Spring is a great time of year, the sun is shining, the days are getting warmer and longer, and we seem to have more energy. Lots of us use this energy to detox our bodies, but it’s also a perfect time to detox our homes too.
There are toxins present in many common products that we use every day, and many of these chemicals can’t be seen, smelt or tasted. The average home contains 500-1,000 chemicals, for example, carpets contain toxins and trapped dirt, fleas, dust-mites and lead which are increasingly found to have negative effects on our nervous and immune systems, reproductive systems, cardiovascular systems and overall health.
Unless you use organic, or homemade remedies, many cleaning products can contain harmful toxins, as do lots of the products we use on our skin and hair. The liver is the vital organ that works hard every day to transform these toxins into waste, but overtime becomes overwhelmed and sluggish, leading to unexplained gain weight, allergies, chronic fatigue, brain fog, joint and muscle pain, and acne or skin conditions.
Being aware of the toxins that surround us at home and taking care to reduce them is beneficial to our livers, health and wellbeing all year round.
Try a natural spring clean:
Open the windows – Indoor air is typically 3 times more polluted than outdoor air. Home insulation has become so efficient in keeping our homes warm in winter and cool in summer, that we are constantly breathing in stale air. Letting in as much fresh air as possible keeps your home ventilated and eliminates stale air.
Bring the greenery inside – Green plants are natural purifiers. NASA conducted a study in the 80’s which proved some plant species can remove up to 87% of toxins from the air in our homes, including formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, carbon monoxide and dust. Use fresh flowers, or bowls of herbs like rosemary and sage to add pleasant fragrance to rooms.
Switch to non-toxic cleaning products – chemical free household cleaning products are good for you and the environment. The supermarkets stock a good range these days, or alternatively you could make you own (see point 4).
Use the contents of your cupboard to clean – baking soda makes a great cleaner for tiles, vinegar and newspaper gives windows a great shine, and lemons are a good all-rounder, from cleaning and deodorising the fridge to getting rid of germs on the chopping board.
Invest in a water filter – More than 700 chemicals are present in drinking water, so filtering it is better and healthier for you, and eco-friendlier than drinking bottled water.
Impose a ‘No shoes in the House’ policy – as most household dirt, dust and lead come into the home via our shoes, go barefoot or wear slippers.
Use Organic skin care and personal products – deodorant, toothpastes, hair products, cosmetics and perfumes are often loaded with toxins. Our skin absorbs 60% of these toxins which enter your bloodstream in 28 seconds and are then stored in your internal organs. Chemicals are not necessary or beneficial in beauty products, and the combination and accumulation effects our immune system and our health.
Keep house dust to a minimum – more dust equals more toxins! Mop all surfaces at least once a week, and vacuum using a HEPA-filter which captures the widest range of particles and gets rid of allergens.
Replace toxic lawn and garden pesticides and herbicides with less harmful natural ones.
Be conscious on toxins in your carpet, paint, and soft furnishings – Use natural wool and cotton rugs where you can, and replace wall to wall carpet with hard wood floors, natural linoleum or ceramic tiles. Use low odour latex (water based paint) and open all windows when you are painting indoors. Stain guarded furniture such as sofas, curtains or iron free bedding are commonly treated with formaldehyde – use untreated fabrics when possible.
We can reduce the risk of overloading our internal organs and chronic illness by limiting our exposure to these household toxins, but don’t let this become an obsession which can lead to high stress levels. Stress has a bigger negative impact on our health than environmental toxins. Just change things slowly, taking one baby step at a time, to become healthier and happier.
Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live.