A lot of time and money is spent on detoxes for health; however, it is just as important to rid your home of toxins and there are some key ways to detox your home. Your home environment can have a major impact on your health, especially considering the number of toxins in the home environment that accumulate in the body. These environmental toxins can lead to chronic illnesses such as asthma and, in very extreme cases, cancer. Many of the toxins in the home that lead to these problems come from synthetic chemicals. In fact, there are so many synthetic chemicals in homes that indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, which is why there is something called “sick building syndrome.” “Sick building syndrome” occurs when people develop health problems as a result of working in tightly sealed spaces. Thankfully, you can avoid “sick building syndrome” in your home by following these ways to detox your home.
1. Decrease Chemical Exposure
One of the ways to detox your home is to decrease chemical exposure by wisely choosing what products you bring into your home. If you are going to be painting your house, you should choose a low or zero VOC paint that has been certified by Green Seal. Since paint is a common source of indoor pollution, this will eliminate many toxic chemicals from your home environment. Another way to decrease your chemical exposure is to choose solid wood furniture over particle board or foam furniture when you are redecorating. This is important because both particle board and foam emit toxic chemicals for years. An even simpler way to decrease the amount of chemicals in your home is to avoid fragrances and air fresheners, which contain harmful chemicals like formaldehyde. If you enjoy having scents in your home, switch to essentials oils.
2. Consider Electric Heat
I was surprised to learn that natural gas is a major indoor pollutant that causes asthma and breathing problems. I have a gas stove in my house and love cooking on it because of the way it evenly heats the food, so I was disappointed to learn my beloved stove can emit harmful chemicals. Obviously, the only way to avoid the chemicals from a gas stove is to choose an electric stove, which actually tends to result in a less expensive energy bill. However, if you must have a gas stove, the newer gas stoves that don’t have a continuously burning pilot light are much better. Also, you want to make sure that your flame always burns blue. An orange or yellow flame indicates a problem with the igniter.
3. Purify Water
Tap water is a major source of pollutants. Even if you live in a city that has highly rated water, there is still a considerable amount of pollutants in your water. Fixing the problem of pollutants in water is extremely easy and relatively inexpensive. A simple carbon based filter will remove many chemicals, including lead and chlorine. For those of you who are really serious about filtering your water, you can purchase a reverse osmosis filter. These are much more expensive, but they do get rid of almost every chemical. Personally, I have a basic carbon pitcher filter. If you are curious about the quality of your water and live in the United States, you can go to ewg.org and search their national drinking water database.
4. Be Cautious of Mold
When I was in my senior year of college the ceiling in my apartment began to leak every time it rained. It was so bad that water would drip down and bubble up under the paint. After two weeks the wall in my bathroom become very moldy. Because I didn’t have the greatest landlords, my only option was to seal off my bathroom and use the guest bathroom. Needless to say, this experience made me very aware of the dangers of mold. Mold is very dangerous and can cause asthma, decreased immunity, and neurological problems. The most common causes of mold are plumbing leaks, which is why it is common to find mold under sinks, around water heaters, behind dishwashers, and behind washing machines. If you do find mold, you should consider calling a professional to clean it because improper cleanup can actually spread mold spores.
5. Choose Cleaning Products Wisely
Many cleaning products have harmful chemicals that can be very detrimental to your health. Pine and citrus based cleaners, for instance, produce cancer causing formaldehyde. Triclosan, which is in antibacterial soap, can cause liver toxicity and harms thyroid function. To avoid harmful chemicals, you should look for green certifications such as Green Seal or Eco Logo when you are purchasing cleaning products. An even better option that is less expensive would be to rely on vinegar and baking soda for cleaning products. Distilled white vinegar is wonderful for washing windows, and baking soda makes a great paste for scrubbing surfaces clean.
I have always considered dust to be an allergen, but I recently learned it is also a pollutant. Dust bunnies contain myriad things, including pet dander, mold spores, human hair and skin, and up to 35 toxic industrial chemicals! The chemicals that are found in dust often come in on your shoes, which is why it is a good idea to take your shoes off when you enter your home. Even if you do take your shoes off when you come home, you should still regularly dust to get rid of dust bunnies. Mopping and wiping furniture with a microfiber cloth can do wonders for getting rid of dust.
7. Fresh Air
Unless you live near a freeway, the air outside is much cleaner than the air in your home. One of the best ways freshen the air in your house is to open your windows. This will allow new air to come into your house. You will get a great burst of fresh air if you do this on a windy day! In addition to opening a window, you can also freshen up the air in your house by replacing air filters and even adding houseplants. Replacing air filters with HEPA filters will help remove tiny toxic particles from the air. Houseplants like English ivy, bamboo pal, and spider plants also filter the air, and they are pretty to look at!
Since your home is supposed to be your haven, you want to make sure it has as few toxic chemicals as possible. Taking some or all of these steps will greatly help detox your home. In fact, you may already be doing some of these things to reduce the chemicals in your home. What suggestions do you have to reduce the chemical load in your home?
Source: White, Jacqueline. “Detox Your Home: How to Balance the Elements for Better Health”. Experience Life. Jan/Feb 2014. Print