Besides your food intake, another important component of your health is the environment where most of us spend most of our time: at home. There are several things that anyone can do in an effort to start “cleaning house”.
- A breath of fresh air. According to the EPA, the air in your home is anywhere from two to five times more polluted than the outside air. It makes sense then to do what you can to clean it up. The best solution is to eliminate the source of indoor air pollution. While it’s difficult to determine all the sources of indoor air problems, start with your nose. Many people are surprised to learn that the “new” smell of carpet, paint, furniture, shower curtains and other common household items is actually very harmful to their health. The “off-gassing” of chemicals, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), from these and other common products is a major source of irritation (literally) for consumers. Given the difficulty of eliminating all sources of VOCs from your home, the next best step is to clean the air in your home. Consider purchasing a floor model HEPA (not table top) air purifier from Home Depot, Lowe’s or Menards for every bedroom in your home since most people spend about a third of their time there. Do not spend money on an ozone generator, since these are not only ineffective but potentially harmful.
- Ditch the chemicals. Another source of indoor air pollution, but with the added risk of direct harmful contact, are the myriad cleaning solutions most people have in their home. Instead of expensive caustic chemical cleaners, try the following: a paste made of baking soda and water for toilet bowls or oven cleaning; baking soda and vinegar or a snake for balky drains; a 4 – 1 solution of water and vinegar to clean floors; or a box of baking soda with the top off instead of air “fresheners”. Finally, use gloves, open windows and dilute ingredients when possible and keep kids away when cleaning. For more safe cleaning tips, go here.
- Make yourself comfortable. Taking off your shoes when you come home is not just a polite Japanese tradition, it also ensures that everything you stepped on won’t be spread throughout your house.
If you follow the above steps, odds are excellent that you’ll make a long-term improvement in your and your family’s health.