- Go "all-natural" with your laundry detergent. You may be surprised to see this on a "Top 5" list but think logically about it for a minute. Our freshly laundered clothes are something that stays in contact with our bodies nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Do we really want those clothes to be laundered in chemicals that may be harmful to us, our families, and the environment? No thank you! Choosing all-natural laundry detergent really isn't very expensive, but if cost is a concern there are plenty of recipes floating around the internet for making your own detergent some of which claim to cost only pennies per load! I have yet to try making my own laundry detergent, but plan on it in the future once my Earth Friendly detergent is gone.
- Make your own cleaners for wiping down counter-tops, cleaning toilets and showers, etc., Our culture is obsessed with cleanliness. Many common household cleaning products are far more dangerous to our health and the environment than the germs they were created to destroy. One of the simplest and most effective household cleaners can be made by taking a spray bottle, filling it with clean water, and adding a few drops of grapefruit seed extract (studies have shown that 10-15 drops per gallon of water is effective for killing many pathogens), along with a few drops of essential oils. GFSE has been shown in studies to be more effective than chlorine bleach at killing bacteria in hospital settings. And the neatest part? It keeps on killing! When researchers tested hospital bedsheets they found that when they were washed in a solution containing relatively minuscule amounts of GFSE, bacteria was essentially nonexistent on those sheets hours after a patient lay in them versus the sheets washed in the traditional cleaners. I like to add essential oils such as tea tree and clove which have their own antibacterial properties. These cleaners are so safe, I even use them on my produce to remove bacteria and pesticides.
- Toss the plastic! Many plastics contain Bisphenol-A, or BPA, a dangerous toxin which has estrogenic effects on the body. BPA is linked to reproductive problems in men and women, and is linked to various cancers and other health problems. Consider eliminating use of plastic dishes (especially for infants), and water bottles, and also reducing the number of plastic toys your children play with, opting instead for glass, ceramic, or wood dishes, and cloth or wooden toys for your children. If you "must" keep using plastic for any reason, look for plastics marked "1", "2", and "4" on the recycling label. These still contain other potential toxins, but at least are free of BPA! Also avoid using plastic in the microwave, or washing them with harsh detergents as this can increase the leeching of chemicals into your food.
- Buy a plant. Live houseplants can help to purify the air in your home, removing dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde, as well as being aesthetically pleasing, especially during the winter months when living green things are hard to find. Repurposing old containers can make this even more fun. Just don't forget to water from time to time!
- Purify your water. You can find fairly inexpensive under-the-sink purifiers, or just get a pitcher that you can fill directly from your faucet. Our bodies are mostly water, so it only makes sense that the cleaner our water, the healthier we will be. A whole house purifying system is ideal, but if all you can manage is to purify your drinking water, it's a good move in the right direction!
Friday, February 18, 2011
small changes for a healthier home
We've all been there. It's that moment when you've finally become convinced that for the sake of yourself, your family, and the environment, something's gotta give. If future generations are to enjoy even a smidgen of good health we must change the way we live, and change it quickly. Sometimes, and especially early on in the process of trying to educate ourselves on what some of the biggest dangers are we end up more overwhelmed than ever, wondering what on earth to start with. Here is a short list of some of my favorite changes that you can easily make in the quest for a healthier home: