Clean Living Means Having a Healthy Home Environment
A healthy home environment may be as crucial as eating healthily and exercising to prevent disease and stay energetic and well.
While a nutritious diet and regular movement are essential, these are not the only answers to good health.
Your health is more than what you eat or the amount of physical activity you get on a daily basis.
The Environment Around You Impacts Your Health
The places where you live, work, sleep or even drive, make up a large proportion of the factors that determine your health.
Is the quality of the air you breathe inside your home as fresh and toxin free as you imagine?
What about the many surfaces you touch in your house? From doorknobs to your phone and computer keyboards, your bathroom and of course your kitchen, these surfaces are full of microorganisms.
Watch Out for Bacteria, Dust Mites and Mold
Particles such as bacteria, dust mites, and mold, can be lurking in your house and can wreak havoc on your health, even when your immune system is healthy.
It is essential to understand that your home environment is one of the critical elements that impact your overall health.
Challenges of Creating a Healthy Home
People have built and lived in houses for thousands of years, so what has changed, in modern times, that would cause your home to be a contributing factor to many significant health conditions?
In the past fifty years increased industrialization has lead to the introduction of thousands of chemicals. These chemicals and synthetic materials are supposed to make life easier.
However, recent studies show that these modern chemicals may cause more harm than good. As well as being exposed to a cocktail of chemicals daily, there’s another concern; it is getting harder every day for us to avoid them! Also:
- Modern house design lets less fresh air circulate through your rooms and is often dependent on air-conditioning for ventilation
- Water supplies are contaminated with chemical runoff from fertilizers and pesticides as well as pharmaceutical drugs including antibiotics that may have found their way into the water supply by being flushed away
- Your water supply may contain fluoride, which is now being associated with a raft of problems for babies and children as well as adults
- Think about the chemicals in personal care products including shampoo, antiperspirant, and toothpaste. These are everyday items that, applied to your body or clothing, are often sources of chemical exposure.
Making the Change to a Healthy Home
So, what is the solution for a health-conscious person? Do you have to go back to a nomadic lifestyle to protect your health? Absolutely not!
Changing your life entirely is not the right answer or even practical. However, you might want to make some changes. Not drastic changes, but just some tweaks in the way that you take care of your home and your choice of the products you buy.
Are You Ready to Make the Change to Having a Healthy Home?
Creating a healthy home does not have to be an exhausting endeavor. In fact, it can be fun! You do not have to give up your lifestyle or make extreme changes to improve your home.
Today, many non-toxic and organic products are available at your local supermarket; making it easy for you to integrate these healthier options into your home cleaning regime slowly. It is just a matter of reaching for one brand over another and today the organic one is often more efficient than the conventional one! Besides, it leaves no toxic residue and smells pleasant and natural.
At first, there may be products which you feel just do not work for you. You might try products that are supposed to be healthy alternatives; however, they do not meet your expectations.
Don’t give up because the good ones are out there; it’s just a matter of trying a few different ones and following suggestions that others have found worked well. With every significant change that you make, you are reducing your exposure to health hazards.
New products are always coming onto the market, so keep trying until you find the right ones to help you create a healthy home.
Tips for Having a Healthy Home
Indoor Air Quality
We usually think of air pollution as something outdoors.
The truth is, the air inside your home, can be more hazardous to your health than the air outside.
Air indoors can be polluted by:
- Carbon monoxide
- Volatile chemicals from fragrances used in air fresheners
Opening your doors and windows can help improve your air quality. Fresh air from outside will force out the air polluted removing allergens, chemicals, and mold from your home.
For the steps to take when improving air quality, remember “S-A-V-E”
- Separate, materials that are known to be a problem by using air barriers and sealants
- Absorb, using indoor plants to improve air quality and to add a touch of freshness to your home
- Ventilate, your home as much as possible to remove air pollutants
- Eliminate, the source of air problems especially through better product selection and design
Using a vacuum with a HEPA Filter, you can eliminate allergens like dust mites, pet dander, and pollen from your carpet, sheets, and curtains.
Eliminate Unhealthy Odors
- Avoid artificial air fresheners
- Substitute natural air fresheners which are made with essential oils
- Open a box of baking soda which will absorb odors
- Open windows to let fresh air flow
- Run a fan to create a breeze
- Identify and clean up the source of unhealthy smells
Some Easy Healthy-Home Basics…
- Having a smoke-free home can also prevent inhaling unwanted toxic chemicals
- Ask people to remove their shoes when entering your home
- Have house slippers, shoes and socks available near the door to wear inside
The simple solution to preventing mold is to reduce dampness and moisture in the home.
Follow up on these actions:
- Avoid wet towels on the bathroom floor
- Fix leaky pipes around the house
- Dry out leaks, spills, and other moisture issues as soon as possible
- Fix plumbing and toilet leaks
- Remove exposed surfaces of water such as drip trays under the air conditioner or refrigerator to reduce humidity and potential growth of mold
- Wipe down condensation that might have developed after your shower
Water is essential to life. It is vital to have fresh drinking water and know where it came from, how it was treated, and whether it is safe to drink in your home
- To find out what’s in your drinking water, research your tap water supplier; they publish all their water quality tests. Unfortunately, bottled water companies do not provide this information.
- Look up your city’s water in “EWG’s National Tap Water Atlas.”
