As a homesteader, chances are your lifestyle is already more organic than most. But did you know the average home is infiltrated with 500 to 1,000 different types of chemicals? Toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, asbestos, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), flame retardants and BPA are found in a number of common household items. These include paper products, paints, bathroom cleaners, water bottles, and many more.
In small doses, these toxic chemicals are typically not harmful. However, exposure to large amounts of these toxins can cause a number of irritations to your body. Just as we detox our bodies from sugar or caffeine every once in a while, it is beneficial to detox your home on occasion.
How to Minimize Toxic Chemicals in Your Home
Here are five quick ways to minimize the number of toxic chemicals in your home:
1. Consider the products you use
When it comes to bringing new products into your home, be picky about the brands you use. Where are they made? What do they contain? You should only purchase from brands that clearly disclose what materials are used to make their products.
When it comes to shopping for non-toxic household items here are a few rules of thumb:
- Shop for biodegradable household cleaning products that disclose all ingredients used and don’t use fragrance
- Avoid aerosol spray cans
- Avoid spraying pesticides – address the root of the problem instead, (i.e., not leaving food out)
- Buy non-PVC paint
- Shop for BPA-free plastics
- Cut back on cans
Did you know dust is home to a myriad of toxic chemicals?
One study conducted by the NRDC found that 90% of dust samples collected contained toxic chemicals. In fact, the study found roughly 45 different types of chemicals across five main chemical classes. Some of these chemicals include phthalates, flame retardants, fragrances, and environmental phenols. Yikes. Do yourself (and your home) a favor and dust the house once every two weeks to eliminate chemicals lingering in the dust.
3. Wash your bedding
Other toxic chemicals lurking around the house come from biological pollutants such as bacteria, viruses, pollen, and dust mites, to name a few. Dust mites, in particular, are one of the most powerful biological allergens. However, all biological pollutants can trigger infection illnesses, allergies and some types of asthma.
One of the most common breeding grounds for dust mites is your mattress. That’s because they thrive in wet, warm climates. Gross, we know.
When detoxing your home, one crucial step is to clean, especially your bedding. Experts recommend changing your sheets once a week, airing out your bed for a couple hours each morning (that’s right an excuse to not make the bed!) and using a mattress protector to prevent a build-up of bacteria.
4. Improve air quality with plants
Did you know indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air? According to the EPA, sources of indoor air pollutants include asbestos, VOCs, formaldehyde and more.
Not only do indoor plants add tranquility to a room, but they also improve air quality. Indoor plants purify the air by absorbing pollutants through their leaves and increasing oxygen levels. Some of the best plants to add to your living space are ferns, golden pothos, and aloe vera. Indoor plants are a great way to help rid the toxic chemicals from your home.
5. Put the right protection in place
There is no way to 100% detox your home. In order to stay safe from toxic chemicals in your home, take these precautionary measures.
- Install CO detectors to notify you when this harmful gas is present in your home
- Have your water tested for lead
- Always ventilate while painting or refurbishing to let toxic gases escape
- Get a shower filter. This will filter out any impurities in your tap water that could turn to gas at room temperature.
The average American spends 90% of their time in their home. It’s time we take care of it and the things we bring into it.