How To Remove Toxins from Your Home with the Best Non-Toxic Swaps

by | November 2022 | 12 comments

Updated on 12/27/2023

Have you been wanting to live cleaner by reducing your exposure to toxins but have no idea where to start for toxin-free living?

It can be overwhelming realizing all the toxic items you need non-toxic swaps for and then finding healthy alternatives for them.

But lucky for you, I’ve already done all the work with hours upon countless hours of research locating the best non-toxic swaps with the best bang for your buck.

And I’m sharing them all with you here! In this post, you’ll discover exactly what to swap out and what to swap it with for a toxin-free home.

Be sure to grab your free copy of the Clean Living Swaps Checklist to check things off one by one as you replace them.

How To Remove Toxins From Your Home With Non-Toxic Swaps for Toxin-Free Living

How To Replace Toxic Items With Non-Toxic Swaps

Before we dive into the non-toxic swaps you’ll need for a clean living lifestyle, let’s start with how to replace toxic items with healthier alternatives.

I don’t want you to be overwhelmed by this list. It can be scary when you start realizing how many toxins are in your home. And reading ingredient labels can become super time consuming.

But keep in mind that clean living doesn’t have to be extreme. You don’t have to be perfect. Just do your best. Every little thing you can do to reduce your toxin burden will help.

As you use current items up, replace them with non-toxic swaps. Because if you try to do it all at once, you may feel too overwhelmed and not bother swapping anything out.

It can also be expensive if you try to replace everything at the same time. If you buy one thing at a time, it will be a lot easier on your bank account.

How I Chose Non-Toxic Swaps

I’m super cheap frugal and always on the hunt for a good deal. So when I was trying to find non-toxic swaps for my home, price was a major consideration.

I’m also all about convenience, which was another important factor to me. And I always look at online reviews and comments from people who have bought the products I’m considering.

Most importantly, I’ve already done the research by looking at the lists of ingredients and materials. I’ve literally spent months trying to find the best non-toxic swaps. Sometimes I’ve really had to dig by searching product listings, reviews, and the questions and answers section.

But I’m not perfect, and some of the products I’ve recommended in this post my not be perfect either. I did my best to try to find the most cost-effective, convenient, highest-rated products with the least amount of toxins.

It can be challenging to think of everything, so feel free to do your own research as well. As you go through the list of non-toxic swaps in this post, know that I focused on the following for each item:

  • Cost
  • Convenience
  • Comments (i.e. reviews)
  • Contents (i.e. ingredients/materials)

They’re all based on my research and/or personal experiences. Some items I may have already had (like a stainless steel water bottle) and have not been able to find the exact item. 

So when I was researching non-toxic swaps to recommend, I looked for ones I would purchase for myself if I had to buy more. Most of the non-toxic items I found are on Amazon because, let’s face it, you can find just about anything on Amazon. 

And Amazon is super convenient with free 2-day shipping for Prime members. I’m obsessed and try to buy as much as possible through Amazon. I hope that makes it easier for you to swap out toxic products too.

Beyond convenience and cost, I’ve also got some discounts and ways for you to save money on non-toxic swaps below. Score!

Want to find healthy replacements for the toxic items in your home but don’t have the time? I’ve already done the research for you. Find all the best non-toxic swaps here! #nontoxic #nontoxicswaps #toxinfree #toxinfreeliving… Click To Tweet

Common Toxic Offenders That Need Non-Toxic Swaps

Sadly, there’s a looooong list of toxins we’re exposed to on the daily that should be avoided. This goes for food, personal care products, household items, and more. 

I’ll give you some of the most important toxins to be on the lookout for when you’re going through your home and shopping for non-toxic swaps.

But be sure to download your free copy of the Clean Living Swaps Checklist for even more toxins. In the meantime, here are a few common toxic offenders in alphabetical order:

5 General Guidelines for Non-Toxic Swaps

There are a few basic rules you can follow to greatly reduce your exposure to toxins. By keeping these rules in mind when you’re making non-toxic swaps, you can significantly improve your health.

1. Read labels, ingredients/materials lists, and reviews

For example, just because something only lists stainless steel as the material doesn’t mean there aren’t other materials used in the product.

There’s a popular stainless steel coffee maker that tries to come off as completely stainless steel. But after searching reviews, it turns out it has several aluminum parts that come in contact with the coffee!

Another example is reusable silicone food storage bags. Most aren’t pure silicone. They can also contain PEVA (Polyethylene Vinyl Acetate) and may even use PVC too. 

PEVA is another plastic that’s been used to replace PVC because it’s a non-chlorinated vinyl. But it has adverse health effects as well and shouldn’t come in contact with food.

See what I mean? By becoming label savvy, you’ll empower yourself to make healthy, informed purchase decisions for you and your family.

No Artificial Fragrance for Non-Toxic Swaps

2. No artificial fragrances

Artificial fragrances wreak havoc on our health because they are cocktails of toxic chemicals including endocrine disrupting phthalates and carcinogens like formaldehyde. 

The main culprits are perfume, cosmetics, personal care products, laundry products, cleaning products, candles, air fresheners, and more. Go fragrance-free in your home to make a huge impact on your health! Keep reading for non-toxic fragrance alternatives.

3. No artificial colors

Other artificial substances you want to be on the lookout for are artificial colors or dyes. They’re derived from petroleum and many contain known or suspected genotoxic or carcinogenic properties. They have also been linked to behavioral problems in children, such as hyperactivity.

Red Dye 3 was banned from cosmetics back in 1990 after causing cancer in rats. But shockingly, it’s still allowed in food. Cosmetics and foods aren’t the only places you’ll find artificial colors. So it’s best to try to avoid them completely.

You may also like: How My Clean Living Journey Saved Me After Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

4. Reduce plastic use

In addition to plastic being horrible for the environment, it’s also toxic for our health. The main concern with plastics is exposure to BPA, a carcinogen, xenoestrogen, and endocrine disruptor. 

But even BPA-free plastics can leach plastic additives and hormone disrupting chemicals. Swap plastics out with stainless steel, glass, silicone, or bamboo. And be sure to avoid using heat with plastics that come in contact with food or beverages.

