A Helpful Tool for Determining if Your Household Products are Harmful to Your Health
Updated: Sep 7
Long lists of chemicals in the ingredient list on just about every household cleaning product and beauty care item are hard to decipher. How do you know if those ingredients are harming your health? If like me, you're not a chemist. You will find this one resource to be helpful in navigating the chemicals in everyday products, and the risks they may or may not pose on your well-being.
Environmental Working Group has a free database called Skin Deep. With individual chemicals and name brand products that have been analyzed and given a number score to represent the determined level of toxicity, this online resource has made my life a little easier. (Link to Skin Deep here.)
What is EWG’s Skin Deep database useful for?
1. Determining the healthiest products available for purchase.
If your goal is to find the most natural household and beauty products available, you will find EWG’s Skin Deep to be invaluable. Since the analyzing and rating of products is already done, there is no work for you.
2. Finding the least toxic option within your price range.
I cannot afford to buy the most natural products on the market for every aspect of my life, so I have to make compromises that fit our budget. I think of these as middle-ground solutions. There are still budget friendly cleaning and beauty products that have somewhat low hazard scores. Obviously not as low as more expensive totally natural products, but you can rest easy that you made the healthiest decision with the money you have to spend.
3. Narrowing down a search for a specific product you need.
The most recent application I had for this tool was in the area of deodorant. Unfortunately, the natural deodorant I was using was discontinued. I knew I wanted an aluminum free substitute, and found myself trying to choose between multiple options. Upon checking the ingredients and scores in Skin Deep, I was easily able to narrow down my choice. I was even able to determine what scent I wanted based on their ratings of the ingredients involving the fragrance.
How do I best utilize this tool with the products I already have in my home?
Start by looking up products you routinely use. If you're happy with the health score rating on it, no further action is required. If what you see concerns you, search for different products. You can easily enter a generic entry such as "laundry detergent" into the search bar and filter the results by the ones with the best scores. From this point, you can page through and find alternatives to your current product.
It is overwhelming trying to check everything around your house at once, especially if you decide you need to switch to healthier products. I have found it to be simpler to pick one area to wage war on at a time. I recently decided to check my laundry room detergents and chemicals. I have decided that my current detergent wasn’t too bad, and I found what seemed like the best option in my price range for buying a scented detergent. I do plan to make my own laundry products in the future, as I know that would ultimately be the cheapest and healthiest for my family. (Check out Allison’s homemade laundry detergent here.) My next battle will be on the shampoos, body wash, and conditioners my family uses. Breaking this down into manageable categories makes it a lot easier of an undertaking.
When I look for new products, I check them out on Skin Deep first. I also research the products that I currently use just so I am aware of what is in them, and so I can maybe find a healthier alternative for my family. EWG’s Skin Deep makes decisions on household and beauty products a lot easier for me, and I believe everyone would benefit greatly from this resource as well.