Sunshine Natural Food & Grocery | Grants Pass, OR

Keep Your Home Free Of Toxins

Keep Your Home Free Of Toxins

Become An Indoor “Environmentalist”

 Whenever environmental pollution is mentioned invariably thoughts of polluted air and streams or possibly electromagnetic pollution from high voltage power lines or cell towers come to mind. We seldom think about pollution where we spend most of our time and the only environment where have almost total control which is, inside our homes.

Many people understand that when we remodel or update, new paints, carpet and other building materials can off-gas toxic chemicals, but that generally occurs only once a decade or or so. What about considering the chemicals we contact every day from household cleaners, laundry soaps and personal grooming products?.

It’s accepted that commercially prepared toilet and oven cleaners are usually highly corrosive and inhaling their fumes can be extremely irritating to to the eyes and respiratory tract. The package warnings are pretty clear.

However, due to the fact that clothing is in contact with our skin 24\7, laundry products deserve our utmost attention. Our skin is very permeable and quickly absorbs outside substances directly into the bloodstream. Removing stains and soil from clothes and replacing them with toxic detergent residues is not a good trade-off.

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a surfactant, detergent, and emulsifier commonly used in thousands of laundry products, industrial cleaners, shampoos and soaps because it is a very inexpensive foaming agent. However, in some ways, it carries a very high price.

According to the Environmental Working Group, research studies on Sodium Lauryl Sulfate have shown potential links to…

  • Irritation of eyes
  • Organ toxicity
  • Developmental/reproductive toxicity
  • Neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, ecotoxicology, and cellular changes
  • Possible mutations and cancer.

Unfortunately, laundry detergent manufacturers are not required to list it on their labels.

Another very real contributor to in-home pollution dangers are fabric softeners and dryer sheets. Even though they may make your clothes feel soft and smell fake-fresh, fabric softeners and dryer sheets are some of the most toxic products used in the laundering process

Fragrances added to many laundry products and other cleaners, may cause acute effects such as respiratory irritation, headache, sneezing, and watery eyes in sensitive individuals or allergy and asthma sufferers. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has found that one-third of the substances used in the fragrance industry are toxic. But because the chemical formulas of fragrances are considered trade secrets, companies aren’t required to list their ingredients but merely label them as contain “fragrance.”

Remember: clean, doesn’t have a smell. If a product promises “April Freshness”, an “Irish Spring” or sunshine and fresh mountain air in a box, be wary. If it sounds too ridiculous to be true, you can be sure it is.


When gauging ecological claims of laundry and cleaning products , look for specifics. For example, “biodegradable in 3 to 5 days” holds a lot more meaning than “biodegradable,” as most substances will eventually break down if given enough time and the right ecological conditions. Also, statements like “no solvents,” “no phosphates,” or “plant-based” are more meaningful than vague terms like “ecologically-friendly” or “natural.”‘

A few safe, simple ingredients like soap, water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and borax, aided by a little elbow grease and a coarse sponge for scrubbing, can take care of most household cleaning needs. They can also save you lots of money wasted on unnecessary specialized cleaners.

Dr Bronner’s has been making organic soaps for over 150 years and their liquid castille soaps diluted in water have hundreds of household uses. All of their scents come from organic essential oils. Citrasolv concentrate, natural degreaser, is exceptionally effective and very economical when diluted in water.

We’ve all heard accounts of tough, 90 year old geezers with cast-iron constitutions who attribute their longevity to smoking a pack-a-day along with 2 or 3 shots of Scotch. On the other hand, we also hear stories of people who are so delicate and sensitive they practically get allergic reactions by merely reading about a bad air quality day. The majority of us fall somewhere in between and would be wise to consciously avoid daily exposure to chemicals that may cause damaging long-term health effects like cancer or hormonal imbalances, even if those effects are not immediately obvious.