5. Buy organic when possible 

Organic foods don’t use pesticides or any artificial ingredients. They are also free of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). It’s worth it to pay the extra cost to know that your food doesn’t contain carcinogenic ingredients, especially when it comes to produce included in the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list.

And if you can cook more meals from scratch at home, even better! Processed and fast foods are packed with sugar, inflammatory oils, and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives all linked to a host of health problems.

Standard Replacements for Toxic Items

Many products claiming to be “natural” or “organic” are using greenwashing tactics and actually sneaking nasty ingredients in. So you should always read the ingredients list on labels as you shop for non-toxic swaps. 

And when you’re trying to figure out whether or not a product is truly natural and/or organic, research any ingredients you’re not familiar with. If there’s an ingredient you’ve never heard of or can’t pronounce, chances are it’s not natural and is most likely artificial.

Here are some items that are generally considered safe (just make sure they’re not tainted with any other toxic ingredients like fillers):

  • Wood (make sure there are no toxic finishes or adhesives)
  • Bamboo (also make sure there are no toxic finishes or adhesives)
  • Silicone (look for pure silicone with no additives)
  • Glass (look for lead-free)
  • Stainless Steel
  • Ceramic-coated
  • Cast Iron
  • Mineral-based
  • Plant-based
  • Preservative-free
  • Organic (here’s a helpful chart that explains the different organic labels)
  • Non-GMO
  • EWG’s Clean 15
  • Healthy Fats & Oils
  • Natural Sweeteners

Resources for Finding Non-Toxic Swaps

Two of my favorite tools for determining if products and their ingredients are safe or not are the EWG Skin Deep guide and the Think Dirty app. Both are free!

If you can’t find a specific product with the EWG, you can build your own report by copying and pasting the ingredients into the report tool!

Beyond this list of non-toxic swaps, there are other free tools to help you make informed decisions about the items you’re purchasing so you can find the best non-toxic swaps. Here are my faves:

EWG (Environmental Working Group)

The EWG is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting public health by working to change industry standards. They offer numerous free tools, including the following:

  • Skin Deep Database with ratings for cosmetics and personal care products broken down by ingredients (on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the worst and EWG VERIFIED™ being the best)
  • Build Your Own Report by copying and pasting ingredients when you can’t find a specific product in the Skin Deep Database
  • Healthy Cleaning Guide to search ratings for more than 2,500 cleaning products
  • Food Scores with ratings for specific food products and ingredients
  • Dirty Dozen is a list of the 12 non-organic fruits and vegetables that are most contaminated with the highest amounts of harmful pesticide residue
  • Clean 15 lists the 15 non-organic fruits and vegetables that are least contaminated  with harmful pesticides
  • Tap Water Database to search for your water provider and see the contaminants in your drinking water
EWG's Skin Deep® Database for Personal Care Non-Toxic Swaps

ThinkDirty App

ThinkDirty is a free app to find ratings for cosmetics and personal care products on a scale of 0-10 with 10 being the worst. It’s super convenient to be able to scan barcodes when you’re out shopping.

If you can’t find a specific product, you can submit it. But in the meantime, I would copy and paste the ingredients into the EWG Build Your Own Report tool.

Branch Basics Blog

I’m obsessed with the non-toxic, all-natural, plant and mineral-based cleaning products by Branch Basics.

And I’m also equally obsessed with the Branch Basics blog that’s a wealth of information for all things non-toxic.

A word of advice: take the EWG ratings with a grain of salt. The same goes for the ThinkDirty app. It’s a good idea to look at the information behind the ratings and do more thorough research if necessary. 

For food and products with the word “organic” in the brand or product name, always look for the USDA Organic seal to make sure it’s not greenwashing.

You may also like: Clean Living Guide: What You Need to Know About the Non-Toxic Lifestyle

Ways to Save Money on Non-Toxic Swaps

I’ll be honest, replacing toxic items with non-toxic swaps can add up, especially if you try to replace everything at the same. But don’t get discouraged! There are quite a few ways you can save money on non-toxic items.

Remember when I said I’m super frugal and always on the hunt for a good deal? I’ve tracked down the best discounts, rewards, referral programs, and cash back opportunities for non-toxic swaps.

In fact, there are so many ways to save, I had to write a separate blog post about them! So before you buy anything, head over to 15 Ways to Save Money on Non-Toxic Items for Healthy Clean Living.

And while you’re at it, check out my Discounts page too for even more savings on some of my favorite wellbeing items for clean living!

Join Rakuten and start earning Cash Back at over 2,500 stores. Plus, get a $10 Welcome Bonus. Join Now!

Non-Toxic Swaps

Just to recap, so far we’ve gone over the following topics (click on the links to return to those sections):

Now that we’ve covered all that, let’s get into what to actually swap out throughout your home and the non-toxic swaps you can replace them with.

After all, that’s what you’re here for, right?

Get your FREE Clean Living Swaps Checklist!

Enter your info below to get the Checklist delivered right to your inbox.

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Kitchen Non-Toxic Swaps

When you look around your kitchen, does it suddenly seem like plastic is everywhere? Food storage, cutting boards, cooking utensils, and more can all be made out of plastic.

Even coffee makers have plastic parts that hot water is running through, potentially leaching BPA (Bisphenol A) and other toxins into your cup of joe. Since the discovery of BPA’s horrible toxic effects on human health, many products are now being marketed as BPA-free.

But that doesn’t mean they’re non-toxic. BPA’s cousins known as BPS (Bisphenol S) and BPF (Bisphenol F) are replacing BPA. And they can be just as toxic. On top of that, even BPA-free plastics can leach plastic additives and hormone disrupting chemicals.

Another common culprit in the kitchen is aluminum. Aluminum is a genotoxic, cytotoxic, and neurotoxic heavy metal associated with Alzheimer’s Disease as well as a suspected carcinogen.

So you’ll want to replace aluminum foil, pots, pans, baking sheets, and more with the non-toxic swaps listed below.

As part of a clean living lifestyle, food is also a big deal. The more organic meals you can cook from scratch with real, minimally processed ingredients, fresh produce, grass-fed beef and dairy, and wild-caught seafood, the better!

The foods and beverages we consume directly affect our health and can either improve or worsen it. So it’s worth investing in non-toxic ingredients and cooking tools. It’s also worth spending more time in the kitchen prepping healthy meals and snacks.

These non-toxic swaps for your kitchen will help you know that not only is the food you’re eating healthier, but what you’re preparing the food with is also much better for your health.

Water Filter

Have you ever checked the EWG Tap Water Database? I did, and I was horrified when I discovered my drinking water has 13x EWG’s healthy guideline for hexavalant chromium (i.e. chromium-6).

Ever seen the movie “Erin Brockovich”? Yes, THAT hexavalent chromium! 😱 It also has 59x EWG’s healthy guideline for radium, a radioactive heavy metal, among other highly concerning contaminants.

Berkey Water Filters for Non-Toxic Swaps

Luckily, the water filter I use removes more than 99.8% of chromium-6 and most radioactive substances like radium by more than 98%. ::insert sigh of relief::

Any water filter is better than no water filter. But it’s best not to have your water sitting in plastic, even BPA-free plastic.

This is the water filter I use because it filters out heavy metals like lead and mercury, radioactive substances, endocrine disruptors like BPA and VOCs, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, chlorine and chlorine byproducts, petroleum pollutants, and more.

Use code “NDU5” for 5% OFF your Berkey Water Filter order! 

Plastic Water Bottles

Drinking Cups

Keurig or Coffee Maker

Most coffee makers have internal plastic parts that come into contact with hot water and can leach toxic chemicals like BPA in your coffee.

And single-use coffee makers like Keurigs also leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals from their plastic coffee pods.

The best non-toxic ways to brew coffee is using a French Press or the pour-over method with lead-free glass or stainless steel. Make sure no plastic comes into contact with the water.

To heat the water, use a lead-free glass or stainless steel electric kettle with no plastic parts coming into contact with the hot water (including the inner lid, filter, or spout).

Personally, I like stronger coffee, so I use a French Press. And I prefer stainless steel over a glass French press because it keeps the coffee hotter, longer. I’ve also read that glass ones can crack or even shatter.

Non-Stick Cookware

Most traditional non-stick cookware contains toxic PFAS (Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances). PFAS are referred to as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down.

They’ve been linked to cancers, reproductive issues, developmental delays, endocrine disruption, reduced immunity, higher cholesterol levels, and increased risk of obesity.

Our Place Home Cook Duo - Always Pan + Perfect Pot for Non-Toxic Swaps

This is the cookware I use (and LOVE!). Caraway is non-toxic, ceramic-coated aluminum cookware with a mineral-based non-stick coating free of toxic materials like PFOA, PTFE, other PFAs, lead, cadmium, and toxic metals.

They are the absolute easiest to clean pots and pans I’ve ever used. I’m OBSESSED! They may not be as “clean” as stainless steel, cast iron, or glass. But clean living doesn’t have to be extreme or perfect.

Personally, I still want to be able to enjoy life while improving my health and wellbeing. I knew if I got stainless steel or cast iron cookware, I wouldn’t cook as much with the required maintenance and challenging cleanup.

So I prioritized cooking more with organic, nourishing, whole foods over the absolute cleanest cookware options. I’m all about doing what you can, prioritizing what’s most important to you, and choosing the best options for you and your family within your comfort level.

This is another option for non-toxic, non-stick ceramic-coated aluminum cookware. The coating is made without potentially toxic materials like PFOAs, PTFEs, other PFAs, lead, cadmium, toxic metals, or nanoparticles.

With just the 2 pieces in the pot and pan set, you can replace an entire 16-piece cookware set! Use my link to get $20 off your first purchase of $100+!

Nickel-free (18/0) stainless steel is best since nickel can leach with acidic foods like tomato sauce. But most stainless steel contains nickel (18/8 or 18/10 – the second number stands for the amount of nickel).

Make sure they’re well-seasoned to avoid acidic foods like tomato sauce from leaching nickel into your food.

    Non-Stick Bakeware

    Baking Dishes

    Baking Sheets

    Pressure Cooker

    The inner pot insert of the Instant Pot is grade 304 (18/8) stainless steel. I’m addicted to my Instant Pot and use it as much as possible. I also have the matching silicone lid for leftovers. So handy!

    Air Fryer

    Air fryers are a popular cooking tool. But unfortunately, many of them have non-stick coatings with the toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.

    So it’s important to try to find one completely free of all PFAS, including PTFE, PFOA, and PFOS, especially for any parts that come into contact with food.

    Also, many of them have aluminum accessories, such as baking racks. Try to find stainless steel replacement parts for any aluminum ones.

    This is the one I chose. My hubby and I wanted a non-toxic air fryer toaster oven combo to cook and reheat food since we no longer use our microwave. We also wanted one that could fit two 12-inch pizzas at the same time.

    This air fryer checked all the boxes for the features we wanted. So I reached out to the manufacturer (Shark|Ninja) to make sure the materials are non-toxic. Here’s a recap of what they told me (see the full chat conversation here):

    • The material is stainless steel, and the coating in contact with the food is ceramic.

    • There are no aluminum accessories, all accessories are stainless steel.

    • The interior walls are stainless steel coated with ceramic.

    • The ceramic is non-stick, but there are no non-stick coatings beyond the ceramic.

    • It’s free of Teflon, PFOA, and PTFE. The food doesn’t contact surfaces containing PFOS.

    • It’s completely free of BPA, BPF, and BPS.

    • It’s also free of lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals.

    • No toxic chemicals are used on the exterior, interior, or accessories.

    • There’s a Prop 65 Warning, but they said it’s more of a precaution stating: “The mere presence of even one of over 900 chemicals requires this warning and since it is not feasible to test for every single chemical, we’re including the label with our products.”

    Rice Cooker

    Most rice cookers have inner pots made of aluminum with non-stick coatings as well as other plastic parts.

    I use the smaller 3 quart Instant Pot and matching silicone lid for cooking rice and other grains like quinoa.

    Microwave Cover

    Try to limit your use of the microwave. But if you need to use it, you should at least use a plastic-free microwave cover.

    Aluminum Foil

    Aluminum is a genotoxic, cytotoxic, and neurotoxic heavy metal associated with Alzheimer’s Disease and a suspected carcinogen. So you don’t want it touching your food.

