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How To Reduce Chemicals & Toxins In Your Home That Could Be Causing Autoimmune Flares

AutoimmuneMom note: Our friends at researched common household chemicals and toxins that sneak into our homes under a variety of names, and can be a root cause contributor to our autoimmune flares and symptoms. Thank you so much to them for this post.

You may not be able to protect your kids from getting their feelings hurt or keep them from getting the occasional sprained ankle in a soccer game. But you can protect them from inhaling or absorbing harmful chemicals that can be contained in everything from cleaning products to food.

While reading every label may be a little challenging, you and your family can live fuller, healthier lives with a little bit of research and attention. Here are a few items to keep an eye on next time you stop by the home improvement or grocery store.

Cleaning Supplies

If you hunt through your cabinets, you may find that most of your cleaning products have warning labels. Even if you use them in the proper context and in the instructed amounts, the chemicals contained in these products can still cause headaches, respiratory problems, and ear, nose, and throat irritation–and some have even been proven to cause hormonal imbalances.

In fact, if your kids get sick pretty often, you might want to take a step back before you pin it all on pollen or germs at school. If you’re using cleaning products containing harmful chemicals like phthalates (usually not listed, but often an element of “fragrance”), triclosan, and ammonia.

Here’s a good rule of thumb as you weed out toxins from your home: the shorter the ingredient list, the better. It isn’t difficult to make perfectly effective DIY cleaners using simple ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, and castile soap. Install filters on your shower heads and sinks to keep additional harmful chemicals out of the picture.

You can also install a vacuum filter to keep tracked-in pesticides and carpet cleaner chemicals from circulating in the air as you pull them from the carpet.


Paint can contain solvents and volatile organic compounds (VOC) that endanger not only the people applying it, but also the people who live in the house. Solvents are inhaled and absorbed into the lungs, attributing to sinus issues, asthma. At higher quantities, these same chemicals can cause central nervous system damage and cancer. Long term exposure to solvents can even contribute to dementia.

Thankfully, there are a handful of alternatives to traditional paint. Water-based paints (as opposed to solvent-based) don’t release toxic fumes, and eco paint specifically is an even safer option.

But whether or not you choose safer paint for your next remodeling project, make sure to wear a mask when you’re stripping off old wallpaper or making any major changes that involve replacing old materials.

Hygiene Products

One of the biggest boogie men involved in healthy personal care products is fragrance. Even natural, botanical fragrances can irritate skin when you apply them to sensitive areas like the scalp or face. Synthetic fragrances, even more.

And because fragrances in beauty and personal care products are considered a “trade secret,” manufacturers are not required to actually admit what these mysterious “parfums” are concocted of. If you’re experiencing irritations, check your deodorant, shampoo, soap, face wash, and skin care products for fragrance.

You might want to also check for sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulphate, which are contained in just about any product that lathers. These chemicals are harsh enough to strip tissues of their natural, needed oils.

Other harmful ingredients like triclosan (found in antibacterials), mineral oil (what baby oil is completely composed of), and hormone-disrupting chemicals (like diethanolamine (DEA), monoethanolamine (MEA) , and triethanolamine (TEA) found in shampoos and deodorants) are best left to industrial products rather than your shower caddy.

Thankfully, the right kinds of products can be found at organic markets, nutrition stores, and even your nearest drug store. While it may be difficult to give up your favorite scented shampoo, save the fragrance for the perfume. Spare your most sensitive tissues the pain of unneeded chemicals with fragrance-free and sulfate-free skin products.

Don’t stop at making your house a safe place to live–make sure you’re using eco-friendly, non-toxic chemicals in your yard as well. Focusing on these areas might mean a good deal of homework, purging, investing, and adjusting your lifestyle, but it will be incredibly rewarding to know you’re protecting yourself and your family from so many of the sneaky, unregulated chemicals that can harm them inside and outside of your home.

For more tips and tricks, head to


About the Author
Hannah West is a soon-to-be published Young Adult author based in Dallas, TX. She specializes in fiction but enjoys dabbling in diverse writing projects.

This blog post was originally published by, written by Hannah West, and first published on Jul 9, 2015.

This post contains the opinions of the author. Autoimmune Association is not a medical practice and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is your responsibility to seek diagnosis, treatment, and advice from qualified providers based on your condition and particular circumstances. Autoimmune Association does not endorse nor recommend any products, practices, treatment methods, tests, physicians, service providers, procedures, clinical trials, opinions or information available on this website. Your use of the website is subject to our Privacy Policy.

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