Photo: Make your home toxics-free

Credit: dorsal stream via Flickr

If you are using conventional cleaning products, you could be exposing yourself and your family to a slew of toxic (even cancer-causing) chemicals. You can start reducing your exposure to toxic chemicals with a few steps:

Static-free and loving it

Are your family members suffering from asthma-like symptoms, headaches or irritated skin? It could be your fabric softener. They only work on synthetic fabrics, doing nothing for natural fabrics. They coat clothing and towels with a residue which never completely washes out. Many of them are full of synthetic perfumes or fragrance too. Instead, save money and energy by hanging your clothes to dry. You can also try adding half a cup of white vinegar to your washing machines' rinse cycle.

Ditch disinfectants

It's doubtful whether disinfectants are needed for most household purposes. Using soap and water to wash your hands the old fashioned way is still the best. Disinfectants are merely a fad based on a false fear of germs. Homes do not require the same level of cleaning as hospitals, where there's an elevated risk of disease and infection. Save your money and save yourself from exposure to highly caustic chemicals and phenols which can damage DNA, as well as the liver, kidney and nervous systems.

Mothballs: they smell bad for a reason

For safer clothing storage, ditch the mothballs. Mothballs contain questionable chemicals like naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene. These substances are particularly unsafe for young children if swallowed, inhaled, or exposed to the skin. Instead, try cedar wood as a natural moth repellent. It's available in blocks, balls, or sheets; it smells lovely, it's natural; and best of all, it's biodegradable.

Read more