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!