This post covers less toxic options of all kitchens appliances including fridges, trash compactors, dishwashers, ovens, stoves, and washing machines. I also take a look at less toxic sinks.
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A propane-powered refrigerator should be OK if you do not have enough amps to power an electric one. Propane-powered fridge vents fully to the outside and could be acceptable in a trailer with a small electrical load.
Consider using a bar sized, or apartment sized refrigerator to save on your electric bill. My fridge is 3.1 cubic feet and it’s a perfect size for me.
Offgas it First
I left mine running in a garage for a month before using it. Some people find stainless fridges offgas less than the plastic ones, others disagree.
Buying the floor model is beneficial for some people.
Washing out all residues from new fridges can help.
Brands that are Lower in Offgassing
Even top-of-the-line glass door fridges don’t necessarily offgas less than regular ones. You will want to sniff as many brands as you can.
Another very sensitive blogger, Janis, reports that Sunfrost Refrigerators use fiberglass instead of plastic. But, they will bake it at high heat before they ship it to offgas it in advance. Their fridge uses less electricity than normal a fridge (fewer EMFs). They are pricey at $3000-$4000.
Recently (2019) I have heard reports of GE being a more tolerable brand but I would go and sniff them yourself unless you are only mildly sensitive.
Some like the Whirlpool brand two-door stainless models.
Some sensitive folks reported that the LG French Doors line has a lower chemical odor (source).
If you’re wondering why all fridges have a Prop 65 warning on them, this article explains that.
Less Toxic Dishwashers
Stainless Steel Interior
Dishwashers with a stainless steel interior like those made by Bosch, Miele, and Whirlpool use bitumen or asphalt as an insulation and sound dampening layer.
Many sensitive folks can pick up offgassing odors from these.
Some bitumen layers are between blanket reflective sound barriers, others are baked or sprayed on.
They used to use fiberglass or mineral wool.
The other option is a plastic (polypropylene) interior. Not everybody sensitive has done better with the plastic option, and some do prefer the stainless steel dishwashers.
Polypropylene does not usually contain BPA, BPS, or phthalates. I consider this a safe plastic. This option should not have asphalt or bitumen sound insulation like the stainless steel interior options. They do often have fiberglass around the plastic.
It could pick up secondary orders more easily than stainless steel – so if you’re in a rental or if you’re buying secondhand this may not be ideal.
Some brands that sensitive folks have liked include Electrolux, Frigidaire, and GE Integrated models. I have the Frigidaire FFBD2406NB which is plastic on the interior with no bitumen on the exterior, only fiberglass (this was 2021).
Another very sensitive person recently found this model to be good: Samsung Storm Wash 24 stainless steel, model number: DW80R5061US.
Look for nylon-coated wire racks (not PVC). Most racks are now made with nylon.
Leak-Prevention on Dishwashers
Miele and Bosch have internal leak detectors. You should also install a metal pan with a drain under the dishwasher.
Some stainless steel sinks have a sound absorption layer under the sink which you can see very clearly when looking at the underside. It could be a foam and/or bitumen layer. It does completely offgas with time, in my experience. Other than that possibly being an issue when new for chemically sensitive folks, stainless steel sinks are great.
Porcelain and enameled cast iron sinks have glazing that can contain lead. Sinks made prior to the 1980’s are a higher risk, but current day sinks can still contain heavy metals. As the glazing wears down these toxins can leach. The lead testing post has more detail. If you test the sinks for heavy metals (as outlined in that post) this can be a great option.
Stone (marble etc.) sinks are great in theory. You just need to think about the sealer used there. Dark stones are ideal because then you can use an all-natural walnut oil sealer. Light stones require a synthetic sealer – the best one is listed here. (I personally would never go with a light stone sink, as they stain easily and the only sealer options are synthetic and they don’t always protect it from stains).
Composite sinks will be fine for most people, but the extremely sensitive will definitely want to check those out. They do offgas rather quickly, so it’s not a long-term problem. The countertop post goes over these composite materials and what they are made of.
I have no problem with copper sinks, though personally I do not drink or eat out of anything copper (like copper pipes, copper mugs, etc.), I’m fine with it as a sink.
