Five Tips for a Healthier Home
Clean living includes the air we breathe
Clean eating is not just about the food you put in your mouth, but also about the chemicals that you touch, inhale and ingest.
You might be surprised to learn that according to the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, the air inside your home and other buildings can be more polluted than the outdoor air. This is true whether you live in the country or in an industrialized area.
Since you spend a good amount of time indoors, the air quality can be a health hazard. The good news is that there are some truly simple steps you can take to improve the air quality and health of your home.
#1 Smoking Ban
Don’t allow anyone to smoke inside your home. Some experts compare emissions from cigarettes with diesel fuel. You wouldn’t let someone run their car in your living room, so don’t let them smoke either. The toxins from cigarettes can cause cancer and they linger on fabrics and walls for weeks.
#2 Avoid VOCs
VOC stands for volatile organic compound. They are the off gases found in paint, particle board furniture or furniture built with medium density finer (MDF) board. They’re also found in carpeting and other synthetic fibers. VOCs have been linked to neurological diseases, respiratory diseases and even cancer. Avoid them whenever possible. Choose low VOC or VOC free paints and stains, and you can buy solid wood furniture, carpeting and upholstery made from natural fibers.
#3 Use Natural Cleansers and Fragrances
Your personal home care and body care products often contain the biggest indoor air pollutants. They contain fragrances and other toxins that immediately enter your lungs and cling to materials in your home. There’s a growing market of unscented products, and natural cleaning and personal care products. You can also make your own products with natural oils so that you know with 100 percent certainty what’s going onto your surfaces, into your body, and in the air of your home. Consider non-chemical products like Norwex that use only water.
#4 Check the Quality of Your Air
Install a carbon monoxide detector. Every year this deadly chemical kills people. It’s an odorless gas and difficult to detect. A simple detector can protect you and your loved ones. We keep one in our bedroom and one in the furnace room.
Radon is another element to check for. Radon is a radioactive gas that is naturally present in soil. It can enter your home through cracks in your foundation. Radon is also the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US, according to the National Cancer Institute. You can find a radon test kit at your local home or hardware store.
#5 Clean Your Air
You can keep the air in your home clean by opening the windows at least once a week. Leave them open and let the fresh air circulate and clean out the indoor air.
Plants are also a great way to clean the air. For example, the simple spider plant rids your home of benzene and formaldehyde which are two gases that are emitted from common household building materials, furniture, and even bedding and clothing. Just make sure whatever plants you choose are safe for your pets. Here’s a list of non-toxic plants for cats and dogs from the ASPCA »
I have my kitchen and bathrooms filled with plants, where watering is easily accessible (and it seeing them daily helps me remember to water them).
Simple steps can ensure a healthy and safe home. Protect your health and the health of your loved ones.