Let’s start in one of the most used rooms in our home: the kitchen. There is a constant shift happening in the kitchen—food comes in, trash goes out, and we are always cleaning. It’s a great place to look at products we are using on a daily basis and really gain perspective on how much we use, what types of products we use, how much waste we are creating, etc. We can then use this info to figure out what changes we can make to create a healthier kitchen environment for our family.
The kitchen is the land of single use plastics. We don’t need them—not to the extent we are told. They are part of the “convenience” sales pitch we are constantly fed in motherhood. With very minimal effort, we can eliminate a significant amount of our single use plastic in the kitchen.
For example, I stopped buying plastic baggies almost two years ago and instead rely on reusable containers, wax based covers, and glass jars to store and seal food. I also use bento boxes for lunches that need packed if on-the-go if foods need to be separated. What happened when I stopped buying plastic baggies? Nothing negative—I started getting creative and realized that I truly did not need them. One family making even this small shift made an impact. Many of us making this small shift can create an even bigger positive shift.
The kitchen is also an important place to look at your cleaning products and really understand the chemicals you are using and exposing your family to…our skin is our largest organ and absorbs what we come into contact with. Everything has an effect on our bodies.
(The kitchen can be a great place for a food detox, but that is coming in week three. Today is all about cleaning supplies and plastics).
Write about your own kitchen. What is your family’s plastic use like in the kitchen? How much trash do you create on a daily basis? What types of cleaners do you use? Are they non-toxic? If they are advertised as “green,” does the ingredient label show that they are truly natural or is it simply advertised as “clean?” Spend some time today researching a few of the ideas listed below. Write down what you learn, what you feel applies to you, and changes you’d like to strive for now and in the long term.
Choose something from the following list that you can implement as part of your kitchen detox:
- Switch to non-toxic cleaning products—including dish, dishwasher, & hand soaps, counter and floor cleaners
- Learn how to make your own cleaners and soaps
- Ditch non-stick pans
- Consider replacing plastic scrubbers with sustainable ones
- Stop buying and using single use plastic baggies
- Try beeswax food wraps
- Switch plastic for silicone, metal, or other materials that don’t leach chemicals
- Replace paper napkins with beautiful cloth ones (it’s just laundry & can easily be washed with towels)
- Don’t rely on plastic wrap and aluminum foil
- Commit to not buying plastic cutlery for parties or take out (I love Sharkpit Designs)
- Filter your drinking water (I’m a fan of Berkey)
- Understand what your current water filter does filter out and how to maintain it
- Avoid heavily packaged products; buy in bulk when applicable
- Compost leftovers and food scraps
- Or come up with your own!
Keep in mind that detox month isn’t about changing everything all at once. Awareness is often the first step. This month might look like you making big shifts, little shifts, both, or simply gathering information to figure out what you need/want to change for your family. This month is very different than the other guided journal topics… “detox” can mean a lot of different things to different people. Our goal is to take inventory of our homes and individual lifestyles, raise our awareness, figure out what we want to change, and then take action from there.
If you get overwhelmed, remember these things: Awareness encourages authenticity. Slow growth sustains long-term change. You’ve got this.
The main culprits here are laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets.
Ever walk through the laundry aisle at the store and get overwhelmed by the extreme smells coming from there? Fragrance isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Whatever we wash our clothes in stays on the fabric and works its way into our bodies through our skin and nose (it turns out inhaling those scents isn’t us smelling something “pretty;” those fragrances negatively affect our bodies). And the havoc they reek isn’t limited to just their time in the washing machine—fabric holds the scent and we are then continually exposed to fragrance. Think your sheets just “smell nice?” You’re inhaling those chemicals all night long while you sleep. You’re inhaling them all day long while you wear your clothes washed in those chemicals. What are we trying to mask anyway? If our laundry was truly clean, we wouldn’t need to cover up the cleanliness.
“Clean” is not a scent. Clean means free from dirt or pollution.
Read your laundry labels today and do your research. Get to know the chemicals and what effects they have on our bodies, not just our clothes.
You don’t really need fabric softener or dryer sheets. In my opinion, it is one of the most wasteful up-sells ever. I haven’t used them in years with zero negative effects after stopping. They are an unnecessary expense & contain chemicals, endocrine disruptors, and air pollutants. Do you have allergies or asthma in your family? Get rid of fragrances immediately. Don’t suffer from those? Ditch them anyway; they can still disrupt the body. On top of that, pollutants found in dryer sheets enter our environment through our dryer vents. There are ripple effects to everything we do, products we use, and choices we make.
