5 Toxic Cleaning Products & 5 DIY Natural Substitutes

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Toxic Cleaning Products

Every new year, I resolve to live a more natural lifestyle. In some years that means watching what I eat, in other years I try to be more active, but every year I make January my “whole house detox” month.

Basically I go through my closets, cabinets, cleaners, bathroom products, and anything else I can find. I sort through what is healthy and what is potentially toxic. All the toxic cleaning products get tossed or donated. Then I make a list of products that I can buy or DIY the natural way.

5 Toxic Cleaning Products to Get Out of Your Home

Note from Matt and Betsy: Don’t forget, our book DIY Natural Household Cleaners teaches you how to make ALL your own natural cleaners!

Even though I write about living more naturally, it doesn’t mean that unnatural products don’t sneak into my house. Below I’ll share with you five  toxic cleaning products and some suggestions on what you can DIY instead.

1. Air Fresheners

From plug in fresheners to spray cans, artificial fragrance is my number one nemesis. They are overpowering and filled with a chemical soup of toxins. There are so many other ways to make your home smell wonderfully, naturally! You don’t need to buy the latest scent to fill your home with. Instead try these:

2. Cleaning Products

Much like air fresheners, many commercial cleaning products also contain synthetic fragrance in addition to a bunch of unnecessary chemicals. However, by using these cleaning products ALL over your home, we are just spreading around tiny particles of toxins. Why not clean with something that actually cleans? Instead of using those products, try one of these:

3. Laundry Detergent/Fabric Softener

Who doesn’t love fresh laundry? It’s soft, warm, and smells clean. It’s even better when it’s folded and put away. However, when you take your laundry out of your drawers, do you still smell your laundry detergent? If you do, then chances are you are smelling  synthetic fragrance chemicals (again!). If they were natural, then they would have washed off or faded away. Laundry detergent is especially dangerous because we wear our clothes all day, close to our skin. It’s very important to choose a good, natural laundry detergent or to make your own effective, natural laundry detergent.

4. Personal Care Products

This is the one area of my home where I have to be especially careful. It seems that I have a habit of building up quite a stash of shampoos, conditioners, soaps, and lotions. Not all of them being good for my health, either. Chemicals like sulfates, parabens, fragrance, and petroleum are among the most common toxins in personal care products. Choosing expensive natural options is not always in the budget, so I do make a lot of personal care products. Some of my favorite recipes are:

5. Candles

I could have put candles in the air freshener category, but I really felt they needed a spot on my list. Candles are slightly different than air fresheners because they are burned. Fire is a chemical reaction and it has a way of changing the chemical makeup of substances. So when you light a candle, you can release unknown toxins into your home. Especially if those candles are made with commercial colors, synthetic fragrance, and other additives. If you HAVE to have a candle, choose one made from a natural wax with natural colors and natural fragrance. Or make your own DIY candle:

What about you?

What toxic cleaning products are lurking in your home? Are you ready to make your own natural replacements?


About Katie Vance

Katie is a wife, mother, aromatherapist, and lover of all things DIY. She offers consultations and gives simple aromatherapy advice at Katie Vance, Aromatherapy Simplified. You can also find Katie on Facebook.

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  1. Patricia Sheridan says

    Can you provide me with a recipe for an all-natural cleaner that I can use around my house and is safe to use around my dog?

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  3. kala says

    Katie, this is an awesome post! I love making my own cleaners especially with essential oils! What are your personal favorite all natural cleaners? I’d love to try them.
    I have a few recipes I can pass along as well!