Junk Your Bathroom Challenge

Take the Junk Your Bathroom Challenge

Lord knows, we are all reluctant to let go of something. Sometimes our “stuff” is like a safety blanket. Sometimes we just resist change. After all, that’s why you still hang on to your favorite pair of shoes and wear them until they fall apart, right? It’s the same reason we keep things from childhood. We just hold onto them because.

And I guess that’s why I still had all this stuff in my bathroom, even though I haven’t used it in ages. Months. Maybe YEARS for some of it. And yet, it still made it past two moves, and it was still hanging out in my bathroom, taking up space.

Until this week. When I decided it just had to go.

Why do we need a zillion products anyway?

The reason why I’m junking these products is because they are TOXIC or “junk”. Some are more toxic than others. A lot of them are masquerading as “healthy” products, and some of them even sit in the “organic” or “green” section of my supermarket. But odds are, if it’s got more than two lines of ingredients, there are chemicals hiding out in your lotions and potions.

It’s hard to get rid of them, I know. These products are created and marketed especially to make us feel like we’re doing something good for our hair and skin. They are sold to us in ways that convince us we’ll be better, prettier, more likeable, younger-looking people. But are they HEALTHIER?

And WHY—if we had the information—would we choose to use chemicals on ourselves and our children that cause toxicity in our bodies, can cause skin irritation (like it did for me), and can contribute to numerous diseases over time…

…WHEN there are alternatives that are not just great for all your bath and body needs, but can actually make a difference in your overall body health?

Is it so great to “look young” when it’s killing you in the meantime?

I’m not trying to be dramatic here. But have you ever looked at that ol’ ingredient label?

Cleansing Make-up Remover and Towelette with Vitamin E:


  • 2-Octyl-1-dodecanol: (C20H42O) An alcohol that is classified as a eye and skin irritant as well as a respiratory irritant. Why would they put this in a makeup remover wipe that you’re putting on/near ALL of those??
  • Polysorbate 20: Ah, the wetting (surfactant) and dissolving (solubilizing) agent. Polysorbate starts out as sorbitol that is then treated with 20 “parts” of carcinogenic ethylene oxide. (Polysorbate 60 has been treated with 60 “parts” ethylene oxide.) The resulting chemical, is then combined with various fatty acids and can be laced with heavy metals. Yum!
  • Phenoxyethanol: (C8H10O2) A skin and eye irritant that is also an endocrine disrupter, can affect the brain, nervous system, and the bladder, as well as the reproductive organs. May also be in shampoos and bug repellants.
  • All those -parabens: Preservatives that, according to MANY studies, are directly related to breast cancer. That’s right ladies. Breast cancer. Parabens also act as endocrine disrupters that mimic estrogen and can cause weight gain. Just say no!

Aveeno Colloidal Oatmeal Bath Treatment:


Even this Aveeno Colloidal Oatmeal Bath Treatment, often used to treat eczema, contains Laureth-4! Laureth-4 is made by treating Lauryl alcohol with 4 parts carcinogenic ethylene oxide. There are many different types of Laureths, with the lower the number, the more irritation. Doesn’t it seem counter intuitive to add it to a bath “treatment”? No wonder it never worked for me.

A & D Ointment:


Contains petrolatum, a by-product of petroleum, which is related the development of breast tumors and mammary gland cancer. According to the Herb Research Foundation, our skin can absorb 60% of the chemicals it comes in contact with, and these chemicals move directly into the bloodstream. Petrolatum essentially suffocates the skin, preventing oxygen flow, and allowing the chemicals it’s mixed with to be absorbed instead. Petrolatum can also cause premature aging of skin through the creation of free radicals and disrupt your body’s natural moisturizing mechanisms and cause chapping. (Defeats the purpose wouldn’t you say?) Petrolatum is also found in Vasoline and Aquaphor. Stay away!

Hiding in Plain Sight

Chemicals aren’t just hiding in conventional products. They’re in “healthier” products, too!

