Did you know most Americans spend 90% of their daily lives indoors??Nowadays we are spending nearly all our indoor time within our own four walls. And while that fact is creating a lot of family time and a lot of stir-crazy, it also presents an opportunity to consider how we can control how safe and healthy our living environment truly is.
When it comes to taking care of our family’s health, we tend to focus on nutrition and exercise, and we spend very little focus on how our environment can affect our bodies. With practically all our time being spent at home right now, it’s never been as important to figure out ways to make our home more healthy. So whether it means cleaning up more often or removing harmful toxins, paying closer attention to our living environment can have an affect on not only our longterm health, but even how good we feel in the moment. And who doesn’t need that!
Cleaning Products: The biggest culprit & fastest fix
The number one contributor to unsafe air quality in our homes is cleaning products. Thankfully with just a few simple swaps, you can eliminate many of the sources of questionable and hazardous chemicals in your home. Here you’ll find the handful of easy ideas that will quickly transform your home into the healthy haven you deserve it to be – while saving you some money while you’re at it.
Would you believe that the air inside our homes is up to 5 times more polluted and contaminated than the air right outside our door? And that constantly being exposed to these pollutants negatively affect our gut health, our respiratory system and most critically, our immune system?
This astonishing fact drives me to share ways in which we can dramatically reduce the pollutants in our home so that we can breathe a bit freer and rest a bit easier knowing that our homes are places we can thrive and prosper – truly places that can help protect us and our health.
With just a few simple change-ups to your routine, you can make all the difference in the world to your family’s living spaces, safe haven and refuge. So let’s get to it!
- For routine cleaning, ditch the bleach & chemical cleaning products. Bleach is cheap. It’s effective. It’s available. But it’s harmful to our lungs & respiratory systems. Choose non-toxic options for routine cleaning. Swap out the bleach for disinfecting and use a less-caustic, powerful, neutral-pH germicide product instead on surfaces throughout home. You want to be sure it’s labelled to kill Covid-19 in germy places like your bathrooms, kitchen, and on door handles, toilets, sink handles, light switches etc.
- We are all doing a lot of home cooking days. Who else has made homemade pizza or tried out sourdough?? Keep the kitchen fan running while you cook. Ventilating while cooking prevents the fumes and vapors from lingering in the air.
- Oven cleaning, it’s a chore that is just staring using the eye! Use a non-toxic approach. There are powerful, fume-free products you can use along with a bit of elbow grease. Skip the automatic cleaning cycle and stay clear of Easy-Off and caustic chemical oven cleaning products.
- Did you know that we ingest harmful chemicals from the plates and glasses we pull out of the dishwasher every day? Swap out conventional dish washing detergent and dish soap with bio-degradable, safe alternatives. The dishes, drink and cookware we eat off of is the last place we need to have harmful chemical films.
- Air out each floor of the house at least 10 minutes a day. Flushing out our homes is a quick and effective way to cycle out built-up pollutants and replace the indoor air we breath with cleaner, safer, outdoor air.
- Run the bathroom fans a half hour or so after a shower to help move air and moisture out of the house. Musty, moldy air is one of the most common causes for respiratory complaints.
- Say a big no to air fresheners of any sort. The artificial fragrance may fool our noses into thinking the air is clean, but in reality it’s putting harmful chemicals into our lungs, bloodstream and taxing our immune systems. Skip the scented candles, for the same reasons. With every whiff of “sea breeze” or “spring meadow”, we end up breathing in volatile organic chemicals ( VOC’s) and other harmful byproducts. Soy-based candles and pure essential oils are a safer alternative to scenting your indoor air.
- Vacuum often. It’s a great stress release! Picking up the dust, dander, dirt and debris helps everyone in the house breathe easier and avoid allergic reactions. Moreover, it’s been found that many known industrial chemicals stick to dust, making those cute dust bunnies actually harmful to our health.
- Add a portable room air purifier, equipped with a high efficiency (HEPA) filter, to your home. It provides tremendous relief for those with dust, dander, pollen allergies. Move it around during the day where family is congregating. Place it in the bedroom area at night. Air purification can help capture extremely small particles of many different types. This is tremendously important as we create strategies to mitigate the pandemic. Filtration has been identified as a tool in reducing Covid-19’s spread. Take extreme caution not to be reliant on HEPA filters alone to minimize potential indoor exposures. While an air purifier is not effective on its own in reducing Covid-19, it can be an effective part of an overall strategy to limit the spread of the virus – especially in poorly ventilated spaces.
- Back to housekeeping! Fluff pillows, wash the throw blankets, and vacuum the furniture that’s become the office, classroom, and in our house, the cafeteria, for your stay-at-home crew.
- Here’s one less thing to do – skip the furniture polish. The fragrance and additives do not help keep indoor air safe. Use microfiber dust clothes and non-toxic powerful, money-saving cleaners, like this one, instead.
- Wash your windows & mirrors using a non-toxic spray and micro-fiber cloth. Skip the famous blue window spray and its dangerous ingredients. Switching to a safe window spray makes cleaning windows and mirrors a perfect chore in which to enlist your children while you’re at it!
- Keep outdoor shoes by the door to keep outside dirt being tracked inside. Our shoes pick up all sorts of other hazardous chemicals outside – including pesticide and insecticide residues. See the link above regarding dust – same applies to outdoor dirt!
- When it comes to laundry, break up with the big brand. The synthetic fragrance and the chemicals used to make those scents stick to your clothes can wreak havoc on our endrocine, hormonal and defense systems. And the wrinkle-reducing and stain-proofing additives cause our bodies big trouble too. It’s never a good time to weaken our immune systems. And now, it’s especially critical to help in every way to keep our immune systems strong. Same goes for dryer sheets, special synthetic stain removers and laundry softeners – say goodbye. Go fragrance-free and non-toxic in the laundry room; it’s really easier than you think when you choose the right products. I will never break up with the plant-based concentrated products I use. Our clothes have never been brighter & cleaner. Plus picking a highly concentrated option, saves us money.
Cleaning the house may be the bane of your existence or your favorite daily activity. Who’s to say! No matter how you feel about the chores themselves when you’ve dramatically improved the air quality in your home – and most importantly – your family’s health, you’ll feel good that you’ve made these swaps every time you clean!
Want some help picking out the best products for your home chores? Send a comment and I’ll give you my recommendations that get the job done and save you money while you’re at it.