Sure, your body could probably use a detox right about now (and if so, we’ve got you covered with everyday detox tips and 1- and 2-day detox plans). But your house can be a source of toxins, too, so it’s up to you to detox your home! Here are 10 ways you can rid your home of harmful chemicals, toxins and clutter that can harm your health over time.
It is where you sleep 8 hours a night, right? Mattresses and bedding can be a breeding ground for dust mites, moisture and allergens. Start your home detox by deep cleaning your mattress with a simple baking soda-essential oil mixture, and wash sheets, blankets, duvet covers and pillows regularly in hot water (and invest in a pillow case cover!). Consider buying sheets that are 100% organic cotton—i.e. not treated with pesticides or formaldehyde.
2. Green Your Cleaning Supplies
Think getting your house clean means using harsh chemicals? Think again. Those super-strength cleaners actually do more harm than good (to your surfaces and yourself), and many have even been proven as endocrine disruptors. Tried-and-true natural cleansers like baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar are just as effective (with a little elbow grease, of course) and safer for children, pets and the environment. Bonus: they’re way cheaper, too! Get our room-by-room green cleaning guide, complete with shopping list and DIY recipes, to get you started.
3. Avoid Teflon and Plastics When Cooking and Storing Food
Like harsh cleaning supplies, non-stick compounds like Teflon, as well as plastic containers, can leach harmful endocrine disruptors into food—especially when heated. Cook with glass baking dishes, and cast iron or stainless steel pans. Keep leftovers in glass or ceramic containers in the fridge whenever possible to avoid harmful BPA, and never heat up food in a plastic container!
4. Clean the Air with Plants
Plants are the best way to clean the air inside your home. (NASA even uses them in space stations!) If your thumb isn’t exactly green, try one of these 10 fuss-free plants that clean the air. And make sure to double-check that any plants you buy are safe for pets.
5. Make Your Home Smell Good—the Natural Way
No need for fake-smelling sprays and air fresheners that clog the air with cloying, perfume-y scents and who knows what else. Simply make a homemade room spray using essential oils, try a DIY natural candle, fire up a pot simmer or an aromatic firestarter made with all-natural ingredients!
6. Avoid Dry Cleaning and Harsh Laundry Products
When you drop things off at the dry cleaner or use a super-strength stain remover on the kids’ clothes, it’s easy to forget that those chemicals are going to be sitting on your bodies (even if in a diluted form) when you wear the clothes again. Of course there are some garments that need special care, but try to use dry cleaning sparingly. For everyday laundry and stains, consult our guide to natural DIY laundry products, including homemade detergent, stain remover and dryer sheets.
7. Ditch Dust
Dusting isn’t just for when company is coming over! Keeping the ceiling fan and other “out of sight, out of mind” surfaces free of dust prevents it from circulating in the air, which can aggravate allergies. Try using orphaned socks!
8. Don’t Forget Floors!
Not wearing shoes in the house is the best way to keep outdoor toxins and chemicals off your floors. If you have kids and pets crawling and playing on your floors (and let’s be honest, probably eating off of them), make sure to not only keep them clean, but chemical-free. Orange oil and vinegar is great for disinfecting hard surfaces, and hydrogen peroxide works wonders on carpet stains.
9. Commercial Antibacterial Products Are Overrated
Commercial chemical-based antibacterial products are quickly falling out of favor (even with the FDA) for being ineffective, increasing bacteria’s resistance to them, and disrupting hormones. They can even be harmful to nursing babies. There are plenty of products in nature—including tea tree, hydrogen peroxide, oregano, honey and lemon oil, peppermint oil and vinegar—that provide antibacterial benefits without the unsafe side effects. Try making some naturally antibacterial bathroom cleaners (including hand soap) and disinfectant surface wipes.
10. Reduce Pesticides
Use vinegar as a natural weed killer for plants and gardens. Try to buy organic fruits and veggies whenever possible (or at least these ones, which rank highest in pesticide levels) and use an all-natural fruit and veggie wash for fresh produce when you prep meals.13