Take a look at these products and their ingredients:

Tom’s Deodorant:


Propylene Glycol is found in the majority of personal care products these days, and I’ve even seen it in salad dressings and ice-creams! It is used as a penetration enhancer to bring other chemicals closer to your bloodstream, and it is also ANTIFREEZE! Um, no thank you. It has been linked to cancer, developmental/reproductive issues, allergies/immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption. Concentrations as low as 2% can cause skin irritation and sensitization, and yet cosmetics can contain up to 50% concentrations!
ALSO KNOWN AS – 1,2-Dihydroxypropane; 2-Hydroxypropanol; Methyl Ethyl Glycol; 1,2-Propanediol; Propane-1,2-Diol

Burt’s Bees Lip Balm


This is the lip balm I used to use and love until I realized that it had less-than-preferable oils in it. :( Take a look. Soybean oil and canola oil.

Crystal Body Deodorant Stick:


This is actually one of the deodorants I tried when I switched from my old antiperspirant 5 years ago. Except, as Frank pointed out to me, Ammonium Alum is just another form of aluminum! But it says “NO Aluminum Chlorohydrate” on the label! Doesn’t matter. You can read more about Crystal deodorants from Dr. Mercola in his article Aluminum Lurks in Crystal Deodorants.

Jason’s Deodorant:


Propanediol: Synonym for Propylene Glycol, just like in Tom’s deodorant.

Tom’s Toothpaste:


Aveeno Clear Complexion Cream Cleanser:


So…what am I supposed to use now?

Most of your products can be replaced with simple, cost-effective, and healthier alternatives.

Coconut and Olive Oil to replace your lotions and potions

Coconut Oil

  • Face and Body Moisturizer (add some therapeutic grade essential oils for some lovely scents and healing properties)
  • Oil Pulling (Oral health)
  • Toothpaste (every other day with baking soda and peppermint oil)
  • I mix coconut oil with baking soda and essential oil to make deodorant.
  • THE BEST make-up remover and eye-makeup remover ever!
  • Frizz tamer

Olive Oil

Apple Cider Vinegar

Baking Soda

Did you know teeth can heal themselves? It's the glycerin and other chemicals in toothpaste that prevent cavities from healing naturally! | TAKE THE JUNK YOUR BATHROOM CHALLENGE @ www.thepolivkafamily.com

Coconut oil and baking soda for homemade toothpaste. It’s divided into two glasses because I’ve found it stays fresher, it’s easier to dip our toothbrushes in the oil THEN the baking soda, and I’ve gone to doing baking soda every other day and only using coconut oil on the other days. You can put therapeutic grade peppermint essential oil in the coconut oil to make it taste minty and delicious. : ) Peppermint oil is also a natural whitener!

As you can see, Frank and I decided to use the most basic ingredients. And they WORK. Not only do they work, but my acne has cleared up significantly since using the oil cleansing method, my hair is softer, shinier, and I have more highlights since getting rid of shampoo and conditioner, and my teeth and gums feel better than ever! No tooth sensitivity (which I got from using Crest for just TWO days on vacation. NEVER again.) and my front teeth are lighter. I’m hoping to see an improvement in all of them over time. Gotta counteract those turmeric stains, man. ; )

So did you get all that? Basically you only need one rule: Can’t pronounce an ingredient? STAY AWAY!

Take the JUNK YOUR BATHROOM challenge with me,
and be a healthier, stronger YOU!

Need help replacing your bathroom products with natural alternatives? DIY NATURAL IS HERE!

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My friend Heather (The Mommypotamus) has spent countless hours and hundreds of dollars researching and testing recipes to bring you practical solutions for TOTALLY NATURAL beauty products!

In This eBook, You’ll Learn How To. . .

  • – Make your own shampoo, conditioners, lotions and deodorant
  • – Whiten your teeth naturally without harsh chemicals like coal tar, fluoride, aspartame, aluminum and benzene
  • – Nourish yourself from the inside out for radiant skin, hair and nails
  • – Use natural preservatives, make sure your skin and hair remain PH balanced, and formulate products that are safe for small children

There are even video tutorials to help guide you, step-by-step!

