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32 Unhealthy Products to Purge for a Fresh Home in 2024

The new year often inspires us to hit the reset button—on our health, homes, and habits. As you gear up for a fresh start in 2024, one of the best things you can do is take a hard look at the products you have in your home. Many everyday items contain hidden toxins, chemicals, and unhealthy ingredients that can sabotage your goals.

Man With Fireworks image by Rakicevic Nenad
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That's why this year, you should consider doing a deep cleanse and purging of the most harmful products that have no place in a healthy home. You'll breathe easier—literally and figuratively—once you banish these toxins! Here are the top 32 items to kick to the curb.

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1. Artificial air fresheners

That Hawaiian breeze or linen scent may seem inviting, but sadly, most air fresheners contain phthalates, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other chemicals linked to hormone disruption, headaches, asthma, etc. Trade artificially scented sprays for natural options like essential oils, vinegar, or just opening a window to let in fresh air.

2. Antibacterial soaps and cleaning products

Many conventional soaps and cleaners contain triclosan, a pesticide that can disrupt hormones and increase antibiotic resistance. Choose plant-based castile soaps or use a simple solution of vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and essential oils instead.

3. Non-stick cookware

Those convenient non-stick pans come at a cost: coating chemicals like PFOA are linked to thyroid disease, cancer, and developmental issues. Upgrade to safer ceramic, stainless steel, or cast iron cookware. While pricier upfront, you'll avoid the health toll of non-stick over time.

4. Plastic food storage containers

Plastics leach hormone-disrupting bisphenols and phthalates into food, especially when heated. Swap plastic for glass, stainless steel, and silicone containers. Bonus: they often last longer, too!

5. Canned foods

That convenient pantry staple is lined with bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor. Choose fresh or frozen produce when possible, and look for BPA-free cans, ideally lined with oleoresin. Eden Organics and Native Forest make safe options.

6. Conventional cleaning products

Most conventional cleaning staples, from all-purpose cleaners to laundry detergents, contain carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane, lung-damaging VOCs, sodium lauryl sulfate, formaldehyde, and other toxins. Replace with green cleaners or DIY versions using baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and soap nuts.

7. Fluoridated water

While added to tap water as an attempt to improve dental health, fluoride is a neurotoxin that can damage brain development and lower IQ. Install a high-quality water filter to remove fluoride, lead, chlorine, and other common water contaminants.

8. Sugar-loaded kids' cereals

Heavily marketed kids' breakfast cereals like Froot Loops, Lucky Charms, and Cocoa Puffs are up to 40% sugar. Fuel your kids with low-sugar whole food options like oatmeal with fruit, eggs with veggies, or yogurt with homemade granola instead.

9. Microwavable popcorn bags

The convenient popcorn bag lining contains perfluorinated chemicals that can lead to infertility, thyroid problems, and development issues. Microwave organic kernels in a brown paper bag or use an air popper for a safer snack.

10. Dryer sheets

Dryer sheets give clothes a fresh scent but contain carcinogenic VOCs and alpha-terpineol, which can irritate airways. Use wool dryer balls or DIY sachets with essential oils instead for static control and fragrance.

11. Chemical oven cleaners

Grease-cutting oven cleaners typically contain sodium hydroxide, a potent skin and eye irritant. Skip the chemicals by cleaning regularly with baking soda, vinegar, steam, or a pumice stone to handle inevitable oven grime.

12. Conventional mattresses

That beloved mattress probably contains PBDE flame retardants, formaldehyde, and other chemicals linked to cancer and hormone disruption. Seek out safer, naturally flame-retardant options made of wool, organic cotton, and natural latex.

13. Conventional pillows and bedding

Bedding and pillows are also doused in flame retardants and formaldehyde. Choose organic cotton, wool, hemp, bamboo, and other naturally fire-resistant fabrics. Also, let bedding air out before use.

14. Pressed wood furniture

That affordable flat-packed furniture may contain carcinogenic formaldehyde resins. Opt for solid wood, metal, or glass pieces, or look for low-VOC or formaldehyde-free pressed wood. Let new furniture off-gas outside before bringing it in.

15. Plastic shower curtains

Vinyl shower curtains can leach hormone-disrupting phthalates as they break down in hot, steamy conditions. Choose plant-based linen, hemp, or cotton eco-friendly shower curtains instead for a non-toxic barrier.

