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May 17, 2017

10 Simple Steps to A Less Toxic Home

Is your home toxic? Some experts say the average home contains about 62 toxins. Blerg, what? I’ve made great progress in removing toxins from my diet and am obviously selective about my beauty regimen—but my home? That’s somewhere I haven’t completely ventured yet. For this topic I called in an expert. Meet Laura Ehlers from Laura’s Natural Life! Laura is a Holistic Wellness Coach and non-toxic lifestyle enthusiast based in my neighboring state, Wisconsin. I’m excited to have this guru here today to walk us through 10 simple things we could do right now to cultivate a safer living space. Here’s Laura: 

Hey guys! Excited to be here and to give you a simple action plan towards a healthier abode. We are only as healthy as our environments and sadly, our homes can contain toxins that we aren’t even aware of. Possible home toxins include cleaning products, beauty products, electromagnetic waves and home fragrances. Even your home’s building materials might contribute, as varnishes, drywall, flooring and paint can off-gas substances such as formaldehyde and VOC’s for up to a decade.

With all of these sources, it definitely can seem daunting to create a safe living space, but it doesn’t have to be that difficult.  Here are 10 simple ways to help make your home less toxic.

  1. Cleaning Products. Many cleaning products contain phthalates, triclosan, ammonia, chlorine and even formaldehyde. Good news is that this is one of the easiest swaps to make as there are a number of readily available non-toxic brands (we like Seventh Generation and Method Home) and DIY cleaners like vinegar and water.
  1. Laundry Detergent. I know it’s easy to associate the smell of laundry detergent with the scent of cleanliness. It’s time to break this association! Laundry products (detergents, fabric softener and dryer sheets) are made up of carcinogens in the form of synthetic fragrances, optical brighteners and harsh cleansers. Swap your dryer sheets for wool dryer balls, ditch the fabric softener and try a non-toxic, unscented detergent. If you miss that fresh scent in your laundry, add a few drops of essential oils to your dryer balls.
  1. Candles and air fresheners. Often these contain synthetic fragrance, a carcinogenic that also can disrupt the endocrine system. Fragrance can be highly allergenic, too! Try using an essential oil diffuser with pure essential oils to scent your home instead.
  1.  Paint. It’s not only toxic just when it wet, but dry too! When it comes time to redecorate, opt for a No-VOC paint option. Paint can off gas VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds, aka scary toxins) into your home’s air for many years.
  1. House Plants. House plants are not only beautiful and an easy way to bring life to a room, but they can actually clean the air! Not a green thumb? Try Aloe Vera or a Snake Plant; they’re virtually impossible to kill.
  1. Open the Windows. There is nothing better for your indoor home environment than fresh air. Open your windows often to get an influx of fresh air into your home to dilute any toxic air that has accumulated.
  1. Turn Off Wifi At Night. Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) are getting a lot of heat these days with more people realizing that they are interfering with our health. They can prevent you from getting good sleep as well as prevent healing. The simplest way to mitigate EMFs is by turning your Wifi off for the night before you go to bed.
  1. Skip the “Antibacterial”. Products that boast antibacterial qualities often containt triclosan which has been shown in studies to disrupt the thyroid. It has also been linked to liver toxicity. Opt for products with naturally antibacterial ingredients, like herb-based essential oils, or use plain soap and water.
  1. Buy the Floor Model. When it’s time to replace your couch, ask to purchase the floor model. The foam and flame retardants used in new furniture are shockingly toxic and often smell strongly of formaldehyde. By purchasing the floor model, you’re ensuring that a good chunk of the off gassing has already happened before you bring your new couch into your home.
  1. Invest in an Air Purifier. An air purifier might be a big investment, but it is one that you won’t regret. There are so many choices on the market, but consider one that meets your needs. If you live in new construction, you might want one that has a large carbon filter to remove VOC’s. Trusted brands of air purifiers include Austin, Foust, I.Q. Air and AirPura.

Any one of these steps can be taken towards a healthier, safer home environment. The effort will be well worth it!

  • Elizabeth Dehn
    Born and raised in Minnesota by surprisingly low-maintenance parents, beauty writer and lifestyle editor Elizabeth Dehn (aka Bets) spent her awkward years buying Mood lipstick and whipping up DIY face masks before founding Beauty Bets in 2009.
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