You don't have to make every change at once.
Even if you just change one small thing--like filling a spray bottle with vinegar and water and putting away your 409--it will make a huge difference in the air quality in your home.
If you're ready to add other steps to your goal of a healthy home, here are some tips for keeping pollutants out and clean air in:
Take off your shoesYou think the toilet in the public bathroom is dirty? Think about the bottom of your shoes. They stepped all over the floor in that bathroom. Then they stepped in gum in the parking lot. They walked over the neighbor's lawn, which was recently treated with toxic chemicals. They stepped in gasoline, lead, and allergens.
Then they stepped on your carpet, just before your baby crawled across it to welcome you home.
According to the Healthy Child, Healthy World website, "pesticides have been linked to a range of health problems, including asthma, hyperactivity and behavior problems, cancer, learning disabilities, reproductive disorders, and compromised brain development." And they can be tracked in on your shoes. Keep the poison outside of your home.
Open a WindowThe inside of people's homes is generally more polluted than outside. Why? Because people tend to use toxic chemicals, track in pollutants on their shoes, and keep their windows sealed shut and their central air running. Opening a window for just 15 minutes a day can release some of the polluted air in your home and help eliminate contaminants.
Limit your Use of PlasticsPlastic is toxic to produce, fills up our landfills, and leaches harmful chemicals into the air and our food. Different types of plastics are more harmful than others. One of the worst types of plastics is PVC, or vinyl. (Good thing I threw out that pleather jacket I wore in college!) A list of the plastics that are better to avoid can be found on the Healthy Child, Healthy World website.
BPA, a chemical found in plastic, has been linked to infertility and hormone disruption. Eating foods that are not packaged in plastic can reduce the amount of BPA in your body by 60 percent.
Does this mean you have to throw out the set of plastic storage containers you just bought? No (you should recycle them). But seriously, no. Work on slowly moving the toxic stuff out and the good stuff in. As your storage containers get beat up and need replacing, purchase glass storage instead. Don't heat plastic in the microwave and don't scrub it with steel wool.
Use Nontoxic ProductsWe've talked about keeping chemicals out of your home by switching your beauty products to natural ones. You can do the same with your cleaning products.
- Mix up equal parts distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. You'll be surprised at how well it cuts through grease on your kitchen table and grimy fingerprints on your windows.
- Use baking soda and a sponge or cloth to clean baked-on dirt from your stove or bakeware.
- Use boiling water to clean stains from carpets.
- If you're worried about disinfecting, follow your vinegar wash and wipe with a spritz of 3% hydrogen peroxide and wipe it dry.
- For the best all-around nontoxic cleaner, mix castile soap with vinegar, tea tree oil, lemon juice, and water. The exact recipe for this natural miracle cleaner can be found on Tmuffin's website. You'll be amazed at how easily it cuts through soap scum, dried-on food on your kids' high chairs, and grease on your stove. It's a miracle cleaner.