Detoxify Your Home
By: Denise Netzel, owner of Tend 2 Corp
It’s no secret that toxins are everywhere, from the polluted air we breathe in the great outdoors to the chemical-laced items that line the shelves inside our homes. While we have little control regarding the quality of the air that surrounds us outside, we can decrease the amount of toxins that we allow to enter our living quarters. “People have become more aware of the importance of living in a healthy home, which is why so many toxic-free products are becoming mainstream,” Kevin Tibbs, co-founder and formulation chemist of Better Life cleaning products, told AOL Health. Here’s how you can easily reduce the number of potential dangerous toxins in your own home.
Take Off Your Shoes
The easiest — and cheapest — way to keep toxins out of your home is to take your shoes off before stepping inside, Jennifer Taggart, founder of The Smart Mama and author of “Smart Mama’s Green Guide: Simple Steps to Reduce Your Child’s Toxic Chemical Exposure,” told AOL Health. “We track so much of the dirt inour homes from outside, and with that comes a host of contaminants, such as pesticides, cadmium, lead and more,” she explained. “This simple act can reduce your exposure to these contaminants by as much as 65 percent.”
Clean With Plant-Based Products
For years, white vinegar was known as the natural multipurpose cleaner, but a new generation of natural, coconut-based cleaners, such as Clorox’s Green Works, Shaklee’s Get Clean and Tibbs’ Better Life, are a great way to get your home clean without the harsh chemicals found in traditional cleaners.
Steam the Floor With Hot Water
Instead of cleaning hard floors with harsh cleaners, try steaming away the dirt and scuff marks with a mop that requires only water, such as the Bissell Steam Mop Deluxe hard floor cleaner. These “mops” are chemical free; eco-friendly; and are designed to clean and sanitize all ceramic, tile, hardwood, vinyl and laminated flooring. They typically have reusable micro pads, which make them more environmentally friendly than disposable pads.
Choose Water-Based Paints and Coatings
Along with traditional cleaning products, numerous home improvement items, like paints, lacquers and floor coatings, also emit fumes called volatile organic compounds. These compounds, such as glycol ethers and alcohols, can contribute to numerous health problems, including respiratory problems, nausea, headaches and skin irritation. In fact, The United States Environmental Protection Agency confirms that they can result in short- and long-term adverse health effects. Tibbs suggested choosing paints and finishes that are made from natural ingredients, such as water, minerals or plant oils.
Wash Clothes With Salt- or Herbal-Based Soaps
Instead of pouring a cup full of traditional, chemical-based laundry detergent in your washing machine, consider using a natural cleaner made from a salt compound such as Borax (also known as sodium tetra borate) or washing soda (also known as sodium carbonate). Or look for a ready-made natural laundry detergent, such as Seventh Generation natural liquid detergent.
Purchase a Certified Water Filter
The OMB Watch, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quotes a new healthy study that found drinking water in 31 out of 35 U.S. cities to be contaminated by a dangerous form of chromium called hexavalent chromium, which is a known carcinogen when inhaled and a possible carcinogen when ingested. In previous studies, tap water has also been found to contain unsafe levels of metals, bacteria, viruses and cancer-causing chemicals. If investing in a whole-house water filter system is too expensive, you may want to purchase a water filter that is National Sanitation Foundation and American National Standards Institute tested and certified.
Toss Out Home Fragrances
Taggart suggested skipping air fresheners and candles. “Those scented products are usually made from petroleum-based synthetic scents and contain a host of irritants, allergens and carcinogens,” she stated. Instead, she suggested simmering water — either on the stove or in an electric kettle — and adding the real version of your favorite scent, like lemon peel, orange peel, pine needles or cinnamon. And if you and your family are lucky enough not to suffer from springtime allergies, Taggart also advised simply opening the windows. “After all, the indoor air in our homes is usually more polluted than the outdoor air — four to 10 times more polluted according to the EPA — due to the cleaners and products we use,” she explained. “So detoxify your home by letting the fresh air in!”
Denise Netzel is an environment services specialist and owner of Tend 2 Corp, a 10 year old company providing solutions to indoor air, water and laundry pollution for residential, commercial, industrial and ambulances of the fire departments.