We all want the healthiest home possible. Whether you are cleaning, renovating or furnishing your home, dealing with indoor pests, or disposing of household products, follow these tips to make it a less toxic endeavor.
Some ingredients in common cleaners are linked to allergies, asthma, and other long-term effects like reproductive harm and cancer. Learn how to reduce your exposure with our resources below.
Nobody LOVES cleaning, but it's a job that we all do. Get your house safely clean this spring by following these tips to make sure you use safer cleaning products for both you and the environment. Read more
New parents get advice on all sorts of topics, including cleaning: Use disinfecting wipes on every surface your baby touches and she’ll never get sick! Your kid’s hands aren’t washed clean until the soap smell proves it! In the media and at the store we’re deluged with messages on the best way for busy moms and dads to clean homes so that our kids are safe and healthy.
Unfortunately, some of these messages are misleading and end up selling us cleaning products with chemical ingredients that may do more harm than good. We’ve debunked a few common myths to give solid advice on how to keep a clean, healthy home while reducing your family’s exposure to potentially harmful chemicals in cleaning products. Read more
Vacuuming is not just for keeping up appearances! It’s actually an easy way to reduce unnecessary chemical exposure and common allergens in your home. Household dust contains many ingredients – some you’d expect, like pet dander, tracked-in soil, and dust mites. However, industrial chemicals like flame retardants, pesticides and heavy metals are also lurking in dust bunnies. Read more
When Hazel Salazar moved to Seattle from El Salvador to join her husband 20 years ago cleaning houses was the only job she could get. Her first client handed Salazar a bucket and a jug of pine-scented cleaner. Within hours the skin on Salazar’s hands had blistered. Over the course of the next three days it peeled away in sheets.
Welcome to mainstream American cleaning products. Read more
Cuando Hazel Salazar se mudóde El Salvadora Seattle para acompañar a su esposo,limpiar casas era el único trabajo que podialograr.Su primer cliente le dio a Salazar una cubeta y un bote de limpiador perfumado con pino. En unas cuantas horas la pielde lasmanos estabaampollando. Durante los próximos tres días la piel se pelóen telas. Download PDF
All those products we use to make our clothes clean might take care of the dirt and grease, but they can leave nasty chemicals behind! Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get your laundry squeaky clean without the toxic chemicals. Read more
You’re surrounded by people with runny noses. Every time you open or close the car door you’re picking up a sinister film of toxic road dust. And you’ve been petting the dog, who has just been, well, never mind. Time to attend to your hands. What do you reach for? Basically you have three choices. Soap, antibacterial soap, and hand sanitizer. Read more
How toxic is my disinfectant? Should I use a disinfectant to clean the kitchen and bathroom? What should I do about mold growing in my house? How toxic are laundry and dishwashing detergents? How toxic is chlorine bleach? What can I use instead? Which cleaning products are the most toxic? Read more
You can’t buy your way to a completely toxic-free home – at least not until there are stronger laws that require only the safest chemicals be used in consumer products. But you CAN reduce toxic exposures in your home by doing a little research and following our tips below.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning consumers, especially pregnant women and young children, to avoid kids’ products, electronics, mattresses, and home furniture that contain certain toxic flame retardants, known as organohalogens. Read more
Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool? Wool is great for staying warm and dry, but did you know that it’s also great to sleep on? Many parents ask us what the healthiest options are for children’s mattresses and futons, so we’ve compiled these tips to help you when you shop. The good news is that mattresses containing the toxic flame retardants PBDEs have been prohibited from sale in Washington stores since January 2008. Read more
When my daughter turned 3 we knew it was time to get her into a twin bed. This was a challenge not because we worried about her wandering around in the middle of the night without the confines of a crib, but because it involved buying a new mattress, and we are picky consumers. We have “lofty” goals when buying furniture: avoid chemical flame retardants, and protect indoor air quality. We also believe that a mattress should be comfortable, durable, and affordable. Would this be too much to ask? Read more
Plastics are ubiquitous, cheap and convenient, but come with a hidden cost: they leach chemicals that contaminate our food and drink, and they create enduring pollution. The best thing to do is minimize your use of plastic, especially in the kitchen. Where you can’t avoid plastics, get to know how to choose and use safer ones with these essential tips. Read more
Whether you’re packing food for a picnic, going on a hike or storing leftovers, Dr. Plastics Expert tells you all you need to know about how to do it safely. Read more
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. Read more
Home Repair and Remodeling
Ready to renovate? Here are some resources to help you make safer choices when giving your home a new look.
