A lot of times the thought of buying all non-toxic products or healthier products for your home or life can feel really overwhelming. It sounds like a great idea, but a lot of times we don’t know where to start.
You might wonder where you buy organic and natural product that have third party certifications? Are there really stores that carry these types of things? The truth is, it can be really difficult to find safe and healthy products for your home in a big box store. However, if you know what to look for and do some research ahead of time, you certainly can pick eco-friendly and natural items for your home when you’re out and about.
There are a few small things that can help you narrow down HOW to do your regular shopping with the health of your home in mind. First, the idea of only buying something that you really want for your home. If it’s an impulse buy, it’s best to leave it at the store. One of my tricks for this is having a running list in your phone somewhere of items your wanting to purchase for your home or items you want to replace in your home. When you’re out shopping, if the item doesn’t match something on your list, it simply doesn’t get purchased.
This trick has helped me not only limit what I bring into my home, but it also has helped me stick to a tighter spending budget. The thought process behind this is intention. You’re the keeper of your home, and you get to decide EXACTLY what gets let in. Anything from a rug to your choice of shampoo. The choice is yours and if you know what to look for ahead of time, you’ll be doing yourself a HUGE favor in limiting toxins that come into your house.
The second thing to keep in mind is just what I mentioned above: Arm yourself with the power of knowledge BEFORE you go shopping. Knowing exactly what you’ll be buying and why is helpful. But I understand that’s not always feasible. In this case, it’s best to have an idea of what to avoid and what you want to aim for.
Knowing the chemicals, materials and products to steer clear of is SO beneficial. So many times we trust a label or a claim on a product without verifying it. I was doing some research just the other day and while I was looking for toxin free water bottle options, several plastic water bottles came into my search.
Plastic, even if BPA free should be avoided. It’s the same with so many products, but when one toxin is removed, it’s simply replaced with another toxin that hasn’t been brought to light yet.
Labels that make you think the product is healthy, green or natural is a completely different thing than knowing the facts. The first time you go to purchase something, do some research prior to buying it. Know what you’re going to buy if possible, but at least know what you’re going to avoid.
Greenwashing is a real thing and even I do research before I just buy any old brand of something.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE SHOPPING
When it comes to any item you bring into your house, you should know a few go-to materials you can trust.
Glass: Generally this is a great choice when it comes to decor, kitchen products and food storage. Glass doesn’t leach or absorb anything into it, and so no matter what type of food you put in it, it’s mostly harmless. It’s also a material that doesn’t usually end up with toxic paint on it, nor does off gas any sort of toxin.
Metal: Metal, especially stainless steel is a great material to use in decor, furniture and in the kitchen. Opting for a stainless steel that isn’t painted is best, as some paints can have toxins in them, which is often not disclosed. Generally a brushed bronze, nickel or gold finish is safe as well when it comes to decor.
One Hundred Percent Cotton: When you’re getting towels, sheets or any sort of textile, going for a 100% cotton is best. You can also find textile blends that use wool and cotton together for a different texture. Trying to stay away from synthetic materials in home textiles is best. The nice thing is you can look at the label on the package and see what the content of various materials is. If you can find undyed and 100% organic, you’re in even better shape!
Solid Wood: Going with solid wood for any material you’re buying for your house is better than opting for pressed woods. Pressed woods like particle board, fiberboard or plywood often contain adhesives that off-gas formaldehyde. This can be a really tough thing to watch for because sometimes the furniture or item may appear to be solid wood, when actually it has pressed wood inside or behind it. This may be something to do research on before you do your shopping, but if you’re out and aware that you need to look for solid wood, it can be helpful.
KNOW WHAT TO AVOID
Knowing what to look for is helpful, but knowing what to avoid can be even more important. These are the toxins that can enter your home with so many items you purchase and can off-gas into the air, enter your body through skin absorption and stick around your house and family a lot longer than you intend.
