Your home is your haven… it should be a safe place to come and rest and not worry about chemicals and other toxins which could be putting your health at risk. If you have kids in your home, this is probably even more concerning to you. Over the past couple of years, I've made some big change in our home to reduce the toxic load we receive and make our home a place where we can truly rest and breath easy! From changing what I put on my skin (and spray in the air) to transitioning to completely non toxic cleaning products… I'm sharing my best tips for reducing toxins in your home here…
7 Ways to Reduce Toxins in your Home
1. Leave your shoes at the door
This should be simple enough right? Believe it or not… dirt on your shoes should be the least of your concerns. Shoes can track in pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals used on lawns, especially those in commercial areas. Also, depending on where you work (or shop, or play), there is risk for tracking in all kinds of unknowns from who-knows-where (fellow nurses, can I get an Amen?). If you wish to have guests in your home abide by this rule as well, consider offering them a pair of slippers to make them more comfortable while in your home.
2. Transition to non toxic cleaning and home supplies
There are countless ideas floating around the internet that make it super easy to DIY your own effective home cleansers… everything from DIY all-purpose cleansers to DIY foaming liquid hand soap. Heather Dessinger's DIY Non-Toxic Cleaning Supplies e-book is a really great place to get started (you can purchase that here).
I make a simple & fresh lemon scented cleaning solution by adding lemon slices/peels to white vinegar and letting it marinate for a few weeks. I strain the lemons then store the vinegar solution, adding about a 1 to 3 ratio in a spray bottle filled with filtered water. Occasionally I'll add various essential oils to it as well, for a different scent, or to give it an added antibacterial boost. It's ridiculously easy to make and works great!
Best Non Toxic Cleaning Products
If you're not a DIY'er, no biggie… there are plenty of non-toxic solutions out there that won't break the bank, and will keep your home tidy and clean without any extra elbow grease required! I personally use and love the Honest Company's home cleansing line, and I've heard great things about Branch Basics. I've heard that Norwex is also a good option, although, I've never personally used them. I'd refer to EWG's guide to the “Top Green Cleaning Products” if you're looking for more store-bought options.
3. Get some indoor plants that clean the air & remove toxins
NASA actually did a study to determine if indoor plants were capable of helping to cleanse the air… the results were pretty impressive! They showed that “plants can play a major role in removal of organic chemicals from indoor air”. Among the plants found to be most effective were English Ivy, Peace Lilies, Pot Mums, Gerbera Daisies, & Aloe… I just love this! I don't have the greenest of all thumbs, but this is totally motivation for me to keep trying my hand at some home plants.
4. Replace plugins with essential oil diffusers & natural room fresheners
Scent can be powerful for creating an environment that's calm and inviting, too bad most store-bought plugin units have some pretty toxic chemicals in them that have been linked with reproductive and developmental disorders, cancer, and neurological damage, among other conditions. The synthetic chemicals in air fresheners can also trigger asthma and other kinds of immune response attacks.
… kinda negates that whole warm and cozy vibe you were going for, doesn't it?
Not to worry though, essential oils have come to the rescue! When diffused, not only are they not leaking out toxic fumes into your home… they can actually have health benefits above and beyond a “feel good vibe”. My favorite is just a simple blend of lavender, lemon, and peppermint essential oils.
There are also some great DIY options for room and fabric fresheners, one of my personal favorites is this Calming Lavender Linen Spray from Kate at RealFoodRN.com.
5. Get groovy with some Himalayan salt lamps
We've got Himalayan salt lamps pretty much all over our house. The warm orange glow they emit is nice for a soothing ambience, but they're also great for cleansing the air. The transaction of heat with the Himalayan salt creates negative ions which can neutralize air pollutants that have a positive charge, like mold spores and other allergens. Other electronic devices in your home (like TV's, computers, and microwaves) also create positive ions, so having something to neutralize these charges purifies the air so everyone can breathe just a little bit easier!
6. Beeswax candles
Much like the Himalayan salt lamps, beeswax candles emit negative ions that can negate positively charged pollutants in the air like dust, pollen, dirt, and other allergens. Essentially, once “negated”, the pollutants fall to the ground so they aren't floating in the air. While we're at it, it should also be mentioned that most candles sold in stores today have fragrances added to them (like plugins) that toxify the air and are something you want to avoid. When shopping for beeswax candles, you want to make sure they are 100% Pure, Raw beeswax. (This looks like a good option.)
7. Clean up your beauty act
Growing up, I used to hang out with my mom while she got ready to leave the house… I have vivid memories of suffocating clouds of hair spray & begging her to warn me next time before she sprayed her perfume and I gagged to death. Thankfully, times are a changin' and now toxic fragrances are going out of style just like the big pouffy hairstyles of the 80's (thank ya' Lawd)! If you haven't heard yet, the skin care and cosmetics industry is pretty much one of the last ones to get on the “clean” bandwagon. Oh sure, you'll see lots of ‘green-washed' marketing slogans thrown around, but unfortunately they really don't mean much in an industry that is poorly regulated.
This will take a little more effort on your part, but “detoxing” the products in your bathroom can have a Huge impact on your family's health. The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database is a fantastic place to start to assess the ingredients in each of your hygiene and beauty products. My absolute favorite for non toxic cosmetics and skincare is Beautycounter. I discovered them about 6 months ago (they launched in 2013), and it's pretty much been a love-affair ever since. I've been incredibly impressed with the quality and wear-ability of all of their cosmetics (a MUST for working 12-hour shifts!), and their Countertime line & Lustro face oils have improved the clarity of my skin and made it super soft and smooth!
I'm not much of a DIY'er in this area (except of course for my awesome DIY tallow beauty balm), but if you love all things DIY, I highly recommend you check out the e-book DIY Organic Beauty Recipes. I also shared a few DIY non toxic beauty recipes in this post… where I also talk about how your makeup may be making you fat (say whaaaa?).
This is another area where essential oils have come in super handy for me as well. Not only do I add them to my tallow face cream, but I apply them diluted to my face daily and use them in my DIY root lifting spray.
What is your favorite way to reduce toxins in your home?
photo credits: depositphotos.com/beatabecla