Non-Toxic Trash Compactors
Many trash compactors come with a built-in deodorizing system that may contain VOCs in the form of formaldehyde, phenols or paradichlorobenzene.
Less Toxic Ovens
All new ovens that I have seen have a fairly prominent offgassing odor. I’m not aware of which brands may be preferred. If you’re in a rental I would certainly clean out any harsh cleaning products that may have been used before you turn on the oven.
If it’s brand new I would suggest that the chemically sensitive run this in a garage or outside of your space to offgas it for as long as needed. Before moving into my tiny house, my new oven was offgassed for a month. It needs to run to offgas.
How many hours you need to run it would very much depend on your level of sensitivity. Be sure to take safety precautions and not run it for too many consecutive hours.
Self-cleaning ovens produce carcinogenic polynuclear aromatics.
The chemically sensitive person might want to avoid gas and propane appliances. Especially gas stoves, which will be the largest emitter of fumes.
While some highly EMF-sensitive folks prefer gas appliances, like gas stoves, most chemically sensitive folks prefer electric.
Note that natural gas used in such as some ranges, dryers, and hot water heaters, may emit benzene, carbon monoxide, or formaldehyde when in use. “Benzene is present in natural gas, and carbon monoxide and formaldehyde are created when natural gas is burned. Consumers may be exposed to significant amounts of these chemicals, especially if the appliances are not properly vented.” Prop 65 website.
Gas appliances can also release carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and nitrous oxides into the air.
It’s a good idea to have a range over your stove that vents to the outside to reduce humidity and prevent mold in the home.
It might be better for some to use a two-burner hot plate and small convection oven.
Less Toxic Washing Machines
Although not necessarily in the kitchen, with washing machines it’s best to go with a top loader.
Though a front loader can be carefully maintained and cleaned in many cases for mold prevention.
For a top loader it is best to use a model with a metal drum. Look for gear drive, not belt drive, if you’re super sensitive.
Some of the Samsung models have been recommended by chemically sensitive folks. Many very sensitive folks like the Speed Queen.
If you’re looking for brands without the Prop 65 warning, this post covers that.
Corinne Segura is a Building Biologist Practitioner with 8 years of experience helping others create healthy homes.
Hello, The house that I’m living in had a new dishwasher installed in February. I hand washed everything for a few weeks, but eventually started using the dishwasher which I believe was a mistake and I think I’m having a reaction to it. I don’t smell any tar smell but there is a distinct chemical smell every time I open the dishwasher. When it was first installed, I reacted, even just by standing next to it.
Would it be sufficient to just stop using the dishwasher and wash everything by hand? Or do I need to have it uninstalled and stored in my garage?
I can’t make that call for anyone it depends on how sensitive you are. Ideally you use it once in a while to slowly offgas it, if you have the desire to use it in the future.
Do you have any information on chest freezers? I recently bought a small chest freezer and it smells so bad inside. It smells of chemicals though not a typical plastic smell. I cleaned it really well and aired it out. I turned it on empty for a day to make sure it worked but when I opened it again the smell was back just as strong. It has the CA warning label on it as well. I don’t want to put food in it!
Are there any safe models?
I scanned previous posts and I am sorry if you already covered this.
Jonathan Farrar says
Thank you so much for your awesome work, you have helped my family immensely.
In terms of furniture and appliances would you recommend getting them secondhand to prevent from offgasses?
You could if that works better for you… if you’re not super sensitive to cleaning products, chemicals or mold from other people’s houses.
Are IKEA appliances overall any better? I always appreciate shopping at IKEA because I don’t detect as many harsh chemical smells overall in their buildings and products.
They tend to be ahead of the curve on toxin removal but I don’t have any specific info on their appliances.
I just purchased a Whirlpool 2-in-1 washer and matching dryer. I have had it less than one day and it is offgassing a lot of fumes and emitting strong EMF (I disable WiFi like the guy at the store said I could do with this model but low and behold it keeps reconnecting). So sad and disheartened by all this. I really thought it would be ok because it seemed totally fine at the store.
