I have been feeling obsessed with cleaning lately. I’ve been dusting, decluttering and eager to throw out old, superfluous things and unwanted clothing. I think it’s because spring is on our doorstep and we instinctively fall into clean out mode to prepare us for the fresh, new and warm season.
This got me thinking… many of us realise the importance of giving our body a good cleanse from time to time to get rid of toxins and create a healthy environment for our cells to live in, but a lot of people forget about cleaning out their home. This is essential because we are in it every single day and being exposed to toxic chemicals over a long period of time can cause problems related to the nervous and immune system.
Did you know indoor air is typically 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air? Not only this, but furnishings, upholstery, synthetic building materials and cleaning products in homes can emit a variety of toxic compounds e.g. formaldehyde. Indoor air pollution can also be caused by pollen, bacteria, and moulds, as outdoor air contaminants like car exhaust fumes find their way into buildings.
10 Ways to detox your home
1. Keep house plants in every room of your house
Plants are an easy and affordable way to clean the indoor air. They absorb some of the toxic particles from the air, at the same time taking in carbon dioxide which is then processed into oxygen. Micro organisms associated with the plants are present in the potting soil too and these are responsible for much of the cleaning effect.
Here are 10 indoor plants which efficiently remove toxins while also being very easy to care for (bonus!):
- Garden Mum
- Spider Plant
- Weeping Fig
- Peace Lily
- Boston Fern
- Snake Plant
- Bamboo Palm
- Aloe Vera
2. Switch to non-toxic lifestyle and cleaning products
The average person is exposed to over 100 chemicals from personal care products they have used before leaving the house in the morning. Scary, huh? People make the mistake of believing that because a product is on the shelf in the supermarket that it must be safe to use. This simply isn’t so. They are generally filled with a whole host of chemicals that are toxic to the human body.
You can use a combination of basic ingredients like bicarb soda, vinegar and tea tree oil to do general house cleaning. Find a company you love and trust and support it. By doing this you will not only help your health, but also the health of the environment.
3. Burn essential oils
Watch out for fragrances in air fresheners which have been found to contain dangerous phthalates. Instead, defuse antiseptic and immune-stimulating essential oils in an oil burner to help prevent germs from spreading. This also works therapeutically to boost everyone’s immune system. Oils like eucalyptus, tea tree and ravensara are good options.
4. Create consistent airflow
This is especially important after winter as everyone usually has the house closed up and the air conditioner running which results in breathing in the same old circulating air. Keep doors and windows open as much as possible to create consistent fresh airflow.
5. Be conscious of toxins in carpets
Carpets keep you cosy, but unfortunately they can introduce a variety of toxins as well as trap dirt, lead, fleas and dust mites. Use natural fibre wool & cotton rugs, or if possible, replace your carpeting with hardwood floors. Otherwise be sure to vacuum at least once per week.
6. Keep house dust to a minimum
Dust and mop at least once per week – and don’t forget about your ceiling fans! Be sure not to just dust or mop with dry cloths, instead use a damp cloth. This avoids spreading and lifting dust into the air.
7. Use safe cookware
Teflon contains perfluorinated chemicals (PFC’s) which have been linked to cancer and developmental problems, and can leach harmful endocrine disruptors into food – especially when heated. Cook with glass baking dishes, and cast iron or stainless steel pans. Keep leftovers in glass or ceramic containers in the fridge whenever possible to avoid harmful BPA, and never heat up food in a plastic container.
8. Get a shower and water filter
700 chemicals have been identified in drinking water including chlorine, fluorine compounds, Trihalomethanes (THMs), assorted hormones, pesticides and even trace amounts of prescription drugs.
9. Watch out for excess moisture
Mould is a major contender in many serious health conditions, including asthma, compromised immunity, and neurological problems. Plumbing leaks are one of the leading causes of mould growth, so check for them under kitchen and bathroom sinks, around water heaters and behind washing machines and dishwashers.
Clean mould off non-porous surfaces with natural soap and water and then dry completely. When mould found on porous surfaces it is often best left to a professional cleaner since improper cleaning can actually spread the mould spores.
To prevent the return of mould, keep things dry! This means regularly cleaning gutters to allow water to flow away from your house and keeping indoor humidity below 50 percent.
Now this might be a scary one for the hoarders out there. It’s easy to collect and store things, including clothing, for a long period of time, but once you get into the habit of de-cluttering, it gives you a wonderful, liberated feeling.
My best piece of advice is if you haven’t used an item for at least 6 months, get rid of it! Sell it or give it away. Living in a cluttered environment clutters your mind, while living in an open, simple space frees up space in your mind and reduces stress and anxiety.
Obviously we can’t live in a bubble, but we can reduce our exposure to both internal and external toxins by detoxing our living space. This allows the body’s own detoxification process to function more efficiently and strengthens our immune system so that we may live happier and healthier lives.