Now that we know why it is important to clean our homes naturally the next step is to detoxify them. This post will give you several ways to use natural resources to do just that.
Clean and Detoxify Indoor Air Naturally
Much new information has been published proving that indoor air is 7-10 times more polluted than outdoor air. The main distributors of these pollutants are fabrics, furniture, building materials, commercial cleaners, beauty products, and smoke. The majority of all of these pollutants distribute carcinogens into the air. You can find a detailed report on the EPA’s website: Indoor Air Quality. Take note that commercial cleaners and air fresheners are mentioned several times as distributors of pollutants.
We know we should get rid of the commercial cleaners and that is a big start. However, it isn’t reasonable to dump all of our furniture and sheet rock in an effort to clean the air. A better solution is to purify it.
Step 1: Get rid of all air fresheners, candles, and air neutralizing sprays. Most of them contain phthalates, chemicals that manufacturers use as plastic softeners and to hold fragrances. California and Washington have banned the sale of children’s toys containing phthalates because of their link to hormonal disruptions in additional studies and yet, we freely spray the stuff into the air.
Step 2: Vacuum at least once a week with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter. You should vacuum floors, carpets, furniture, and mattresses. For less than $30 this one is a steal: I use and recommend Eureka Quick Up Cordless 2 in 1 for a sweeper. It pulls up pet hair, dust, dirt, grass and other small fine particles that simply get pushed around with broom. When you use a broom and those fine particles get pushed into the air they then get inhaled. This is not good. Sweepers help you avoid that. For carpets I use and recommend the Bissell Cleanview Helix Deluxe Upright Vacuum, Bagless.
Step 3: Dust your home at least twice a week with a clean microfiber cloth. I use these MIcrofiber Cleaning Cloth, Lint-free, 16×16, Assorted. I cut them in half so I get greater use out of them. Microfiber cloths really have changed the way I clean my home. They are much more efficient than regular dish towels or even paper towels and I get so much more use out of them. They deteriorate much more slowly than the average rag.
Step 4: Remove all PVC plastics from your home. This includes food containers, bottles, and shower curtains. Anything labeled as “3,” “7,” “PC,” or “PVC” is dangerous when exposed to heat even in low degrees. Microwaving, heat from the shower, and placing these items in the dishwasher cause them to release harmful gasses into the home. When purchasing plastic look for BPA-free products.
Step 5: Open your doors and windows! Let your home air out at least once a week by opening the doors and windows. I recommend doing this the day before a dusting and vacuuming day though since you will get a bit of debris inside from the wind blowing things in. This is a great way to detox your air. I do it as often as possible.
Step 6: Invest in some houseplants. They purify the air by removing contaminants and pollutants, balance humidity levels, and help to control temperature. Did you know that? Amazing, right? Some of the best ones to have are Rubber Plants (that is the name), Peace Lillies, and Bamboo Palms. Here is a detailed list of what plants can be used for what: 10 Houseplants That Will Detoxify the Air in Your Home. I have Peace Lillies and English Ivy. I move them from room to room to be sure I get great results all over the house. NOTE: If you have pets you must keep them from eating these plants. Because they take in these toxins they are very dangerous for animals. I put mine in locked rooms at night so that Sarge won’t eat them.
Step 7: Clean filters for air and heat units regularly. This allows for good ventilation and prevents the build up of dust and debris around the filter.
Other air purifiers are pure bamboo, water fountains, and beeswax candles. The bamboo, when baked at ultra-high temperatures, turns into absorbent charcoal. The charcoal removes toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene –a known inducer of leukemia,– and ammonia. Small decorative water fountains can be found at most any store. They help to purify the air by catching airborne particles. The beeswax candles (must be beeswax) produce negative ions that are released into the air and attach to impurities, weighing them down so they cannot circulate and you will not breathe them in. Paraffin wax candles do not do this. In fact, they pollute the air with chemical scents and carcinogenic smoke.
Also, use cast iron or stainless steel cookware to cut down on toxic fumes from non-stick pans.
Kill Germs and Bacteria With the Sun
Items like mattresses and furniture can be bacteria free with the help of sunlight. Once or twice a month we tote them outdoors during peak sunlight and let them soak in some UV rays for 4-5 hours. We vacuum them thoroughly before they come back in. The sun won’t kill everything but it kills plenty enough. It also removes odors and brightens fabrics. This is one reason why line drying clothing is a good idea. For items that breed germs like towels and bed sheets, you can’t beat the power of the sun. Plus, it saves energy!
Remove Mold and Mildew
Mold spores are the main cause of allergies and skin irritation. Some are lethal. The only way to stop them from growing in damp places is to control the amount of humidity in the air. Plants help with this but if that isn’t enough you may need a dehumidifier. Indoor humidity should be between 30 and 50 percent. A hygrometer helps to measure your home’s level. If you do find mold you should check to see if there are any leaks. Also, airing out washing machines, showers, bathrooms, and other humid areas will decrease the chance of mold or mildew forming.