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The bathroom – or at least what’s in it – is quite possibly one of the most toxic rooms in any house.
So let’s kick off our 7 Day “Detox Your Home” Challenge by detoxing your bathroom and creating a personal care safe haven!
The reason bathrooms tend to be loaded with toxins is because of the supplies we use to clean them and the personal care products we use on ourselves. Not to mention, it can often be a “stinky” place, requiring some sort of smell good stuff to keep the environment tolerable.
Unfortunately, most of the things we use to make our bathrooms smell better are loaded with chemicals that we then breathe in.
So without further ado, let’s see how we can create a safer, non-toxic bathroom!
1. Clear the Air
Let’s just go ahead and address the elephant in the room – No. 2 stinks.
If you’re anything like me, you want to do everything you can to keep your bathroom smelling fresh, clean and presentable.
The problem is aerosol sprays get their clean scent from chemicals and toxins like BHT, phthalates, propylene glycol and acetaldehyde. In fact, studies done by the Natural Resources Defense Council revealed that these immunotoxins and neurotoxins are found in over 85% of leading air freshening products. 
These toxins are released into the air where they eventually make their way into our lungs.
A healthier alternative would be to diffuse a deodorizing essential oil blend. There are plenty of DIY essential oil deodorizers, but I’ve found the following blend to work great:
- 3 drops lavender
- 2 drops rosemary
- 3 drops tea tree
- 3 drops lemon
You can also make a homemade potpourri using a simple glass jar filled with slightly crushed, fresh herbs of your choosing. Add in a few drops of complementing essential oils, and set in your window sill.
2. Ditch the Toxic Shower Curtains
Have you ever been walking down the bathroom supply aisle at Wal-Mart and smelled that undeniable plastic-y odor?
That smell is emitting from the shower curtains and curtain liners made with PVC plastic.
There is no other form of plastic as toxic as PVC, which includes dangerous chemicals like dioxins, phthalates, organotins, ethylene dichloride and more.
Its chemical constituents are released into the air as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The Center for Health, Environment and Justice conducted an in-depth study on the actions of VOCs emitted from shower curtains
Their findings? Disturbing to say the least.
They found that new shower curtains released over 100 VOCs in the first month of use! And that’s not even taking into account the humidity and high temperatures involved in showers, which the group admitted would result in even higher emissions. 
Other studies have shown that volatile organic compounds found in PVC can lead to central nervous system damage, respiratory distress, headaches and more.
Bottom line: If you have a PVC curtain or liner, you need to throw it out if at all possible.
It’s easy to determine if your liner is made of PVC. Just look for the little recycling triangle with a number in it. If the number is 3, it is PVC.
Many natural health sites are promoting PEVA shower curtains as a healthier alternative to PVC, but this is NOT true. A 2014 study in the Journal of Toxicological Science proved that PEVA is just as damaging as PVC. 
So what’s a family to do?
They can be a little pricey, but there are some truly safe, non-toxic shower curtains out there.
Some of the most popular materials include hemp, organic cotton and linen.
I personally like this organic linen one, but there are plenty of other great options.
3. Filter Your Water
It’s easy to think of water as clean, but the reality is many of our water sources are tainted with chemicals and even harmful bacteria. If you live on city water, your water supply is most likely filled with chemicals (including some heavy metals) that they use to keep it “clean.”
But even if you live on a well like we do, you can still have tainted water. In fact, last year we found out that our pipes had leached copper into our water at toxic levels. It literally tested off the charts for copper toxicity!
At the bare minimum, you should have a shower head filter in each bathroom. We personally had to get a whole home water filter for reasons mentioned above, but a simple water filter for your shower will do wonders.
Luckily for your skin and hair, water filters protect you from high levels of chlorine and mineral deposits that lead to dry skin and dull hair.
4. Switch to a Non-Toxic Toothpaste
Have you ever used a toothpaste with microbeads or tiny squares that are supposed to give you longer lasting fresh breath?
Those little “enhancements” are actually plastic as in polyethylene. It’s a plastic that doesn’t break down and is infamous for getting lodged between teeth and in gums, becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.
Even if your toothpaste doesn’t have plastic, it more than likely contains toxins like sodium lauryl sulfate and triclosan. Then there’s the fluoride issue, which can be toxic even at lower levels.