    Plastic Wrap

    Ziplock Bags

    Make sure they are 100% silicone completely free of plastic, BPA and other bisphenols, lead, PVC, latex, and phthalates.

    Tupperware

    Plastic Mixing Bowls

    According to the Anchor Hocking FAQs, their products are lead, cadmium, and heavy metal free as well as CA Prop 65 compliant. They’re also American owned and made.

    Cooking Utensils

    Measuring Cups

    Measuring Spoons

    Whisk

    Spatulas

    Tongs

    Cutting Boards

    Rather than plastic cutting boards that can leach harmful chemicals and deposit plastic particles on your food, use organic bamboo or wood cutting boards.

    Just make sure they don’t have a toxic finish and they’re not pre-oiled as most use mineral oil, which is petroleum-based (even food-grade mineral oil is made from petroleum).

    Instead, use coconut oil to regularly oil your wood or bamboo cutting boards or choose one with a non-toxic finish that’s safe to eat off of.

    Also, make sure they’re formaldehyde-free as some use urea-formaldehyde glue.

    Colander

    Potato Masher

    Oven Cleaner

    Scented Trash Bags

    You may also like: GIFT GUIDE: The Best Non-Toxic Wellness Gifts for Health Junkies They’ll Actually Want

    Non-Toxic Swaps for the Pantry

    Pantry Non-Toxic Swaps

    Pantries are filled with items that have long shelf lives and are handy to have on hand. This means most pantry staples are packed with bad-for-you ingredients like artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

    Artificial flavors are derived from petroleum products and other unnatural, indelible substances and chemical sources. As such, they cause numerous health problems. 

    For example, butter flavoring has been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease, cheese flavoring is cytotoxic, and chocolate flavoring has caused cytotoxicity, genotoxicity and mutagenicity.

    Artificial colors are also derived from petroleum, and many contain known or suspected genotoxic or carcinogenic properties. They have also been linked to behavioral problems in children, such as hyperactivity.

    You can improve your pantry bounty by avoiding artificial ingredients, swapping out inflammatory oils for healthy fats and refined sugars for natural sweeteners, and going organic when possible.

    Here are some non-toxic swaps for your pantry:

    Cooking Spray

    Cold-pressed (no added heat) is best since it retains more of its nutritional value than expeller-pressed with a machine.

    Doesn’t have to be organic since avocados are the #1 item on the EWG’s Clean 15 list. But it should still be non-GMO if it’s not organic. I haven’t been able to find a cold-pressed avocado oil spray. This one is centrifuge-extracted. The best price I’ve been able to find is at Whole Foods.

    Vegetable Oil

    Look for olive, avocado, or coconut oil that’s cold-pressed and virgin or unrefined for the most nutritional value.

    Honey

    Maple Syrup

    Protein Powder

    Collagen Peptides

    Coffee

    Organic coffee is a great starting point to eliminate pesticides for non-toxic coffee. But most coffee (even organic) is also contaminated with mold and mycotoxins. So if you want a truly non-toxic coffee, the best option is an organic coffee that is free of mold and mycotoxins.

    They can be pricey though and can really add up if you’re a big coffee drinker. So I’ve listed them in order of cost per ounce from least to most expensive (at least at the time of writing this).

    Also on a side note if you prefer decaf coffee, make sure it’s decaffeinated with the Swiss Water Process that uses only water to remove 99.9% of a coffee’s caffeine content rather than using chemical solvents to remove the caffeine.

    Tea

    Most tea bags use plastic-based sealants that release billions of microplastics into your tea while it’s steeping. So I recommend using loose leaf tea with stainless steel strainers to steep your tea in.

    Sugar

    Try to avoid refined sugar and sugar alcohols while completely eliminating high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose. Go with natural sweeteners instead! But there’s one natural sweetener you may want to avoid – stevia.

    When I started my clean living journey and wanted to avoid sugar, one of the first swaps I made was the Coffee-Mate French Vanilla Coffee Creamer I used to have with my coffee. I replaced the creamer with organic half-and-half and stevia.

    Almost immediately, I noticed how much less bloated I was! I was thrilled and thought I had found the perfect sugar substitute in stevia. But then I discovered that while there are some health benefits with stevia, there are also some significant downsides with stevia.

    So now I use coconut sugar for baking and monk fruit liquid for my coffee. If you do decide to use stevia, just make sure it’s pure organic stevia with no added fillers.

    • Coconut Sugar
    • Monk Fruit Liquid – This is what I use to sweeten my coffee. I prefer a liquid sweetener because I occasionally enjoy a cup of iced coffee. And powdered sweeteners don’t seem to dissolve that easily in cold beverages.

    Corn Starch

    Corn is a GMO crop, so make sure it’s at least non-GMO corn starch.

    Baking Powder

    Did you know most baking powder contains aluminum? Eeek! Make sure you get an aluminum-free one. And it should also be non-GMO since most contain corn starch.

    Vanilla Extract

    Salt

    Most table salt has dextrose and anti-caking agents added to it. Dextrose is a simple sugar derived from corn (i.e. refined corn sugar).

    It can cause swelling, diarrhea, and dangerously high blood sugar levels and has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease.

    Pepper

    Basil

    Bay Leaves

    • Amazon (more expensive, but the cheaper bulk options had bad reviews mentioning mold, broken leaves, and other issues)

    Cayenne

    Chili Powder

    Cinnamon

    Cumin

    Dill

    Everything Bagel

    Garlic Powder

    Garlic Salt

    Italian Seasoning

    Nutmeg

    Onion Powder

    Oregano

    Paprika

    Parsley

    Rosemary

    Thyme

    You may also like: 15 Ways to Save Money on Non-Toxic Items for Healthy Clean Living

    Household Non-Toxic Swaps

    Household Non-Toxic Swaps

    Throughout our homes there’s usually a common theme of products containing artificial fragrances, VOCs, BPA, and other harmful toxins. These products are mainly for cleaning, doing dishes and laundry, sleeping, and even the air we breathe.

    We’re constantly surrounded by these products and their toxic ingredients. For example, mattresses contain toxic chemicals that can be released by your body heat. Some of these mattress toxins include carcinogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like formaldehyde and benzene among others.

    Since we spend ⅓ of our lives in our beds sleeping, having non-toxic mattresses, pillows, and bedding is kind of a big deal. Eliminating or even reducing household toxins as much as possible will make a huge difference.

    Paper Towels

    Paper towels are bleached with chlorine, and recycled paper towels also contain BPA. So look for non-recycled paper towels that are chlorine-free.

    The only ones I’ve been able to find are bamboo-based paper towels. Another option is to replace paper towels with cloths like microfiber rags or reusable paper towels.

    Scrubbing Brushes

    Sponges

    Traditional cleaning sponges are toxic for several reasons. First of all, they’re made of petroleum-based polyurethane foam that’s often dyed with artificial colors.

    Secondly, they can shed micro and even nanoplastics as they degrade. And lastly, antibacterial or odor-fighting sponges can contain toxic chemicals like triclosan. Natural plant-based sponges are the best option.

    Dish Soap

    Dishwasher Pods

    Traditional dishwasher pods use artificial fragrances among other toxic chemicals and are wrapped in plastic that disintegrate in hot water, leaching toxins onto the dishes you use to eat with.

    Look for plastic-free dishwasher tablets with naturally derived ingredients instead.

    I love all the Branch Basics products I’ve tried so far including the Starter Kit with the Concentrate. But I haven’t tried their dishwasher tablets yet.

    When I ran out of my first order of Blueland dishwasher tablets, I went to order some of the Branch Basics ones when they first came out. But they were sold out.

    Then the next time I was going to try them, they didn’t have the best reviews. So I stocked up on more Blueland refills.

    Since then, the most recent reviews for the Branch Basics ones seem to have gotten much better versus the overall rating. They might be worth trying now!

    Branch Basics Laundry Bottle & Wool Dryer Balls for Non-Toxic Swaps

    Laundry Detergent

    Dryer Sheets

    Fabric Softener

    Stain Remover

    Candles

    Most candles are made from paraffin wax, which is derived from petroleum. As such, paraffin wax has been found to release carcinogenic VOCs like formaldehyde and benzene (the same goes for burning incense) that contribute to indoor air pollution and can cause a whole host of health issues.

    The safer options are candles made from pure undyed beeswax, soy wax, or coconut wax that are not blended with paraffin wax. The healthiest candle choice is beeswax since they release negative ions that can help purify the air in your home.

    In addition to the type of wax though, you have to also consider the wick material and the fragrance source. Even though lead-cored wicks were banned in 2003, wicks can still have metal cores along with blends that produce soot and emissions as they burn.

    To minimize soot and emissions, the best wicks are 100% organic and unbleached cotton, hemp, or wood. Candles also tend to use artificial fragrances. As such, you want to make sure they’re using 100% pure essential oils (organic is best), are free of phthalates, and have no synthetic fragrance added.

    Air Freshener

    More artificial fragrances. Boo! Aside from candles, another non-toxic air scenting option is using a diffuser with pure organic essential oils.

    Air Purifier

    Did you know that the air in your home could be 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air outside? And your air quality is even worse if you use cleaners with toxic chemicals like volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

    Plus, chemicals, pesticides, and heavy metals can enter your home from your shoes and ride on common household dust. Since we spend roughly 90% of our time indoors, it’s important to reduce indoor air pollution and improve your home’s air quality.

    Use an air purifier with a true HEPA filter to remove air contaminants, including VOCs.

    • Medify Air Purifiers

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    Mattresses or Mattress Toppers

    If your mattress has any of the toxic red flags, you should seriously consider getting a new, non-toxic mattress or at least a non-toxic mattress topper to use with your existing mattress.

    The safest option is 100% natural organic latex. Check the certifications for any companies you’re looking at purchasing a mattress or mattress topper from.

    Use “ndu25” with my link for $25 off a twin or larger mattress and $20 off the Emily Organic crib mattress from My Green Mattress!

    Mattress Protectors, Bedding, and Pillows

    Just like mattresses and mattress toppers can be toxic, the same goes for bed accessories. When shopping for mattress protectors, bedding, and pillows, look for certified organic for one or more of the following materials: cotton, wool, or natural latex.

    15% OFF Sitewide + FREE Pillow(s)

    Bathroom Non-Toxic Swaps

    While going through your house, don’t forget non-toxic swaps for the bathrooms. Traditional bathroom cleaners are extremely toxic. Just look at the warning labels! Scary, right?!

    Have you ever been cleaning your bathroom and suddenly developed a headache and cough, or got dizzy and felt like you were going to pass out, and had to open a window?

    Somehow these companies have convinced us that it’s normal to not be able to breathe while we’re cleaning. That’s NOT okay! We don’t have to use toxic chemicals to clean our homes and bathrooms.

    Instead of the standard toxin-laden cleaners, you can use a natural solution free of toxic chemicals and fragrance like vinegar and baking soda or my favorite all-natural cleaners.

    Bathroom cleaners should be one of your primary focuses when transitioning to clean living. There are also a few other toxic bathroom items you can swap out.

    Beware of Toxic Toilet Paper for Clean Living | Non-Toxic Swaps for Toilet Paper

    Toilet Paper

    Did you know that most toilet paper is bleached with chlorine? Many are also scented with synthetic fragrances that consist of phthalates

    And some have been found to use formaldehyde, polyethylene glycol, or petroleum-based ingredients like mineral oils, dyes, and bleach1, 2.

    Recycled toilet paper might seem like the responsible, safe option. But recycled TP often contains BPA. Even Seventh Generation recycled toilet paper, while chlorine-free, has been found to have BPA3 and PFAS2.

    When shopping for TP, try to find some that’s free of chlorine, fragrance, BPA, dyes, lotion, and formaldehyde. In regards to chlorine specifically, Total Chlorine Free (TCF) is better than Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF).

    Bathroom Cleaner

    Branch Basics Bathroom Cleaner for Non-Toxic Swaps

    Toilet Cleaner

    Grout Cleaner

    Glass Cleaner

    Shower Head Filters

    To remove chlorine and other contaminants from the water you shower with. Check the EWG’s Tap Water Database to see what contaminants are in your water (like fluoride, heavy metals, etc.).

