7 Steps for a Do-It-Yourself Home Detox
1. OPEN THE WINDOWS
Air inside is often more polluted than outdoor air. Monitor the quality of the air inside your home and open your windows daily to ventilate, and avoid room fresheners or sprays that contain synthetic ingredients and fragrances. Remember, the term ‘fragrance’ can represent hundreds of unknown chemicals. Look for products that are plant-based or offer fragrance-free formulations. Keep the rooms in your home smelling fresh and clean by using plant-based ingredients and fragrances.
2. LEAVE SHOES AT THE DOOR
Roughly 70 percent of household dust, pests, pollutants and dirt (which often contains lead and chemicals) are tracked indoors on the bottom of shoes. Ask guests to remove their shoes before entering your home or place welcome mats around doors to encourage them to wipe their shoes, and make sure to clean mats regularly. Keep a cloth at the door to wipe down your pets’ paws after walks.
3. PLANT MORE INDOOR PLANTS
Plants don’t just brighten your home; they can also help absorb impurities in the air. Choose a bright orchid or lily to reduce harmful VOCs like formaldehyde and xylene. Keep them easily hydrated by watering with an ice cube once a week. For some added freshness, fill a mason jar with boiling water and fresh orange or lemon slices, cloves, or other herbs for a zesty, natural air freshener.
4. SLEEP ON ORGANIC AND OR NATURAL FIBRES
When purchasing blankets or bedding for your family, aim for certified organic and/or natural fibres that are lighter in colour (less harsh dying) and avoid those marked as permanent press, easy care or no iron – all of which can contain formaldehyde. Refresh your mattress regularly by sprinkling baking soda directly around the mattress (remove the fitted sheet first). This helps to reduce dust, cut lingering smells and more.
5. DETOX YOUR HOME FROM THE OUTSIDE IN
Tackle weeds and pests without chemicals. Spray your lawn with white vinegar or spread a natural mulch over affected areas. To prevent ants and fleas from coming inside, mix 30 grams of a biodegradable soap, like Seventh Generation’s Natural Dish Liquid in a litre of water and spray around your home’s foundation.
6. CHOOSE TOYS MADE FROM NATURAL MATERIALS
Purchase toys, cribs, and bedding made from natural materials, like solid woods with non-toxic finishes and natural textiles like organic cotton or wool. The familiar “new smell” that plastic toys emit can be a sign that toxic softeners or finishes were used to make the product. As with food, always check the label on toys before purchasing: though there is no labelling requirement for toys to be ‘non-toxic’, some brands will specify it. When it comes to cribs, choose solid wood that is made with a non-toxic, water-based finish.
Crib rails can be an unexpected teething spot for toddlers. Clean grimy toys like Lego and other small items regularly by putting them in a mesh bag and tossing them in the washing machine for a thorough wash, coupled with Seventh Generation’s Natural Laundry Detergent.
7. CLEAN WITH PLANT BASED OR DIY CLEANERS
Choose plant-based household cleaning products that are free of harsh solvents, dyes and synthetic fragrances. From floors to dishes to the air inside your home, clean the surfaces kids play on and the things that can end up in little mouths with toxin-free products. Pick a brand like Seventh Generation that voluntarily gives full ingredient disclosure so you are fully informed of what you’re bringing into your home.
For more tips and recommendations from Maureen Dennis, visit www.seventhgeneration.ca. For research and information from Environmental Defence, visit www.environmentaldefence.ca.
Win a Home Detox Kit here.