There are many things you can do to increase your family’s health, and it’s essential to make your home as healthy as possible. Here are important steps that will make the most impact on creating a healthy home.
1. Purify the Air
According to the EPA, the level of indoor air pollution may be two to five times higher than the pollution level outside. With today’s energy efficient homes, there is little ventilation to help indoor air quality, and many children spend more than 90% of their time indoors.
What is lingering in the air of most homes? Formaldehyde and other chemicals from household products, furniture off-gassing, carpet emissions, pollen, dander, dust, mold, mildew, fungi, bacteria, and viruses – to name a few. The impact this has on your family’s health can include allergies, asthma, headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation, colds, flu, and other respiratory illnesses. Chemical off-gassing can also impact brain development, immune function, cancer, and reproductive issues.
Certain houseplants, such as snake plant, spider plant, and golden pothos may help reduce indoor air pollutants. But to make a big difference in air quality, a HEPA air purifier is needed. There are many HEPA air purifiers available with a wide range of prices. Be cautious about the cheap ones since they probably won’t do a good job of removing the chemicals and allergens. With air purification, you certainly get what you pay for.
Read what is important to know about air purification:
Read more on how to protect your children:
2. Get Rid of the Dust
Dust is one of those annoyances that we all have in our homes. No matter how much we clean, it always comes back. It’s worth keeping up with it, though, since it can have an impact on our family’s health.
What does ordinary household dust contain? Dust is a mixture of soil and dirt (along with the pesticides) tracked in from outside, fungal spores, pet dander, carpet fibers, human hair and skin, and other tiny particles. That sounds bad enough, but the real issue is the chemical makeup of dust. Chemicals shed from all sorts of products, including your furniture, mattresses, electronics, plastics, shoes, bedding and fabrics, and end up settling in the dust. These chemicals include flame retardants, pesticides, phthalates, and others.
Kids are especially vulnerable to contaminated dust, since they play on the floor and are always putting hands and toys in their mouths.
Here are some ways to control the dust:
• Vacuum twice a week with a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter (more frequently if you have pets)
• Frequently wet mop uncarpeted floors
• Vacuum upholstered furniture, drapes and mattresses on a regular basis
• Clean hard surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth and don’t use toxic cleaners
• Dust electronics with a damp cloth
• Leave shoes at the door
• Get a HEPA air purifier that clears dust particles
3. Replace your Mattresses and Couch
Typical mattresses contain chemicals that are not healthy for anyone, but particularly not safe for babies and children. Most mattresses contain petroleum based chemicals, toxic foams, synthetic fabrics, and are treated with chemical fire retardants. These chemicals can create toxic off-gassing that can expose your family to dangerous levels of chemicals while they sleep.
Since your family spends a lot of time sleeping, resting, or playing on mattresses and couches, it’s most beneficial to replace them with those that are made with organic, natural materials. Even mattresses that are called organic can have materials that have some toxic off-gassing, so it’s important to know what to look for in an organic mattress.
You can find more information about mattress and couch materials in the following articles:
Some of these steps are fairly easy; others are more challenging. Do the best you can with the resources you have available to make your home safe and healthy, then let go of the worry. And let us know if we can assist you in any way. We are always happy to help!