Toxic chemicals are everywhere, and while exposure can be difficult to avoid, there are some tips and tricks that you can implement in your home to help ensure you’re living in the best environment possible.
Keep reading to find out how can you reduce these toxins in your environment for optimal health.
1. Get rid of dust, regularly
Besides aggravating allergies, you may not have considered that dust can actually host a range of hazardous chemicals such as pesticides, lead, and other chemicals. Dust is so prevalent in homes that it’s easy to look past this seemingly innocent annoyance. But it’s essential for your health to be diligent – so get out the duster and get to work!
Carpet can also host more dust than you would think. In fact, wall to wall carpets are a primary collector of dust and potential toxins. If you have been considering replacing your carpets consider a wood, cork, or tile floor, as these are far easier to clean and will not support the build up of dust and contaminates.
If you really do love your carpet, then it might be worthwhile getting them professionally cleaned regularly, as well keeping on top of vacuuming. However, keep in mind that this is not a perfect solution, as it relies upon you maintaining a frequent and fervent vacuuming schedule! Another quick check – make sure your vacuum has strong suction and a HEPA filter.
2. Use non-toxic cleaning products
It’s easier than you think. You’ve probably heard of baking soda, and there’s a reason why so many cleaning products contain phrases such as ‘with added baking soda’ – it’s actually a really effective cleaning product! So skip the chemicals and additives and use baking soda to scrub sinks and tubs, or mix in a little vinegar to neaten up floors and other surfaces.
Bleach actually isn’t necessary for many cleaning tasks, and air fresheners could actually be injecting unnecessary chemicals into the air. Skip on fragranced detergents and try to seek out dry cleaners that use non-toxic methods. A little bit of extra consideration can go a long way in removing chemicals from the household cleaning products that you use regularly.
3. Clean your shower
Remember to use non-toxic cleaning substances!
There’s also a good chance that chlorine is added to your water source, which when added to hot water during your morning shower could mean that you are inhaling unnecessary chemicals. You can pick up cheap shower filters to solve this problem.
Do you have a shower curtain? Do you know what it is made from? It may be worth taking a second look, as PVC curtains contain phthalates which are able to be absorbed by your skin. You can easily find shower curtains in alternative materials for just a few dollars. All these small things add up to make a difference.
4. Have some houseplants
As a lot of people may already know, plants can help filter impurities from the air. In fact, NASA has been researching this for years, and if it can help create healthy space environments, there’s no reason why it can’t work in your home too. There are a variety of plants suitable for growing indoors that can considerably enhance the air quality of the room. Consider a known favourite, the peace lily, English ivy, bamboo, or gerbera daisies. All of these plants will help to filter out the nasty chemicals that thrive in indoor environments (often these are substances that have been added to furniture that slowly seep back into the air).
5. Install an air purifier
This can be an especially good idea if you live in a heavily polluted city. It’s true that regular dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning will go a long way, and coupled with plenty of outside fresh air, you should be able to keep the air quality inside your home reasonably high. But sometimes the air from outside is actually not that good. Perhaps you live near a main road, maybe there is construction nearby, or maybe you just live in a heavily polluted city. An air filter can dramatically improve the air quality of your house, and there are many different types of units available. A typical place to install a filter is in the bedroom, after all, you will typically spend a third of your life breathing the air in your bedroom. This can be an effective way to significantly reduce exposure to toxins – and all while you sleep!
6. Go organic
Organic foods are free of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and all kinds of weird and wonderful additives that find their way into the food supply chain. It can be a little more costly to purchase organic foods, however there are often local farmers markets which may have organic produce at discounted prices. Better yet, grow your own!
If you can’t purchase organic due to cost or availability, wash the outside of the food with care, even before cutting, as when you cut the food you can draw chemicals from the outside of the food through the flesh. It could also be worthwhile to consider buying at least some organic products, such as meat and dairy products, or other products which are typically the most contaminated (celery, apples, strawberries, spinach, lettuce, kale, blueberries, and others).
7. Ventilate often
Your home is probably well insulated, and probably doesn’t have air leaks to the outside, or holes in your walls. Great! But on the other hand, toxins are probably sealed within your home. Make sure you ventilate your house, even in winter, if only briefly or every so often. Open doors and windows on either side of the room to facilitate the creation of an air current to speed up the process.
8. Be careful with plastic bottles
It’s still debated whether or not bisphenol A is safe, a product which is regularly found in plastic bottles. It’s also used as an epoxy resin in some metal products like canned foods. Generally bottles labelled “7” or “PC” are at a higher risk. It’s also a good idea not to microwave using cling wrap, and could be beneficial to store food in glass and ceramic containers.
9. Consider filtering your tap water
Filtering your tap water can substantially reduce the number of toxins that sneak their way into your water source. It can also improve the taste of your water, all while bringing peace of mind. Even if you live in an area where your water is considered to be good, there may still be trace amounts of contaminants such as lead, bacteria, fertilisers, industrial chemicals, and others – of which any good filter can help to remove.
10. Be clean: wash your hands
It sounds obvious, but it’s true. Frequent washing of your hands will help keep germs from being passed around. It’s good to get toddlers accustomed to the habit as soon as possible, as they will be picking up just about every germ source that has slipped your attention during cleaning. The process of hand washing is important too, so make sure to be thorough and take enough time to do it properly.