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!
The larger my family has gotten, the more I have employed the 5-second rule. Dropped pacifiers being the biggest culprit...I remember that when my first child was tiny their dropped paci received a complete sterilization session, but by the time my 5th child came along, well, let's just say the pacifier has been given to back to the baby (by me) with a quick wipe on my shirt on a many occasions. You name it - toys, food, sippy cups - pretty much everything that my kids put in their mouths also ends up on the floor. All day long. Every day. It would make me crazy trying to clean every single thing that fell on the floor before handing it back to my kids. Lucky for me, conventional wisdom has allowed me to happily employ the five-second rule for quite some time.
1. My floors and carpets are clean. Well, ok, they are clean enough when you consider that I have 5 young kids, a husband and a dog that live in our house. 2. I have super mom reflexes that don't allow most items to stay on the floor too long.
BUT...see this cute baby?
He spends most of his day crawling around on my floors. He drools on them, plays on them and yes, licks them! Even though I clean the floors 3 days a week, between all the foot traffic and spills, I know this little guy is hanging out with some nasty stuff. I can see it in these pictures - see the dark grout color?
While I employ the five-second rule for my sanity, I know that it's a myth. Research has shown that once an item hits the ground, it's contaminated. Sure, the amount of contamination totally depends on how long you leave it on the floor, what's actually on your floor and the type of item that fell. I'm not a complete germaphobe, you just can't be with lots of kids in your home, but I do want to make an extra effort to keep the floors clean, especially when I have a baby crawling around on the floor.
So, now what? The floors were brand new when we moved in to our home 2.5 years ago. However, just in that short amount of time they have shown lots of wear and tear. I'm picky about how we were going to clean them because we've been working on making greener changes to how we eat, live and clean around here. That's why I was excited to have Zerorez Socal come to my house and clean the kitchen floors and bathroom floor.
What makes Zerorez SoCal different? Zerorez is a green technology for cleaning surfaces in your home without use of harmful chemicals or solvents. That's my kind of cleaning service! They use fresh alkaline water to clean instead of harmful chemicals that can leave residue. Zerorez cleaning services are based on their unique EMPOWERED WATER™ technology. Their water that is electrolyzed and oxidized to create a powerful cleaning solution without harmful toxins or chemicals - cool! As a matter of fact, their water is so safe that you can drink it - see? This is me drinking the water!
My kids were so shocked to see me drink the water that they just had to try it out too, of course.
Did it work? Yes!
Here are before and after pictures of the toughest kitchen area that our super friendly and professional Zerorez SoCal technician cleaned.
What do you think? Like night and day, right?
Want to check them out?
I was really impressed with Zerorez Socal. I'm going to have them back again soon to continue making our home clean and healthy! You can have them come to you by taking advantage of this special deal for Vidacoco readers! Zerorez SoCal can clean your carpet, hardwood, tile and grout, and natural stone. Zerorez SoCal does clean upholstery, but it is not part of the deal.
Thanks Zerorez SoCal! It was great having you out to our home and we look forward to having you all back. The kids are still talking about drinking the water!
While at the grocery store a few days ago a conversation between two young girls and an older women caught my attention. I assume that they were all probably related. The conversation caught my attention because one of the young girls (she may have been around 12 years old) was translating English product labels for the older women.
The older women looked at her grocery list and asked the young girl in Spanish to get her dish soap. The girl looked at the various brands and pointed to one and said “este” (this one). She grabbed the bottle and read the label out loud in English, something about the soap being a "green" product – it was the same brand I had in my shopping cart too. The women asked the girl “Y que es eso?” (What's that?).
The girl proceeded to tell her that “green” is "no tiene cosas malas” (it doesn’t have bad stuff). The women asked her what kind of bad stuff she was talking about. The young girl said that she wasn’t sure, but that “green” products are better to use. The women shrugged her arms and asked “Ok, y cuanto?” (how much is it?). The girl read the price - $2.99 per bottle - but she added that they were on sale….buy 2 get 1 free. The women asked the girl if she thought the soap would clean well, the girl responded that she thought it would. They put the 3 dish soap bottles in their cart.
This interaction reminded me of my childhood. I remember going to the grocery store with my mom and having to read the English product labels and then translating them into Spanish for her. What truly caught my attention was that the young girl was educating the older women about what a “green” product label means. I just don’t know if the woman decided to buy the “green” soap because she wanted a "green" product or because the brand was on sale.