It’s not just about the food we eat that can be harmful, but anything we breathe in or absorb through skin contact. Toxins get into cells all the same, they don’t care which door they come in through.
There are both large and small tasks you can take on to make your home a sort of safe zone from the toxic world we live in. Pick and choose where you see yourself able to make changes, even if you only pull one or two suggestions from this list it’s better than nothing!
1. Cleaning supplies: this is HUGE. Yes you may find the natural and environmental friendly options are a few dollars more but the amount of harmful chemicals you avoid is priceless. Look at what’s under both your kitchen and bathroom counters. Short-term contact with one toxin in small amounts isn’t going to kill you, but repeated exposure from multiple sources everyday adds up. Many cleaners can be made from simple ingredients already in your cabinet such as baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar!
2. Use un-bleached paper products: napkins, paper towels, toilet paper. Especially toilet paper, that’s sensitive tissue to be wiping with bleach daily.
3. HVAC: it’s important to get your air ducts cleaned out at least once a year to keep clean air flowing through your house. Helps with allergies too!
4. Be mindful when buying new rugs, mattresses, furniture, baby cribs, etc. These items off gas a great deal of toxic industrial chemicals and solvents. Best to leave outside or in the garage for a couple weeks before bringing inside. That ‘new smell’ isn’t so great for us.
5. Invest in a quality water filter for your family’s drinking water. The Brita and Purr type options are cheaper but also not as effective. I recommend New Wave Enviro, for the price point (around $80 on Amazon) it’s a comprehensive 10 stage filter that removes agriculture, chemical, and industrial solvents, pharmaceutical residues, chlorine and other harmful substances found in tap water.
6. Invest in an air filter for your home. You can buy single room filters or larger units that clean your entire home. If you opt for a single room filter I would use in the bedroom as you spend more time there sleeping, typically, than any other rooms in the home. Purchase on that has both charcoal and HEPA filters.
7. Personal care products: any items you use on your skin be mindful to read labels and opt for natural/organic brands. Think shampoos, conditioners, lotions, face wash, hair products, bug sprays, sunscreens, baby powders, etc.
8. Detergents: use naturally derived laundry detergents and fabric softeners. For dry cleaning use an organic dry cleaner or air out dry cleaning in the garage/porch for 5-7 days before bringing inside.
9. Avoid air fresheners full of nasty solvents that lead to respiratory troubles and are toxic to the brain.
10. Install a chlorine filter on your showerhead.
11. In your kitchen trade out Teflon and other non-stick pans for stainless steel, cast iron, glass, or ceramic alternatives.
12. NEVER microwave food in plastic containers. Plastic containers leech out a plethora of endocrine disruptors. Slowly start to trade out your plastic Tupperware for glass storage.
13. Enforce a shoe-free zone by taking off shoes upon entering. Shoes track in all the pollutants outside and are one of the biggest sources of contaminants in your home.
14. When painting, use non-toxic paint.
15. For your lawn, use natural methods of insect control. Roundup and similar weed killers contain about the worst chemicals you could expose your pets and kids to. A safe weed killer alternative: 1 gallon vinegar, 1 cup salt, 8 drops natural dish soap. Stir together and transfer to a spray bottle, will have to spray several times with a 7-day period. No need for masks and kids and pets can play on the grass after application.
Indoor Air Pollutants
Combustion by-products from:
· Water heaters
· Attached garages
Solvents (volatile organic compounds) from:
· Household cleaners
Dusts and particulates from:
· Cigarette smoke
· Infectious agents
· Animal dander
· Chemicals from indoor building supplies
I hope this blog gives you insight to areas in your home you can clean up in order to decrease the toxic load on your body. It can be hard to believe everyday household items can harbor such dangers to our health. Your home should be a haven from all of these dangers! And it can be by taking a closer look at what you have (and don’t have) and evict anything that doesn’t meet your new standards.
Happy house cleaning!