Top Tips for a Low-Toxin Home
25 sep 2018
There are plenty of steps you can take to reduce your toxin exposure in your home.
Your home is your sanctuary, but did you know it is also likely the greatest source of your toxin exposure?
From flooring to beauty products and furnishings, your home environment could be housing a cocktail of chemicals that have been linked to a range of health concerns, such as allergies, immune system disorders, hormonal issues, chronic fatigue and more.
While these chemicals can be found hiding in the most unexpected of places, there are plenty of steps you can take to reduce your toxin exposure in your home.
We have put together our top tips for creating a low-toxin home!
Avoid cheap imported, mass-produced furniture which can be notorious for toxic glues, paints and lacquers. Upholstered furniture can also be packed with stuffing that is full of chemicals and fire retardants. Look for pieces made of natural materials, and air out any suspicious furniture for a couple of days before putting them in your home.
Be careful of your fragrances. A sweet smelling air freshener or candle may give the illusion of a pure home, but synthetic fragrances can be toxic, and burning paraffin wax emits the same chemicals found in diesel fuel fumes. Instead, diffuse pure essential oils and use natural wax candles.
Invest in natural, untreated bedding, such as linen, cotton and bamboo. Many commercial materials use fire retardants, pesticides, bleach and unhealthy dyes.
Open your windows to encourage good airflow, and allow as much sunlight in as possible, as UV light kills many organisms. This is one of the most obvious and effective tips you can implement for a healthy home!
Consider your curtains, as some contain fire retardants, pesticides, bleach and dyes. Instead, try to find brands that use untreated cotton, linen or bamboo.
Pay attention to your flooring. Your floor is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the toxins in your home, but certain carpets made from synthetic fibers can produce up to 120 hazardous chemicals which have been linked to allergies, asthma and health problems. Instead, opt for cotton or wool rugs, polished concrete, or wood floors with non-toxic adhesives.
Get picky with your paints. Only use no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints. VOC’s are carbon-containing solvents that evaporate into the air as paint dries, and can have negative effects on the eyes, nose, throat, liver, kidneys and central nervous system. They make paint more durable and easier to spread, which is why they are so prevalent in many brands.
Get rid of those vinyl shower curtains. Studies have found that PVC shower curtains may release up to 108 VOC's.
Your mattress matters. You spend up to ⅓ of your life on your mattress while your body tries to rest and detox, so make sure you’re not sleeping on a surface that is emitting harmful gases! Do your research before you make a purchase, as many conventional mattresses use harsh chemicals and fire retardants that can emit gasses. Natural latex is a good option, paired with an organic wool mattress topper.
Overhaul your cleaning cupboard. Your cleaning products are likely to be your highest sources of poisons in your home. Making the switch to natural (or even homemade!) cleaning products can do wonders. For examples, white vinegar with a few drops of natural tea tree or eucalyptus essential oil works as a effective general disinfectant for many surfaces.
Switch to natural brands of toiletries and cosmetics. Just because the branding looks natural and minimal, doesn’t mean they won’t be hiding toxins. Make it a habit to read your labels, and remember the term ‘organic’ isn’t regulated in Australia (look for ‘certified organic’). There are plenty of safe alternatives for items like shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and makeup.
Look for an eco-friendly dry cleaning service. Traditional dry cleaners are notorious for their use of chemicals, so if you must use them make sure you let your clothes aerate outside before storing them in your closet.
Establish a ‘shoes off’ policy in your home, to reduce the spread of chemicals or pesticides that may be picked up outside, which can remain on carpets.
Clean or replace your air filters regularly, to enable efficient air circulation in your home.
Avoid using harsh pest control products, as there are so many safe alternatives for controlling insects!
Use air-purifying plants, which can absorb many harmful gases inside the home. We’ve put together a list if effective indoor plants here.