If you want to detox your home, it means you want to cut down on the amount of toxins you are exposed to within your house. You want to clear the air, and get some freshness into your life.
Maybe you, or someone in your family deals with chemical sensitivities, or you are someone who cares about your impact on the planet and want to do your part in changing things for the better, or maybe you want to reduce the toxic load that you are exposed to. Either way, you are here because you want to clean your space of toxic air and toxic products.
Your home is your sanctuary, you want it to be a place of rest and renewal, not a place that creates a toxic burden on your body.
Our homes are becoming increasingly toxic. Furniture, carpeting and wall paint is constantly off-gassing toxic chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene into the air. Our indoor air quality is impacted by the cleaning products we use, and our bodies are impacted by the personal products we use within our homes.
In this article I want to share with you some simple tips that will go a long way to making you and your home more healthy. I don’t want to just tell you to change your light bulbs, I want to go deeper than that, to a place where we are actually detoxifying our home environment, not just saving energy. Yes, changing your light bulbs is a great place to reduce energy usage, but you want to know how to get rid of the chemicals in your home, the chemicals that can lead to cancer and other health problems. I want to share with you the most important steps in making your home a place where you feel comfortable and know that you aren’t being slowly poisoned.
Here are 12 tips that will drastically reduce the amount of toxins in your home.
Tip #1: Say Hello to Natural and Organic Personal Care Products
Natural and organic skin care, hair care, and body care are going to help you lessen the toxic load on your body. Personal care products are used daily, and this means that they should be the first lifestyle choice to be changed.
You are ingesting so many chemicals through your personal care products, everything from face wash, to makeup, to shampoos. Every personal care product you use should be switched over to a more natural alternative. Our sister site, The Best Organic Skin Care offers tons of advice on doing just that. Check out this article on How to Green Your Beauty Routine, then come back here and keep reading.
Tip #2: Ditch the Toxic Cleaning Products
A major portion of the toxins we ingest come from the cleaning products we use. The fragrances and chemicals in most cleaning products are terrible for you and terrible for the earth. Do yourself a huge favor and stop using these chemical cleaning products. It is so easy to make your own non-toxic cleaning products. Vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and essential oils are all you need to clean almost everything in your home.
Here is a simple multi-purpose cleaner recipe to get you started:
Simple Household Cleaner Spray:
- Spray bottle
- 1 cup White Vinegar
- 2 cups Water
- 1 TBS dish soap (optional)
- 30 drops Essential Oil
Mix everything in a spray bottle. Create a nice label or write on the bottle so you remember what it is. Shake before using. Use it as an all-purpose surface cleaner on windows, counters, cutting boards, door knobs, etc. Use with baking soda for some scrubbing action.
Tip #3: Get Some Indoor Plants
Not all of us can afford an indoor air purifier, so the easiest and most affordable way to help clean the air in your home is to buy plants that are proven to clean the air. These plants can help remove formaldehyde and benzene molecules from the air.
I have many of these plants in my own home, they are very easy to grow and require little care. One plant will clean ten square yards of floor space. The average living room needs two or three plants to improve indoor air quality. Here is a list of plant air purifiers:
- Reed Palm
- Peace Lily
- Rubber Plant
- Weeping Fig
- Dwarf Date Palm
- Boston Fern
- Australian Sword Fern
- Janet Craig Dracaena
- English Ivy
- Snake Plant
- Golden Pothos
- Spider Plant
Tip #4: Change Your Cookware
The most toxic cookware is made of:
- Aluminum (leaches very easily, especially with acidic foods).
- Teflon or other non-stick surfaces (Release toxic fumes into the air when heated).
If you are still using non-stick, Teflon coated cookware, or cheap aluminum pots and pans, get rid of it and switch to safer options. It can be expensive to switch out all of your cookware for new, non-toxic products. My suggestion is to do it one piece at a time. Also, check out trading posts or thrift stores to find used cookware. The safest cookware materials are:
- Stainless steel: There are some who say you should not cook acidic foods in stainless steel as it may leach metals into the food, but it is a more affordable option and as long as you are not scratching the surface or cooking acidic foods for long periods of time, you should be safe. To check if a product is stainless steel, see if a magnet sticks to it, if is does, you know it is really stainless steel.
- Cast- Iron: Cast iron is a safe option. A well seasoned cast-iron pan is non-stick and very versatile.
