What better time than the back-to-school season— with its new year, starting over mindset—to make health resolutions? This September, why not focus on making your home healthier? Get started with these tips:
Upgrade your cleaning supplies
The nation’s primary chemical safety law is getting an overhaul, thanks to legislation signed by President Obama over the summer. There will be a new safety standard and greater regulation of
chemicals used in everyday products such as bathroom cleaners and laundry detergents by the US EPA. These products can contain ingredients reported to have been linked to some serious health issues. Do your own regulating by choosing to use products in your home that don’t contain toxic chemicals.
Check labels and websites for ingredients, and, in general, avoid buying products containing the following: phthalates (found in many fragranced products, including toilet paper); triclosan (most liquid dishwashing detergents and hand soaps labeled “antibacterial”); 2-butoxyethanol (window, kitchen and multipurpose cleaners); and chlorine (scouring powders, toilet bowl cleaners, mildew removers, and laundry whiteners).
Believe it or not, most homes can be cleaned with just a few non-toxic ingredients, such as vinegar, baking soda, a vacuum with HEPA filter, and microfiber cloths and mops.
Purge your pantry
One of the best ways to make your home healthier is by taking a good look at the foods in your kitchen. Start by ridding your pantry of ultra-processed foods (formulations that include substances such as flavorings, emulsifiers, and other additives), which make up more than half of all calories consumed in the U.S. diet, and contribute nearly 90% of all added sugar intake, according to recent research. Added sugar intake increases the risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health conditions. Next, work toward replacing plastic containers – especially those that contain bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates (both are known hormone disruptors ) with glass, and never microwave food in plastic containers. Finally, toss old, scratched, or cracked containers, because they may leach chemicals into food and beverages.
Control house dust
Not only can house dust aggravate allergies, it may contain hazardous chemicals, including lead, fire retardants, pesticides, and other chemicals, even if these chemicals have not been used for decades in your home. Vacuum at least two times each week, especially wherever you have wall-to-wall carpeting. Also, make sure your vacuum has strong suction and a HEPA filter so that dust and dirt don’t escape the bag. Use a wet mop on uncarpeted floors and wipe down furniture with a wet or microfiber cloth.