You’re hot on recycling and use eco-conscious beauty products to ensure what you lather on your skin is entirely non-toxic. At the end of a busy day, you arrive home and light a relaxing candle. You’re not sure where it’s from or what it contains, but it smells delightful. Stop right there! You were doing so great until that point. Your innocent-looking candle could, in fact, be releasing toxic fumes that you’re then breathing in. And your candles aren’t the only culprit. Read on to discover hidden sources of toxins and the pollution-proof swaps you can make for a healthier, happier home.


Swap your…paraffin wax candles for those using all-natural wax. Paraffin wax is made from petroleum waste, which when burned releases toxins and harmful carcinogenic chemicals into the air. It’s a horrible thought, but when breathed in, these toxins have been shown to be as damaging as second-hand smoke. But it’s not all doom and gloom for your favourite flames! There’s no need to give up your relaxing me-time – you just need to find a new candle of choice.

Our favourite is Neom Organics. Their gloriously fragranced candles are made from 100% natural vegetable wax; a renewable resource that has little effect on the environment. They’re also more beneficial to your health than their synthetic counterparts as the lack of toxins and pollutants are less likely to trigger allergies and won’t contaminate your lovely clean air. At the same time, the calming (or energising, depending which you choose!) essential oils work to improve your sense of well-being. As anyone who already owns one of their candles will attest, in no way have Neom Organics sacrificed quality, aroma or aesthetics for their ethics – each one is even more beautiful and indulgently scented than the last!


Swap your…toxic cleaning products for eco-alternatives!
Keeping your humble abode spotless might be rightfully high on your agenda, but next time you’re re-stocking your cleaning cupboard, take a quick glance at your go-to antibacterial sprays and the ingredients they contain. One that has found particular fame for all the wrong reasons is a group of chemicals called phthalates. Added to cleaning products, plastic packaging and cosmetics for their ability to bind other ingredients together and sometimes for fragrance too, these damaging toxins are easily absorbed into your skin and have been linked to asthma, infertility, diabetes and more – none of which are good. Some other cleaning product offenders include chlorine which can affect the lungs and respiratory system and the throat irritant butoxyethanol.

In reality, there’s no need for harmful additives! Natural options work just as well and play zero havoc with your health. One of the best we’ve found is Kinn Living: a British mother-and-daughter brand that creates non-toxic and plant-based products for body and home. Their fantastic antibacterial household cleaning range is enriched with essential oils for delightful fragrances while you clean and has a neutral pH that’s gentle on your skin. Their formulas are ECO-certified and free from all the nasties you don’t want to think about (read: petrochemicals).

Another brand we love is Method. Now available in most supermarkets, their naturally-derived antibacterial formula uses lactic acid and biodegradable ingredients. Each product in their line (which includes laundry detergent, hand wash and washing-up liquid as well as surface cleaners) is clinically tested for allergy and irritation concerns before landing on your supermarket shelf. The year of 2012 saw this innovative brand join forces with Ecover, resulting in the largest green cleaning company in the world – not something to be scoffed at!


Swap your…toxic room sprays for natural diffusers
We’re not going to name any names, but the brands we’re talking about here are the ones you know very well. They might be (quite literally) household names and a big part of the billion-dollar home fragrance industry (yes, billion dollar), but what you’re innocently spritzing into the air for a bit of floral or ocean freshness might not be as innocent as you think.

Aerosol propellants, petroleum distillates and formaldehyde to name just a few, are contributing to pollution in a big way and having damaging health effects from nausea and difficulty breathing to skin issues and (unfortunately) more. To make things worse, many of the toxins they contain do not, by law, have to be listed on the product label. Ridiculous yes, but now that you know, let’s look at some alternatives you can enjoy instead.

Reed diffusers are a great way to keep a lovely subtle scent in your home at all times. For those without toxins, try Valentte. This luxury skincare and home fragrance brand use essential oils derived from flowers to deliver beautiful, mood-enhancing aromas. Don’t want to forgo your spray? The room mists from British brand Organic Trevarno are a great non-toxic option. Lovingly hand-made on Trevarno farm in Cornwall, their room mists combine pure distilled water with a thoughtful selection of essential oils to scent and refresh your home. Our favourite is the Lime & Sweet Basil – it’s a little spritz of heaven!


Swap your…artificial foliage for indoor plants!
Easier to keep looking lush and green we’ll admit, but that’s where the benefits of artificial over real plant life ends. Adding indoor plants to your living room is an easy, natural way to cleanse your home of unwanted toxins and can make a surprising amount of difference in improving the quality of the air.

For city-dwellers in particular (where fumes are the norm), indoor plants are your saviour. Some of the most effective include spider plants, dracaena plants, Boston ferns and peace lilies. Off to the garden centre, we go!

words by Zoe Louise Cronk

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