Reduce Your Toxic Load: Choosing Fragrance-Free is a Great Start
I’ve posted other articles about fragrances, and how they contain as many as 200 unknown chemicals that manufacturers are not required to list on the labels. Some of these chemicals can be potentially harmful to your skin and can also exacerbate problems like asthma and allergies. They can be especially harmful to people who are going through cancer treatments.
You may have already started trying to get fragrances out of your life. Maybe you’re looking for products that are labeled as “fragrance-free.” What else can you do to clean up the air your breathe? Here are some tips.
How Do You Know It’s Fragrance-Free?
Finding products without fragrance is sometimes easier said than done. Those that are labeled “fragrance-free” are usually free of artificial and natural scents, including essential oils. Those labeled “unscented,” however, may have other chemicals that mask the scents in the product, so your safest bet is to choose fragrance-free. If you tolerate essential oils okay, then you may be fine with natural products that use essential oils for scent.
Keep Fragrances Away from Your Body
If you want to get rid of the fragrance chemicals in your life, start with your body. Most of our daily products, including shampoo, conditioner, shave gel, aftershave, body wash, face cleanser, toner, moisturizer, hand soap, deodorant, and more all contain fragrances, which means that your body is exposed to countless unknown chemicals on a daily basis. To go fragrance-free, try these tips:
- Avoid using perfumes and colognes and switch to essential oil fragrances when you want something unique on special occasions.
- Choose fragrance-free personal care products whenever possible, especially those products that stay on your body all day long like deodorant and moisturizer. (See my post on where to find safer products.)
- Try to shower before bed so you’re not sleeping in fragrant chemicals.
Keep Fragrances Out of Your Clothes
The next most common place for fragrances, after your personal care products, is your laundry products. Detergents, softeners, dryer sheets, and stain removers are all full of fragrances, each one a different cocktail of chemicals. To go fragrance-free with your clothing, try these tips:
- Wash new clothes before you wear them. New clothes are full of chemicals. Adding baking soda to your wash will help get rid of some of the fragrances.
- Choose fragrance-free laundry, softening, and dryer products.
- Remember that your clothes retain the fragrances you come into contact with. If you pump gas, take a flight on an airplane with fragrances surrounding you, or become exposed to smoke, these scents will remain on your clothes. Wash right away.
- Air out your dry cleaning in the garage before bringing it into the house.
Keep Fragrances Out of Your Home
We don’t often think about it, but our homes can be full of fragrant chemicals wafting about. Here are some tips for clearing up your personal space:
- Avoid air fresheners—they’re full of potentially harmful chemicals that have been linked with hormone disruption.
- Use natural cleaners or homemade cleaners. Regular bathroom and kitchen cleaners are full of dangerous chemicals.
- Consider purchasing an air purifier.
- Check with the manufacturer before buying carpet and furniture, and choose those made with fewer toxic chemicals.
- Dust and vacuum frequently.
- Open a window as often as you can to air out your space.
If you try some of these tips, let me know how they work for you, and if you feel better with fewer fragrances in your life!
Have you taken steps to get rid of fragrances in your life? Please share your ideas.
Photo courtesy Robbie Khan via Flickr.com.