Many of the chemicals and toxins in our home we’re unable to see, taste or even smell. This is a scary fact, given the average home contains 500-100 chemicals and toxins.
If you want to eliminate your exposure to toxic contaminants, you need to detox your home. While it does take a little work to switch out products for more natural ones, the benefits you receive from doing so are endless.
Perhaps that mystery illness of yours will disappear, or your sinus troubles, or excessive mucus production will suddenly come to a halt. People wonder why they are sick, and yet continue to use the very products that are making them so. Time for a little reality check!
10 Ways to Detox Your Home
The good news is, is that there are many things you can do to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals. Here are 10 things you can do today to detox your home:
1. Say No to Synthetic Fragrance
Synthetic fragrances like those found in laundry detergent, dish soap and air fresheners cause some serious health damage.
To start, they’re respiratory irritants, which makes breathing harder and triggers “allergies” that people attribute to things other than fragrance. They also contain hormone-disrupting phthalates, which completely throw our hormones off-whack and contribute to things like breast, ovarian and prostate cancer (1).
And while we’re on the topic of phthalates, these chemicals are linked to reproductive toxicity, and have been linked to decreased sperm counts, early breast development and birth defects (2, 3).
Fragrances are also neurotoxic, and cause liver and kidney damage, so make sure you keep them out of your house and out of your life.
Here is a list of things to avoid that contain synthetic fragrance:
– Air fresheners
– Dryer sheets
– Scented candles
– Laundry detergent
– Dish soap
– Perfumes, colognes and body sprays
– Lotions and serums
Always look for products that don’t list “fragrance” or “parfum” on the ingredient list. That way, you’ll be sure to avoid these harmful substances.
2. Improve Air Quality
Did you know that indoor air is about 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air? In fact, you’re better off walking the polluted streets of Hong Kong than sitting in your house watching TV.
A major source of indoor air pollution is carpeting. Carpeting traps dirt, fleas, dust mites and lead. If you have carpeting, I highly suggest investing in a HEPA filter vacuum, which helps trap the widest range of particles and gets rid of allergens.
Another thing you can do to keep the air clean indoors is by investing in a high-quality air filter like the Intellipure. The Intellipure unit is one of the best air filters on the market, and it uses technology currently used in hospitals, medical clean rooms, government buildings and military applications.
The Intellipure has also been proven to capture 99.9% of all particles as small as 0.007 microns in size. Compare this to the standard HEPA filters, which filter only up to 0.3 microns in size. It also contains a heavy-duty commercial-grade gas and odor filter, which eliminates most gases, and the patented DFS (Disinfecting Filtration System) technology removes 99.99% of harmful viruses, fungi, molds and bacteria. The result? Fresh, pure, healthy air.
Another option I recommend is by adding air-purifying plants in every room of your house. The plants themselves, and the bacteria in the soil, help to reduce volatile organic compounds (like formaldehyde) in the air.
3. Switch to Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
Cleaning products contain some of the worst toxic ingredients. As discussed in point one above, fragrances contain phthalates, known endocrine disruptors that can easily enter our bodies through inhalation. Cleaning products are loaded with fragrance to leave things smelling “clean,” but not many people are aware of the health risks they’re trading out for a “clean” smell.
Cleaning products also contain other nasty chemicals that irritate the respiratory tract, increase your risk of cancer and damage the kidneys and liver.
The good news? There are lots of great non-toxic cleaning products out there like baking soda, vinegar, essential oils and lemon.
4. Don’t Store Thermal Receipts in Grocery Bags
Thermal receipts (like the ones you get at the grocery store) leach BPA. That’s the last thing you want on your organic produce. Always store thermal receipts in your wallet, and don’t let the cashiers stick them in your grocery bags against your produce.
5. Make Sure Your Water Source is Clean
Cleaning your water is an essential if you’re wanting to detox your home. Tap water contains over 300 chemicals and pollutants, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) (4). Some of these chemicals include things like chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, lead, mercury, endocrine disrupting chemicals, fluoride and hundreds of others. Do you want that going in your body? I think not.
One of my favorite water filtration systems is the Berkey Water Filter. They are portable, and look beautiful in the kitchen. The filters in the Berkey remove 99.9999999% of pathogenic bacteria and 99.999% of viruses, which greatly exceeds the standards. They also remove trihalomethanes, inorganic materials like chlorine, heavy metals, micro-organisms, pharmaceutical drug contaminants, pesticides and volatile organic compounds, as well as arsenic, E.Coli, nitrites, petroleum products, rust, silt, sediment, as well as foul tastes and odors.
While the Berkey Water Filter takes up some counter space, they are the least expensive in the long run, and require the least filter changes. Plus, they do not remove minerals from the water, which is a huge plus.
6. Change out Personal Care Products
Personal care products like makeup and deodorant also carry a threat of poisoning your body with toxic chemicals. A great App I like to use (and recommend) is EWG’s Healthy Living App, where you can find safer alternatives to the products you’re currently using.
7. Avoid Paraffin Candles
While scented candles may seem harmless, they’re actually a major source of indoor air pollution, and destroy air quality (and the lungs). Environmental pollutants expert, Anne Steinemann states that certain candles may emit numerous types of potentially hazardous chemicals like benzene and toluene (5). These chemicals disrupt the nervous system, cause brain and lung damage, and also cause developmental problems in children.
Short-term exposure to formaldehyde released in scented candles can result in symptoms like watery and burning eyes, burning in the throat and nose, nausea and/or vomiting, wheezing and/or coughing, and burning skin and/or irritation. Long-term exposure to these chemicals can also cause cancer within the nasal passage, and even worse, leukemia (6).
Instead of scented candles, diffuse essential oils instead, or burn beeswax candles which have a wonderful, natural aroma.
8. Take Your Shoes off at the Door
Taking your shoes off at the door can reduce 60% of the toxins you track into your home. In fact, a major source of pesticides and lead contaminants that come into your home is a result of walking into the house with your shoes on.
To reduce these contaminants, all you need to do is declare your home shoes-free. Simple!
9. Avoid Toxic Kitchenware
When it comes to cooking and storing food, there are lots of hidden dangers. Plastic containers, for starters, usually contain BPA, so it is best to avoid them. Freezing stuff in plastic bags is just as bad. Instead of using plastic, opt for glass-lock containers, mason jars, or other glass containers to store your food in.
Non-stick pans are another major issue when it comes to toxic items in your household. Teflon contains per fluorinated chemicals (PFC’s), which have been linked to cancer and developmental problems).
Safe cookware alternatives include things like cast iron, stainless steel, glass, 100% ceramic cookware and non-toxic non-stick coatings.
10. Stop Using Herbicides on Your Lawn
Out of over 30 commonly used lawn chemicals, 19 of them have been shown to cause cancer, with another 15 known to cause nervous system poisoning (7). Also, the herbicides and pesticides used on gardens eliminate beneficial insects and bacteria that actually help control the pests sprayed for in the first place.
Instead of using toxic herbicides and pesticides, replace them with non-toxic ones. Vinegar works as a great herbicide, and pulling out weeds by hand is just as good of an option. You can also roll out landscape fabric if you’re wanting to prevent garden weeds, or use mulch, which eliminates light that weeds need to grow.