Why Household Products Set Me Off and How Going Low Tox Changed My Health

The other day I read a fascinating (disturbing) blog post that depicted FRAGRANCE as the new second hand smoke. You can read it in full here. Below is an excerpt followed by some toxin free, super simple, gorgeous recipes using 100% pure essential oils and easy to source, non toxic ingredients.

“Trying to link the past with the present fragrance industry unfortunately reveals a radical disconnect and departure from the original therapeutic purpose and use of pure essential oils. Today’s synthetic fragrances are a far cry from the healing balms treasured so much by the ancient world that some were worth more than gold.   Instead of being medicinal, today’s fragranced products are associated with diabetes, obesity, autism, ADD/ADHD and hormone disruption.. Sadly not only the one wearing the fragrance is affected, but also the indoor air quality and those sharing the space are impacted. From pure to perverse, it is twisted irony that the word  fragrance has now gained infamy as the new secondhand smoke when the etymology of the word perfume comes from the Latin phrase, “per” meaning “through” and “fumus” meaning “smoke”.

The emerging awareness of this very “volatile” situation reveals problems much more pervasive and dangerous than tobacco smoke. Most everyone washes their clothes in detergents and fabric softeners containing fragrances that release toxic chemicals on the skin and into the air all day long.  At night they sleep in pajamas and on sheets washed in the same.  Because of this, people are awash in fragrances twenty four hours a day. When people go to a public place, they are sharing what is now being called “secondhand fragrance”. This is the combination of chemicals being released into the public air space from air fresheners, cleaning products, and scented candles plus all the products people are wearing (from hair spray, shampoo, clothes, to perfume, etc). Everyone is involuntarily breathing contaminated air even if they choose to not wear fragranced products. It’s time to clear the air and prioritize human health, not economic interest. Already lines are being drawn between two fiercely opposing camps – the National Perfumers Guild and Fragrance Houses versus the “Anti-Fragrance Activists.”

What could be wrong with a beautiful fragrance? Nothing, if it is a genuine and authentic plant derived, organic or wildcrafted unadulterated essenial oil. Unfortunately with ease of production of cheap synthetic chemicals we have moved away from using unadulterated and safe plants. It’s now time to go back to what our ancestors safely used and STAY there.

When you say fragrance or parfum listed as an ingredient on a product it actually represents a trade secret recipe that could be made up of hundreds of synthetic chemicals from a reservoir of 5000 that do not have to be disclosed or tested for safety. Alarming.

“According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) study, 72% of products with the ingredient “fragrance” contained endocrine disruptors called phthalates. Phthalates have been linked to diabetes, obesity, liver and breast cancer, hormone disruption affecting fertility and development as well as linked to ADHD and Autism in first and third trimester prenatal exposure. The National Academy of Sciences, working with an expert panel, stated that there may be cancer-causing chemicals in fragrance recipes, but there is no way for the consumer to make informed decisions. Up to 95% of these chemicals are derived from petrochemicals that are known to cause cancer, birth defects, nervous system disorders, asthma, and allergies. To make matters even worse for the unsuspecting public, many products labeled as “unscented” are actually the fragranced product with the addition of another masking fragrance.  The use of synthetic chemicals to mimic natural fragrances has become an insidious underminer of health, but they are not the only subversive in the fragrance industry.”

Unfortunately the term “natural fragrance” or “essential oil” on an ingredient list doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe either. In a study analyzing 25 top selling products, green, natural and organic fragranced products emitted just as many hazardous chemicals as regular fragranced products. That’s because most essential oils in consumer products are processed with a toxic solvent. In addition, essential oils containing terpenes such as pine and citrus oils react with ozone in surrounding air to create secondary pollutants such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone, and ultrafine particles.” Full article available here.

Even the National Eczema Association of America recognises the following as problematic.. as well as many other things in our environment.

  • Soaps and detergents,
  • Shampoos, dish-washing liquids
  • Bubble Bath
  • Disinfectants like chlorine

While many argue that all of these chemicals are safe in small amounts it’s the combination of how many are used on a daily basis that is concerning and more importantly “it’s the gradual, cumulative effects of long-term, repeated exposures that are the real concern.” 

