Ignorance is not bliss.
At least not when your health is on the line.
Did you know that a study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) linked chemicals used in popular cleaning products to asthma, cancer and birth defects? (EWG, Cleaning Supplies and Your Health)
Quiz: Is Your Body TOXIC? Take the Test...
In another study, the EWG determined that the average woman places 168 chemicals on her body before walking out the door each morning. (EWG, Exposures Add Up)
Makes you rethink your morning routine, doesn’t it?
When I first learned about the potential hazards hidden in most of my cleaning and personal care products, I knew I had to make some changes, fast.
My excitement quickly disappeared when I got to the store and saw the price tags for these coveted “natural products”. I saw a $25 bottle of shampoo, 16 oz. of dish soap for $6. Everything was waaaay out of my price range.
I began to wonder if toxin-free living was reserved for the rich and famous, those with slightly deeper wallets.
Luckily, I was wrong. With a little creativity and elbow grease, anyone can embrace toxin-free living and save money at the same time.
The Ultimate Guide to Toxin-Free Living on a Budget
Tip 1: DIY Everything
Feeling slightly depressed over my natural product shopping trip, I decided to drown my sorrows in the depths of Pinterest. It was there that I made a shocking discovery…you can make natural cleaning and personal care products for a fraction of the price!
With this small list of staples, you can replace all of your cleaning products for cheaper, natural versions that are just as effective as the ones you buy in the store. Plus, as an added bonus, you probably already have most of these ingredients sitting in your kitchen. That’s a double win in my book!
To Detox Your Home, You Will Need:
- Baking soda
- Liquid Castile Soap (You can also make your own for even cheaper DIY products.)
- Washing soda
- Citric Acid
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Essential Oils
DIY Cleaning Recipes
To save you hours of searching through Pinterest and the agony of wondering if the recipes actually work, here are some great tried and true DIY recipes to jump-start you toward toxin-free living on a budget:
- Dish Soap
- All-purpose cleaner
- Window cleaner
- Dishwasher detergent
- Laundry soap
- Dryer sheets
- Toxin- Free Bleach
DIY Personal Care Recipes
Ready for more? Now that your home is clean and toxin-free, let’s tackle your personal care routine.
For toxin-free personal care, you will need to add a few more items to the shopping list:
Tried and True DIY Personal Care Recipes
- Hand Soap
- Leave-in Conditioner
- Body wash
- Body Spray
- Mouth Wash
- Tooth Whitening
Finding the Right Recipe for You
Keep in mind that everyone’s body is genetically and chemically different. Personal care products are not as cut and dry as cleaning products.
My ideal DIY shampoo may be completely ineffective for you (hence why there are an overwhelming amount of shampoo options at the store).
Always start with a small batch to be sure the recipe works for you and your body.
You will also need to approach your new personal care items with an open mind. DIY, natural products do not have the same texture as store-bought items.
Don’t discount the lotion because it’s thicker than your normal product or the shampoo because it isn’t sudsy enough. Focus on the effects. Is your hair shiny and clean? Is your skin soft and moisturized? If you answered yes then the product is doing its job, even if the process feels different.
Finding your ideal DIY personal care products may take a little trial and error but don’t give up!
With each experiment, you are cleansing your body of potentially harmful chemicals and contributing to your future health. That is definitely an experiment worth spending some time on.
Now that you have the framework to help you detox your home without breaking the bank and the recipes to get you started, here are some more tips to make your journey toward toxin-free living on a budget an enjoyable one.
Tip 2: Save This For Later
Think of this post as your beginner’s guide. Bookmark it or pin it now so that you can come back to it later and easily find all the recipes, tips and tricks you need to make your home detox a success.
Tip 3: Advice For Entering Into The World Of DIY
Pinterest is full of DIY recipes. Some are great. Some are not.
When trying a new recipe for the first time, make a small test batch.
Quiz: Is Your Body TOXIC? Take the Test...
Nothing is worse than making a huge batch of dish soap only to dump it down the sink because it turned into a clumpy mess and cleaned nothing. (Trust me, I know.)
Always test before you commit and be careful never to mix these products in your green cleaning ventures. The results are never pretty.
When choosing essential oils, look for high-quality essential oils.
They may be more expensive, but they will deliver the results you are looking for. Not all essential oils are created equal. Do your research and buy only the best. It will save you money in the long run.
Try to always use glass containers when storing products with essential oils, especially if you are using citrus oils (lemon, orange, etc.). Because of their acidity, citrus oils can break down plastic, releasing the very toxins you are trying to avoid.
Resources: How to find high-quality essential oils
Tip 4: Start Slowly
Instead of chucking all of your commercial products in the trash at once, wait until an item runs out and then replace it with a DIY version. Another option would be to focus on just one room of the house at a time.
This will keep you from wasting money and becoming overwhelmed by easing your way into greener living.
Tip 5: You Don’t Have To Replace Everything.
Not all commercial products are potentially harmful to your health. Do some research before throwing everything into the trash.
The easiest way is to use the Think Dirty App as your guide. By scanning the barcode of your products, the app will show you a “dirty rating” and tell you which chemicals the product contains that could be potentially harmful.
Tip 6: Experiment
If you find a DIY product that doesn’t live up to your standards, play around with the recipe ratios or look for a new one.
Don’t just give up and run to the store. Keep looking and keep trying.
Each home is different. Every person is different. The Internet is full of options. Believe that there is a recipe out there that will work for you and don’t stop until you find it.
Tip 7: Re-use and Recycle
You have all of these wonderful DIY products…now what do you put them in? There are many glass storage options available on Amazon but once again, the prices add up quickly.
Thankfully, you don’t need to take out a second mortgage to hold all of your DIY creations. Instead, re-purpose your recycle bin.
The next time you use up a jar of pasta sauce or run out of jelly, keep the glass jar. You can store products in the jar itself or turn it into something even better (like this soap dispenser).
If you don’t want to take the time to collect glass jars, mason jars are an inexpensive option.
Stick an oil pourer into old beer or wine bottles and you have a quick and easy DIY product dispenser that looks like this.
When your shampoo or soap runs out, keep the container and refill it with your new natural version.
Keep in mind that your toxin-free home doesn’t have to look Pinterest perfect.
No one is judging you on your display. If your product storage is functional and your product itself is cleaner, that is all that matters.
Tip 8: Anything Is Better Than Nothing.
Every day you hear about something new that could be potentially harmful to you and your family. Sometimes, the quest to live a natural, green life feels never-ending and overwhelming.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret- you don’t have to do it all. Focus on what matters most to you and your family.
Instead of striving for perfection, do the best you can. Any changes you make to your lifestyle are better than making no changes at all. Make adjustments as time, and your budget, allow. Don’t stress yourself out trying to meet unrealistic expectations.
Congratulations on making the commitment to clean up your home and personal care routine. I am sure you will feel much lighter walking out the door without those 168 chemicals weighing you down each day.
About the Author
Vanessa is a free-spirited, self-proclaimed modern-day hippy who uses creativity to clean up her lifestyle while saving money at the same time. You can read more about her frugal adventures on her blog, Creative Money Masters. You can also get this free calendar to successfully rid your home of toxins in four weeks or less.