Flame Retardants: Flame retardants can be found in products like furniture, blankets, pajamas and other foam products. Avoiding these can mean decreasing your risk for thyroid disorders, reproductive problems and even cancer. (STUDY) Opt for a material like natural wool or cotton as a filling instead of polyurethane foam.
Lacquers: Often paints and lacquers that are painted on furniture, decor and other items you may bring into your home. Most paint, stains and clear coats off-gas VOCs into the air and your home. VOCs can affect your acute health (short term) as well as have long term effects on the nervous and endocrine system (STUDY)
Pressed Woods: Pressed woods like particle board, medium density fiberboard (MDF) and plywood are pieces or particles of wood that are glued together with a very strong adhesive. Often times the adhesives contain Formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen. (STUDY) There are companies that use adhesives in pressed woods that do not contain formaldehyde, but this is the information you’d need to seek out.If nothing else, you can use SafeCoat Safe Seal to seal off any of the pressed wood you have or have bought. This will contain formaldehyde and other VOCs, which will prevent them from off-gassing.
Synthetic Fragrances: Many products that we use in our home for cleaning, personal care or for air freshening contain synthetic fragrances. Synthetic fragrances are basically a concoction of chemicals mixed together to mask the smell of a product. These chemicals often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), that affect hormone production and reproductive function. (STUDY). Products that are scented at all should be with plant based ingredients and essential oils. Finding something that is unscented is your best bet when it comes to synthetic fragrances.
Cleaning Chemicals: Cleaning products can contain a variety of ingredients, many of which are undisclosed. Formaldehyde can be added to prolong the shelf life, as well as bleach. These chemicals are often times inhaled directly into the lungs, which as one study states is as bad as smoking twenty cigarettes a day. (STUDY). DO your research before you buy with the Think Dirty App and opt for an organic plant based cleaner such as Thieves.
TOOLS TO HELP YOU
ThinkDirty App: This app is like my lifeline when it comes to shopping for something I need to replace with a healthier option. I use it when buying any sort of makeup, lotion, shampoo, soap, etc. It also has a great database of cleaning products that I use it for when I need to replace something or want to find a new product.
Research Ahead of Time: I’ve done that for you a bit with my Green Product Guide that you can reference anytime. But there are lots of ways you can do your research before you go to the store or order online. Simply use Google to search out your product and find out what’s in it. You can also email me or message me on a social media platform to get information on a specific product.
FakeSpot: If you’re looking for an honest review of something, it can be hard to find. So many companies offer to pay for positive reviews, and it can be really tough to know if what you’re reading is a true opinion. FakeSpot uses an algorithm search to detect how many reviews are fake, and will give you what the REAL rating of a product online is.
Printable Healthy Home Expert Shopping Guide: I created this guide so you can quickly glance at everyday items you purchase and know what types of things to look for. It gives you an idea of just how much we use everyday. It also gives you helpful words to look for on packaging. Download yours below.
STORES & ONLINE
Amazon: Great for getting personal products, organic textiles, glass and metal food containers and water bottles.
Target: Either online or in store, you can make some really great product choices at Target. They carry most of the Seventh Generation line, which is mostly a great pick for any cleaning product you need. Some of the decor is also great there, especially if you can find more natural materials like metal, wood or glass.
Wayfair: Wayfair has TONS of home decor that is really affordable. Searching organic or natural can help, but be cautious about the search, as some items that are not the BEST picks pop up. You can find a lot of natural wood items, or solid wood items that are a really great to introduce to your home.
Ikea: Ikea is a great place for a few different things. They have a lot of glass products at a lower price that make it easy to start replacing plastic in your kitchen. As for furniture, you want to make sure that you’re avoiding the pressed wood items. Although Ikea uses an adhesive that off-gasses well below the recommended amount, it still does off-gas. Ikea has a line of solid wood furniture that you can either stain or paint with a non-toxic option.
EarthHero: Anything you decide to get from EarthHero is pretty safe for your home. It’s a great spot to do shopping without having to do a ton of research. Use Coupon Code amandak10 to get 10% off your order.