One of the most common questions I get from readers is “Where Do I Start”? They may know they want to make some changes but they really have no idea where to begin and that is perfectly normal. It can be daunting when you decide that you want to make your home healthier and greener, especially if all this is new to you. Most of us have time constraints and money constraints so that has to be considered as well. No matter which way you slice it though the easiest way to get started is to just pick a problem and fix it.
What are your hot button issues? Are you most worried about chemical cleaners, additives in your food, off gassing of plastic products, or getting the toxins out of your indoor air? Just keep a running list of things you want to change, products you want to buy, and ideas for greening and cleaning your household. Take this master list and compare it to your budget and your schedule and get started in any small way you can. Once you start ticking things off that list you will gain some momentum and you’ll realize that you have more influence over the health of your home environment than you think. Here are three ways you can get the toxins out of your home. These are as good a place to start as any.
Clean Up Your Your Laundry Routine
So what exactly is the smell of clean laundry? If you think it smells like a fresh mountain spring you are probably exposing your family to chemicals every time they wear clean duds and you are washing those same chemicals down the drain. That smell is actually a chemical perfume that scientists in white coats have spent hours tinkering with and it was not to make sure it was safe for you either. Lots of money goes into researching scented products because they know that scents sell the product. Skip it! The skin is your largest organ and wearing clothes cleaned in those chemical perfume products is like wearing a nicotine patch 24/7 but with perfume chemicals instead of nicotine.
Try greener, cleaner laundry products like soap nuts, Dr. Bronner’s, or one of my new favorites of late Roux Maison Essential Fragrance Free. LOVE this product! It is made with purified water, non-hazardous biodegradable surfactants, non-hazardous biodegradable salts, and 100% pure essential oils. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) Free, Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES) Free, Formaldehyde Free, Pthalate Free, 1,4 Dioxane Free, Paraben Free, Phosphate Free, Readily Biodegradable, Optical Brightener Free, Neutral pH, Not A Marine Pollutant, No Harmful Chemical Residue, No Animal Testing, Vegan, No Genetically Modified (GMO) Ingredients, Safe for Sensitive Skin, Ingredients Classified as Non-Hazardous, Low Sudsing. All in all, very good stuff.
Dryer sheets are also loaded with chemicals and we can avoid those by hanging clothes to dry on a clothes line or hanging racks. For days when you would prefer a dyer, perhaps in the winter or when it is raining, you can use dryer sachets made with lavender or wool dryer balls. These easy household hacks produce the same results but with less impact on planetary resources and on our health.
Clean the Air
Adding indoor plants is a lovely way to bring fresh air into the home. They do a great job cleaning the air and absorbing contaminants. Spider pants, ivy, and ferns are all good for this purpose. When the weather is fine it is also a good idea to open as many doors and windows as you can to let let things air out.
Indoor air purifiers are also a welcome addition to a clean and green home. We have been using our Bionaire purifiers/ionizers for many months now. I would hate to be without them!
Clean Your Bathroom
Start with the cleaners under your sink. If you currently use harsh chemical cleaners, switch to hot water, castile soap, baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils. Not only will your house smell fresh and clean without synthetic fragrance the germs will be just as dead. You can also rest easy that your family will not be poisoned.
Shampoo can be ditched in favor of a baking soda/apple cider vinegar routine or a shampoo bar. Toothpaste can be bought without fluoride or SLS. I personally like the coconut oil based toothpaste from Tropical Traditions. Lotions, potions, and other body products should be certified organic if possible and made with food based ingredients. Toss conventional over the counter meds in your medicine cabinet in favor of of homeopathic and herbal remedies. Reduce chlorine exposure in the shower and tub by using a chlorine filter.
Once you tackle some or all of these issues move on to the next area of concern… perhaps healthier foods or a safer sleeping environment. This is a process and we keep learning, growing, and changing as we go. The important part is to take that first step and make that first change. To your health!
Wednesday, March 14th, 2012