Do you have recs on gear driven brands of washers besides Speed Queen? Seems all the new generation washer/dryers are belt driven.
..Also do you have any recs on cell phones for chemically/EMF sensitive? I have an iPhone 6 I seem to be ok with but when it inevitably stops working I don’t know what to do. I have tried upgrading a few times to newer iPhones but each time I had to return immediately because they made me sick esp once activated.
Elizabeth c Upton says
Do you know of any ovens with no PFAS inside? I was PFAS poisoned before birth and trying to figure out if my oven is now contributing more. 😛
Hi, Is there a stove/oven without a proposition 65 warning that would not make a sensitive person sick, or is it best to buy used stoves, and if so, how old should they be to not have off gassing anymore? Thank you so much for any help you can give.
Thanks for the post!
In terms of non-toxic sinks, you say what is toxic but what is the best material to go for? I need both a bathroom and kitchen sink, I’d love a farmhouse style for the kitchen – is stone or cement or marble safe?
I’ve updated the sink section of the article!
Corinne, Thank you for your work you do and all the knowledge its So appreciated! I would have thought stainless choice for a dishwasher was better. So surprising to see that no a Polypropylene tub is a better choice. When a Polypropylene tub inside a dishwasher is in dry cycle does it heat up enough to cause toxins off gassing? I read that a dishwasher heats to 140 degrees, and Polypropylene is not a problem, until it heats to something like 240 degrees? I wondered if you could shed more light on this. Stainless steel is 2 x the cost of the Polypropylene tub of a dishwasher so its good to know, before I buy a stainless steel one “thinking” I was buying a healthier option. THANK YOU Corinne!!!!!
PP is quite stable, I don’t have any problem with or notice any offgassing off hard PP. If you are extremely chemically sensitive you will have to test this.
Thanks Corinne, I know some say stainless is better interior as you do not have the plastic your washing your dishes with? Yet the bitumen being more so in the insulation of the stainless dishwasher sounds like it could be more toxic . Do you agree it is? Vs PP in heating and washing dishes , is that what you mean with it being stable?
Objectively the bitumen is worse than the plastic for sure in my opinion. I’m not worried about the PP here at all personally. The extremely sensitive need to check it out when new.
I rechecked with GE on dishwasher they said the polypropylene do not contain Bitumen, although they also said they have PVC racks. YET in looking at home depot they say nylon. I believe it’s all been updated in dishwashers to nylon vs PVC racks now, and GE employee may think PVC is Nylon? All descriptions say for GE that I saw Nylon racks.
I would consider the GE website listing to be the most accurate source on that (if they mention the materials there)
Any brand you recommend for dishwashers without bitumen and/or with nylon coating?
I am trying very hard to get this information form manufacturers but customer service representatives do not have the answers, nor do sales persons.
Thank you for your help!
I mention the ones I know about in this post
Michael Mac. says
Hello, thank you for so much great information! My question is in regards to this portion about clothes washers: “ Many very sensitive folks like the Retro Speed Queen.” I have searched high and low and cannot find any reference to this model, so I am wondering if you can recall who recommended it, and where they found it? OR, is it that the suggestion was to find a retro model, and not that the actual model NAME was “retro”? Thanks so much for your time!
Oh yeah sorry about that, I think it’s just the speed queen that ppl do well with. Definitely the most recommended.
Jessica Marickovich says
Hi! I’m trying to decide if I should invest in a convection oven for my counter. You did include an Amazon link to one in the post & I appreciate that (I currently have it in my cart waiting!) but I guess my question is are they actually less toxic/safer than a regular electric glass top stove/oven? What would be the reason we would want to use a convection oven over a regular oven?
I have electric oil filled radiator heaters in a couple places in my older house that don’t have any other heat. My old heaters worked fine, but new ones off-gas horribly, I tried to off gas one for a year in a separate storage shed and it didn’t work! I could still smell it, irritating my lungs and swelling bronchial passages–I have asthma and chemical sensitivities that make me dizzy and brain fogged. I would love to know if there any any brands that do not offgas or offgas less even. I have gone to Goodwill and St. Vinnie’s and managed to find older heaters and when these break, I’m not sure what I can do.