- Choose a filter certified to remove contaminants found in your drinking water
- Carbon filters are more affordable and remove common water contaminants such as lead and byproducts of the water disinfection process
- If you are not using a filter, allow chlorine to evaporate naturally in a jug. Chlorine will release out of the water if left uncovered for a day or two.
- Always change your water filters on time. Old filters harbor bacteria that can leach into your drinking water.
- If you are on the go, carry your drinking water in BPA-free or stainless-steel bottles. When a plastic bottle is old and reused constantly, it breaks down and harmful chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA) and bacteria can contaminate your water.
Electronics and Radiation
Electricity and wireless devices make our lives easier but may also affect your health. You don’t need to give up the wonders of technology to have a healthy home.
Taking simple steps to protect you and your family most of the day include:
- Staying farther away from the television or computer may help reduce your level of exposure
- If you wish to purchase another computer or television screen, chose an LCD or plasma screen which emit less radiation
- Limit the number of hours you and your children use electronic screen devices each day
- Electric blankets can emit a magnetic field when placed on your body. It is best not to sleep with an electric blanket plugged in, but to warm your bed with the electric blanket before you fall asleep and make sure to turn it off and unplug the cord.
- When using electric clocks, position the clock so it is six feet (two metres) away from you and only use a bedside clock with a red display, preferably turned away from you
- A battery-operated or wind-up clock is even better to use
- There are regulations for the amount of radiation that microwaves can emit. If the microwave is damaged or not functioning correctly, it can increase your exposure. Check your microwave to make sure it is operating correctly and never lean directly against it while heating.
- Don’t sleep with your mobile phone – and don’t leave it on the nightstand beside the bed. The cell phone signals are now considered a potential carcinogen.
- Turn off the WiFi at night
Decorating and Furniture
If you want to paint your house to give it a full makeover, milk paints are one of the healthiest alternatives because they are made from natural dried milk protein. The combination of lime, milk protein, and pigment does not contain toxic inhalants and gives your home a long-lasting color.
When buying new furniture with cushions, try to find products that are made with natural filling materials. Polyurethane foam cushions made before 2005 can easily fall apart. If you cannot dispose of these cushions, keep them covered and encased to prevent small pieces of foam from being inhaled.
Cookware and Storage
Some everyday products used to prepare meals can cancel out all the health benefits you achieve when eating healthily.
Some nonstick cookware has been coated with a synthetic chemical known as Teflon. Nonstick cookware can release toxic fumes when heated at high temperatures. These fumes are linked to smaller birth weight, elevated cholesterol levels, abnormal thyroid levels, early menopause, and a suppressed immune system.
To avoid exposure to Teflon, it is best to avoid nonstick cookware. If you cannot dispose of your cookware, use the lowest possible heat to cook food and turn on the stove fan if it vents outside.
As a substitute for Teflon cookware and utensils, use glass, stainless steel, and cast iron. Ceramic is another option when purchasing.
Store food at the correct temperatures to prevent bacteria forming and avoid polystyrene plastics such as disposable plastics and takeout containers.
Polystyrene plastic contains a carcinogen that can leach into your food and drinks.
Wherever possible buy organic food products to prevent ingesting pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and other chemicals.
Cleaning Products for a Healthy Home
A clean home is a happy home and healthy as well!
When it comes to cleaning, you do not need harsh chemicals to kill microorganisms, remove dirt, and wash your clothes. There are numerous healthy natural alternatives that work very well without the toxic exposures.
For every room in your home, whether bathroom, kitchen or living room there are natural alternatives that may work for you.
Making natural cleaning products is easy and they can be made with simple ingredients found around your house. Using these natural ingredients, is often less expensive, with fewer health risks, and without the hazardous chemical exposure of store-bought regular cleaning products. Here is a link to some homemade natural cleaning product recipes
If you are unable to make your cleaning products switch to cleaners that use plant-based ingredients only. Using 100% plant-based cleaners is the safest way to prevent inhaling toxic synthetic chemicals.
Look at labels and try to find out what chemicals are in your cleaning products. Check the label and look for “Green Seal” or “Eco Logo” certification, which meets green standards.
Food items such as vinegar or lemon can be used to clean a variety of surfaces throughout your home and are effective against bacteria and mold. Hydrogen peroxide is an effective and safe alternative and has just as much germ-killing power as bleach.
Cosmetics and Personal Care Products
The problem with products used on your body daily is that there isn’t an independent overseeing body that is monitoring these products to make sure they are safe. Avoid ingredients that rank as high health hazard risks according to the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.
Switch to products with natural and safer ingredients or even use fewer products to reduce your chemical exposure.
Read up on companies with natural and safe product policies you respect and trust. Usually, they will be the companies whose products you feel safe buying.
Keeping your garden and lawn healthy doesn’t have to be difficult or require hazardous chemicals.
Avoid the use of synthetic fertilizers and weed killer.
Coffee grounds and compost make great fertilizer alternatives and removing weeds by hand is the best way to get rid of them without hazardous exposures.
Consider growing organic vegetable in your garden. With all the hard work of taking care of your garden, wouldn’t it be great to receive a reward?
Your Health and Your Family’s Health Depend on a Healthy Home Environment
When it comes to your health, making changes to your living environment is as important as changes to your diet.
Your home is not just a building; it is the foundation of your health.
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