    Then compare them to the contaminants the shower filters remove to make sure they’ll be removed.

    Shower Curtains

    Most plastic shower curtains and shower curtain liners are made with PVC that releases toxic VOCs.

    Trash Bags

    Personal Care Non-Toxic Swaps

    While you’re in the bathroom, take stock of your personal care items that need non-toxic swaps from cosmetics to hair, skin, and body products.

    Most of them are full of harmful ingredients like artificial fragrance, phthalates, parabens, phenoxyethanol, and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).

    For example, look at traditional antiperspirants. Remember what I said about aluminum? That’s just one of the toxic components of most antiperspirants out there.

    Our skin is our largest organ and can absorb the products we apply to it, including the toxins in those products. So it’s important to use non-toxic products that come in contact with our skin.

    Shampoo & Conditioner

    Just a heads-up, some of their Glossy Locks product line contains “Natural Fragrance.” I asked them for more information about the fragrance they use, and this was their response:

    “We would never use any harsh detergents, synthetic chemicals, chemical preservatives, artificial fragrances, or any other toxins in our products. 100% PURE does not produce the natural fragrance that is used in certain product formulas. We partner with a natural vendor, and they own the proprietary formula for the natural fragrance. Rest assured that they are food-grade and void of any synthetics or artificial fragrances. We’ve chosen to trust our vendor’s integrity and quality promise.”

    So you’ll have to decide if you’re good with that or prefer to avoid those specific products.

    I really wanted to love their products because they use mostly organic natural ingredients and are one of the most affordable non-toxic options out there.

    But unfortunately, their shampoo and conditioner wasn’t moisturizing enough for my super dry hair. Maybe you’ll have better luck based on your hair type.

    • Avalon Organics

    Their haircare products are EWG Verified. But they contain preservatives like Sodium Benzoate (rated 3 with EWG), Potassium Sorbate (rated 2 with EWG), and Benzyl Alcohol (rated 4-6 with EWG). So they’re not perfect.

    However, they’re affordable and readily available as they can be found in most grocery stores. They’re also better than most shampoos and conditioners since all Avalon Organics products contain at least 70% organic ingredients and are formulated without the following:

    “parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, harsh sulfates, propylene glycol, aluminum, mineral oil, petrolatum, oxybenzone, nano-particles, DEA, MEA or TEA, PEGs and PEG derivatives, ethoxylated ingredients associated with 1,4 dioxane, formaldehyde donors or GMOs.”

    See their FAQ page for more details.

    Leave-In Conditioner

    I love this leave-in conditioner! My hair is fine, but I have A LOT of it. So it gets tangled easily and is usually a pain to try to comb through after showering. But not with this leave-in conditioner!

    Just a heads-up, it does contains the preservatives sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate. However, it is EWG VERIFIED™ despite the preservatives.

    This one was better than nothing, but it didn’t give quite enough slip to my hair. If you don’t have that issue with your locks, it’s a healthier option.

    Hair Spray

    Hair Styling Cream

    Anti-Frizz Serum

    Dry Shampoo

    Shower Pouf

    Body Wash

    Body Soap

    Primally Pure All-Natural & Non-Toxic Skincare for Non-Toxic Swaps for Clean Living

    Face Wash

    I use both the Cleansing Oil and the Plumping Bar. Sometimes I alternate between the two, and sometimes I double cleanse (I don’t wear much makeup, so I usually only double cleanse when I’ve been hiking and wearing sunscreen). The bar has lasted forever!

    I’m also obsessed with using the oil under my moisturizer for an extra glow. My hubby was initially opposed to using oil on his skin, and now he says it’s his favorite part of his skincare routine!

    Toner

    Serum

    Face Lotion

    Face Cream

    I use the Soothing Cream during the daytime. It’s seriously the best thing I’ve ever smelled! My husband always wants to sniff my face when I apply it. Haha!

    The texture is more of a balm than a cream. But it feels super luxurious, and a little goes a long way (the small jar lasted me 9 months!).

    My skin is dry, so I use this super emollient cream at night because that’s when our skin goes into renewal mode.

    If your skin isn’t dry, this cream might be a better option for you. It’s not as heavy as its counterpart above. I’ve used this one as well and love it too.

    Eye Cream

    Any of the above face creams can double as an eye cream unless you want a separate, more emollient option for your eye area.

    No, it’s not an eye-specific product. But this is what I use for my eyes because it’s nourishing and gentle enough for babies, which is perfect for the delicate eye area.

    Primally Pure Gua Sha & Ridged Roller for Non-Toxic Swaps

    Botox / Fillers

    Botulinum toxin (also known as Botox®) is a neurotoxic drug made from a toxin. It even has the word “toxin” in the name!

    Rather than injecting yourself with toxins like Botox or other fillers, why not try a natural approach like Gua Sha and/or a facial roller?

    Gua Sha is an ancient Chinese healing technique⁠ that uses a smooth stone to create ⁠light pulling and lifting massage motions by gently gliding the stone over the skin⁠.⁠

    I use a Ridged Roller in the morning to roll out my sleep lines and a Gua Sha Stone at night to relax me as I smooth my skin before bed.

    I have the regular Gua Sha Stone as well as the Bian Gua Sha Stone and alternate between them to reap the benefits of both.

    Petroleum Jelly

    Petroleum jelly may be a “cure all,” but it’s derived from petroleum. I used to use it on my lips as a lip balm constantly applying it all day, every day.

    That was, until I found out petroleum jelly has been linked to cancer and is strictly regulated in Europe but not in the U.S.

    Non-Toxic Swaps for Cosmetics

    Cosmetics

    Makeup can be a major source of toxins. Just to give you an example, a study by UC Berkeley found toxic heavy metals in more than 30 lip products analyzed, including lead, aluminum, cadmium, chromium, and manganese4.

    How is that even allowed? The FDA in the USA has only banned or restricted 11 ingredients out of the thousands of chemicals used here in the States.

    However, the European Union (EU) has banned over 1,300 chemicals from cosmetics “that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm or birth defects.”