Switching to a natural toothpaste is a super easy way to detox your bathroom AND your body. I actually prefer tooth powders now for their ability to not just clean my teeth, but remineralize them as well.
I use this tooth powder by Primal Life Organics. It’s around $25, but that’s a 3 month supply!
If you prefer the tube stuff, this neem and pomegranate toothpaste is great.
5. Tackle Your Personal Care Products
This is the area that can feel most overwhelming. When you dig out your deodorant, shampoo, soap and face cream to read their labels only to find numerous chemicals and carcinogens, it can be a shock.
I suggest choosing one product per week to swap. An easy way to keep up with this process is to put all of your personal care products in one basket or box. Each week, you grab one item and research a healthier, non-toxic alternative for it.
You’ll need to look at everything from nail polish and makeup to feminine products and bathing supplies.
A few key ingredients to look for and avoid include:
- BHA, BHT
- Artificial fragrances
- Formaldehyde (yes…the stuff they embalm bodies with)
- Petrolatum (often hiding behind code name – mineral oil)
- And more
You can also use the Skin Deep Database at the Environmental Working Group’s website to look up your current products and measure their toxicity.
6. Go Green with Your Toilet Paper
I know…toilet paper of all things should be fine! It comes from trees, right? Unfortunately, virtually all toilet paper in the US is bleached with chlorine and/or chlorine dioxide.
This bleaching method causes carcinogenic chemicals like dioxins that we then absorb. Unlike other toxins, our bodies are not able to excrete them, leading to potential toxic buildup.
Switch to toilet paper that is processed without chlorine or unbleached like Seventh Generation toilet paper.
7. Use Natural or DIY Bathroom Cleaners
Most household cleaners use chemicals for their grime-fighting power, especially bathroom cleaners. Let’s take a look at a few of the most offensive ingredients, then give you some ideas for healthier, non-toxic cleaners.
This ingredient is found in almost every soap labeled “antibacterial.” The problem with triclosan is that it is extremely potent and regular use leads to drug-resistant “superbugs.” As one study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health pointed out, there’s also a growing concern that triclosan is carcinogenic. 
A popular ingredient in window, glass and multipurpose cleaners, 2-butoxyethanol is what gives these cleaners their sweet smell. The problem is its fumes are toxic when inhaled, leading to sore throats and even pulmonary edema, narcosis and more.
The scariest part is that a loophole in the law means manufacturer’s don’t have to list it on product labels.
It’s important to get these types of cleaners out of your home, but it is equally important to always clean in a ventilated area to reduce toxic air levels.
Ammonia is a popular ingredient in window cleaners for its streak-free shine. Ammonia differs from other chemical cleaners in that its effects are felt immediately as opposed to most others which have long-term effects.
Those most affected by ammonia fumes include asthma sufferers, the elderly and anyone with lung conditions.
Note: NEVER mix ammonia with bleach as it creates a poisonous gas.
There are plenty of other cleaning ingredients you should avoid like:
- Sodium hydroxide
- Quarternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATS)
- And more
When it comes to cleaning your bathroom as naturally as possible, you’d be amazed what a little baking soda and vinegar can do. That’s all I use for cleaning bathroom fixtures, and I keep a spray bottle of vinegar to clean bathroom surfaces.
Vinegar is a natural antibacterial, and its acidic nature cuts through grime easily.
For toilets, here’s a great DIY toilet bowl cleaner that does the job well.
Create Your Non Toxic Bathroom
Keep in mind that you don’t have to do all these swaps in one day. In fact, I highly suggest you don’t attempt that because you’ll get overwhelmed quick.
My philosophy for living well with less toxins involves making one small, simple change at a time. If you commit to detoxing your bathroom by one item per week, you’ll be amazed at the transformation!
This post is part of the 7 Days to Detox Your Home Series. It can be overwhelming to realize how many toxins surround us everyday. It was for me, at least. But that doesn’t have to be the case for you!
Focusing on ONE area at a time is the key to creating a toxin free home you love and feel confident raising your family in. I created this series to help you do just that one simple change at a time.
NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Detox Your Bedroom
Want even more ideas for living toxin free? I have a digital library full of ebooks, meal plans, checklists & more to help you detox your food, body and home. All for free – check it out below!