Have you ever thought of your home as being healthy or unhealthy? While the concept of a healthy home may be new to some of us, it is steadily gaining popularity with homeowners. A healthy home can include a number of elements from building materials used to construct your home to using non-toxic cleaning products. Below is a list of five ways to assist you in creating a healthy home environment.
1. Clean Air and Circulation:
Here are some little known facts from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) about the air inside many of today’s homes:
o Indoor air pollutant levels may be two to five times higher than the pollutant levels outdoors.
o Indoor air pollutant is one of the top environmental concerns today.
o Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors.
o Indoor air pollutants such as tobacco smoke, pollen, mold, dust, and animal dander have the ability to create asthmatic and allergic reactions.
Listed below are a few ways to improve the quality of your indoor air:
o Consider an Indoor Air Purifier. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) has put forth industry standards for indoor air purifiers. To view results of their standards and testing or to find a certified indoor air purifier, you can visit their website at cadr.org.
o For better air circulation, leave doors between rooms open most of the time and open windows when possible to allow for a good supply of fresh outdoor air. You can also install exhaust fans in bathrooms to help remove moisture and chemicals from your home.
o Upgrade the air filters on your furnace with the pleated filters that capture smaller particles. Change the filters regularly as recommended by the manufacturer’s instructions.
o You can also use indoor houseplants to aid in purifying your home’s air. For example, Boston Ferns cleanse formaldehyde from the air. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm (parts in a million parts of air), it may cause watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes, nose and throat, nausea, coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, skin rashes, and allergic reactions. Formaldehyde can be found in insulation, particleboard, paper products and many cleaning products.
2. Dust-proof Your Home:
o Dust your rooms and knickknacks regularly with a damp cloth.
o Dust your hardwood, tile, linoleum, and laminate flooring regularly with a dust mop or a vacuum made for hard flooring.
o Vacuum carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture regularly. Consider buying a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. A HEPA filter is capable of removing a minimum of 99.97% of all particles that are 0.3 microns or larger. In addition, consider using a bag-less vacuum to avoid the exposure of dust when you change a bag.
o Encase pillows, mattresses, and box springs in an airtight, dust-proof cover.
o Dust/clean ceiling fans regularly to make sure they are not releasing dust in the air every time you run them.
o Replace dust-collecting blinds and long drapes with window shades or washable curtains.
3. Use Natural and Non-Toxic Cleaning Products:
One way to assure that the fragrances in your home are clean and fresh is to avoid using harsh cleaning products, which can create fumes that may linger for days. Try using natural ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, club soda, and lemon juice.
For example, to make a natural glass cleaner, combine:
o 2 teaspoons white vinegar
o one quart of warm water
o Mix ingredients together and pour into spray bottle. Spray on surface and wipe dry.
4. Fill Your Home with Natural and Earth-Friendly Products. Below is a small list of eco-friendly products available on the market today:
o Organic cotton towels, linens, clothing
o Mattresses, bedding, pillows
o Cork flooring, wool carpet
o Sofas, chairs, ottomans
o Toys and games for all ages
o Pet products
o Soap and laundry detergents
o Organic candles, home décor accessories
o Personal accessories
5. Use Safe, Non-Toxic Interior Paints that have:
o very low VOC (volatile organic compounds) content
o no formaldehyde
o low odor
Try using any of the above suggestions to create a healthy home environment. Although the concept of a healthy home is relatively new to many, there are numerous resources available including books, articles, and websites, where you can find additional information.