16. Conventional batteries

Alkaline batteries contain mercury, lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals that contaminate landfills. Replace with rechargeable batteries to reduce waste and exposure.

17. Chemical-laden hand sanitizers

Antibacterial hand sanitizers often contain hormone-disrupting triclosan. Instead, scrub hands with plain soap and water, or use natural sanitizers with witch hazel, aloe vera, and essential oils.

18. Chemical room deodorizers

Much like air fresheners, plugins like Glade and Febreeze contain nerve-damaging phthalates and lung-irritating VOCs. Clear the air naturally with houseplants, baking soda, or open windows instead.

19. Disposable cleaning wipes

Single-use disinfecting wipes prevent the spread of germs but contain fragrances, preservatives, and quats that can cause contact dermatitis. Use washable microfiber cloths and green cleaning sprays for a plastic-free clean.

20. Pesticides

Conventional bug and weed killers contain neurotoxic organophosphates, carcinogenic glyphosate, and other dangerous chemicals that pollute air and water. Control pests with natural neem oil, diatomaceous earth, essential oils, and other green strategies instead.

21. Mothballs

That scent wafting from your closet is paradichlorobenzene or naphthalene, both possible carcinogens. Use cedar blocks, lavender sachets, or vacuum storage bags to deter moths naturally instead.

22. Chemical fertilizers

Synthetic fertilizers like Miracle-Gro are made from petroleum and can contain asbestos, arsenic, and heavy metals. Instead, nourish your garden with compost tea, manure, bone meal, and other organic options.

23. Weed killer for lawns

Commercial weed killers meant for lawns contain endocrine-disrupting 2,4-D and have been linked to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and Parkinson's disease. Maintain lush grass organically using corn gluten meal as a pre-emergent. Pull weeds by hand or spot treat with vinegar.

24. Flea and tick treatments

Spot-on flea and tick treatments and collars contain nerve-damaging organophosphates, carcinogenic formaldehyde, and endocrine-disrupting phenols. Remove pests manually and use natural deterrents like lavender, mint, cedar, and diatomaceous earth instead.

25. Mold and mildew cleaners

Chemical mold and mildew removers are asthma triggers and possible carcinogens. Kill mold safely with white vinegar, tea tree oil, grapefruit seed extract, or other natural antimicrobials instead. Improve ventilation to prevent recurrence.

26. Conventional dish soaps

Dish soaps like Dawn often contain fragrances, preservatives like formaldehyde, and diethanolamine that can be irritating. Look for plant-based, fragrance-free options, or even make your own dish soap with Castile soap, washing soda, and essential oils.

27. Chemical hair dye

Hair dye contains carcinogenic compounds like aromatic amines and phenylenediamine. Go natural with henna, semi-permanent dyes, or embracing your grey (it's hard, I know). If you do dye, choose an organic salon and get highlights over an all-over dye job.

28. Nail polish and remover

Many polishes and removers contain plasticizers like dibutyl phthalate and ethyl methacrylate, which are toxic. Seek out 10-free, non-toxic polishes made without the worst ingredients. Use acetone-free remover and thoroughly scrub nails afterward to reduce chemical absorption.

29. Lead paint

Older homes may still have lead paint, which can cause developmental delays and other issues if deteriorating paint or dust is ingested. Have your home tested and safely remove lead contamination—especially in homes with young kids.

30. Chemical perfumes and colognes

Fragrances frequently contain hormone disruptors and hundreds of undisclosed chemicals. Seek out phthalate-free, naturally derived scents or use essential oils. Bonus: it's often cheaper too!

31. Toxic makeup

Cosmetics can harbor heavy metals, PFAS, phthalates, and carcinogens. Do research to find non-toxic brands or simplify your beauty routine. Fewer products mean fewer chances for unhealthy exposures.

32. Chemical-treated lawn furniture

Before lounging, check out your patio furniture. Older pieces may be treated with toxic arsenic-based wood preservatives. Replace compromised items and choose sustainably sourced outdoor furniture going forward.

Here's to a fresh new start!

Purging even small amounts of the most harmful toxins can significantly benefit your family’s health—especially vulnerable groups like children and pets. The new year is the perfect time for a reset. Simplify your routines, pare down to safer basics, and make space for what truly matters. 

Appreciate your fresh surroundings and commit to maintaining a healthy haven. Here’s to a happy, healthy 2024!

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