    On the bright side, here are some brands that claim clean beauty products (it’s always a good idea to double-check the ingredient lists though):

    Most of the products are EWG Verified, and my absolute favorite mascara is by this brand!

    Many of the products are EWG Verified like the ones I use – the Bio Correct Concealer, Supernatural Stick Bronzer, and Expressionist Brow Gel. Plus, you can get cash back with Rakuten!

    Most of the EWG ratings for the products are a 1.

    The EWG ratings for most of the products are a 2. The higher ratings seem to be for older formulations.

    Many of the EWG ratings for the products are EWG Verified with most of the higher ratings appearing to be for older formulations.

    There are more than 1,800 harmful and questionable ingredients on The Never List™️ that they won’t use in their products. Plus, you can get cash back with Rakuten!

    Carries different brands that meet their Credo Clean Standard (bans over 2,700 ingredients on their Dirty List®). Get $10 off your first online purchase with my link plus cash back with Rakuten!

    Has an EWG rating of 1 and is the most affordable non-toxic mascara I’ve been able to find.

    Q-Tips & Cotton Facial Products

    For cotton swabs, rounds, and balls, go with GOTS Certified organic cotton that’s free of chlorine, bleach, and fragrance.

    Lip Balm

    Toothbrush

    I love these toothbrushes! They’re the perfect firmness, fit in the mouth comfortably, and last forever! I don’t keep them upright in a cup as some reviews mentioned that mold grew on the base of the handle. I let mine dry flat over a cup before storing them upright.

    Toothpaste

    The toothpaste you’ve been using probably contains a dozen or more harmful ingredients.

    If there’s a poison warning on your toothpaste, do you really want to use it when you could use a natural, non-toxic toothpaste instead?

    This is the toothpaste I use because it has xylitol, which has been proven to prevent tooth decay and cavities. Just know that xylitol is highly toxic to dogs, so keep this toothpaste out of your fur-baby’s reach.

    Has 70% organic ingredients but does not contain xylitol.

    Mouthwash

    Deodorant

    Body Lotion

    Since body lotion is used on such a large area of your body, this is one of the most important items to swap out to a non-toxic version. Coconut oil works great as a body moisturizer! But sometimes it might not be enough, or you might prefer the texture and consistency of traditional lotion. So here are some options for

    Hand Cream

    Foot Balm

    Eczema Cream

    Exfoliators

    Rather than use a harsh exfoliator, I like to dry brush. The act of dry brushing is the use of a brush with firm, natural bristles to brush the skin without the use of liquid or moisturizers.

    It’s also one of my all-time fave self-care rituals is dry brushing. I take a few minutes to dry brush my face and body a couple times a week before showering. 

    It’s so invigorating yet soothing at the same time. And I swear it got rid of my thigh cellulite! See how to do it in my Instagram post below.

    Hand Soap

    Public Hand Soap

    I carry a travel size non-toxic soap in my purse to wash my hands in public places.

    Hand Sanitizer

    Sunscreen

    Bug Spray

    Itch Relief

    Feminine Care Non-Toxic Swaps

    Also in the bathroom are the feminine care products us gals use in and on our sensitive lady parts. The scary fact is that these products contain a variety of chemicals, including phthalates, parabens, BPA, VOCs, and more.

    One study tested 79 feminine hygiene products and found that all of them contained toxic VOCs. Another study found 24 endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), in 7 categories of feminine hygiene products.

    What’s even scarier is that these toxins come into contact with highly permeable and sensitive areas where they can be absorbed into the reproductive system and enter the bloodstream5.

    Use Non-Toxic Feminine Hygiene Products for Clean Living

    Here’s what to look for when choosing non-toxic swaps for feminine care products:

    • Organic cotton
    • Fragrance-free
    • Unbleached (Totally Chlorine-Free)
    • Applicator-free or cardboard applicator instead of plastic (for tampons)
    • 100% medical-grade silicone (for menstrual cup)

    I do not currently recommend any period panties since they contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) for their moisture-wicking and leak-resistant qualities.

    PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because they accumulate in our bodies and don’t break down in the environment. They have been linked to cancer, reproductive and immune system issues, and a variety of endocrine diseases.

    If you do choose to use period panties, avoid any claiming to be “antimicrobial” or “antibacterial.” Those can be code for other toxins like silver nanoparticles

    Here are better options for the ladies:

    Pads

    Tampons

    Thong Liners

    I’ll be honest, these aren’t the best. The cotton lining on top tends to separate. But they’re the only non-toxic ones I’ve been able to find.

    Menstrual Cup for Feminine Care Non-Toxic Swaps

    Menstrual Cup

    If you don’t want to do pads or tampons (perhaps you’re looking for a more sustainable option or don’t care for the non-toxic ones), give a reusable silicone menstrual cup a try!

    I love how comfortable it is and that I only have to empty it every 12 hours. Plus, I haven’t had any issues with leaks.

    They can be a little challenging and intimidating at first. But once you get the hang of them, you’ll wonder where they’ve been all your life!

    Sexual Lubricant

    Most lubes contain parabens, fragrances, and artificial colors. So watch out for those. Even the sexual lubricant recommended for trying to conceive (Pre-Seed™ Fertility Lubricant) contains parabens!

    • Oil-Based Lubes – NOT compatible with condoms.

    • Coconut Oil

    I first learned about using coconut oil as a sexual lubricant from the book “Brighton Baby.” This is the most natural option.

    Choose virgin/unrefined for less processing and no additives preservatives. Use a spoon to scoop it out to keep the jar uncontaminated and wash your hands before applying.

    If you’re allergic to coconut, prone to vaginal infections like yeast infections, or using condoms (especially latex), coconut oil is probably not a good option for you.

    • Astroglide O Organic, Oil Based Personal Lubricant and Massage Oil

    USDA Certified Organic with 99% certified organic ingredients. Free of parabens and glycerin. And it also doubles as a massage oil!

    All the ingredients rate a 1 with EWG except the Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil (rates a 2) and the Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil (rates 3-5).

    • Water-Based Lubes – Condom-compatible (with natural rubber latex and polyisoprene condoms but not with polyurethane condoms)

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any water-based lubes without preservatives. They all contain Sodium Benzoate (rated 3 with EWG) and Potassium Sorbate (rated 2 with EWG).