Do some research today. Know what goes into your laundry products and how those products then effect your body and the world around you. Write down what you use now, what you find our in your research, and ideas for how you can (ironically) clean up your laundry room.
Choose something from the following list that you can implement as part of your laundry room detox:
- Stop buying and using dryer sheets
- Switch to wool dryer balls (if you feel you need an alternative to dryer sheets)
- Try wool dryer balls with a safety pin through them to solve static issues
- Go fragrance-free on every product
- Make your own non-toxic laundry soap
- Start using waste free, non-toxic laundry soap (like Dropps)
- Commit to clean laundry—use “clean” products (you shouldn’t have to mask laundry with fragrance if it is truly clean)
- Look into removing mold or mildew from your washing machine (if present)
- Or come up with your own!
Beware any products that have major warning labels on them. They are actually advertising the toxicity levels. (For more insight into toxicity levels in products, try to the Think Dirty app).
Think about it…should we really be killing 99.9% of all bacteria? Those products can’t distinguish between helpful and harmful bacteria and every product we use gets into our body through our skin or through the air, which means that what we use in our homes affects our bodies and our growing children. We need a certain level of helpful bacteria in our bodies for normal function. Being exposed to something that kills 99.9% of bacteria (bad AND good bacteria) does not serve our bodies on a day to day basis.
Need more reasons to switch out your cleaning products to ones that aren’t toxic? It can be cheaper to use simple cleaners—one concentrate that can be used to clean everything (like Thieves) can eliminate the need to buy a different product for everything. You don’t need a separate cleaners—one for floors, one for counters, one for the shower and one for glass. You can make one natural one that can be used on all surfaces.
It also decreases the safety risk for children. While there is no cleaner that should be ingested, having natural cleaners in the house is safer than having ones that need to be hidden behind lock and key and unsafe for children to use. My children have their own spray bottles of natural cleaner so they can safely help clean without me being fearful that a cleaner is “too dangerous” for them to use.
Have you ever choked on the fumes from cleaning products or needed to open up a window to air out a room you just cleaned because of those fumes? That’s a HUGE warning flag about the toxic level of that product.
Research cleaning supplies today. Write down what you find then choose from the list
- Stop buying cleaners that promise to eliminate almost 100% of bacteria…they don’t distinguish between the helpful and harmful kinds and make their way into your body
- Download and use the Think Dirty app on your phone and look up products in your house
- Make your own cleaners from concentrates (like Thieves)
- Educate yourself—learn what is in your products
- Choose sustainable products that you would feel comfortable entering a water supply
- Pay attention to scents—if they are overwhelming, smell like “chemicals,” or are simply “too much” for you, explore alternatives
- Make the main goal when choosing cleaning products the health and safety of your family, not convenience or “chemical clean”
- Commit to stop looking at advertising and sale tags and start looking at ingredient labels when choosing cleaning products
- Or come up with your own!
The bathroom is another one of those areas that we are sold fear…fear of bathroom germs, fear of smelling bad, fear of not being squeaky clean, and fear of sweat among other natural body functions. As a result, we are bombarded with products for our bodies and our bathrooms that are the opposite of helpful and truly disrupt natural body functions
Write about your beliefs surrounding bathroom cleanliness—your standards when it comes to the room being clean as well as your body. Do you feel like it’s balanced? Extreme? Taught? Fear based? Knowing what you’ve learned so far, what areas in your bathroom do you think could use a detox or a more balance approach to “clean?” Look at your mindset when it comes to the bathroom: are you afraid of dirt in your bathroom? The bathroom is where we go to get “clean,” that means the removal of dirt and toxins, not the addition of toxins.
Take a look at the list below and choose something to detox your bathroom today:
- Read the ingredient list on your shampoos – rate them on the app, get to know what the ingredients are, research more natural options that will also be effective for your hair type/needs
- Read the ingredient list on your hand soaps. Are they anti-bacterial? If so, get to know what that means for your body since it gets absorbed into your skin. Research effective, natural alternatives (such as Thieves or Hanna’s Handmade)
- Switch to deodorant immediately. Start researching aluminum-free deodorants (like Primally Pure). Sweat is our body’s natural way of detoxing and blocking that natural process (antiperspirant = anti sweat) has been shown to be harmful
- Ditch the harsh chemical cleaners in favor of more natural and effective ones. Not ready to make the leap to an all in one cleaner for the bathroom? Look up cleaners specific to the bathroom that are truly natural that will put your mind at ease without negative impact on your body
- Look at the containers in your bathroom – are most or all of them plastic?
- Brainstorm and research ways you can begin to cut back on plastic use in the bathroom (shampoo bars, solid soap bars, paper packaging, etc.)
