Sure, you’ve heard all about clean eating but what about clean living? Considering how much time we spend in the great indoors, it kind of makes sense to give your space some all-natural love and attention. But if the idea of smudging or scrubbing your home with baking soda is a little too out-there for you, don’t fret. Here, nine easy things you can do to reduce your exposure to toxins and make your home just a little bit healthier.
1. Invest in some greenery
Not only will some lush plants spruce up your home decor, but they’re also natural air detoxifiers, and certain varieties come with some surprising health-boosting benefits. Eucalyptus, for example, is known for its ability to ease respiratory conditions, promote healthy skin and reduce the risk of bacterial infections. Not too shabby.
2. Take your shoes off
We hate to break this to you, but your shoes are magnets for dirt, germs and whatever else you’ve been walking around on (remember that public restroom you slipped into earlier?). Keep those nasties out of your home by removing your shoes at the door. For a more hygienic (and snuggly) option, try a pair of indoor slippers instead. So civilized.
3. Throw open the windows
Indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air even in the most industrialized cities, Sophia Ruan Gushée, author of A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures, tells us. Opening windows for a few minutes each day will help clear out stale air and keep your home ventilated.
4. Use less plastic
“Plastics result from various chemical formulas,” Gushée says. “These chemicals can leach into their surroundings—air, water, dust, hands, food, and beverages. Some of these chemicals are known or suspected hormone disrupting chemicals, which can contribute to various adverse health effects.” She recommends using containers made of glass and stainless steel whenever possible. (Team with open shelves to make your kitchen look ultra chic.)
5. Upgrade your vacuum
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter vacuums can trap extremely small particles and help to get rid of allergens. To make sure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck (and that you don’t spend any more time cleaning than you have to), here’s how not to suck at vacuuming.
6. Air out your dry cleaning
Chemical solvents from your dry cleaning can stick to clothing fibers, which is why the Environmental Working Group recommends removing the bags from your clothes asap and airing items out in another room or outside for a few hours.
7. Make your own cleaner
The dilemma: You know that many cleaning products are full of toxins but the fancy all-natural ones are hurting your wallet. The fix: Make your own. This chemical-free recipe for wood cleaner works wonders.
8. Stock up on microfiber cloths
These genius wipes pick up dirt and hold onto it (instead of spreading it around), meaning you don’t have to rely on a chemical cleaner quite so often. Try these bright cloths for surfaces (assign each room a color) and this one for mopping up floors (toss the head into the washer when needed).
9. Go natural
From getting rid of sweater-destroying moths to making your home smell amazing, you don’t always have to resort to the chemical stuff. Do a little research, and you may be surprised to discover all kinds of natural solutions to household chores. (Totally OK to keep a few store-bought staples on hand, though—it’s all about balance.)