• Casey Thomas-Hardesty

5 Inexpensive Ways to Reduce Toxins in Your Home

Natural home cleaning and ways to reduce air pollution. Containers of baking soda and laundry powder, lemon, fern

Whether you’ve been bitten by the Konmari bug or are just looking to make healthier changes for your family, spring is the perfect time to take a look around your home and see what you can do to reduce your toxic load.

In this three part blog series, we’re going to take a look at the impact of toxins within different areas of your home as well as safer alternatives that are both cost effective and high performing. If you don’t know by now, I take an approach of do what you can with what you have. Making a conscious switch for your health doesn’t have to be expensive or overwhelming. Here are 5 areas within your home where you can make inexpensive switches to reduce your toxic exposure.

Laundry Room

Many laundry detergents and dryer sheets contain chemicals that are hormone disruptors, skin and respiratory irritants, and even possible carcinogens. That doesn’t take into consideration the environmental effect on our water system or off gases from dryer vents either. (Check out EWG to see how your products stack up)

My go-tos are this unscented detergent (extremely affordable) and this one. Kids’ clothes or towels still having a musty smell? Try adding some baking soda to the wash and vinegar to the rinse cycle.

For the dryer, ditch the dryer sheets and use wool dryer balls instead. They are reusable and eco-friendly, reducing both static electricity and drying time. Want a light scent? Add a few drops of essential oil to the dryer balls. I personally like lavender, orange, or tea tree oil.

Cleaning Products

As with laundry detergent, many cleaning products on the market contain chemicals that have personal health and environmental concerns. Baking soda, vinegar, and castile soap (I like this one) are the trifecta of natural cleaning products. Bonus: they’re inexpensive and easy to use.

  • Foaming Hand Soap – In a foaming dispenser, fill 2/3 way with water then fill remaining way with castile soap. Always add the water first to prevent foaming over.

  • Multipurpose Cleaning Spray – Mix ¼ cup castile soap with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. Tea tree oil is a great antimicrobial oil that can be added for an extra boost.

  • Bath Cleaner – Mix 1 cup of baking soda and 10-15 drops of orange or lemon essential oil with enough castile soap to make a paste. To use, simply rub on sink or tub and let sit for 5 minutes. Scrub off with warm water then rinse.

Candles/Air freshener

The term “artificial fragrance” can hide a multitude of chemicals that companies aren’t currently mandated to disclose. One of the biggest concerns with artificial fragrances has been their link to hormone disruption, specifically a reduction in sperm counts, estrogen mimicking properties, and possible links to breast cancer and obesity.

Most candles are also made from paraffin wax which creates known carcinogens benzene and toluene when burned. Some wicks may even still contain lead although it was banned in the US in 2003.

For safer alternatives, try beeswax candles or diffuse essential oils. This is my go to brand for affordable essential oils and diffusers. They even have holiday blends (hello Pumpkin Spice in the fall). Diffusing essential oils is also a great option to serve as an air freshener replacement.

Air Quality

I’m a plant lady to the core. Not only do I think they bring beauty to an indoor space, but there are several varieties that are great at purifying indoor air from gasses put off by furniture, paint, and other home items. Look for some of these popular varieties:

  • Boston Fern- Acts as a natural humidifier. Removes formaldehyde

  • Purple Heart-Excellent for trailing containers. Removes benzene, trichloroethylene, and toluene

  • English Ivy- Excellent for trailing containers. Removes benzene and formaldehyde

  • Mums- Flowering. Removes benzene and formaldehyde

  • Peace Lily- Removes formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene


This last one is totally free, but don’t let that fool you. It’s an important one as well. Remove your shoes when you enter the house. Even if they aren’t visibly dirty, the soles of our shoes are loaded with bacteria. Studies have shown everything from Clostridium difficile to Listeria monocytogenes and even E coli. Plus, if you have been walking around in the grass, it’s likely that the soles of your shoes contain pesticide residue as well. These are things that you don’t want to be tracking in your home, especially if you have little kids crawling around.

As you can see, changes don’t have to be overwhelming or expensive to still make a big impact on your health and the health of the environment. Make small changes where you can and when you can; it all adds up.

Up next week: We're tackling reducing toxins in the kitchen!

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