Home, sweet, home. It’s where you relax after a long day at work, laugh with good friends and family, cook, eat, and sleep. It’s where you rejuvenate and recharge. However, is it healthy? Maybe not. Unfortunately, many of us are living in environments that may not the healthiest. While there are hundreds of steps you can take to create a healthier home, we’ve narrowed the list down to five small changes you can start making today.
1. Leave your shoes at the door.
This may be one of the simplest tips and makes a lot of impact. Removing your shoes, and asking guests to do the same, when inside, is a great way to leave pollutants outside and cut down on the amount of dirt and allergens. Just think about all the kinds of toxins (oil, gasoline, pesticides, cleaning chemicals, dirt and more) that your shoes come in contact with each day. Leave those pollutants outside! As an added bonus, you will notice that your floors stay cleaner longer too. Tip: Set a chair or bench and some sort of shoe storage (basket, shelf, etc.) by your front or garage door for storage. Remember, it takes at least 3 weeks to form a new habit, but before you know it, taking off your shoes before going inside will be a normal part of your routine.
2. Use natural cleaning products.
Care for the environment, and your health, while you clean. Unfortunately, many of the cleaning products we’ve grown up with and use on a daily basis contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which, when inhaled or touched, can harm you and your family. So what do you use instead? Luckily, there are a wide variety of natural cleaning products available on the market today; here’s a list of 12 common cleaners to get you started. Believe it or not, you can also make your own natural household cleaners with simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, borax, salt, lemon, etc. Try out some of the DIY recipes listed here. Once you try cleaning with non-toxic cleaners you’ll find it hard to believe you ever used harsh chemicals. Not only do they work just as well, they smell better, don’t make you dizzy and don’t pose a health risk.
3. Add plants.
Not only do live plants look good, but they also release oxygen through photosynthesis and can help filter the air. Some great plants to start with would be spider plants, Boston ferns, rubber plants, and palm trees. Remember that some plants are toxic to animals, so if Fido is prone to tasting everything within reach, be sure to take appropriate precautions.
4. Open the windows.
Living in the San Francisco Bay Area we are lucky to have some pretty perfect weather. Whenever possible, take advantage of the nice weather and let the fresh, oxygen-rich, air in! Create a cross-breeze by opening a door or window in one part of the house and then another door or window in another part of the house. A properly ventilated home will help release humidity that may build up, condense and cause bacteria, dust mites and mold.
5. Encourage healthy eating.
One of the best ways to encourage healthy eating is to make it easy. So, keep a bowl of fresh, seasonal fruit on the counter and ready-to-eat cut vegetables in your fridge. Remember to choose brightly colored fruits and vegetables since these offer a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. While you can find great produce at most grocery stores, we love visiting our local Farmer’s Markets for fresh, seasonal, and local produce (Orinda: Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.; Moraga: Sundays, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.).
Do you have healthy home tips to share? Join the conversation in the comments section below!