People often shy away from the concept of detoxifying their homes. Sure, everyone wants to live healthfully, but “detoxing” can seem foreign and the idea of upending the status quo in one’s own space can come off as time-consuming and expensive.
Well, POP! (That was me bursting that bubble.) Not only are there many ways to easily and quickly reduce the toxicants in your home, but many of them don’t cost a thing. In addition, the changes aren’t strange and new-agey; in fact, they’re pretty darn logical and can seamlessly become very routine. I’d argue that one day you’ll look back and wonder how you ever didn’t do this stuff.
Check out this list of simple and free ways to help reduce the amount of toxicants in your home and clean up the air that you and your family breathe every day.
KNOCK OFF YOUR SHOES AT THE DOOR: Want to slash the amount of bacteria, pesticide residue, heavy metals and chemicals in your kids’ rooms (not to mention your own)? Easy. Take your shoes off at the front door. The EPA has found that pesticides on shoes is a real source of toxic exposure for kids, but kicking off your kicks can take care of that.
- WASH YOUR HANDS WHEN YOU COME HOME: Even if it’s true that exposure to certain microbes can be an important part of a healthy immune system, there are plenty of things that should absolutely be sent down the drain. Pesticide and fertilizer residue from foods handled in the supermarket and from grass kids play on at school should be banished from the home, as should BPA (Bisphenol A) that’s found on receipts, movie tickets and other printed-on thermal paper. Washing and rubbing hands for 20 seconds with warm water and a plant-based soap will do the trick.
- AIR OUT YOUR DRY CLEANING BEFORE BRINGING IT IN THE HOUSE: I’ve made a concerted effort in our home to wash most items in the washing machine except those that absolutely require dry cleaning. And even then, we use a cleaner that does not utilize the solvent perchloroethylene (perc), which is a potential human carcinogen. If your cleaners use perc, or any other chemical solvent, be sure to take the plastic off of your dry cleaned clothes and air them out in a well-ventilated area before hanging them in your closet. This will allow any potentially remaining perc residue to dry.
- MOP AND DUST REGULARLY: Over time, home furnishings break down, shedding chemicals onto floors and surfaces that accumulate in dust. In fact, many studies done to test levels of environmental hazards like flame retardants, lead and phthalates actually look for these synthetic chemicals in household dust. Get rid of those bunnies with regular, easy maintenance (I admit, this one is free as long as my assumption that you already own a mop or a vacuum or a Swiffer stick is true…). Regularly dust, wet mop or use a dry Swiffer with a bit of plant-based soap and water on your floors. Vacuum carpets with a HEPA filtered vacuum.
- OPEN YOUR WINDOWS: Yes, it’s a simple as that. The EPA estimates that indoor air is at least 2-5 times more toxic than outdoor air. Even a couple of minutes a day of open windows can benefit the indoor air quality in your home – and the health of everyone who lives there.
So there you have it. 5 snappy ways to help protect yourself and those you love from some pretty nasty chemicals. There’s nothing pricey, nothing kooky. So try ’em…it just makes sense.