There is a post on heaters. But yes for the most extremely sensitive I have heard that before about radiator-type portable heaters.
In the pull down hose? I would use pex there.
Dear Corrine, I have a serious problem with new refrigerators, and while I noticed that you no longer cover appliances, could you steer me toward any possible sources of help and information? I’m desperate – and I have no idea where to start! Could you connect me with others who have had experience with this problem? We in the MCS community should all join together and write to someone who could help us. Healthier appliances are needed for everyone. But who can we write to? Thank you so much for the much-needed help you are providing so many!
I would join the Facebook group EI Safe Housing. I do keep track as best I can the appliances that folks do well or better with but this was never a topic I could cover as I would need to have a lot of experience seeing all these appliances when brand new myself.
Kristi, I have extreme chemical sensitivities, allergies and autoimmune diseases. After fretting and hunting for months for a new fridge, I nervously selected a pure stainless (not smudge proof) Whirlpool side by side. I found an appliance store willing to remove all packaging and plastic, wipe it with water and baking soda only, start it and run it at their store for a week.
Other than a very slight ‘new’ plastic scent ‘only’ when opening, there was NO issue for me. And that vanished in weeks. I have been thrilled with this fridge and no smells or issues. Now to find a new stove and dishwasher. Ugh. It should not be this hard.
Btw, as keep our stainless fridge clean with damp cloth to clean, then wipe ‘on’ olive oil with clean cloth- then buff… This keeps it looking new and no nasty chemicals they recommended.
I purchased a Bosch SHEM63W52N dishwasher in Alberta, Canada. It arrived last week. I noticed odor like a tar last week when I run for the first time. It’s the sixth day and the odor is so strong I get a headache when I’m downstairs in the house. I will be retuning it to the store this week. It appears to me it is the sound proofing coating on the stainless-steel tub of the dishwasher is the source. I will be installing my old Inglis dishwasher back as it runs fine but it’s a bit noisy, but I can live with that vs the smelly toxic odor. What a shame Bosch, I though the German engineering could do better.
Yes it’s the bitumen around it that smells.
No, it’s not the surrounding insulation only. We through that out immediately and thought our new LG dishwasher wouldn’t stink if we opted out of that outer fluff.
3 weeks later and the smell while running was still so strong my husband moved out of the house because the smell at night would make him sick. Having to sleep out in the trailer is ridiculous for such a “high-end” appliance. Getting a new one. Came here to get some insight on one that hopefully doesn’t stink so much…
Sorry disregard. I reread the article and realized the bitimum is different from that gross fluff around it.. maybe we screwed ourselves by taking that off.. sheesh.
Editing needed? * DRIVE * ?
“For a top loader it is best to use a model with a metal drum. Look for gear *dry*, not belt *dry*.”
Also why so?
So glad to stumble onto your site. I had no idea that such materials were being used as insulation in dish or clothes washing machines!
That would be for folks who are extremely sensitive – the odor of the belt can bother them.
My husband just purchased a Galanz Retro top mount refrigerator 12 cu ft (red stainless steel front) for our basement game room area. It has a Califronia residents only warning sticker on box: says cancer and reproductive harm. http://www.P65Warnings.ca.gov . The warning made me nervous but a local appliance store said all appliances have that warning and it likely is the rubber cord. We are not chemically sensitive but just want to buy a non toxic appliance. Can you tell us if this is a safe choice and if there are any questions you would ask to ensure the refrigerator doesn’t pose any harm?
With much gratitude! Thank you!!
Hi Carla, my family and I just bought a Samsung fridge that came with that same warning. What did you end up doing? I’m a bit nervous about it but all the other fridges I saw on Home Depot pretty much have it too… not sure if it’s something we should worry about. Would appreciate it if anyone had any more info on this too! Thank you!
