Photo courtesy of Hayley Feldman
A Room-by-Room Guide
to Detoxing Your Home
Created with Avocado
Many harmful (or potentially harmful) chemicals that are regulated or outright banned in other countries are unregulated in the US. And they end up in our homes. It’s difficult enough to read a label on a supplement or beauty product and sort out what’s safe and what’s not. But harmful chemicals hiding in furniture, mattresses, and other home products may be even harder to catch: Sheet pans and throw pillows, you might have noticed, don’t typically come with a full list of the materials they’re made of. Nor do furniture, mattresses, linens, carpets, cookware, shower curtains, or cleaning products.
Even when brands claim their products are made with healthier materials, it’s difficult to verify whether those claims can be trusted. Terms like “natural,” “green,” and “clean” aren’t regulated, so you can’t rely on those labels to tell you whether a product is safe. Instead, you should look for third-party certifications that can guarantee a product lives up to its claims.
At goop, our science team keeps an ever-evolving, future-forward list of ingredients linked to harmful health effects, which we use to evaluate every product in our shop. For personal-care products you find elsewhere, the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database ranks product safety on a numerical scale. For cleaning products, see the EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.
We’re not suggesting throwing out everything you own. But when an opportunity comes along to make a healthier choice, consider taking it. Replace conventional cleaning products as you go through them, swap out your old candles for ones made with a transparent ingredient list, and toss your nonstick pans when they start to get scratched up. Appliances that remove toxicants from your home environment—like air purifiers and water filters—make a big difference, too.
Considering how much time you spend in contact with your bed—sleeping, sex, spending a long morning with a latte and a book—a mattress made with safe materials is critical. Any mattress brand that claims it is nontoxic, natural, or organic should provide legitimate third-party certifications that ensure that your mattress contains no petroleum-based polyurethane foams, flame retardants, or any other potentially harmful chemicals that could off-gas into your home and pollute the air. Look for: Made Safe to confirm a mattress is nontoxic; Greenguard Gold to confirm it’s low-emissions; and GOTS, GOLS, and USDA Organic to confirm its materials are organic.
The luxury mattress from Avocado sets a higher standard. It’s crafted with 100 percent natural materials, including Dunlop latex, sustainably harvested wool, and organic cotton. It’s needle-tufted by hand in Avocado’s Los Angeles factory. It has all those certifications plus a few more. And drifting off on it is a dream.
Avocado Luxury Mattress Avocado, from $2,499SHOP NOW
For your nightstand: an air purifier to remove indoor pollutants that might affect your sleep quality and your health. This one treats air with a carbon filter, titanium dioxide, and UV light, and it has an insect-catching feature—clutch when you start hearing something buzzing around the room after lights-out.
Schatzii Hugo 3-in-1 Air Purifier and Insect Catcher goop, $299SHOP NOW
A single-occupancy sauna that stashes under the bed is the detox tool we didn’t know we needed—and, once we tried it, couldn’t live without. Wrap yourself up in it, let the infrared heat do its thing, and emerge feeling brand-new.
The process used to bleach paper products, including toilet paper, creates chemicals called dioxins and furans, which can irritate the skin. Which is why we recommend switching to bamboo toilet paper from No. 2, which is free of chlorine bleach, fragrance, dyes, and BPA plastic packaging. (The paper wrapping No. 2 uses instead is Responsible Forestry Certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.) And because bamboo doesn’t require nearly as much water, space, or time to grow as wood does, it’s also much less taxing on the environment than conventional TP, which is responsible for between 10 to 15 percent of deforestation worldwide, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
No. 2 Toilet Paper goop, $37SHOP NOW
If you would prefer to avoid fluoride toothpastes, choose something made with nano-hydroxyapatite (n-Ha) instead. N-Ha is a compound that works to remove plaque and desensitize and remineralize teeth. It’s been the gold-standard ingredient in Japan for decades. We like the toothpastes from BOKA and Bite.
Bite Toothpaste Bites goop, $48SHOP NOW
Skip conventional nonstick—it’s made with synthetic plastic coatings like Teflon that might leech PFOAs into your food if the coating gets damaged. Instead, choose cookware made with stainless steel, cast-iron, and nontoxic ceramic. We made goop Home’s 10-piece set with GreenPan’s nonstick, dishwasher-safe Thermolon Minerals Pro technology. It also happens to be really pretty, done in creamy ecru with gold finishings.
Plastic baggies are typically made from polyethylene or polypropylene and often get tossed after a single use. Stasher’s silicone bags contain none of that nonsense and last about 3,000 uses—after which you can return them to Stasher, which will repurpose the silicone into playground pebbles.
Stasher Reusable Sandwich Bag Set goop, $24SHOP NOW
Conventional candles, air fresheners, and room sprays use any number of endocrine disruptors, skin and lung irritants, and potentially toxic compounds as fragrance. Which is why we opt for clean, soy-based candles and well-made essential oils from companies that are transparent about their ingredient lists. vitruvi makes some of our all-time most-loved essential oils—we bundled up our current favorites into a pretty pack—and a gorgeous stone diffuser, too.
Throw pillow inserts are typically made with polyurethane foams and polyester fabrics. For a long time, finding ones made with good-for-you materials was near impossible. So Avocado started making them. This throw pillow insert is made with only certified-organic materials: It’s pleasantly overstuffed with renewable, ultrafluffy kapok fiber and upcycled GOLS-certified latex left over from the mattress-making process.
Avocado Organic Throw Pillow Insert Avocado, $49SHOP NOW
Swap out conventionally-fragranced laundry detergents—they could be filled with hormone-disrupting phthalates, which are used to make fragrances stick—for something with clean ingredients. Blueland’s laundry tablets are made without phthalates, parabens, or ammonia, and they’re made without plastic, either. (The water-soluble plastic used for conventional detergent pods may seem to disappear in the wash, but about 75 percent of it does not biodegrade and ends up in the environment as microplastics.)
Fabric softeners and dryer sheets don’t actually soften the fibers in your clothes and linens—they work by depositing a coating of positively charged particles onto your laundry, which reduces static between layers of fabric. They may also come loaded with preservatives, colorants, quaternary ammonium compounds (which can trigger asthma and disrupt reproductive health), and fragrance. The Environmental Working Group recommends trading in-wash fabric softener for distilled white vinegar and dryer sheets for wool dryer balls.