Low-Toxic Living: 5 Home Upgrades Worth Considering

Temps are starting to warm up & the days are getting longer. If you’re like me, all this springtime magic is making you feel super motivated to dive into some deep household cleaning! 

I want to help you maximize this energy & make the most of your spring cleaning this year by incorporating some low-toxic home upgrades.


Because I guarantee that you have things in your home that are harmful to your health. 

Things that you can easily do something about if you only knew. 

Before we get into it, if you’re unfamiliar with the concept of low-toxic living it simply means creating a lifestyle that reduces environmental toxins in your home so you can feel better & live healthily.

By upgrading even just a few of these household items – you’ll reduce your overall toxin load and begin improving your overall health.

The benefits will pass along to your loved ones & even your pets. 

When you create a low-toxic lifestyle, everyone wins. 

So let’s dive in.

My 5 Home Upgrades for Low-Toxic Living 

#1 Replace your pots & pans 

Toss the Teflon, aluminum cookware & foil, copper cookware, & ceramic-coated cookware. Yep. Throw them away, don’t give them away, Why make others sick – right?

Here’s why they have to go: These pots and pans contain harmful toxins. Here’s what they’re made of:

Teflon is considered the most dangerous of all the cookware choices out there because of the PTFE coating. Although the non-stick coating may be appealing at first, it has a dark side. The coating leaches toxins into your food when heated. (I don’t even get why it’s been used in the first place!) Teflon also produces harmful fumes that can make you feel sick. And you may not know that the same fumes are actually fatal to pet birds! Teflon also contains PFOA which has been linked to breast, ovarian & prostate cancer. #byebyeteflon

Aluminum is a known neurotoxic element that has been linked to Alzheimer's & ALS. When it comes to brain health, aluminum is one of the worst offenders.

Copper is important for human health but only in small quantities. Excess copper can lead to heavy metal poisoning. Even coated copper cookware isn’t safe because the coating contains yet another toxic element – nickel.

Ceramic-coated cookware is easy to chip off, causing cadmium & lead to leach into your food. Lead poisoning is nothing to mess around with. It’s known to cause health problems like infertility, abdominal pain, and headaches. In severe cases, lead poisoning can lead to a coma and even death. 

Are you convinced yet?

Here’s what to use instead: 

  • food-grade stainless steel (does not contain nickel or chromium)
  • cast iron cookware (use sparingly to avoid excess iron accumulation)
  • glass cookware 
  • 100% ceramic cookware

These options will reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals and decrease your risk of having health problems down the road. They’re easy to clean and they’re very durable. Using cookware made from durable materials that can tolerate high heat, and resist scratches & denting is so important!

This means the cookware will last longer than traditional options, reducing waste & saving you money in the long run.

#2 Upgrade your food storage 

Toss the Tupperware and whenever possible, avoid those darn plastic baggies and other containers! 

Here’s why they’re on the bad list: All plastic containers are made using powerful chemical bonds. So, in spite of what you may have heard or read, there are no safe plastics anywhere. They leach harmful chemicals like BPAs & phthalates into the food – especially if acidic or hot. 

BPAs disrupt hormones & have been linked to certain types of cancer. 

Phthalates can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs & reproductive systems, just to name a few.

If you’re ready to ditch the bad stuff and use what’s safer, consider the following options:

  • glass containers 
  • stainless steel
  • silicone storage bags 
  • silicone suction lids
  • parchment paper

These alternatives are all more durable than plastic & can last for years and years with proper care. They’re dishwasher safe, making them super easy to clean.

#3 Replace your laundry detergent with nontoxic alternatives 

First off, toss the Tide and Downey. Those sudsy chemical concoctions are no good for you or the environment.

Why they’re bad: Laundry detergents contain a ton of toxic chemicals. These chemicals are absorbed through your skin & inhaled during use. I’m talking about formaldehyde, phthalates, phosphates, chlorine, synthetic fragrances, SLES, something called 1,4-dioxane… and a few others I can’t pronounce. 

Let’s take a look at a few of them. 

1,4-dioxane is a known carcinogen. 

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.

Phosphates are linked to cardiovascular disease and are hazardous to aquatic life.

Phthalates & harmful dyes are powerful endocrine disruptors meaning they alter the way your hormones are able to function. They create damaging ripple effects throughout the body, posing risks to the developing fetus, altering reproductive health, impairing brain function, and causing immune system disorders. Need I say more?

Methylisothiazolinone is a neurotoxin & skin irritant.

The list goes on. And none of it’s good. 

What to use instead:

Each of these will perform as well (if not better) than their toxic counterparts and they won’t make you or your loved ones sick! 

#4 Replace your cleaning products

Toss your household cleaning products. Yep, all of them! Furniture polish, toilet bowl cleaner, air fresheners, glass & oven cleaners, mop pads, & yes – even disinfectant sprays. They’re just as toxic as the laundry detergent you just threw out, maybe worse. These aerosol particles are released every time you use them – and in every room of your home. 

Why they’re bad: As with laundry detergent, household cleaners are filled with harmful chemicals such as ammonia, perchloroethylene (PERC), chlorine, triclosan, and synthetic fragrances. These chemicals can be harmful to your health and the environment and can be absorbed through your skin or inhaled during use.

Ammonia, when inhaled, can irritate the lungs and sinus membranes. Prolonged exposure has been shown to cause chronic bronchitis and even asthma.

