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14 Ideas for Detoxing Your Home

Detox programmes often focus on what (and what not) to put in and on your body. This is a sensible focus for anyone beginning a detox, but do you know that many of the toxins that contribute to your toxic load are sitting around your home and in your general environment? If you really want to give your body a chance to detox, it's time to give some attention to what you have in those cupboards.

Studies have found that most modern homes contain hundreds of chemical toxins that can be damaging to the body under prolonged exposure. Just as with the toxins that we try to erradicate from our diets and body care products, toxic cleaning products can contribute to many chronic illnesses, including asthma, heart disease and some cancers. As well as household cleaning products, toxins can be found in carpets, vinyl, adhesives, paint, varnish and fabrics.

Some estimates suggest that the air in your house may be two or three times more polluted than the air outside. This is even more pronounced during times of the year when you have all your doors and windows closed. As with all these things, it isn't all doom and gloom. There are plenty of affirmitive steps you can take to make your home less toxic and you can improve your environment by even addressing one or two of them. To get you started, this article has fourteen simple suggestions that you can implement right away.

1. Cleaning Products

Use green cleaning products that contain only natural ingredients. If an ingredient is difficult to pronounce, it is probably toxic. Look for brands such as Bio-D, Ecover, Method and Ocean Saver, among others and use an E-cloth. It is also incredibly simple and cheap to make your own cleaners. For a great all-purpose cleaner, add ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda crystals, 1 tsp of environmentally-friendly washing up liquid, 500ml hot water and a few drops of essential oil for a lovely fragrance – try lemon, tea tree or peppermint. Mix well, then add to a spray bottle.

2. Detergent

Use eco-friendly laundry detergents instead of your regular products. Some well known names that you may find in your local supermarket include Ecover and Method. Also, consider investing in dryer balls rather than synthetic fabric sheets if you use these in your tumble dryer.

3. Dry Cleaning

The dry cleaning process involves the use of chemical solvents that can be toxic. If you have your clothes dry cleaned, allow them to air outside or in the garage for a few hours to allow the solvents time to evaporate before bringing them inside.

4. Shoes

Shoes pick up a lot of toxins and dirt, which then gets walked through your home. Leave outdoor shoes by the front door and invest in slippers or just go barefoot if it isn't too cold where you live.

5. Ventilate

Open your windows whenever possible to allow toxins to be blown out. As mentioned in the introduction, the air inside a house is normally a lot more toxic than the air outside.

6. Air fresheners

Avoid artificial air fresheners or fresheners that use artificial ingredients. Instead, try to use essential oil with a diffuser.

7. Plants

Many house plants actively detoxify your home, acting as natural hepa-filters. Some of the most effective options are: areca palm (butterfly palm), aloe vera, rubber plants and spider plants. Try to have a few plants in every room if possible. Bringing a bit of nature inside with you is also a great way to aid your mental health.

8. Bedding

Many sheets and pillow cases are bleached and use other harmful chemicals in the production process. Choose bedding made from organic cotton wherever your budget permits. You can also look for organic mattresses or, if you aren't in a position to get a new mattress, consider an organic mattress topper.

9. Food Containers

Go through all your plastic food containers and discard anything with a number 1, 3, 6 or 7 as these plastics contain harmful chemicals, such as BPA or styrene, that can contaminate your food. Invest in BPA free plastics or even steel or glass containers.

10. Dust regularly

Dust and vacuum your home regularly and, when dusting, be sure to use a micro-fibre cloth. Dust particles, while also being bad for your lungs, attract chemicals that stick to them and then to you. The next time you are buying a vacuum cleaner, make sure you choose one that has a built in HEPA filter as this will sift out even smaller dust and pollen particles that would otherwise end up back in the air.

11. Mould

Mould can be toxic when inhaled or consumed. Mould often builds up in damp areas of your home so make sure you check in any hard to reach areas where it could be lurking and deal with it immediately. It may be necessary to purchase a dehumidifier, or improve the ventilation in your home if mould is becoming a recurrent issue. I am a big fan of a company called Pure Maintenance UK that does a fantastic job looking for mould, treating it with all chemical free products, proving a detailed report on the various types found and how harmful.

12. Paint

If your home was built in the 1970's, or before, it might have lead or asbestos paint on the walls. Take care before removing these as both can be incredibly toxic. I would advise seeking professional help before doing so. Even modern paints contain harmful chemicals called VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) that can be escaping into your environment up to five years after painting. Pots of paint should clearly display the VOC level in grams per litre, or as a percent. Anything below 250g per litre or 25% is considered to be low VOC, although no amount of toxins is desirable and so more companies are now producing paint brands that are VOC free, although you may pay more for these. Earthborn, Ecos, Eico and Nutshell are all good places to start but some big-name brands are also producing VOC-free alternatives.

13. Upholstery

Furniture, especially stain-resistant furniture, can also contain VOC's and other harmful chemicals. Try to choose untreated fabrics when shopping for furniture. 14. Your Garden If you treat your grass or plants in the garden, try to avoid chemical peticides and fertilisers. Most garden centres stock organic versions of all these products and investing in your own compost bin can be a great way of producing an abundance of free, organic fertiliser.

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