Revving up for a home remodel? Build a better home while protecting your family’s health by choosing less-toxic building materials and taking extra care during construction. Follow these tips for safer remodeling from start to finish. Read more
Spring is here and the upcoming warmer, dryer months are a great time to tackle remodeling projects! Before you or your contractor start any demolition, make sure to find out if there is lead paint in the house. If your home was built pre-1978, it likely contains lead paint. A new EPA law enacted in 2010 to prevent children’s exposure to dangerous levels of lead during renovation requires contractors to be certified in lead-safe work practices. Exposure to lead hazards is especially dangerous for kids and can lead to lower intelligence, learning disabilities, and behavior issues. Lead is also harmful to adults, especially pregnant women who can transfer lead to fetuses. Read more
To paraphrase a popular song, mold is in the air. It is a living organism, requiring food and water and releasing thousands of tiny mold spores into the air to reproduce. All good and part of the natural order of life until those microscopic spores enter our homes and grow indoors. Read more
Ready to freshen up your home’s munchkin zone with a new coat of paint? The good news is that finding a paint that won’t compromise indoor air quality has never been easier. Thanks to stricter regulation and consumer demand, companies have reformulated paint products to reduce VOCs, which are a class of chemicals that can cause indoor pollution. Low or no-VOC paints also claim to be low odor -another great benefit. So what do you need to know in addition to counting VOCs to choose a safer paint for your family and the environment? Read more
If you have kids in the house, you know there’s more to your floor than just a pretty surface to walk on—it’s a primary play space for kids. Certain types of flooring can put children at risk for toxic exposures, so when it’s time to remodel, choosing a flooring material that won’t jeopardize indoor air quality and is easily cleaned is important to maintaining a healthy home. Here are some selection tips to help you shop. Read more
Bugs belong outside, not inside your house! Tackle indoor pest problems with these less-toxic solutions.
Choosing a Pest Management Professional When autumn cools the nights, bugs and critters seek warmth inside. Using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to control pests without exposure to harmful chemicals is an effective approach that is healthier for your children, pets and the environment too. Read more
After 40 years of absence, bed bugs are biting again across the country, with infestations so bad the NY Times refers to them as “The Bug That Ate New York!” Scientists are unsure of the cause of this resurgence, but they do know the best way of getting rid of a bed bug infestation is to catch it early or stop it before it happens. This doesn’t mean pouring pesticides all over your house—which the bugs may be resistant to anyway— but taking preventive measures and learning to recognize the signs of bed bugs so you can stop them in their tracks. Read more
You wouldn’t feed your dog chocolate, so why would you use toxic flea bombs and powders? They’re bad for you and your furry friends! But to keep the itchy pests out of your home, it’s helpful to understand how fleas like to live. Read more
Disposal of Household Products
Just because it was easy to buy a product at your neighborhood store, does not mean that it is easy to dispose of. It’s surprising how some household items actually require disposal as hazardous waste! Take a look at our suggestions for getting rid of these items.
If you’ve been following our tips on choosing safer products you may have old products in your cupboards waiting to be discarded. It may surprise you to learn that those household products you could so readily buy at the neighborhood store actually require disposal as hazardous waste. The turn of the year is the perfect time to tackle the cupboards. You know, out with the old, in with the new! The following products should be taken to a hazardous waste facility for disposal rather than poured down the drain or placing in the garbage. Outside of King County please contact your local waste management program. Read more