- How do your face products and makeup rate on the Think Dirty app? Our skin is our largest organ and soaks up everything we put on it—from cleansers and toners to makeup and sunscreen. Start to phase out the toxic ones and commit to only purchasing less toxic ones in the future
- Try a detox bath
- Look up detox face mask recipes
- Switch out your plastic toothbrushes for sustainable ones (such as bamboo)
- Research feminine hygiene products. What ingredients do they use/add that are harmful to your body? Ever heard of or tried a menstrual cup? What chemicals/hormone disruptors do your current products contain?
- Consider a shower and/or sink filter to filter your bathroom water
- Or come up with your own!
Our bedroom is our sanctuary and where we spend a significant amount of time (even if it’s mostly while sleeping). It’s a place where we go for rest and peace of mind. Let’s take a look at our bedrooms and see if they support restoration and good health while we sleep.
Read through the list and research from there. Write down your observations and goals for the bedrooms in your house.
- Mattress: research the benefits of a non-flame retardant mattress for the next time you need to purchase one
- Bedding: Wash sheets and bedding in non-toxic detergents
- Air Quality: Consider using an air purifier in your bedroom
- Consider keeping plants in your bedroom to help naturally clean the air
- Try diffusing essential oils (like Young Living) instead of burning scented candles (research the effects of “fragrance” in candles). Or try unscented beeswax candles
- You spend most of the night breathing in your pillows and sheets—research the benefits of using organic sheets made of natural material (quality over quantity)
- EMFs: electromagnetic fields are biologically toxic. When we are sleeping at night, our bodies are more vulnerable to harmful EMFs. Having wifi on in your room could be causing you to not get a restful sleep. Research EMFs in the bedroom and consider shutting off/shutting down wifi in the night while you sleep.
- Lighting: Research light pollution and how it affects your body and circadian rhythms. Also look into full spectrum lighting.
- Or choose your own!
We spend a lot of time in our living room. Our kids spend a lot of time playing with their toys. Let’s take a look at what those areas today with a fresh set of eyes. Is it cluttered? Does this room spark rest and creativity or is it part of the overwhelm? What does it smell like? Artificial scents? Warm and welcoming? Calm and comforting? What does it sound like? Noisy? Quiet? What percentage of your children’s toys are plastic? Where do the plastic toys come from, where are they made? (Have you ever thought about this before?) Do you feel like the toys you have in your home are being used, which ones genuinely engage your child, and which ones are just taking up space?
There are many different elements that could use some detoxing in our living spaces. Let’s take it our time. (How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time). Answer the questions above one at a time then choose one item to research and change. Detox month is not all or nothing. So let’s do this…!
Time to reclaim our rest and play spaces and make them healthy, soothing, inspiring zones. Choose an idea or two from the list below, write about what detoxing (either product based or mental detox) you’d like to see happen in these spaces.
- Start to clear out toys and unnecessary excess so that your family can rest in the living room spaces and be inspired in their toy areas
- Make a list of what you need to shift in your living room to clear the clutter that is also cluttering your mind/thoughts
- Stop buying and burning candles with fragrances
- Stop using room deodorizers (plug ins or spray cans) & aim for clean that doesn’t need a cover up scent
- Start diffusing essential oils as your “smell good” source and for the aromatherapy benefits
- Use natural cleaners in this room instead of things like harsh dusting sprays (which are unnecessary).
- Consider your floor cleaners carefully, especially since young kids spend a lot of time on the floor
- Commit to purchasing less plastic toys
- Commit to purchasing fewer noisy toys (to give our ears and minds down time)
- Commit to purchasing second hand toys or going to clothing and toy exchanges to decrease your plastic impact on the planet (& save money)
- Commit to less toys in general…ask for the gift of experiences rather than “stuff”
- Place more house plants in your living spaces to help purify the air
- Use an air purifier in this space
- Unplug your tv/wifi when not in use
- Commit to less screen time in the living room
- Or come up with your own!
Diving into this first week can be a bit overwhelming, especially for those of us who haven’t really considered just how many toxins we are exposed to in our everyday lives. But it is worth the effort and awareness for our mind, body, and spiritual health and the health of the planet we share. Think of week one as a crash course in detoxing. To avoid overwhelm, let’s take a deep breath and review our findings this week.
Take a step back. Look over your journal entries. Identify the following:
- What areas concern you most?
- What is one step you can take today?
- What long-term goals do you have for your home/family after this week’s research?
Deep breaths. One step at a time. Awareness is where we begin and then take action from there. It is lack of action that fosters anxiety and where worry can begin to build up. Commit to staying aware and making small changes one day at a time. You’ve got this.