sweat now that I no longer use products that alter how my body functions.
Sometimes I make my own with arrowroot power, coconut oil, and essential oils. Sometimes I only use coconut oil. Usually I only need use coconut oil with a few drops of essential oils. Usually I don’t have much time to fuss with DIY experiments, so this busy mom typically uses this one. I’ve also found just using coconut oil with lavender essential oil in it often is enough (after spending detoxing and allowing my body to adjust to not using antiperspirants).
Cosmetics are prolifically contaminated with harmful ingredients
The scary thing… there is no government authority that can issue a recall or manage safety regulations for cosmetics, as long as they don’t use one of the 30 banned chemicals (11 have not been in production in over a decade). This section ended up being way too long for this one post, so I created a whole new article solely for identifying harmful ingredients in your cosmetics.
Feminine hygiene products and harmful chemicals
Statistics show that 1/3 of the population uses products for menstruation. The average American woman uses between 16,000 and 25,000 tampons in her lifetime, and many women don’t use any. If we were to include pads and that number will likely triple, if not quadruple. That’s a lot of feminine hygiene products!
Add in nursing pads for breastfeeding moms and the number goes up even higher.
That is a HUGE demand for cotton, hemp, bamboo, and other materials used to make them.
So, what all is in feminine hygiene products?
Manufacturers are NOT required to disclose ingredient information for feminine hygiene products because they are considered to be “medical” devices. It’s rather scary to think that companies are not required to disclose ingredients in medical devices. Logic would suggest that anything related to anything medical should be put under extra scrutiny for high standards of care.
In addition to not knowing all that’s in feminine hygiene products, most of the cotton used is doused in pesticides and herbicides, which stays in the fibers during manufacturing and absorb into your body during use. This also includes the cotton toilet paper both genders use. That’s an awful lot of nasty chemical-ridden product that is largely unavoidable touching some incredibly sensitive areas!
Pesticides and herbicides have been linked to all sorts of ailments from neurological disorders, like Parkinson’s, to cancer. Things we shouldn’t have to think about while using the bathroom.
SAFE Feminine Hygiene Alternatives to keep in your bathroom
The good news… you don’t have to stop using convenient items to overcome these harmful deceptions. There are alternative feminine care products you can use… that will also save you a TON of money over time.
If you think about it… the average woman spends approximately $1,773 on tampons and $443 on underwear liners in her life. Some women spend more, some spend less depending on the length of their cycles.
Using these alternative reusable products, you’ll be able to spend less than $50. Total. I do highly recommend having two sets of menstrual cups to replace your tampon use, and two sets of the “mama cloth” pads if you don’t use tampons. Definitely have at least one of each. Personally, I have two of each because it makes life during that time of the month so much easier to navigate.
The benefits of switching to these reusable products is that I’ve personally found that time of the month has nearly cut in half in length, and when combining it with Dragon Time essential oil blend, that time of the month is no longer painful too.
Keep learning about how to remove harmful chemicals from your home, and replace them with safe options
Knowing the products you use and what they are made of is essential to maximizing your wellness. If you would like some more information and a guide to help you reduce the toxic products in your home, make sure to sign up for our Healthy Home Email Class!
Have you checked what is in your bathroom products and how EWG rates them?
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