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Most people agree that eliminating toxic chemicals from the home is a healthy choice. Yet, one of the most common things I hear from friends (including my husband) is that going toxic-free is too expensive, especially these days when household budgets are tight. But a toxic-free lifestyle doesn’t have to be one that only a few can enjoy.  There are many ways to protect our families from toxic chemicals without breaking the bank.

Nobody knows these easy, cheap tips better than Toxic-Free Future’s own staff and board. So we asked our coworkers and board members about their favorite low-cost tips to eliminate harmful chemicals in the home. Here’s what they suggested:

1. Take off your shoes at the door!

It costs nothing and keeps harmful chemicals from outside from migrating indoors. It’ll also save you on the vacuuming.

2. Use baking soda and vinegar for cleaning.

It’s much cheaper than store-bought cleaners and just as effective. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a great scent! Check out our recipes for homemade cleaning products.

3. Don’t microwave plastic.

Everyone has a glass or ceramic dish in the house, so use it instead for a safer option.

4. Skip the canned beans, which often contain BPA.

Avoid BPA and opt instead for cheaper dried beans. It takes just a small amount of planning in the morning to soak the dried beans so they are ready to cook for dinner.

5. Avoid air fresheners, which can contain harmful chemicals. Open up the windows instead.

6. Wash your hands with soap and water instead of using hand sanitizers.

It’s the most effective way to remove germs and doesn’t risk exposing your family to harmful chemicals.

7. Eating organic is a healthy choice, but eating organic fruits and veggies exclusively can sometimes be a budget buster.

If you have to choose, be sure to avoid conventional produce that has been found to contain high levels of pesticides.

8.  Buy a cast iron pan.

It’s cheap, will last forever, and won’t expose you to chemicals found in Teflon pans.

9. Skip the weed killers as many are toxic to people and wildlife.

Low-cost options include pulling weeds by hand or paying your kids a nominal amount to do the weeding for you (five cents per weed was one suggestion). Fall is also a great time to apply mulch to prevent weeds.

10. Tell your state and federal legislators about the need for laws that make sure harmful chemicals aren’t used in household products.

An email, a phone call, or a face-to-face meeting is a low-cost way to help protect your home from toxic chemicals. Check out our Take Action page for how you can help make a difference!