Chemical Detox

Although I’ve never done a detox, I know plenty of people who have.  I also know a lot of people who sort of “detox” by no longer eating processed foods and eating as organic as possible instead. And the other week I got the bug to detox.

But not my body.

See I fully believe eating better will certainly make you feel better. And yes, there are some definite health benefits (and environmental benefits too if you’re trying to eat organic and locally). But the more and more I’ve researched after doing my “What’s in your face wash?” post, I’m not sure it will make as big of a difference if you are still using products full of chemicals.

I’ve recently found myself, now armed with my new knowledge and understanding, wanting lecture people who talk up how they eat all organic foods, recycle and compost, drive their Prius, and then go spritz hair spray all over themselves. Why? Because, they pretty much just counteracted all that goodness they put into their bodies with that hair spray, and probably the shampoo and conditioner they washed their hair with earlier too.

I’ll have more on ingredients later, but just trust me here (it’s a lot to write up, I’m working on it). At the end I’m going to go ahead and give you some easy steps to take to detox your own products. I couldn’t just torture you with my ramblings.

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My family started a chemical detox of our house a couple of years ago, and I’ve done a detox of my personal care products in the last 6 months. But there was one area I still had to detox.

My dresser drawers.

I’ll be honest, one reason it was such a major mess was because I don’t really touch anything in those drawers. Which was a good reason why it needed to be cleaned out. But I was also ready to get rid of the last remaining hazards to my health.

I also found lots of interesting things.

Like my retainer that I’m still suppose to wearing a couple nights a week.

Oops.

I panicked this fall because I thought I was out of albuterol for my nebulizer. Nope, just buried deep in my drawer. Although look at that expiration date, probably was time for some new stuff anyways.

Who remembers these?!

Mine still contained all my things that were in there for my last ballet recital as a senior. I still haven’t been able to bring myself to clean it out.

These actually work great in hair.

Another flash back for you! Bon Bons mini nail polish bottles! I used to love these because I could buy quite a few with only one week’s worth of allowance.

After I was done, I had a bin of products, every single one containing at least one, more often lots, of harmful chemicals.

My issue then became what to do with all of it. I considered it toxic waste, but my state did not (a few states do, so check on that). I did have some good recyclables though.

These bottles are a nice small size and have a fine mist, so I saved them to be cleaned out.

I’ve been wanting to make my own deodorant, so I’m glad I’m weird and saved almost used up deodorants.

I saved a few other items, but most just went into the recycling after I emptied them.

I emptied into a plastic bag, but I’d highly recommend emptying into a jar of some sort. It got quite messy and well, just trust me here.

Interesting thing to note was that as I started pouring out all these products, I could smell the chemicals like never before. Some of the stuff were items that I used to use on an almost daily basis. Funny how we get used to smells. I know I wouldn’t have used them had I thought they smelled like chemicals, and because I had become used to the smell I didn’t notice.

I also developed a major headache while dumping out the contents.

But don’t worry, I cured it by smelling some rosemary and peppermint essential oils.

Ahhhh… yay for all natural!

Another interesting thing I noticed was how many bottles gave the illusion that they were natural and safe, yet were anything but that when you read the ingredients list. Which is why I’m working on putting together some more information about how to read ingredient list because well, labels cannot be trusted.

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Now it’s your turn to detox. You don’t have to do it all at once, although you are certainly welcome to. But for most of us, it can be overwhelming (and time consuming) to do it that way. Here are some steps you can take to detox your daily routine.

1. Research

Crunchy Betty, Keeper of the Home, and Pinterest are three of my favorite places to look for new ideas. I have a couple boards on Pinterest with ideas for all-natural, do-it-yourself personal and home care products. (If you need an invite to Pinterest, please feel free to send me a message!) You’ll get an idea of the types of things you can make (anything and everything), what you want to try, and what you think would be easiest for you to try first. (Yes, start with easy first! Something as simple as swapping your face wash.)

2. Gather

Gather all the products you use every day. With the ideas you researched choose one or two things to make and replace each week. Keep in mind some items may require specialty ingredients. Plan ahead and make purchases accordingly. Try to choose recipes that incorporate some of the same ingredients versus ones that would require purchasing a new set of ingredients. This will help keep it from becoming too expensive. Good places for ingredients and supplies are Amazon.com, Mountain Rose Herbs, TKBTrading, and Specialty Bottle.

3. Make

Making your own stuff is quite fun, fulfilling, and actually not all that time consuming, especially once you get the hang of things. If you stager what you make, things shouldn’t run out at the same time, which will make it easier for you to manage keeping up with making you own things. And if something doesn’t work for you, look for something else. There are many different ways to do/make one thing.

4. Keep Going

After you’ve replaced the items you use daily, move on to things you use less frequently and branch out from personal care products to things like cleaning products and health care.

But you say what if I don’t want to make my own stuff?

I suggest making your own stuff for two reasons. One, because it’s cheaper in the long run, much cheaper. Two, because I still spot supposedly safe alternatives that contain questionable ingredients. The easiest way, I feel, to know you are using safe products is to make them yourself. You know everything in them is safe.

If you still want to purchase your products, I suggest visiting a local natural foods store. We have Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Mom’s Organic Market, and The Natural Market in our area, all which are chain stores, so check to see if you have one of them, or another store locally. They all carry products that will probably be much safer than what you were previously using.

It’s really not that hard. Start small and roll with it. That’s how I got going. Before you know it you’ll be well on your way to a much healthier you!

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3 thoughts on “Chemical Detox

  1. I found your blog through comment you left at Frugally Sustainable’s post on a kitchen pharmacy. I have been wanting to eliminate all of the chemicals we use from our house, but haven’t gotten around to it. I just had a baby and it suddenly seems urgent! I’m looking forward to poking around your blog and reading some of your other posts! thanks!

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