Hi- is it possible to find a large toaster oven air fryer combo that does not have toxins? most seem to be coated in nonstick materials or enamel which aren’t safe. thank you
George Seurat says
Same issue here. Have owned two Cuisinart TOA-60BKS Convection Toaster Oven Airfryers now, and both times I have had to gas them off over 10 hours to prevent them from making us sick. One of them died after 7 months, so gassing it off for a month could be 10% of its utility used up…really someone needs to set a higher bar than inserting toxic burning things like this into my kitchen.
Thank you for this. I learned a lot, but also do not have any reassurance as there is sort of lots of doom and gloom and not many options.
When you say “most recommend” where do you get your data?
When you suggest to clean any harsh chemicals from previously-owned appliances, how would you go about doing this (and safely)?
If it says recommended by chemically sensitive folks that comes from polling the most sensitive of the sensitive over the last 8 years. More on what data I use on this site
Kimberly A Leeman says
I really appreciate the information you provide and I refer to you often. Thank you for all you do. Oh, I just bought a Haier refrigerator and it stinks pretty bad. I have MCS and the plastic smell on the inside is very strong.
Thank you for the report.
Kimberly, I feel for you greatly.
At the end of 2020 i was also faced with purchasing a new fridge and dreaded each store visit that had to be spaced out due to the effect.
I couldnt manage the Haier, Hisense or Westinghouse odours (& forgotten other brands too), but finally found joy with a Samsung (which I just love to bits. (It did have some odour that I didnt detect at the store. So not from the internal walls/fittings, but i believe was from the fan circulating air passing by the insulation as it was running 🙁 It probably took a month before i stopped noticing it and it got used more frequently over the holiday & Aust. summer period which would have helped.
Because the odour is inside the unit and you would be exposed many times a day i recommend to bite the bullet now and sell. I don’t think it would be enough to air it out if it smells like the insides of the ones I came across and they weren’t even running! Running it with door open is the only way for it to gas out – not very practical!
Marc Halusic says
Hi, thank you for creating such a valuable resource!
I recently developed MCS and am trying to eliminate natural gas appliances from my home. If I replace my gas range for an electric one, is it common for offgassing or burning off coatings from the factory to become a problem? I was thinking of a modern glass-topped unit, I’m concerned because I tried an induction hot-plate for the past 2 weeks and it’s fan still gives off a faint but intolerable burning plastic smell whenever I use it.
Also, should I do away with my gas fireplace completely, or am I likely to be pretty safe if I replace it with a glass covered insert?
I would recommend short term solutions before investing deep with any appliances as many will bring up unseen issues. This can give you a learning period while adjusting health-wise. Sometimes it’s very hard to gauge (unless a serious reaction occurs) odours in other spaces that sometimes seem fine until they come home. So, introduce new things slowly and one at a time helps to discern culprits-sometimes a lot of detective work is required!
A bit of background that may help for comparison.
Ive had MCS many years (incl. collapse from gas escaping during igniting gas burners), and have used electric oven & cook top options. Recently both appliances needed replacing but now, with only 2 at home outside of celebrations, I have opted for several smaller appliances.
I have successfully used the PIC by “Nuwave” (Amazon) without issue ~4 years, Around the same period I have returned a Tefal “Opti-Grill” due to its intolerable chemical odour. More recently I have also been using Breville Smart Oven, Tefal C4M+ Pressure cooker, and Philips Airfryer. The latter was not been a plastics emission problem but is Terrible for smoking due to fatty meats in particular. (I will sell this asap.). Sometimes there is a residual styrene packaging odour that disappears quickly if left outside awhile.
I would investigate non-gas option heating unless the heater was located externally and fumes could not leak inside. The “Coonara” wood heater here was replaced with Gas Central Heating located in the roof space. Newer “climate change” options may become available…
I have been using a portable two-burner induction cooktop for about 20 years or more. I started with a one-burner model. It uses electricity, but much less than an electric cooktop. Induction is awesome and very easy to control. Unlike gas, no combustion products and, unlike electric, it works really well.
i am looking for a non- toxic dishwasher. Your article is from 10/2019, Any good suggestions since then? Do i still need to avoid stainless tubs with bitumin?
This was recently updated!
jayne yee says
Is there a dishwasher without a prop 65 warning?
Wash dishes by hand with latex gloves