Spring cleaning 2.0
By now you're familiar with the merits of green juice, avocado toast, eating organic and sipping mushroom coffee, but your diet isn't the only thing that could use a good detox—your home can benefit from one too. Long-term exposure to the harmful chemicals found in home cleaning products, dust and everyday items can negatively affect your health in the long run—even if you live for açai bowls and SoulCycle class. Below, we're sharing 10 surprisingly simple ways to make your abode healthier and chemical free.
1. Clean up your act.
Traditional household cleaners are convenient, but they also present a number of problems. Not only are they loaded with harsh chemicals that can do a number on your health (hello, endocrine disruptors) and the environment. With simple household items, such as lemon juice, baking soda and vinegar, you can make natural cleaners at home that are just as effective as their harsh counterparts—and save yourself a few bucks in the process! Not sure you can part ways with your fave disinfecting products? Essential oils such as tea tree, oregano and cinnamon boast antibacterial properties without the use of triclosan or formaldehyde.
2. Go green.
House plants aren't just easy on the eyes—they serve as an air filter for your home too. Peace lilies, English ivy, variegated snake plant, red-edged dracaena and florist's chrysanthemum are particularly effective at filtering out toxic chemicals, including benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and ammonia out of the air.
3. Kick off your shoes.
There's a reason why was mom always on your case about wearing shoes in the house. Taking off your kicks before walking through the door ensures dirt and outdoor toxins stay off your floors. When you do need to give them a scrub down, opt for a chemical-free cleaner.
4. Stick to natural scents.
Air fresheners make your home smell fab, but much like traditional household cleaners, they're ridden with harsh chemicals, such as phthalates—no thanks! Room sprays are easy to make at home with essential oils, alcohol and water.
5. Opt for organic.
While detoxing your home, it doesn't hurt to take a hard look at what's in your fridge. Eliminate pesticides from your diet by purchasing organic produce, particularly for items on the “Dirty Dozen" list—a good starting point if buying all organic doesn't work with your budget. And while you're at it, start paying attention to the labels on your food. Long lists of unfamiliar (and often unpronounceable) ingredients should be a red flag that the product is jam-packed with food additives, preservatives and other unsavory items. Progressively start to replace the pre-packaged products with homemade or unprocessed alternatives.
6. Rethink food storage.
Plastic food containers—as well as non-stock pots and pans—can leach harmful chemicals into food, especially when heated. Swap out plastic in favor of glass (bonus: no discoloration here!) to store food and opt for stainless steel, copper or cast iron pans for cooking.
7. Ditch the dryer sheets.
This largely understated household product contains a cocktail of toxic chemicals, such as camphor, formaldehyde, benzyl acetate—amongst others—which can irritate the skin and have long-term effects on your nervous system, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract. The good news? You don't actually need dryer sheets to leave clothes smelling fresh and feeling soft. Dyer balls, natural dryer sheets with essential oils or alternative fabric softeners are just as effective.
8. Embrace beeswax candles.
Most candles are made with petroleum, which emits chemicals such as ketones and benzene when burned. Pure beeswax candles burn clean, allowing you to create a little ambiance without risking your home's air quality.
9. Dust regularly.
Toxic chemicals are showing up more and more in household dust. Regularly passing a microfiber towel over surfaces and vacuuming with a HEPA filter will help keep exposure to chemical-carrying dust to a minimum. Running an air purifier regularly will also help keep dust and indoor air pollution in check and can help ease allergies.
10. Crack a window.
Indoor air quality isn't quite as good as it seems thanks to household cleaners, dust, furniture made with synthetic materials, etc. Open the windows for a few minutes each day to exchange the air in your home.
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