5 Steps You Need to Take to Remove Toxic Chemicals from Your Home
Unfortunately, we live in a world surrounded by toxic chemicals. We’re not talking about living near a toxic waste dump; we’re talking about toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, asbestos, and flame retardants throughout the house and BPA in common household items like paper products, paint, cleaning substances, insecticides, water bottles and more.
We can’t control everything out in the world, but we can control how safe and healthy our home is. We should feel safe when we walk into our homes after a long, exhausting day of work, school or just life in general. This is why we should embrace our power to control the safety of our homes by eliminating toxic chemicals.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, we will spend over 90 percent of our lives indoors. We should have a healthy space. We can control our exposure to harmful chemicals by following these guidelines:
- Get super educated on purchases you bring home.
In this age of information, it’s no longer acceptable to buy without knowing what you’re getting. Don’t settle for purchasing items just because of brand awareness or cost efficiency. Start learning what to look for in your products and what to avoid.
When you’re reading labels, feel safe to buy with labels like:
- Biodegradable substances & packaging
- Non-PVC paint
- BPA-free plastics
And when you see words like…
- Artificial fragrance
- Aerosol cans
- Sprayed pesticides
… know that those are products you should avoid. Being more conscious of what you’re bringing into your home is a vital step to keeping your home clean and safe. Make sure you’re always aware of what to look for.
- Get smarter about your sleep hygiene.
Dust mites, dead skin cells, and even bacteria can all live inside your mattress. Gross, right? All of those disgusting bedfellows love a mattress because it is a perfect, dark breeding ground for more dust mites, bacteria and bed bugs.
If your mattress is over 8 years old, experts recommend you start looking for a new one. At that point, it mostly is a home for bacteria, especially if you sleep with a pet who’s also shedding in the bed. Plus, your sleep surface has already outlived its usefulness to support you for restful sleep anyways after this long.
Once you realize it’s time for a new bed, do it the sustainable way. Do the leg work and look deeply into the reviews. You can find options that use 100 percent natural materials, and so many new mattresses using eco-friendly materials. You can even manage the purchase reasonably sustainably if you have your old mattress taken away by the same people who bring the new one in to limit gas waste and reduce emissions.
- Get plants to remove some toxins in the air.
Sure, plants provide a great decor piece that adds some liveliness to your home, but they also have the power to help turn our own carbon dioxide into oxygen. They can also remove pollutants and toxins from the air. Essentially, they absorb the bad stuff for us.
You’ll need bigger, leafy plants to eliminate enough toxins to make a difference. Experts recommend golden pothos, aloe vera or ferns because they’re leafy and are easy to care for. While you could choose to invest more in your air quality later on with better ventilation and air purifiers, plants are a simple, effective, and natural place to start!
- Get vigilant and start a crusade against dust.
The National Resource Defense Council studied dust in the home and found that 90 percent of their samples contained some manner of toxic chemicals. They compiled a great chart for reference as well.
Dusting once per week will limit how much is circulating in your air. Unfortunately, dusting is not a one-stop shop for removing toxic chemicals; it’s an on-going task that will require your effort on a weekly basis, but it’s a necessary chore we need to keep up for our home’s health.
- Get rid of toxic cleaning supplies and make your own.
This is a double whammy. If you make your own DIY cleaners at home instead of buying off the shelf, it will keep both the wasteful plastic packaging, made of harmful chemicals, and the substances with the toxic stuff in it, out of your home.
Here are some helpful hints to get you started:
- Water and vinegar can clean most surfaces.
- The natural acids in lemon break down grease, mold and mildew and give off a lovely natural fragrance in the process.
- Salt can work for scrubbing away nastiness.
- Baking soda kills viruses and deodorizes. Real Simple has some great versions to share.
These five simple steps are a great way to get you started on your way to a healthier and safer home. Let’s all endeavor to reduce the toxins that hurt our body and planet by starting in the home.
Author’s bio: Laurie Larson is a freelance writer based in NC. She writes on green, health, and home topics.
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