Honestly, most people don’t care about the products they use everyday. They don’t care about the long term effects of breathing in and touching harmful toxins on a daily basis.
But fortunately, you do.
You care enough to be more intentional about the products that you buy. But are you actually buying safer products? Or does it just look like it based on the words and the colors on the label?
Unfortunately, many of the brands and products we think are better for us may still be harming us. It’s easy for people to manipulate words to make something sound healthier. Many brands even do create healthier products, but they still might not be very safe (which says a lot about their standard products).
Luckily it’s becoming easier than ever to quickly determine if a product is safe and should be brought into your home. Using the knowledge and tools available, here’s a look at some of the products we might think are safe, but actually aren’t.
How To Quickly Determine What’s Toxic And What’s Safe
There are plenty of ways to research products and ingredients. For this article I primarily used the Think Dirty app to determine a product’s overall level of safety.
While it’s not perfect, I believe it’s a great starting point for researching household products and determining the general level of safety and toxicity.
The app gives each product an overall score based on the scores of the individual ingredients. You can click each ingredient to find out more information.
While there are so many brands and products I’d recommend avoiding entirely (based on their scores), I was primarily looking into products that most people believe are healthier.
Not all “healthy and natural” products are bad. But there are many that we think are good for us that actually aren’t as clean and natural as they claim.
Also, many of these brands have some products with safe scores.
However, the individual products listed below are some of the poor scoring products in their line. If you use any of these brands, I would look up each individual product, as some brands have products that are completely safe next to products that are very toxic and harmful.
Also, some of the products rated here have a bad score due to “Fragrance” listed as an ingredient. Because companies do not need to disclose the actual ingredients within their fragrance (legal protection due to ‘trade secrets’), they automatically receive a bad score (8). Typically, fragrance is made up of very harmful chemicals.
Below are a few examples of harmful brands in the following 4 categories:
1 – Hand Soap
2 – All Purpose Cleaners
3 – Dish Soap
4 – Laundry
Just a note:
I’m not telling you to avoid these brands (necessarily). I’m not saying they are evil and that their products suck. Many of these brands have some (or many) products that are considered safe and natural.
What I am saying is that you should take a few minutes and look up some of the products you are using everyday. Based on the ingredients, the evidence, the research done by many other (really smart) people, make an educated decision on which products you fill your home and body with.
The great thing is, you can do this once, since we typically stick with the same products over time.
Maybe all you need to do is switch from one hand soap from your favorite brand to another that has safer ingredients. Or maybe you need a complete overhaul (suggestions towards the end).
1 – Hand Soap
We depend on hand soap as a first line of defense against bacteria. We typically use it before touching food that we put in our mouths. Therefore, it’s reasonable to think that whatever we wash our hands with is getting inside our bodies (through food and through absorption of the skin).
I would definitely say that this is one of the more important products to consider in your home. Here are some soaps I wouldn’t use:
One of the most well-known “clean” brands, Mrs. Meyers does have some clean and safe products. But they also have some not-as-clean products.
So if you are a fan, I would just make sure you looking each product up. Here’s an example of 2 of their hand soaps.
The poor scoring soap includes “Fragrance” as an ingredient, while the better scoring soap only uses essential oils as a scent.
Method is all about ‘beautiful’ household products that you actually want to have on your designer countertop. They’ve distinguished themselves with design. And with that, I believe there is an assumption that the products themselves are better for you.
While some are, it seems that most aren’t very good.
Their “safe” hand soap still has 3 ingredients that are cause for concern and many of their soaps contain Cocamide DEA, which has been on California’s Proposition 65 List of Chemicals as a known carcinogen since 2012, according to the app.
J.R Watkins, like many brands, has some great products and some less than great products. Their hand soap and their kids hand soap and dish soap have scores of 4 and 5.
While definitely not terrible, you can find better.
Better Life No Regrets Citrus Mint Natural Soap has just a couple of ingredients I would consider a regret, with a score of 5.
2 – Household Cleaners
Household cleaners are where much of the potential toxins originate in your home. They are typically filled to the brim with chemicals. And we all know that, because we get headaches when we clean small bathrooms without ventilation!
Talk about warning signs!
While there are many, many products and brands to avoid, this post is specifically pointing out brands we think have ‘healthier’ products. Here’s a few I might reconsider.
Again, we all assume Mrs. Meyers has the best, healthiest products, but that’s not always the case. 2 of their popular cleaners have a score of 8.
Clorox Green Works
Personally, the word Clorox grosses me out, so I tend to avoid that right off the bat. But they are trying to draw you in with their line of products called “Green Works.”
To be honest, their basic Green Works cleaner is pretty good (score of 4). But another cleaner, as well as their cleaning wipes have scores of 8 (due to fragrance).
