Our homes are our safe havens — the sanctuary that rejuvenates us before we go back out and face the world.
Unfortunately, it’s easier than you might be aware of to subject yourself to toxic exposure unwittingly in your home. Fortunately, changing a few simple habits can improve your home’s health by creating a cleaner, healthier, and greener environment for everyone in it, and even the planet it sits on!
Minimizing our exposure to toxins can help your body naturally balance and function at its fullest potential. There are some simple steps you can start taking now to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals at home. Just follow these simple tips to keep your home toxin-free.
Leave Your Shoes At The Door
Remove your shoes before entering your home. This habit is so simple, and yet it will save your home from becoming a terrifying mass experiment in toxic exposure. Everywhere you walk outside your home, there are all sorts of chemicals and germs your shoes pick up. It’s typical at parks to track through pesticides and dog fecal particles. When you get out of your vehicle to pump gas at the gas station, petroleum products coat the ground.
When you go shopping, hundreds, if not thousands of people, have tracked through the store that day from who knows where. No matter how vigilant and thorough you are about wiping your shoes at the front door, they will still be tracking in all kinds of toxins and germs from the outside — so do your health and your home a favor and leave the shoes at the door.
Change Filters & Clean Ducts
Change your central-air filters, and have the air ducts cleaned. When you regularly have the air filters replaced and the ducts cleaned, you improve your home’s air quality. A good rule of thumb is to change the air filters once a month, and the air ducts cleaned once a year, but if you use your central air-conditioning often, it may be necessary to clean them more often.
Also, if you have allergies, or live in a major city, or live in a closed-up home during cold winter months, it may be best to consider installing high-quality air filters in your bedrooms and living room. The best filters on the market are high-efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) and ionizing air filters, further reducing allergens and pollutants in your air. Some of my favorite combination home filtration units are Austin, IQ Air, and Blue Air.
As an immediate solution, you can use a HEPA filter in your vacuum to reduce contaminants in your house, while avoiding exposure by inhaling toxic chemicals released into the air by inferior quality filters.
Prevent Mold & Mildew Build-Up
Mold growth in our homes is more common than you may realize and can trigger several health issues, including allergies, asthma, and chronic skin problems. Making an effort to reduce the humidity in your home will help to avoid mold growth. Moisture can lurk in the walls, floors, and under sinks. Pay close attention to danger areas, such as the bathroom, laundry, and basement. Any leak, big or small, can lead to toxic mold growth over time, so be aggressive about reducing your home’s dampness.
Regularly check for plumbing leaks inside, and make sure outside irrigation lines are at least two feet from your home’s exterior walls. If you live in a dry area, and need to use a humidifier in your home, clean the reservoir twice a week to prevent mold growth. Older air conditioners and even dehumidifiers can also be a source of toxic mold, so check and clean them regularly. If you suspect mold in your home or have a history of water damage, take care — contact a specialist for mold testing and home consultation. By upsetting a mold source, you can send the spores airborne, exposing your home.
Ditch The Toxic Cleaning Products
Getting rid of toxic cleaning products is easier than you’d think — because natural cleaning products are just as effective as chemical-based products. Most popular cleaning products are full of harmful chemicals released into the air and left behind on surfaces as a toxic residue. When you use chemicals, you expose yourself and your family for days afterward every time you touch a surface or breathe the fumes.
Choose environmentally friendly alternative cleaners, which tend to be chemical free and safe for you, your home, and the environment. Or make chemical-free cleansers to disinfect, clean, and protect your home. For example, baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar will clean everything in your home without exposing you to harmful toxins or chemicals.
Build & Furnish With Care
Be careful about what home building and furnishing products you buy and bring into your home. Building materials such as insulation, adhesives, composite wood, carpeting, rugs, and paint can contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds), vaporizing into the air at ambient temperatures, and releasing toxins into your home to contribute to indoor air pollution.
So, next time you shop for new home furnishings, look past the soothing appearances of the paint color you want for your walls, or the stylish look of a new rug, or the durability of PVC doors or flooring. Instead, look for items with natural materials and finishes that are made by “green” construction. Safe materials can typically be found in choosing solid wood products, formaldehyde-free insulations, and finishes. Be sure to ventilate your home well when you do any refurbishing to protect yourself from material off-gasses.
Healthy Living Resources
Thankfully, we are not left to figure all of this stuff out on our own. EWG’s Healthy Living: Home Guide explores potential toxic exposure sources within your home. Or check the many other EWG Consumer Guides to identify and avoid exposure to harmful agents every day.
We hope this list of five ways to reduce toxins in your home is user-friendly and will help assist you in making changes that will keep your home a non-toxic haven you can trust to revitalize and recharge away from the outside world.
Being a part of a holistic skin care movement — Learn more about how The Spa Dr.® book Clean Skin From Within can help you detoxify your home and body to support a clean body, mind, and glowing skin! The Spa Dr.® takes particular care to make all our skin care products and supplements safe and non-toxic, and has worked with the Environmental Working Group to make sure of it!
We’d love to hear from you! Are there any tips or tricks you use to protect your home from toxins?