Published on January 12th, 2008 | by Stephanie Evans
ABC Your Way to a Healthier Home
Taking care of the indoor spaces we inhabit is just as crucial as caring for the great outdoor spaces we all share. Outdoor toxins can exist in even more concentrated amounts indoors, creating hidden health hazards at every turn.
We track in various residues on our shoes. We invite offgassing materials into our homes and then polish them with toxic cleaners. Here are some simple tips to help you steer clear of these hazards and create a healthier home…
Avoid Allergens . . . like the plague. Leave shoes at the door, especially if your home is carpeted. So much grease, grime, and grit is tracked into your home and embedded into your carpet fibers. This dirty reality leaves but two options: vacuum every time someone leaves OR encourage guests and family members to bare their soles as they enter your clean, green home. Here’s how to get what you want without having to ask:
- Slip off your shoes outside the door or just inside of it—most guests will observe the custom and do likewise.
- If you have the space, create a warm entryway area with a cubbyhole, bench, or aother organized area designated for shoes. This provides your guests with an invitation to leave them at the door.
Banish Dust Mites
Dust mites accumulate in the smallest nooks and crannies, and allergens radiating out from those hidden spaces can significantly affect your respiratory functions. Carpets are the gathering grounds of dust mite colonies, and while any non-carpet flooring promotes a cleaner surface, even wood and other alternative flooring needs to be cleaned frequently. To make sure it gets done:
- Designate 1 or more days per week as "cleaning day(s)."
- If you have carpets, vacuum at least once a week or as much as needed to minimize dust build-up.
- Remember to vacuum or wipe down rarely touched areas, such as refrigerator coils.
Make sure to use natural, non-toxic, and biodegradable household cleaning products that contain no artificial additives. Look for ingredients drawn from nature to bring some of the outside into your living space.
- Visit our Household Cleaning section for a few ideas about natural cleaners or whip up some of your own—homemade recipes aren’t hard to find and are often easy to make!
Distill Air Quality
The air in our homes can be considerably more toxic than anything we breathe outside because we are technically living within the confines of a closed box. In addition, many of us do not properly ventilate our indoor spaces, especially in moisture-rich areas such as the bathroom or laundry room. Boost your indoor air quality by:
- Making use of plants that will absorb and filter pollutants from the air.
- Having your indoor air quality tested and investing in an air purification system if needed.
Evict Those EMFs
Electromagnetic frequencies, that is. If it runs on electricity, it produces some level of EMF, whether it’s turned on or off. The sleeping space of the average home contains many EMF-producing sources, including electronic equipment. Think of the bedroom as your own personal restorative haven. How can you indulge in rejuvenation when your personal space invites invasion?
- First off, avoid placing electronic devices in the bedroom if possible. According to many holistic design philosophies, such as Feng Shui, electronic devices in your sleep space disrupt your circadian rhthyms and disturb the flow of energy in your room and your body.
- If they’re already there and you just can’t bear to kick them out, turn them off at night. To neutralize EMF output, research how your devices and appliances are wired and consider placing the emitters on a single master switch that you can simply turn off at night.