Keeping your home free of toxins is a process that takes some planning, but overall the tips below are pretty easy to implement. I completely agree that some things need to be done cold-turkey, detoxing your home is not one of them. When I started to learn about the toxins found in my home, I was scared and wanted to make my home toxin-free as quick as possible. I worried a lot about every single thing that could be bad for my family's health, but let me tell you, it's not the best approach. I believe in making small changes to your everyday life that will in time (quicker than you think) result in sustained changes. Below is my simple list for detoxing your home according to the biggest toxin culprits.
Problem 1: Using toxic cleaning supplies
- Buy non-toxic and eco-friendly cleaning products
- Make your own non-toxic cleaning products at home
When I was young, nothing told me "the house is clean" like the overwhelming smell of bleach coming from almost every nook in our home. I bought many toxic products to clean my home early on, but have since switched to non-toxic cleaning ones that work really well. I prefer products made with natural ingredients, that are safe for my family and the environment.
I often get asked if the non-toxic cleaning supplies work as well as the conventual ones. I have had some fails in this department, but have found some brands that I just love. A quick online search will also help you make your own non-toxic cleaning products. For example, you can create your own natural and toxic-free, all-purpose cleaner by filling a spray bottle with equal parts water and white vinegar. Squeeze a lemon for a refreshing smell. Then simply shake up the mixture. Note that this cleaner is safe for most surfaces, but not granite. Don't ignore your personal care products too - they are loaded with toxins.
Problem 2: The constant foot traffic
- Insist that family members take off their shoes at the door
- Invest in a deep cleaning for your carpets and floors
We have seven people that are in and out of our house all day, so the floor and carpet are our biggest dirt magnets. We recently started to keep our shoes off in the house because they bring in so much dirt from our backyard. We keep slippers/sandals right by the door so the kids can change into them when they are home. Your carpets are the biggest filter in your home, and traditional carpet cleaning can leave behind chemical residues that can trigger allergies and asthma. We put in new floors when we moved into our home 2.5 years ago and I was shocked at how dirty they have gotten in that time, even with trying to keep them pretty clean. This is one area where you may have to call in the pros. A few weeks ago I had Zerorez Socal come to my house and clean my kitchen floors with their non-toxic green technology - I was so happy - they look new again!
Problem 3: It's slate in here
- Let the outside air indoors
- Use indoor plants
Did you know that according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air pollution is two to five times worse than outdoor air pollution? It's amazing how much good a little ventilation can do for your home's health. Open up the windows and let outside air in as often as possible. The air circulation can help clear the stale air and discourage the growth of mold. It's also a great idea to use indoor plants to clean the air, and as an added bonus they are nice to look at! The window pictured here is not mine, but it's the view I dream of having one day!
Problem 4: Mold is your enemy
- Seek out the moist areas in your home
- Seek professional help
Mold can be found in almost any place that is super moist in your home, so focus on removing as much of it as you can in your showers, counters and basins. First, keep these areas as dry as possible. The biggest problem areas are bathrooms and basements. Next, it may be a good idea to buy a dehumidifier for the moist areas in your home because they are designed to remove moisture from the air. Just remember that while they are great tools for preventing mold and mildew from appearing in your home, they won't remove mold and mildew that has already formed. Finally, consider seeking professional help if it's too big of project, it's worth the investment.
Problem 5: I like a clean smell
- Limit artificial air fresheners
- Install carbon monoxide detectors
It's hard for me, but I have tried to limit our use of artificial air fresheners. This is my hardest tip to folow, because I love the smell of a "clean home". However, the use of fly sprays, scented aerosol and other air fresheners can be harmful. Did you know that they contain toxic elements? Instead, try using natural solutions to keep your home smelling fresh, like orange peels, rosemary, sage, potpourri and essential oils. Invest in an air purifier if you live in a high traffic area and don't open your windows to let the air in until the traffic has died down. It's also important that you install Carbon Monoxide detectors.