2-butoxyethanol can damage the liver, kidneys, and lungs, and lead to pulmonary edema.

PERC is a known neurotoxin & possibly carcinogenic.

Triclosan, which is found in hand sanitizers, can promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria, making antibiotics less effective. It can also be a hormone disruptor as well as a carcinogen. 

Synthetic fragrances might smell great but they have a dark side. Almost all of them are known or suspected to disrupt your hormones, trigger allergies, damage the brain and irritate your lungs. Need I say more? Manufacturers also hide these toxins on their ingredient list by using the word ‘fragrance.’ Sadly, the FDA doesn’t require disclosure of exactly what is being used to add fragrance to commercial products. 

What to use instead: 

There is hope! Try a few of these replacements: 

And if you’re so inclined, you might also enjoy making your own DIY household cleaners. Start with a simple glass cleaner substitute made of vinegar and water!! It’s so simple, easy to make & inexpensive! 

And now, last but certainly not least… household toxin number 5.

#5 Buy a non-toxic mattress & organic bedding 

It might be time to toss out your old mattress. Most mattresses are made with synthetic materials and petroleum-based foam that’s been treated with – you guessed it – harmful chemicals. 

Why they’re bad: Conventional mattresses are covered with flame retardants and have formaldehyde-producing adhesives and even pesticides to keep the bed bugs away. In short, you’re sleeping in a toxic environment every single night. 

Flame retardants cause hormone disruption, and neurological damage and are known to cause cancer. 

Pesticides are implicated in a looooong list of problems ranging from rashes, dizziness, and burning eyes to cancer, birth defects, and neurological damage. Crazy.

Polyurethane foam (aka polyfoam) is linked to cancer and the development of tumors. Polyurethane also harbors mold and mildew

Synthetic latex is produced using a variety of chemicals and contains polyurethane foam. This can release toxic fumes over time & may lead to cancer. 

Conventional cotton is grown using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

What to use instead:

  • organic bedding, made from 100% natural materials like wool, organic cotton, or bamboo
  • buckwheat pillows 
  • sugarcane fiber pillows 

For nontoxic mattresses look for these brands:

Organic mattresses and bedding will inevitably lead to a more comfortable night's sleep and better support making the time you spend with your eyes closed soooo much better. Non-toxic bedding is better able to regulate temperature, resulting in a better night's sleep. 

Living a Low-Toxic Lifestyle

Living a low-toxic lifestyle is definitely an achievable goal. But don’t try to change everything overnight. Detoxing your home is a process and a journey. It will take some time. 

So don’t feel overwhelmed. Start by taking baby steps. Choose one thing that appeals to you most. Once you’ve tackled one, you can move on to the next. 

Rest assured that with every upgrade you make, you’re improving your quality of life! 

Patient Testimonials

Dr Don Sharnowski is a doctor who is above and beyond all other doctors! Probably his most outstanding quality is that he LISTENS to what his patients say. He is willing to explain things to his patients in terms they can understand. Dr Don treats his patients with wisdom, understanding, gentleness, care, encouragement and he is willing to "go the extra mile" to give his patients the proper treatment they need. He does not treat patients like they were on an assembly line or like he is rushing them out the door. Dr Don has fixed many of the problems I had at my first visit, one of which I had endured for 3 years. Dr Don was able to fix that problem in 2 weeks when others had not. Dr Don has also helped me loose 40 lbs so far. My total recovery is still an ongoing process, but should be a cinch with Dr Don's expert help! Thank you, Dr Don! You are an awesome answer to prayers!

Karen G.

Super Awesome Doctor in Overland Park, Kansas!! He really knows his stuff love his Holistic approach. Wish I lived closer so I could see him on the regular, at least we can chat on the regular! Very informative in all aspects of health! Five years ago this man took our health and turned it around 360 degrees. My son got ear infections very often. Both my boys have respiratory issues. My husband asthma and overweight. Myself aches and pains, specifically on my left side and joints. Well needless to say no more ear infections respiratory not nearly as often my husband is 80lbs less and never uses his inhaler . My sons ear infections...What ear infections...They are no longer! Thanks Dr. Don for all you do and have done!!

Lots of Love from The Stevens

Dr Don Sharnowski is truly an amazing Doctor. He listens to his patients and treats in a very complete way. He is very knowledgeable because he never stops learning. He is a great communicator and will help you learn better ways to be healthy if you will actually do what he teaches.

Cassie N.

Don (Dr Sharnowski) is truly one of a kind. He is warm, inviting and incredibly generous with his time, but also really knowledgeable about the body and everything within. You won't find crystal balls here. You'll find a super nice guy in sneakers who also sells farm fresh eggs at the counter. I went in expecting to get adjusted (and was scared, because I'd never seen a chiro before). Instead, what I experienced was someone who actually sat down and listened to my history, connected the dots between several ailments (instead of jumping to prescribe one drug apiece to treat each one), and explained things that no one had ever taken the time to do. I was there about my back specifically, but we talked about my whole health. Instead of just prescribing an anti inflammatory (which is what my other doc did), he explained why we get inflammation in our bodies, and how to help reduce it with what we eat. I've also been on thyroid medication for over 10 years, and he actually explained what the thyroid is, and what the drug I take is, and what it does. But not in a defensive or overly crunchy way. He just openly explained in a way that I could understand it. I highly recommend Don to anyone with a body who wants to feel better. His approach is approachably holistic. Just common sense, whole body-centered treatment.

Megh K.

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