We’re now on article three of the Reducing Chemicals in Your Life series. The first two posts can be found by clicking the links below:
In this article, we will cover reducing the amount of chemicals in your kitchen and will cover everything from cookware to cleaning products. As always, if you have your own suggestions from products you’ve used, or things you’ve done, please leave a note in the comments section and share your thoughts with the community!
Non-stick cookware, particularly those made with Teflon, were quite the rage for a while due to how easy they were to clean. However, as health risks associated with Teflon have been brought to light, more and more people are switching back to more traditional forms of cookware.
(While it is generally agreed these are safer, some of them do have their own drawbacks. Plus, they can be pretty expensive. Long story short, do your own research.)
- Stainless Steel – these look great and hold up relatively well, however, since they are made up of a variety of metals (nickel and chromium, among others), the metals can seep into your food, though, the amount could be negligible.
- Anodized Aluminum – this type of cookware seems to be all the rage lately since these are made in such a way that they are not only non-stick and scratch-resistant, but that the aluminum doesn’t seep into your food when cooking.
- Cast Iron – these are incredibly sturdy, heat evening, will last you a long time. One thing to note, they can seep iron into your foods. This by itself might not be the worst thing in the world, but it is worth noting especially if you have iron sensitivity or get plenty of iron from your regular diet. That being said, cleaning cast iron cookware after you use it is quite the chore since you’re supposed to “season” it after each use.
- Ceramic – while I’ve never used ceramic cookware, it apparently has the even heat distribution of cast iron, but cleans up much, much easier.
Long story short, if you’re using plastic food containers – especially ones that are a few years old – there is at least a decent chance that they are made with a compound called BPA, which has mimics estrogens, and has a list of potential health risks, including potentially causing problems with fertility.
I use glass food storage containers since you can get around the whole BPA issue. Just remember, if you’re going to put the container in the microwave, make sure you take the plastic lid off!
Antibacterial soaps have been all the rage as we try to find was to disinfect our homes, but many experts say the risks are not worth the rewards. These risks include helping to create drug-resistant germs (remember, they reproduce much more quickly than humans, therefore are able to evolve much more quickly, too) as well as killing the good bacteria your body needs.
So, what should you use? How about just regular old soap and some warm water? Nice and easy!
I’m not going to lie, I love the convenience of my dishwasher. Just a quick rinse in the sink and then let a machine do all the hard work! However, there may be some dangers in letting your dishwasher use conventional dishwashing detergent, which may contain the following: chlorine, alkyl phenoxy ethanols (APEs), dichloromethane (DCM), diethanolamine (DEA), dioxane, phosphates, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, and synthetic fragrances.
Hard to pronounce and no idea what it means? Maybe it shouldn’t be touching your cookware, plates, bowls, and silverware. Just saying!
So, what can you use instead? I’ve heard of people using a mixture of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap and lemon juice.
I saved this one for last, simply because it’s the easiest. Common household cleaners are great at cleaning but, in many cases, are horrible for you. For a complete rundown, check out the American Lung Association’s website. It’s beyond eye-opening.
So, what can you do instead of using unhealthy cleaners? Glad you asked! Just make your own simple mixture with lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar) with baking soda. Or, like the dishwashing detergent, clean with Dr. Bronner’s castile soap.
Disclosure: The opinions expressed above are 100% my own. This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”