I've always been pretty aware of toxins in and around the house, but it's not something I've never really been too concerned about and I thought I was using reasonably safe products (I used Earthwise for everything).
But being pregnant definitely made me pay more attention to what products I was using in the house and what potential toxins were in those products.
Firstly, the lingering smell cleaning products left, which previously signalled cleanliness, now smelt potent and harsh. Secondly, I was obviously concerne about what chemicals could do to my unborn baby.
So I swotted up and made these few changes to ensure my home environment remained as toxic free as possible.
3 Tips for a Toxic Free Home
1. Switch your cleaning products
Pretty much all cleaning products you buy in the supermarket contain high levels of toxins, even the ones who market themselves as "green", "earth friendly" or "non-toxic", actually still contain toxic chemicals that are best avoided.
A great website to explore is the Environmental Working Group (EWG), it's packed with articles and tips on chemicals in products, foods and water and how you can avoid them or choose healthier options.
They also have a handy label decoder to help you make sense of what cleaning labels actually mean - like why to avoid products labeled 'anti-bacterial'!
Now you don't have to rush out and buy all new products, rather just replace them with toxic free products when it's time. I would however recommend you swap dishwasher tablets and washing up liquid straight away as potential ingestion heightens your exposure.
My recommended cleaning products that are easy to get hold of are:
2. Air out your house daily
Yep even in winter! The longer the better, but aim for a minimum of 30 minutes a day.
The air in our houses is commonly up to 2-5 times more polluted than the outdoor air. Considering we can spend up to 90% of our day shut inside, improving indoor air quality is really important for our health.
Most of the toxins polluting the air in your house come from smoking, burning fuels, cleaning products, paints and treated furniture or materials.
Reducing toxin exposure and introducing more outdoor air into your house is a quick and easy way to improve air quality and your health.
* Note: You could also look into an air purifier if you are concerned about outdoor pollution because you live in a busy city or by a busy road.
3. Have more house plants
All plants are great for getting more oxygen into the air in your house!
A NASA study in the 1980's found that many plants can help to purify your indoor air and listed some of the following as good air purifiers:
- Aloe Vera
- Peace Lily
- Spider Plant
- English Ivy
- Boston Fern
- Heart Leaf Philodendron
- African Violets
- Chinese Evergreen
Pick a few plants and scatter them around the house, put at least one in each room and a few in bigger rooms.
I personally have Aloe Vera, Peace Lily and Spider Plants because they don't need much light and are very hard to kill.
Other things to consider when removing toxins, buying new products or renovating a house are:
- Taking your shoes off to reduce toxins like led bought into the house
- Removing mould from the bathroom and anywhere else in the house
- Use no-VOC paints - make sure it is still no-VOC once the colour is added
- Limit dry cleaning your clothes - they use some of the most toxic chemicals for "cleaning"
- Avoid fabrics that are fire retardant (conventional curtains, sofas, some bedding and children's clothing) and use natural untreated fabrics like bamboo, hemp and cotton.
- Starting removing other toxins from your life that are commonly found in beauty products, food containers and food! Again the EWG website is great for figuring out what is actually safe - but I generally go on the premise if I don't know how to pronounce it don't use it!
If you have any other questions about what products I use, just leave them in the comments and I will get back to you asap.