*NOTE.. the essential oils I use and recommend are doTERRA essential oils which are 100% pure, are not processed with solvents and do not contain, pesticides, synthetics, fillers or anything else that we shouldn’t be inhaling or using on our skin/in our homes. What’s more they are sourced indigenously from their natural habitat in an ethical/sustainable model that supports Australian farmers and farmers globally and means that the end product is not only pure but also potent and holds amazing therapeutic and energetic value. You can read more about why I love doTERRA here. You can find out more about purchasing the oils wholesale or retail or becoming a Wellness Advocate here.

Following are my favourite recipes that I use and love in my own home. I was diagnosed with chronic asthma at the age of three and spent a lot of my childhood in hospital, I was on the HIGHEST dose preventatives possible until just a few years ago and was told I would need to be medicated for the rest of my life. Interestingly since I started eating well and completely eliminating toxic chemicals from my home and personal care regime I no longer have ANY symptoms and am completely unmedicated. Of course I carry medications in case I have an attack as asthma is life threatening and I worked with my doctor to bring the medication down slowly but it’s pretty amazing being free of medication. Oh I also don’t sneeze 250 times before I’ve even had breakfast or have dry, scaly hands and skin.

The following can all be purchased at wholesale prices when you open your own doTERRA Account.


Instead of toxic perfumes try a pure-fume instead. My favourite is Whisper blend for Women. It’s sexy, divine and will have you smelling like a total goddess and it’s safe as it’s a blend of pure Patchouli Leaf, Bergamot Peel, Hawaiian Sandalwood Wood, Rose Flower, Vanilla Bean Absolute, Jasmine Flower, Cinnamon Bark, Vetiver Root, Labdanum Leaf/Stem, Cocoa Seed and Ylang Ylang Flower diluted in Fractionated Coconut Oil.

Cool thing is it smells different on everyone! Try it, have some friends put it on their wrists and smell it on each of them. This is because it combines with each individual’s chemistry to create a beautiful, unique, and personal fragrance

whisper doterra

Daryl Blend

Perfect for men and women

Three Drops Citrus Bliss

One Drop Passion

Dilute with Fractionated Coconut Oil


I actually just use a drop or two of Manuka essential oil (available from the Australian warehouse only sorry international friends!). It seriously works ALL day long.

Mellow Mumma Blend

This can be used as both a pure-fume and deodorant, I found it on Hayley Hobson’s site years ago and have been obsessed ever since and I find it extremely effective.

25 Drops Citrus Bliss

10 Drops Hawaiian Sandalwood

10 Drops Patchouli

10 Drops Ylang Ylang

Fill with Fractionated Coconut Oil

All Purpose Cleaning Spray

This spray is perfect for cleaning hard surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom and is not only safe but is actually extremely effective. Citrus oils cut through grease and grime like nothing else and all the oils used get rid of any nasties.

Use 1/4 Cup White Vinegar

30 drops of Essential Oils of Your Choice


Honestly just jam ALL the Citrus Oils in there. It smells so damn good and your house will be delicious AND sparkly clean.

5 drops Grapefruit

5 drops Lemon

5 drops Lime

5 drops Wild Orange

5 drops On Guard

and try 5 drops Eucalyptus or Peppermint on top for good measure.

If you’d like beautiful labels and recipes like the one pictured below check out my friends and leaders Amy & Kate’s business Wilde Essence + Co and their Clean & Fresh label kit which includes recipes and labels for Surface Spray, Glass Cleaner, Bathroom Cleaner, Mould Cleaner, Air Freshener and Hand Wash. I love all their kits!

You can also find LOADS more DIY cleaning and recipes for the home on the doTERRA Blog.


Body Wash

I’m all about the super simple, long lasting time saves so I just buy a big old bottle of unscented castile soap open it up and put in 5 drops of Grapefruit & 5 drops of Douglas Fir. It’s a super refreshing and invigorating combo to wake up with in your morning shower.

Also try my trick of a couple of drops of AromaTouch on the floor of the shower in the morning and breathe in the hot steam. It’s a relaxing blend but also invigorating and the Basil and Peppermint will help support your adrenals and energy system!

doTERRA also sell an awesome pre-made Body Wash if you prefer.


