Home should be an oasis, a safe and peaceful space that promotes well-being and health. However, if you’re constantly cleaning up the house with harsh chemicals, hosing it down with anti-bacterial soaps and steeping yourself in off-gassing bedding and décor, home may not be such a safe place after all.
The fact is, most of us live in homes we’ve unintentionally loaded with carcinogens, but the good news is that we can take a few simple steps to make our lives and homes as cancer-proof as possible.
Here’s how to show hundreds of carcinogens the door – simply and easily:
1. Make your own cleaning products.
Commercial household cleaning products are a significant source of toxins, polluting your indoor air and poisoning your body, as they’re absorbed through the skin while you scrub. To cut exposure, make your own inexpensive, non-toxic cleaning products, using lemon juice, baking soda, tea tree oil and vinegar. Find recipes here.
2. Stay away from toxic toothpaste.
Most toothpastes and mouthwashes are loaded with fluoride, triclosan, articicial flavors and colors – all of which are lousy for your body. Switch to natural versions from the health food store or better yet, make your own. Here’s a great, simple recipe: combine 8 oz water (preferably filtered or spring, without fluoride) with heaping teaspoon of baking soda plus 4 -6 drops of organic peppermint oil. And here are some more tips to maximize oral health.
3. Clear the air
But not with canned, synthetic sprays, some of which contain chemicals that are linked to increased breast cancer risk. Instead, freshen the air the old-fashioned way with houseplants, dishes with lemon juice and vinegar, and bowls of natural potpourri made with flowers and herbs.
4. Don’t buy body care products containing parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate or oxybenzone.
They’re just a few of the toxins lurking in common body care products with the power to throw hormones out of whack and trigger health problems. Not convinced? Then consider the EPA’s acknowledgement that just a fraction of the 80,000+ chemicals in regular use have gone through complete testing for human toxicity – so I say, why risk being a human guinea pig? For more tips, check out my blog on 10 tips to healthier skincare.
5. Non-stick pans, plastic containers and canned goods – lose them, don’t use them.
Ditch your toxin-laced nonstick and Teflon cookware for long-lasting cast iron versions. Never cook in plastic containers and switch them for leech-free glass. Bypass canned foods, the majority of which contain hormone disrupting BPA liners. With these three simple changes you’ll ingest a lot fewer toxins, with little sacrifice.
6. Take off your shoes.
How to keep toxins out of the house? Don’t bring them in in the first place. Leave your shoes and boots at the door to track less dirt, chemicals, pesticide residues, lead and oil into the house. It’s also a nice way to leave the world behind — and symbolically welcome yourself back to the haven of home. For more tips, check out my blog on 20 ways to detox your home.
7. Don't eat toxins!
Now, nobody likes to think they’re actually eating carcinogens, but for the most part, when you eat factory-farmed, processed foods, you are. Simply by switching to unprocessed, organic, foods, you can eliminate toxins from your diet and change the course of your long-term health. Simply amazing, eh?
8. Filter your water.
Most of us drink, shower and bathe with water that’s brimming with highly toxic chemicals such as arsenic, fluoride and chlorine – so how to get rid of them? Filter your drinking water and install a filter in the shower, or a whole house filtration system to remove up to 99% of the bad stuff. For a water filter, check out EWG.org’s online guide to buying a water filter.
9. Sleep clean.
To reduce toxins emanating from your current mattress, slip it inside an organic (not plastic!) waterproof cover to help reduce your nightly inhalation of chemicals. Create an additional barrier against conventional mattress chemicals by adding an organic topper to the bed. When the time comes for a new mattress, look for one that’s organic, or made of natural latex, cotton or wool and check out my blog on how to sleep cleaner and greener.
10. Ditch the synthetics.
Synthetic sheets, comforters and wall-to-wall carpeting are made from petrochemicals and often are treated with chemical flame-retardants – and nobody should spend 8 hours a night steeping in all that! Switch bedding to unbleached, organic cotton, linen, wool or down alternatives and trade synthetic wall-to-wall carpet for eco-friendly, sustainable materials like organic sisal or bamboo floor coverings.
11. Cut the cord.
The metal coils and wiring woven into electric blankets make sleeping under one roughly akin to wearing a full-body antenna all night, maximizing your exposure to harmful EMF’s. My advice? Just say no. For more tips, check out my blog on how to keep your distance from EMFs.