Today you are in for a treat! We have an awesome guest from Carol Trimmer who blogs over at Pure Living Space!
Carol Trimmer helps people create safe and healthy homes (pure living spaces) with simple tips, science-based advice and a bit of humor kicked in. She believes it shouldn’t be hard to live well.
Carol has sure stuck by her philosppopy with this post! You are going to find some many actionable and easy tips for making your home healthier!
Make sure you keep up to date with everything Carol is doing and follow her on:
Ok enough from me, let’s pass it over to Carol!
Carol Trimmer Writes:
Admit it. You think that learning to make your home healthier is hard work. You envision hours of research sorting through reams of information. Research you’d really rather not do.
Imagine though that you had a simple list crammed full of smart ideas. And, your only task was to pick the solutions that worked best for you.
Well, it’s here. A valuable list of the 15 smartest ways to make your life better and healthier.
How to Live Healthier at Home – 15 Smart Ways
1. Open Your Windows
One of the simplest things you can do to live healthier is to open your windows.
Why? Because indoor air is dirtier than outdoor air. Airing out your house periodically will improve the air you breathe indoors. EPA studies confirm that indoor air pollutants are typically 2-5 times higher than outdoor air.
How does indoor air get so polluted? It’s pretty simple. Your household furnishings and daily activities release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). And then to make matters worse, most of the time you’ve got your windows closed trapping pollutants inside.
So, what is to blame for all the VOCs in your place?
Here’s a partial list: carpets, paint, wall coverings, fabrics, cleaning products, scented candles, air fresheners, perfumes, pressed wood furniture, polyurethane foam furniture, adhesives, laundry, showering, and cooking.
One of the main indoor air polluting culprits is formaldehyde. Tests show formaldehyde in homes is 20-200 times higher than outdoor suburban air.
Open your windows and show formaldehyde and other indoor air pollutants the door.
2. Live with Plants
Living with plants can improve your health especially the ones that absorb VOCs. Scientific studies show that certain plants clean your indoor air. Dr. Bill Wolverton an Environmental Scientist provides detailed information on how to use plants to cut VOCs in his book “Plants: Why You Can’t Live Without Them”.
You’ll need two plants in 10-12” pots per 100 sq. ft. The top air cleaning plants are: Boston Ferns, English Ivy, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue and Spider plants.
Start with a Boston Fern or two which according to HortScience is the best formaldehyde purifying plant.
3. Drink Filtered Water
You may think that your tap water is healthy, and your local water department has you covered.
But, do they?
A couple hundred common contaminants aren’t regulated yet. And, your water department isn’t perfect, so even regulated contaminants exceed safe levels from time to time.
So, do your body a favor by drinking filtered water.
Don’t know which filter or brand? Check out The Minimalist Guide to Water Filters to find the perfect solution without the hassle.
4. Reduce Exposure to Dry Cleaning
Most dry cleaners use Perchlorethylene (PERC). Did you know that PERC is a suspected carcinogen and neurotoxin?
It’s true. And to make matters worse, a Georgetown University study proved PERC is not only retained in dry-cleaned clothes, but also builds up with repeat cleanings.
You can reduce your exposure by following a few quick tips.
- Remove the dry cleaning bags and air out your clothes before hanging in your closet.
- Reduce dry cleanings by opting for the “press only” option.
- Find a green alternative like a wet or CO2 cleaners–try nodryclean.com for details.
5. Replace Dryer Sheets with Dryer Balls
Dryer sheets have two strikes against them. They contain harmful chemicals that adhere to your laundry AND filter into your indoor air.
What should you use instead?
Try dryer balls. You can either make your own or buy them. Dryer balls made of 100% wool naturally soften your laundry in the dryer.
6. Avoid Air Fresheners
Air fresheners including sprays, solids, plugins, and scented candles release carcinogens and hormone-disruptors. In 2010, a University of Washington study found that eight widely used air fresheners released an average of 18 chemicals.
The news is not good–20% of the chemicals were hazardous substances and 50% of the tested air fresheners released acetaldehyde, a likely carcinogen.
Kind of frightening, isn’t it?
For a healthy home, avoid toxic air fresheners. A good alternative is to mix your favorite essential oil with filtered water in a glass or metal spray bottle.
7. Replace Plastic with Glass
For a healthier kitchen, replace plastic kitchenware with glass. Avoid the worst of the plastics (#3 PVC and #7 PC) whenever possible.
You can start by replacing your plastic storage containers with glass. The glass containers are more durable, easier to clean and healthier for you.
After you switch, you’ll wonder why you ever used plastic.
8. Filter Shower & Bath Water
Why use shower or bath filters?
Shower and bath filters remove the chlorine used to disinfect your water. Hot water sprayed from a shower head or faucet creates droplets that you can inhale. Some studies suggest that inhaling these disinfectant chemicals is worse than actually drinking them.
It’s a good idea to filter out the chlorine for a safer shower or bath.
9. Opt for Non Toxic Pest Solutions
Be honest. You hate the sight of bugs and would do anything to keep them out of your house.
Using an exterminator seems like the only solution, but what about the harmful chemicals?
The good news is that you can control pests using safe methods. Your bug-killing arsenal should include food-grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE). DE is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton.
Sprinkle DE under sinks, behind counters and in garages, attics and basements. When any bug with an exoskeleton comes into contact with DE, it gets under the shell, punctures the body, and kills the bug.
DE performs these miraculous feats while being non-toxic to humans.
You can find this healthy pest solution at your natural gardening store.
10. Paint with Zero VOC Paints
Paint releases VOCs long after the paint is dry and you can no longer smell the odor. So, buying zero VOC paints is a healthy choice.
Finding paint without carcinogens, reproductive toxins or ozone depleting compounds was a chore. It’s easier now.
Benjamin Moore Natura™ and Aura™ interior latex paints are good choices because the paints are Zero VOC as well as Green Seal certified. And, they are readily available.
11. Use Safer Cleaning & Laundry Products
Want the simple truth about your cleaning products?
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has lax regulations for disclosing ingredients. Manufacturers can choose which ingredients to list. Plus, anything labeled as fragrance is largely unregulated and untested.
Fragrances can contain any one of 3000+ ingredients – many synthetic, petroleum-based and toxic.
You’re dismayed that labels aren’t trustworthy, and that you may be using products with untested, unregulated ingredients.
For the safest, non-toxic cleaning products, make them yourself. Vinegar, salt, baking soda, lemon and tea tree oil in the right formulas can work amazingly well.
Not into making your own?
Get The Safest Cleaning Product Shopping List. The safety of the cleaning and laundry products on the list is verified by independent testing. You’ll love knowing you’re using the healthiest products.
12. Limit Bottled Water Use
You might be surprised to know that the bottled water industry is completely unregulated. No one is watching out for you.
The water quality might be better or worse than your tap water. No one really knows.
In a Natural Resources Defense Council study, 22% of bottled water brands contained chemical contaminants at levels above health limits. That’s almost a quarter over the limits for what’s deemed healthy.
Also, phthalates can leach from the plastic bottles or lids on glass bottles after being stored for just ten weeks.
Do yourself and the environment a favor and limit bottled water use.
13. Roast & Sauté Using the Correct Oil
Cooking with the wrong oil can be unhealthy. When oil reaches its smoke point, it produces toxic fumes and harmful free radicals–both things you’re trying to avoid.
For high temperature cooking like searing, browning, roasting, and deep-frying, use almond, avocado (unrefined/raw), sunflower (high oleic refined), olive oil (refined or light) or safflower (refined).
The best oils for medium temperature cooking like sautéing, baking, oven cooking or stir frying are macadamia, organic canola, peanut or coconut. Unrefined coconut oil is good for baking. Avoid hydrogenated coconut oil.
What about extra virgin olive oil? Save it for drizzling, dressings and dipping because it has a low smoke point.
14. Choose an Organic Mattress
Due to strict fire safety standards, conventional mattress makers use large amounts of flame retardants to meet safety regulations. While it is generally accepted that these fire-retardant chemicals are toxic at a certain level, the debate continues to wage about safe levels.
If you prefer to skip the debate, then choose an all natural mattress.
All natural/organic mattresses use naturally flame retardant wool coverings to comply with safety regulations. With organic mattresses, you don’t have to worry about inhaling or absorbing harmful chemicals.
When shopping for an organic mattress, look for 100% all natural latex. Why? Because man-made latex can release harmful chemicals.
15. Dust More
After reading this, you may want to move dusting and vacuuming closer to the top of your housekeeping list.
Many products in your home contain flame retardants including:
- Electronic devices (computers, TVs, radios)
- Polyurethane foam (sofa cushions, mattresses, pillows, high chair seats)
So what do flame retardants have to do with dusting and vacuuming?
Chemical flame retardants escape from your home products and become household dust. You can inhale flame retardant dust or ingest it. Ingestion happens primarily with small children who put everything into their mouths.
The EPA “is concerned that certain flame retardants are persistent, bio accumulative, and toxic to both humans and the environment.”
It’s scary, right?
Just think, all this time you’ve been focused on eradicating germs when you probably should have devoted just a bit more time to cleaning up flame retardant dust.
To live healthier, dust frequently and sweep with a HEPA filter vacuum.
Were you surprised by some of the information? Are you inspired to take action?
Of the 15 smartest ways which one was most surprising to you?