Take These Steps to Create a Healthier Home
Keeping your family healthy is undoubtedly your top priority. You bundle up your loved ones when they head out into the cold, cook them soup when they’re sick, encourage them to wash their hands frequently, and bandage all scraped knees. One of the most important parts of having a healthy family is having a healthy home. Improving the healthy qualities of your home environment involves a few key elements, from practicing eco-friendly habits to choosing safe kitchen utensils, to improving indoor air quality. Did you know that indoor air can be five times dirtier than outdoor air? It’s unfortunately true. Improving the air circulation in your home is a key element in addressing indoor air quality concerns. Use these tips to upgrade your living conditions and boost your family’s well-being.
The bathroom is an excellent place to start your healthy home facelift since many items kept here contain harmful chemicals. Environmental Working Group explains that most air fresheners are made with toxins and could be hurting your loved ones if they constantly breathe them in. According to the EWG, air fresheners may cause allergic reactions and can contain harmful phthalates, which can cause endocrine issues. They also recommend using the strongest cleaning products, like chlorine bleach or ammonia, only when necessary for deep cleaning, never at the same time, and always with proper ventilation to keep the air free of harmful contaminants and chemicals.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to reevaluate what brands of toothpaste and hand soap you are purchasing. Stay away from anti-bacterial hand wash and toothpaste that contains triclosan. While we don’t fully know the harmful effects of triclosan on humans, the FDA explains there may be risk in decreases to thyroid hormones, bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and potentially some skin cancer concerns. More research and testing is required by the FDA to fully assess the safety of triclosan. However, minimizing risk could be beneficial.
While you’re on your quest for a healthier bathroom, ditch those vinyl shower curtains, since these contain harmful phthalates, notes This Old House. Instead, you can substitute a washable polyester or nylon curtain. You also want to make sure your bathroom is well-ventilated to keep moisture levels down and keep mold from growing. There’s no better way to get rid of unhealthy air than with a powerful exhaust fan. Look for a model with the best features and specs for your home.
In a room where we commonly use perfumes and hair sprays, and (let’s face it) sometimes you really need to deep clean, it’s not always easy to keep the air free of harmful contaminants. Enter the air purifier! Lasko’s series of HEPA filter air cleaners are ready to tackle challenging indoor air quality issues. They capture 99.97% of the most common indoor air contaminants, including mold spores, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), odors, and more. The desktop air purifier is the best size for a smaller bathroom and can even fit easily on the countertop.
Start improving your kitchen’s health factor by caulking up cracks or holes, since these are often enticing to bugs and mice that can bring disease inside. This Old House suggests going through your cabinets and tossing any plastic containers made with BPA (those have a 7, 6, or 3 on the bottom), as this chemical is speculated to contribute to illness–especially in children.
Clean your refrigerator regularly and be sure to change that water filter every six months. Check regularly for spoiled or expired food that lurks way in the back and get rid of it. If you’re frustrated by strange refrigerator smells or produce that seems to lose its freshness a little too quickly, the Fresh Slice Fridge Air Freshener can help. Using its OxiPure technology, this handy little gadget helps preserve the freshness of your produce in the refrigerator while removing unpleasant odors.
When you cook, using your range hood or exhaust fan is a best practice. Not only does it move unwanted cooking smells out, it also exhausts humidity, which can encourage bacteria and mold to grow. Additionally, exhausting cooking air can also reduce other possible pollutants like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, according to This Old House. Make your kitchen greener and healthier by installing countertops made with bamboo, steel, or copper. When purchasing produce, look for fruits and vegetables grown with little or no pesticides. Additional ideas for healthier living include avoiding fish with high levels of mercury and quitting snack food that is processed and high in sugar.
Since your family spends hours relaxing here, it’s important to make sure it is conducive to good health. First, pay attention to the air in this room. If someone in your household smokes, tell them they need to do so outside. Bring in a few potted plants — not only are these cheerful design elements, but they also help clean the air. Some of the best air purifier plants for cleaning indoor air include the Peace Lily, Spider Plant, Rubber Tree, and Pothos. There are, of course, many more varieties that excel at cleaning different substances from the air while they add beauty to the home.
This Old House suggests opening the windows whenever possible since indoor air contains more chemicals than outdoor air. Incorporating the best air purifiers, which generally include HEPA filters, is another great way to ensure your family is breathing safe air. Larger living spaces require air purifiers with the capacity to move more air through for cleaning. The Lasko HEPA Filter Premium Air Purifier Tower has a CADR (clean air delivery rate) of 150 and can clean the air in rooms up to 232 square feet.
If your living room has hardwood floors, the source recommends getting rid of any chemical-based cleaning solutions you might be using in favor of either lemon oil and water or vinegar and water. These mixtures are effective without using chemical irritants. Additionally, it’s important to regularly clean devices that are touched frequently, like remote controls, door handles, and light switches to keep germs at bay. Wash blankets and upholstery on a routine basis as well.
Try to choose cleaning products that are green, notes Environmental Working Group. Read labels carefully and do more in-depth research if you still have questions, since many companies do not put every ingredient on the label. This Old House recommends making sure that your dryer vents lead to the outside since this releases moisture that might otherwise cause mold to develop. If you’re looking for a greener washer, the source suggests purchasing a steam model, since this helps eliminate allergens.
New laundry products that are greener, and therefore healthier and kinder to the environment, are becoming more widely available every day. These products use more natural ingredients that can help disinfect clothing while reducing chemical contaminants released into the water supply. Additionally, they tend to cause less gunky build-up in your washing machine, which can increase its lifespan and reduce the likelihood that molds will grow.
To keep the air in your laundry room fresh and clean, we also recommend well-circulated or cleaned air. Using installed exhaust fans can work well or simply plugging in a portable air circulating fan can help keep air moving. If you’re looking for the perfect air purifier to clean the air in your laundry room, the Air Flex™ Air Purifier & Room Fan from Lasko not only powerfully moves air, it also uses a standard 1-inch filter to clean the air throughout a room. If you’re looking for a sleeker or quieter air purifier option, Lasko’s HEPA Filter Air Purifier Tower provides a powerful CADR of 110 to get your laundry room air clean quickly and efficiently.
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