Many of us have done a detox in order to eliminate internal toxins from our body, but how many of us do anything about the toxins in our homes? Common household and body care products are increasingly being found to have negative health effects on the nervous and immune systems, and on our reproductive, endocrine, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems.
Why is detoxing your home essential?
The average home contains up to 1,000 chemicals, many of which we're unable to see, smell or taste. While these chemicals may be tolerated individually and in small doses, problems can arise when one is exposed to them in combination or in larger doses.
Everyone’s tolerance level is different depending on genetics, nutritional status and previous contacts with chemicals, but the negative effects of household toxins are often compounded by the use of other drugs, especially the habitual use of alcohol, or prescription or recreational drugs.
Indoor air is about three times more polluted than outdoor air. Home insulation, so wonderful for keeping our homes warm in winter and cool in summer, doesn’t allow fresh air in, so we’re constantly breathing in the same stale air. Wall to wall carpeting keeps us cozy, but can introduce a myriad of toxins to our well insulated homes. It can also trap dirt, fleas, dust, dust-mites and lead.
Many of the cleaning products we use to clean our furniture, bathrooms, and windows are full of toxic chemicals, some of which do not even appear on the labels. Similarly with the many personal-care care products we put on our skin and the pet-care products we use on our pets.
Most tick and flea products contain active ingredients and solvents that might cause cancer in animals. Also, substantial human exposure is possible by absorption through the skin, while playing with and handling the pet.
The pesticides we use on our gardens eliminate not only plant pests, but also most of the insects that are beneficial to help control these pests. Of the 30 most commonly used lawn chemicals, 19 have studies pointing toward cancer and 15 are known to cause nervous system poisoning.
This is not to say that we should not keep our houses comfortable and clean and our yards looking good. What’s important is to understand that how we do this can have an important impact on our health. Abundant toxins can and do lead to health problems.
Taking more care to reduce our exposure to both internal and external toxins, by detoxing our bodies and our living space allows the body’s own detoxification to function more efficiently. This strengthens our resilience to the daily onslaught of factors impacting our health.
There are many things you can do to detox your home, some more practical than others. Here are 20 tips to get started:
1. No shoes in the house! That's how a lot of household dirt, pesticides and lead come enter, via your shoes. Go barefoot or wear slippers once you're home.
2. Place floor mats vertically by your entryways to wipe your shoes. This way, more dirt and residue from your shoes stays outside on the mat
3. Keep the air clean. Keep your windows and doors open as much as possible to ventilate. Use green plants as natural air detoxifiers. Remove odors with baking soda. Use fresh flowers or bowls of herbs like rosemary and sage to add a pleasant fragrance to rooms. Have your air ducts and vents cleaned with nontoxic cleaners. Get a portable air purifier, especially for the bedrooms.
4. Switch from the standard household cleaning products to cleaner and greener ones. These don’t damage your health or the environment’s as much and work as well as the mass marketed ones. You can also use basic ingredients you have around the house, for instance, vinegar in place of bleach, baking soda to scrub your tiles and hydrogen peroxide to remove stains. According to Annie Bond, the author of Better Basics For The Home, she can clean anything with water and these five basic ingredients: