How to Have a Greener, Healthier Home

green spray bottle with recycle symbolJust about everyone is looking for ways to live healthier these days. From diet, to exercise, to even how we clean our homes, there is desire among consumers to choose healthier, safer products and food for our families.

But, your home might not be the safe haven you think it is. Did you know there are things within your home, beyond those potato chips you have stashed in your cabinets, which may not be good for you or your family’s health?

So where do these health hazards and potential toxins hide? Here are a few places to look and what to do to make your house healthier:

  1. The air you breathe: If you smoke in your home, this is a no-brainer. Choose not to smoke in your home and do not permit others to do so. Choose to smoke outside, if you must smoke. Moving to another room or opening a window is not enough to protect your children. Also think about air quality. Many of the products believed to improve the look and scent of homes can actually harm the people who are living there. When we use harsh chemicals to clean, it can release toxic vapors into the air. On the flip side, not cleaning your home well, especially moist surfaces, can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria and mold, which is also harmful to breathe in. It is best to shop around for an all-natural product made for cleaning-or you can create a mixture of your own with vinegar and water. Clean with ventilation in the room. Look for alternatives to pesticides and any other household chemicals. If you must use them, always read the label and follow directions exactly. Always store them in high locked cabinets and in their original containers.

  2. Carbon monoxide: There should be at least one carbon monoxide detector on every floor of the home. Have your furnace cleaned and serviced once per year and check that all potential sources of carbon monoxide, such as space heaters and wood stoves, are well-vented and in proper working order. Never idle the car or lawnmower in the garage.

  3. Water essentials: Know the quality of your drinking water. If you have a private drinking water well, test it periodically.

  4. Lead potential: Avoid potential sources of lead. If your home was built before 1978, have your home tested for lead paint. Removal needs to be handled by a professional. Also, keep dirt outside, by removing shoes at the door. Wash your hands to keep dirt that might be contaminated with lead off you and your kids.

  5. Glues, fragrance and anything ending in “cide”: Any artificial fragrances for the air, dryer sheets, and even certain glues used to install new carpeting can release chemical that are potentially unhealthy into the air or skin. Read labels, avoid any chemical additives that end in “cide” (a long lasting chemical product), and ask about environmentally safe products for any home renovations you have planned.

Your home should be a safe haven from the world and things that can harm your health. Take the time to consider what you are putting into the air you breathe and what chemicals or toxins could be coming into contact with skin or clothing around your household. There are many chemicals created that have “helped” our lives become easier, but some are not necessarily good for our health.

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