Click here to view more details

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Click HERE to Order Your Copy!

This post is a part of Thank Your Body Thursday.


  1. says

    I don’t know if this holds true with others who have PG alglrey but I’ve been tracking what I use in great detail noting the ingredients and reactions. I have narrowed down that I am not only allergic to PG but also allergic to propylene carbonate, a carbonate ester derivative from propylene glycol. Surprisingly, I found it in Protopic. I just caution those with this alglrey to consider their medications from the dermatologist. I even found a RX foot cream (commonly used to treat fungal infections) from the derm to contain PG. I can get the exact name later on for anyone who wants it. How do I know I’m allergic to propylene carbonate? Because the several products that I used, some of which only had a few ingredients, had propylene carbonate in common. When I used them at different times, resting in-between, they all produced redness, itching, swelling especially on my eyes and the areas where I applied them. Last night, before I put this all together, I gave Protopic another try especially as I’m seeing the derm today. Within an hour the inner bends of my arms, the only place I applied it, were burning, turning red and itchy beyond belief. So I got out of bed, checked the tube and say polyglycol carbonate. I compared it to the list of products that gave me obvious reactions and one of those products also contained polyglycol carbonate. The other product contained PG. They say they haven’t found the carbonate to cause allergies according to lab studies but I’m fairly certain there’s a connection for me. Just want to pass it on in case someone else is having a similar issue. I hope I can bring some awareness to someone by sharing my experience.

    • says

      Yes! Alternatively, just doing oil pulling with coconut oil for 3-6 months can remove almost all the plaque. (At least in my personal experience) I did an experiment, where I stopped brushing my teeth entirely for several consecutive months (I still flossed), and when I went to to the hygienist, they were astonished to find no plaque build up!

      • stephanie c.j. francis says

        Awesome thanks! Also I’ve been doing more brushing with my new coconutty/salty toothpaste and its so great, fresh breath all day and my teeth feel cleaner longer and look better than when I used my fave fluoride based brands.

  2. terry says

    hi, love your site!
    ethylene glycol is the more toxic glycol, and is the major ingredient in anti-freeze. it is also extremely toxic to cats and dogs. as in 1 lick can equal death if not treated immediately.
    propylene glycol is toxic, thought supposedly not as, but no one comes out and says it. i find it in a ton of stuff. i found it in a product for hairballs in cats!! that i am supposed to feed my cats! which is when i did my glycol research. and yes, propylene glycol is also bad for animals, but it will take a lot more to see toxic results. so ‘they’ say.
    personally i think all glycols are bad, and should be avoided, but i wanted to state for the record what i learned from my glycol investigation. because i have ocd. not because i am trying to be right. :)
    keep your animals away from glycols too!

  3. Chebet says

    Thanks for the very helpful infor. Do you have any recipe for replacing dish washing soap and bath soap/shower gels? I’m making lotions and deodorants but struggling with these.

  4. Chebet says

    Thanks off the post! So what exactly do you use for bathing soap or body shampoo? I’ve not been able to figure how to replace that!

  5. claire says

    okay wow, you just literally made me go into my bathroom and throw out everything!! I am now left with my coconut oil. apple cider vinegar, my green clay, baking soda and some nail varnishes and eye things, I have never really used anymore makeup than that so I didnt need to throw away things like that, moisturisers and cleansers are gone but I liked using just honey/cinnamon DIY face wash/mask and just a cloth to wash my face. so happy. thank you!!! <3

  6. says

    Outstanding article! My husband and I were comparing lotions at wal mart just this last weekend. Amazing what is in some of those things that are applied to our skin. The skin absorbs and sending it into the body and we wonder why our nation is so sickly.

    Great job!

  7. Jessica says

    I have a question—I have done most of these things and we’re using GOOD natural stuff now. But the one thing I CANNOT find in a natural form is hair goop (for lack of a better term!). I have short hair and I use it to give my hair that piecy, textured look. I’ve tried the homemade beach spray….that just leaves my hair crispy like too much hairspray. Any advice from any short-haired women??