    • Astroglide Organix Liquid, Water Based Personal Lubricant

    Made with 95% organic ingredients without any parabens, hormones, fragrances, or flavors.

    • Good Clean Love Almost Naked Personal Lubricant

    Has 95% organic ingredients, does not contain parabens or petrochemicals, and is MADE SAFE® certified.

    • Aloe Cadabra

    Made from 95% food grade organic aloe vera certified to NSF organic standards (that’s just the aloe vera though).

    No parabens, petroleum, silicone, phenoxyethanol, glycerin, glucose, propylene glycol, or chlorhexidine.

    • Penchant Organic

    Some organic ingredients, including the aloe vera. Free of parabens.

    Pets Non-Toxic Swaps

    Let’s not forget non-toxic swaps for our beloved pets. The items we use for them can not only affect their health but our health as well.

    We need to consider the things we come in contact with, such as pet shampoo and waste bags. Most of them are scented with artificial fragrance and may have other harmful ingredients in them.

    Pet Shampoo

    Waste Bags

    Many bags used for pet waste are scented with artificial fragrance.

    Other Non-Toxic Swaps

    There are a few other miscellaneous items we don’t want to leave out. So I’ve included non-toxic swaps for them here. But this list may not include every single toxic thing in your home.

    When you use the free Clean Living Swaps Checklist, there’s space for you to add other random items you may need non-toxic swaps for.

    Pesticides

    Weed Killer

    Produce Bags

    Don’t put fresh fruits and veggies (especially organic produce) in the plastic bags at grocery stores. Use reusable organic cotton bags instead.

    Yoga Mats

    Yoga mats can be highly toxic as most are manufactured with harmful chemicals like VOCs, phthalates, and toxic glues. Natural cork or organic is the way to go.

    You may also like: 5 Easy Ways to Start Reducing Your Toxin Build Up

    Wrapping Up How To Remove Toxins from Your Home with Non-Toxic Swaps

    If you’ve made it through this extensive list, I applaud you! 👏 You’re obviously dedicated to cleaning up the toxins in your life, and that’s awesome!

    It may seem like a lot of work to make all these non-toxic swaps. But I’ve done most of the work for you, and your efforts will pay off.

    Again, I don’t want you to be overwhelmed by this list or feel like you have to replace everything in your home all at once.

    Some is better than none, so start by replacing one item at a time as you use things up. Because small changes add up to big results, my friend!

    And next thing you know, you’ll be a clean living pro! Knowing what to avoid versus what to look for will become second nature and not seem as tedious or as daunting.

    If you have any questions or suggestions for other non-toxic swaps, please leave a comment.

    Be sure to also download your copy of the free Clean Living Swaps Checklist so you can keep track by checking things off as you go along!


    References

    1. https://www.prevention.com/health/a20506336/4-hidden-dangers-lurking-in-your-toilet-paper/
    2. https://www.ehn.org/pfas-toilet-paper-2657799974.html
    3. https://help.seventhgeneration.com/hc/en-us/articles/222427887-Seventh-Generation-paper-products-and-BPA-
    4. https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/ehp.1205518
    5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30659930/

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    Hey there! I’m Briana, a blogger, hiker, traveller, RVer, photo-taker, and National Parks lover who is passionate about exploring the great outdoors while practicing clean living for a healthier lifestyle to continue doing the things I live for. My goal is to inspire others to live a life focused on wellbeing and wandering. Join me!

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    Leave a Comment!

    12 Comments

    1. Katherine McLee

      This is such an amazing, comprehensive and in-depth post! I’ve been trying to make a concious effort to cut down on the “household” toxins and have recently swapped to corn based dog waste bags and silicone food bags but I didn’t realise a lot of items aren’t pure silicone! Will be keeping an eye out on that! Really love this post!!

      Reply
      • Briana Nickas

        Thanks so much, Katherine! Glad you enjoyed the post. And I’m thrilled to hear that you’re making an effort to reduce household toxins. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of greenwashing out there. So you really have to look closely at the ingredients/materials. But any improvement is better than nothing!

        Reply
    2. Melissa

      Great post on removing household toxins. I am slowly removing them from my home. I just recently switched from fabric softener to vinegar. It’s working out well. Next, I’m going to replace my cleaning products with force of nature.

      Reply
      • Briana Nickas

        Thanks, Melissa! So happy you’re taking steps to remove toxins from your home. One thing at a time will make a big difference!

        Reply
    3. Nia

      Really thorough and helpful list thank you for making this! I am curious about cleaner candles since I’ve heard that candles could be unhealthy so that was very helpful for me to read. Thank you for taking the time to do this!

      Reply
      • Briana Nickas

        Glad you enjoyed this post and found the info about candles helpful! Most people don’t realize how toxic candles or the other items in this non-toxic swaps list can be. Education is power!

        Reply
    4. Sharonda Rainey

      very impressive and informative article. I got a lot of nuggets, can’t wait to get my list

      Reply
      • Briana Nickas

        Thank you, Sharonda! That means a lot. Nuggets… love that! Hope the list helps!

        Reply
    5. Katie

      I have been working for about a year on decreasing the toxin load in our house and food. One step at a time. This is super thorough and helpful!

      Reply
      • Briana Nickas

        One thing at a time will add up to a big impact. Keep it up, Katie! You’re doing great! So glad this post was helpful for you. Please feel free to bookmark it and refer back anytime you’re looking for a non-toxic swap to replace something with.

        Reply
    6. Eric Montana

      Hi there! Briana,
      Thank you for sharing this informative post on non-toxic swaps to remove toxins from our homes. It’s great to see that you’ve done extensive research to find the best non-toxic products for your readers. I appreciate the general guidelines you’ve provided, especially the importance of reading labels, ingredients/materials lists, and reviews. It’s also helpful to know that you’ve focused on cost, convenience, and comments (reviews) for each item on your list.
      I will definitely keep these guidelines in mind when making non-toxic swaps in my own home.
      Thanks again for sharing this valuable information!

      Reply
      • Briana Nickas

        Thanks so much, Eric! I’m thrilled that you found this post informative and will be able to reference it when making non-toxic swaps.

        Reply
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