If you’re getting started with healthier lifestyle choices – or even if you’ve been trying to make changes for a while – here are five easy steps to reduce toxins in your home:
1. Green your cleaning products.
By law, manufacturers are not required to list all the ingredients in their cleaning products. And there are no penalties for companies that do not report harmful ingredients or alert consumers to potential health hazards.
The simplest way to avoid toxic cleaning products is to use safe ones. Since ingredients aren’t listed on commercial products, the safest (and cheapest) way is to make your own. It’s actually quite easy to make your own cleaning products with just a few basic and affordable ingredients, like water, castile soap, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, and salt.
- Baking soda works wonders. As a natural abrasive, it gently scrubs surfaces while deodorizing.
- Vinegar also is incredibly effective as a disinfectant and deodorizer. I had to get used to cleaning with a vinegar smell, but fortunately, the odor disappears once dry.
- In the bathroom, sprinkle baking soda on a wet sponge to clean your sink or bathtub. Rinse with a little vinegar to remove any of the soda’s residue.
- You also can sprinkle the baking soda in your toilet, scrub with a brush, and then rinse with vinegar. My favorite way to clean my toilet is by sprinkling baking soda in and adding a squirt of peppermint castile soap. The toilet gets sparkling clean, and my bathroom smells fantastic.
- Mildew in tile grout disappears by spritzing on rubbing alcohol.
- Hydrogen peroxide also is a nontoxic disinfectant. Instead of wiping off my toilet with bleach, it’s just as easy – and so much safer – to wipe it off with hydrogen peroxide instead.
- In the kitchen, you can mix baking soda with lemon juice or vinegar for an effective scrubbing paste. Or, dilute one part vinegar with one part water for an all-purpose cleaning spray.
- To clean stainless steel, use baking soda and vinegar.
- You also can scrub a dirty sink – or a pan with caked-on food – with salt.
- To easily remove crusty foods stuck in pots, boil water in the pot along with baking soda; if all the food doesn’t come off the first time, try once more.
Did you know that air inside a home can be two to five times more polluted than outside a home? It’s true – and it’s not difficult to believe when our homes are filled with sprays and residues from toxic cleaners.Indoor air pollution can cause or exasperate asthma, respiratory tract infections, allergic reactions, congestion, coughing, dizziness, eye and skin irritations, fatigue, headaches, nausea, and sneezing.The easiest and most affordable way to combat air pollution is to open windows in your home for at least thirty minutes each day. (When it’s freezing cold this winter, I think I’ll just crack the windows in my bathroom and kitchen.)
3. Choose safe personal care products.
Like cleaning products, manufacturers aren’t required to disclose the ingredients in personal care products. To avoid buying lipstick full of lead or a tube full of mercury-tainted mascara, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetics Database before buying any cosmetics, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, or sunscreen.
4. Skip processed foods.
Whether they’re organic or not, processed foods are NOT the healthiest food choice. Choose fresh produce, meat, and dairy products. And when shopping, stick to the perimeter of the store for the freshest selection. (If you don’t walk past the processed products in all of the aisles, you won’t be tempted to buy them. Because let’s face it: non-organic, highly-processed and highly-refined chocolate cupcakes in a box can look pretty tempting if you’re shopping when you’re hungry.)
5. Choose organic when possible.
Earlier this month, Stanford University scientists announced that organic fruits and vegetables are no more nutritious than non-organic fruits and vegetables. Both organic and non-organic produce have the same nutrients.
That’s good news, because it proves that any kind of fresh produce is healthy.
But there are at least two very important reasons to pay extra for organic food. First, organic produce isn’t treated with pesticides. Personally, I’m always looking for ways to protect myself and my family from exposure to pesticides.
Read about other easy steps you can make at Healthy Child, Healthy World.
Today, I’m linking up with:
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