- Glass: Baking dishes, mixing bowls, and storage dishes made of glass are a safe cooking and storing option. Pyrex glass dishes are affordable and will last you a long time.
- Ceramic: Look for ceramic produced by companies that do not use glazing that may contain lead.
- Enameled Cast-Iron: A fairly expensive option, but a safe and versatile cookware. Easy to cook with and easy to clean and you don’t have to season it like regular cast-iron.
- Clay: A traditional cooking material that can be a bit tricky to get used to using, but food cooked in clay retains more flavor and nutrients, and the clay releases moisture into the food, making the food more juicy.
Tip #5: Get Rid of Plastics
Plastic is so prevalent on our lives, it is literally everywhere. Many plastics contain BPA, a chemical that has been linked to developmental and reproductive issues. Even BPA free plastics contain toxic chemicals. Plastic doesn’t break down, so it litters landfills and leaches endocrine-disrupting chemicals into our land and water.
We must reduce the amount of plastic that we use. Here are a few tips at reducing the plastic in your home:
- Stop buying plastic containers, instead use glass or stainless steel containers.
- Stop using plastic wrap and instead invest in silicone storage lids.
- Don’t have a plastic shower curtain, opt for a fabric curtain instead.
- Avoid plastic baby toys and plastic bottles.
- Use mason jars to store herbs, bulk foods, or leftovers, you can even freeze food in them.
- Use a stainless steel water bottle.
Tip #6: Get a Shower Filter
When you shower in chlorinated water, that chlorine becomes airborne and you breath it in. Your skin also absorbs the chemicals found in the water. Investing in a shower filter will significantly reduce the amount of toxins you ingest. A shower filter is not an expensive investment and it will go a long way in reducing the toxic load on your body.
Tip #7: Filter Your Water
So many toxins are showing up in our drinking water, from chlorine, to pesticide and drug residues. Buying a water filtration system is a great way to ensure that you are drinking healthy water. Buying bottled water is wasteful and exposes you to plastic. It is much cheaper in the long run to invest in a water filter for your drinking and cooking water. I have had a water filter for over 10 years. I love knowing that the water I am drinking has been filtered and is free of heavy metals and bacteria.
Tip #8: Choose Natural Over Synthetic
Natural fibers like cotton, wool and hemp are infinitely cleaner than synthetic fabrics. Your clothing should be made of natural fibers. Look for natural fibers when purchasing furniture and carpeting or rugs. Make sure your bedding is made of natural fibers. Read our article on The Best Organic Bedding.
Organic cotton is the best kind of cotton to buy, as conventional cotton is heavily sprayed with pesticides and is more often than not genetically modified. Hemp is a great Eco-friendly choice as it grows very well without the need for pesticides and fertilizers.
Tip #9: Grow a Garden
Growing your own food, even just a little, is extremely rewarding and fun. Nurturing plants, watching them grow, and harvesting the fruit of your labor is a satisfying and soul-fulfilling experience. So much of our food is lacking in vitamins and minerals, sprayed with toxic pesticides, and shipped all over the world. Growing some of your own food can cut back on your contribution to such a toxic industry.
There is nothing like that flavor of fresh-grown food. There are many clever ways to grown food anywhere, whether you live in an apartment or out in the country, make the effort to at least grow a little bit of your own food, it is well worth the effort.
Tip #10: Avoid Particle Board
Particle board cabinets, furniture, walls and flooring release formaldehyde into the air. If you can, opt for natural materials like wood, linoleum, ceramic, glass or steel.
Tip # 11: Open Windows
Indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air (hard to believe!) Opening your windows and letting in fresh air will help improve the quality of the air in your home.
Tip #12: Green Your Laundry
First off, ditch the dryer sheets. They coat your clothes in toxic chemicals. Next, find an Eco-friendly, non-toxic laundry detergent. If you have the time, dry your clothes on a rack or outside on a clothes line.
If you follow the above tips, you will make immense progress in limiting your exposure to toxic chemicals. Don’t get overwhelmed, you don’t have to completely overhaul your home in one day. Greening your home can take years to accomplish, and that is o.k. Start taking small steps today, change the things you buy, be mindful of what you bring into your home and you will be well on your way to a healthy home and body.
Do you have any tips to share? What have you done to detox your home? Do you find it easy or hard to get rid of the toxic burdens you are exposed to everyday?