Most commercial toothpastes contain sodium lauryl sulfate, a known carcinogen (cancer causing) and major skin irritant as well as fluoride, I am so not down for calcifying my pineal gland and dumbing down my IQ.

I LOVE using doTERRA On Guard Natural Whitening Toothpaste. It really has made my teeth whiter and I don’t have any of the sensitivity I used to have. I also love the taste. A WAY better low tox option for the family.

on guard toothpaste

Dishwasher Tablets

1 cup baking soda
¼ cup citric acid
1 tablespoon doTERRA On Guard Cleaner Concentrate
5 drops Grapefruit or Lime essential oil

  1. Put baking soda, citric acid, doTERRA On Guard Cleaner Concentrate, and Grapefruit oil in a mixing bowl. Mix together until the mixture is an even consistency.
  2. Place in silicon molds and let sit for four hours. Remove tabs.
  3. Store in an airtight container.
  4. Use in dishwasher in place of store-bought dishwasher tablets. This recipe originally posted here.

If you can’t be stuffed making your own these are my favourite store bought ones. Just add a few drops of Lime to the rinse square section of your dishwasher to get rid of that rank dishwasher smell and have all your glass sparkling beautifully and help cut through grease and grime.


Commercial fabric softeners contain numerous toxic chemicals “readily absorbed” into your skin and lungs, causing numerous reproductive and developmental problems. More here.

Instead try adding a few drops of Purify essential oil blend for amazing smelling, super soft sheets, towels and clothes.

I use the On Guard laundry liquid for a low tox option and avoid commercial powders and liquids.


I have had horrible acne since I was about 16 and it’s only in the last 12 months my skin has really started to clear up with decent nutrition, balancing my hormones using ClaryCalm on my wrists and abdomen each day in the week leading up to and during my bleed.

I take the doTERRA Lifelong Vitality Supplements, Terrazyme and PB Assist and about every 3-6 do the doTERRA Cleanse and use Zendocrine and GX Assist because what’s within will reflect on the outside and gut health/nutrition has a huge amount to do with your skin.

I also notice a massive difference in my skin if I’m drinky dodgy tap water (I start breaking out big time) so drinking filtered water is a must.

I never miss my monthly facial with my girl Natalie from Kindred Toxin Free Facials and I use some of the products in her range alongside the doTERRA Verage Skincare Collection. A natural, plant based and essential oil infused range. It is stunning!

Also top tip if you start getting a pimple dab a little Purify essential oil on it, it will bring it to the surface, dry it out and clear it up WAY faster.

Insect Repellant

This has got to be one of the most toxic products by far in any home. “Most insect repellants out there are loaded with toxic chemicals, including the pesticide DEET, which is so poisonous that even the Environmental Protection Agency says you should wash it off your skin when you return indoors, avoid breathing it in and not spray it directly on your face. Think about it–if this chemical can kill mosquitoes, it can likely do some harm to other life forms too.” More info here.

So I use our TerraShield (TerraArmour from the Aus warehouse) 30ml spray and it actually works even against the insane massive mosquitos we get here in Queensland. It’s just a blend of pure essential oils diluted in fractionated coconut oil.

I also diffuse oils or a mix of oils like Purify, Arborvitae, Geranium, Peppermint, Lemongrass, TerraShield (TerraArmour) in the house and on the verandas to keep them at bay.

Also try putting 20 drops of Peppermint in water in a spray bottle and wipe down all your benches etc to keep ants at bay, it seriously works! And put Cedarwood on cotton wool balls in your cupboard to keep moths away.


Air Freshener

I’m so passionate about avoiding commercial toxic air fresheners I’ve done a full blog post on why they should be made categorically illegal.

Instead try 5 drops of Purify and 5 drops of Lemongrass

OR 5 drops of Lemongrass and 5 drops of Peppermint, fill with water in a spray bottle and keep in your bathrooms. Added benefits these oils will help energetically clear your home as well so feel free to spray in all rooms when you need a clearing!

HOT TIP also try pouring a few drops of Lemongrass or Purify in the centre cardboard bit of the toilet roll. Every time someone goes to get toilet paper it will naturally diffuse in the air! Lasts about a week.

Ready to get yourself a doTERRA account and go low tox?

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