We used Simple Green at a job I used to work and was told it’s the safest and most natural cleaner you could use. The All-Purpose Cleaner has only 5 ingredients (one of which is water), 4 of the ingredients being very safe.
Unfortunately, this too has fragrance, for which it receives a score of 8.
3 – Dish Soap
Dish Soap is also extremely important to take seriously. I mean, you put all your food on and in dishes. You put silverware in your mouth. You’re pretty intimate with dishes and the things that are on them!
So make sure you are using safe, healthy soap! (unlike these)
Dawn Free & Gentle | Dawn Lemon Essence
Free & Gentle sounds really nice. It should be free of bad things and gentle on our bodies, but unfortunately this has a score of 8, with 6 of it’s 10 ingredients posing a safety concern.
Regarding Lemon Essence; correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds to me like they want this product to sound natural and safe with a name like “Lemon Essence.”
It sounds like they want to say “Scented Naturally With Lemon Essential Oil” but they probably can’t because they are likely using chemically scented lemon. This has a score of 8 and there aren’t any essential oils in the ingredients…
Clorox Green Works
Green Works also has a dishwashing liquid but still scores poorly due to fragrance, among other ingredients.
The lemon dish soap contains a number of poor ingredients making this product a lot worse than many of the brands other products.
4 – Laundry Detergent and Dryer Sheets
Harsh chemicals used in laundry have the potential to irritate the skin, negatively affect breathing, fill your home with airborne toxins as well as pump toxic air outside (from the dryer)!
Similar to dishes, we are very intimate with our clothing (not to mention we care about our clothing and want it to last).
Using chemical detergents is a major drag, and we absolutely loved it when we switched to an all-natural, essential oil based laundry detergent. Nowadays, I can get a headache from smelling super strong detergent on other people’s clothes (for better or worse).
Here’s a few “safer” detergents I wouldn’t use.
Tide Purclean | Tide Free And Gentle
Tide is obviously the big brand in the laundry space. Most of their products should just be avoided.
But they have a few options, such as Purclean and Free And Gentle that are definitely safer than most of their products, but still receive a score of 5.
One of Method’s worst rated products is their Concentrated Laundry Detergent. It contains polyester, which is a possible carcinogen and is not biodegradable.
Mrs. Meyers Dryer Sheets
And once again, I felt it necessary to list little Mrs. Meyers (I used to love the brand! Until I got the Think Dirty app…and found even better products…)
Dryer Sheets in general are terrible for you! They should be avoided from any company. This is what pumps toxic air both outside and inside your home. Much of the issues come from the synthetic fragrance added, but there may also be other harmful ingredients.
A better option to freshen clothes in the dryer is with wool dryer balls! They are all natural, reusable for a long time, and save you money (both by not having to buy dryer sheets, and by helping your laundry turn more effectively, lessening drying times).
Add 7-10 drops of essential oils to ensure your clothes come out smelling fresh. Add a few safety pics to get rid of static.
Better Product Options For Your Home
Well, we’ve spoken enough about what we don’t want to use. Here’s a bit about what we personally love to use!
Thieves is the all-natural, essential oil based product line from Young Living that seriously does it all!
Every Thieves product is based on a powerful, healthy, and amazing smelling essential oil blend that cleans like nobody’s business.
The line includes household cleaner, concentrated cleaner (with which you can make many other specialized cleaners like degreasers or glass cleaner), dish soap, laundry detergent, hand soap, and more!
We literally use every Thieves product and it’s honestly all effective. Cleaning has become fun again!
If you are interested in learning more about Thieves from Young Living, check out this post about the Thieves Starter Kit. It’s the perfect way to get started with their products. The post also give you more background on Thieves in general.
We’ve also been using this brand in our home for years! My husband only uses their hand soap (literally nothing else). They have a scentless soap that’s actually scentless and cleans and feels great.
They also have so many other products, most of which score from 0-2.
Making Better Choices Is Easier Than Ever
Now it’s up to you. You know a little bit more about some of the products you might be using or have considered using. Again, do yourself and your family a favor and do some research for a few minutes.
Look up the products currently in your home. Look up the products you think are healthy and safe.
Then decide if you want to create a healthier, safer home just by making better choices when you shop. It’s actually super easy to do!
Again, we mostly use Thieves products from Young Living in our home. We’ve used a number of Seventh Generation products, which we appreciate as well.
Head here to learn more about getting started with Thieves to create a happier, healthier home!
Disclaimer: The statements on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to be medical advice. Suggestions here are specific to Young Living and should not be combined with oils from other sources. Examples and experiences do not guarantee similar results. Read our full disclaimer here.