  8. Jessica says

    I just found your site through pinterest. Gotta make those Lu bars-YUM! Anyway, I of course checked out this post because I just dejunked my bathrooms and still have the crystal deodorant (the one you have!) and after looking at it (at the natural food store where I purchased it) questioned about the alum in it…..then continued to use it. I can’t believe I didn’t look into it further because of what it said about not containing aluminum chlorohydrate. I feel duped. And to think I was trying to do something good for my body. I have used coconut oil straight as a deodorant and will start using it all the time now. Thank you for shining some light. Jess

  9. Becky says

    This is really interesting information. Just wondering if there is anything in your book about the dangers of taking birth control and the high levels of hormones contained in them which can increase your risk of breast cancer by 64%. It just seems like if you are going to chase down every little chemical that we consume that could give cancer, we should remove the most toxic deadly ones too. find out about NFP!

  10. says

    I really need to get rid of all the junk in my bathroom/linen closet too. Most of it does not even get used and is just sitting there cluttering my house. I just don’t know what to do with it all.. throw it in the trash so it goes to the landfill? Dump down the drain putting it all into the water supply so I can recycle the bottles? (I do realize it all goes down the drain anyway if it actually gets used) I also find myself holding on to it all because I’m a very frugal person and I hate wasting anything.. throwing half full bottles of products I paid for is just like lighting money on fire in my mind, even though I’m not actually using the products! Ahhhh

          • says

            That’s awesome! I’ve thought of that too.. or at least giving it all away. And then I have that mental battle with myself again – why would I knowingly give someone a bunch of toxic crap to put on themselves.. and yet, they’re going to use it anyway no matter who it comes from! Lol can you tell I’m one of the most indecisive people ever?

          • says

            No, I TOTALLY get it. I had the same mental battle. I came to the conclusion that people are going to buy it anyway, and that I didn’t want to just throw money away. Everyone has to go through their own learning experience and actually be convicted about what they learn before they change. In the meantime, I made $30 one time getting rid of my toxic stuff, and I’ve come to peace with that. It takes a little bit of $ to run this blog anyway! Paying for hosting and such. :/

          • says

            I completely understand that and I totally agree. People have to make their own decisions and learn WHY before they will change anything. I will think about it this way – I’m not enabling, I’ll just be helping someone save a little money on something they would have bought anyway :)

  11. says

    i thought i bought “good” stuff :) now i will have to go look again…. but yes i have unclogged my stash many times and will get down to bare essentials :) have to try the shampoo change!!! as soon as i get some horse chestnuts i will fill you in on the soapyness of them ( i want to make my own laundry detergent with them, but they are supposed to work for hand and hair soap as well)

  12. says

    Wow thanks so much for this info! I have some trashing to do for sure. My hubby has sensitive gums — he’s been using Jason’s sensitive toothpaste which is, to my knowledge, fairly safe. I am wary of telling him to brush with baking soda. Suggestions?

    • says

      Frank and I used Jason’s before we made the switch, and I actually really liked it! But I just get in this mode where if I’m going to be really hard-headed about one thing, I won’t comprise on others, and because Jason’s has carageenan in it, I decided to try just coconut oil and baking soda. So far, it’s going great! I have sensitive gums, too, and I found that brushing with baking soda EVERY day was too much for me. I’ve been just brushing with straight coconut oil OR coconut oil with peppermint essential oil (whitening!) OR doing oil pulling with coconut oil. And I’ve limited brushing with baking soda and coconut oil (combined) 2-4 times a week.

  13. Lauren @ Empowered Sustenance says

    I just went through a similar process! I had so many bottles of skin care stuff and hair stuff and toxic makeup. I just started using homemade baking soda shampoo, toothpaste, and deodorant. I also started the oil cleansing method and mixed up my own facial oil. And I agree–the natural alternatives are cheaper and more effective!

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