It can feel a little overwhelming to tackle all these toxin culprits at once. Pick one and work on it for a week or two, then move on to another. Soon your home will be a much healthier place for you and your family!
You have probably heard that some children’s products are made from plastics containing BPA (Bisphenol A) while others are not, these are called BPA-free products.
BPA is an organic compound that is commonly found in many plastics. While not much attention had been given to BPA plastics, that has begun to change in the past few years. Several recent government issued reports have questioned the safety of using BPA in plastics, especially regarding its exposure to children.
So, is it time to throw away every plastic thing in your house, especially those items that your kids use? No, this is just not a feasible thing to do for most families, but you can take steps to ensure that most of the plastic products you buy from now on are BPA-fee, especially your child’s feeding products (bottles, sippy cups, bowls, etc.).
Check back often for new suggestions and featured products for your BPA-free family and home.
The ZRecs Guide collects information about potentially harmful chemicals in a wide range of baby products. The website allows you to search almost any product by type.
Naturemoms.com provides resources on natural family living, including an extensive review of BPA-free products for children.
Sometimes it feels like we spend a fortune on cleaning supplies. Did you know that cleaners don't have to be pricey or store-bought?
You can make many of your own cleaning products right at home. They are still effective and they contain no harsh chemicals for your family. Check back often for new homemade cleaning recipes and suggestions for your home.
This a great cleaner for use all around your home. Create your own natural and toxic-free, all-purpose cleaner by filling a spray bottle with equal parts water and white vinegar. Squeeze a lemon for a refreshing smell. Then simply shake up the mixture. Note that this cleaner is safe for most surfaces, but not granite.
Skin Deep is a safety guide to cosmetics and personal care products brought to you by researchers at the Environmental Working Group.
I love the Sunscreen Guide…who knew that only 3 out of 5 sunscreens (they tested over 1600!) either don't protect skin from sun damage or they contain hazardous chemicals?
The site also has a "What Not to Buy" section - it outlines the most toxic materials found in cosmetics/beauty products
Here's a company interested in "Protecting Planet Home." Seventh Generation creates household and personal care products that are effective and safe for the air, the surfaces, the fabrics, the pets, and the people within your living home.
Their line includes: disinfectants, baby, laundry, household cleaners, paper * supplies, feminine care and dishwashing products.
Pre-folds | Old fashion cloth diapers that must be folded around the baby and secured in place. Require a cover (see below for cover options) and come in sizes from newborn to toddler. $
Contours | Shaped to baby, also need to be secured in place and require a cover. Usually made sized but sometimes available one-size-fits-all. $$
Fitteds | Shaped to baby and fastens with Velcro or snaps, but require a cover. Made sized and as one-size-fits-all. $$-$$$$
Pockets | Cover and stay-dry liner sewn together with an opening at the back creating a “pocket” in which any desired absorbent cloth may be used, and fastens with Velcro or snaps. Made sized and as one-size-fits-all. $$$
All-in-Ones | Cover, absorbent insert, and stay dry liner sewn together and fastens with Velcro or snaps. Made sized and as one-size-fits-all. $$-$$$
Wraps | Shaped to baby and fastens with Velcro, snaps, or as a pull-on. Comes in various materials ranging from nylon, to polyurethane laminate, to wool and fleece. Made in sizes. $-$$
Wool | In various forms from hand knit or crocheted to interlock fabric. Available as pants, shorts and skirts. Made in sizes, often to specific measurements. Requires separate washing and care. $$-$$$$
Fleece | Available as covers, pants, shorts, and skirts. Made in sizes, often to specific measurements. $$
Tools of Ingenuity
Flushable Liners | Thin paper liners to be placed in the diaper and enable any solid waste to be flushed after use. $
Snappi | T-shaped rubber fastener with small teeth at each end that grip the diaper and hold it in place, used in instead of pins. (www.snappibaby.com) $
Diaper Sprayer | Small showerhead like device used to spray any solid waste off of the diaper after use. $$
$ - Low
$$ - Moderate
$$$ - High
$$$$ - Very high, special item