A little over a year ago, I started a Facebook group called The Healthy Home Project. You can join the group here. After starting my own journey with creating a healthier home, I wanted to create a community for others to come to where we could all learn about ways to make our homes a healthier place. Since then, I am constantly asked about ways to make your home healthier. This can be an overwhelming thing for some, but it doesn’t have to be!
My biggest piece of advice is: Don’t focus on how unhealthy your home may seem, focus on one thing that you can do better right now. Our homes may not be perfectly healthy and that’s okay. We may not be able to improve our homes all at once, but we can always strive to do something better and make progress!
There are honestly hundreds of things we can do to create a healthier home, but I like to focus on these 5 things.
- Avoid Harsh Chemical Cleaners
Shortly after little Chet was born, I started to become interested in the products I was on him because I wanted to make sure that what I was putting on his little body wasn’t going to harm him. When I started researching the ingredients in personal care products, I was honestly shocked and how many toxic chemicals are in the products that we use everyday! It was at this point that I decided I wanted to do better and only use healthy products on my family. Then I started looking at chemical cleaners and I was just as shocked at what I found! According to the Environmental Working Group, only 7% of cleaning products on the market adequately disclose their ingredients, and even then labels can be very misleading. In one of their studies, they discovered that the majority of household cleaners contain cancer causing carcinogens and hormone disruptors, and that 53% of cleaners can induce asthma, cause respiratory problems, and even create chemical burns on the skin. In addition to this, there are thousnads of ingredients in cleaners that the FDA has not tested for safety. I don’t know about you, but that’s more than enough reasons for me to want to find a healthier option for cleaning my house! This article is a great resource for understanding the effects of toxic cleaning chemicals better and knowing which ones to avoid.
2. Make Your Own Natural Cleaners
When Chet was only 2 months old, I began making my own all-purpose cleaner and I haven’t looked back since! Having a little baby in the house, the last thing I wanted was for him to be ingesting potentially harmful chemicals that could have negative effects on his health. After doing some research, I discovered that making your own cleaner is so easy and can actually save you money! There are lots of ways to make your own cleaners by using ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils. Personally, I make all our household cleaners from Thieves Cleaner concentrate and I’m obsessed with it! I love this concentrate because it is 100% plant-based and all natural- so it does not contain any harmful chemicals and additives. In addition to this, it’s made with essential oils that do a really great job at eliminating all the yuckiness that can come through your home! And the best part? We literally use this cleaner on everything in our house from glass to counters to bathrooms to tile. It’s actually been almost 2 years since we’ve used any other type of cleaner. I don’t know about you, but I’m all about simplifying my life, so this is a huge plus. We use it for everything and it only costs about $1.57 a bottle too which I love! You can get a bottle of Thieves Cleaner for Young Living for $28 or for $22 if you have a membership. One bottle of concentrate makes (14) 30 oz bottles or (28) 15 oz bottles of cleaner. Yep, you’ll have non-toxic cleaner for days with this baby!! I use this glass spray bottle to mix up my all-purpose cleaner in. You can purchase Thieves Cleaner here.
3. Detoxify Your Laundry Room
This may be surprising to some, but the cleaning products we use in our laundry are full of harmful chemicals and even contribute to indoor pollution in our homes. I don’t know about you, but when I think about pollution- I think of the outdoors, big cities, and industrial waste. The first thing that comes to mind is definitely not my living room. However, we spend a very large portion of our time indoors so we absolutely want our homes to have healthy air, right!? The typical American home contains 3-10 gallons of toxic materials and much of this come from laundry products. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the typical home is 2-5 times more polluted than the air right in our backyards. Yikes! That’s concerning to me. So how do detergents play a roll in this? The average family washes 60-80 pounds of laundry per week, which uses a lot of detergent, fabric softener, stain remover, and dryer sheets. And each of these products contains various ingredients that aren’t so good for our health and can contribute to that indoor pollution. For example ingredients such as: sodium lauryl sulfate, 1,4-dioxane, phosphates, formaldehyde, and fragrance can all be found in laundry products. And each of these chemicals are linked to respiratory issues, cancer, infertility, and other health problems! The Journal of Oleo Science actually published an article that states that a laundry detergent concentration of only 2 ppm can cause fish to absorb double the amount of chemicals they would normally absorb. I can only imagine what that means for our family members when we use these products on the clothes that we wear everyday! So what can we do? Well there are lots of healthy alternatives to laundry products out there!
-read the ingredients on your laundry products’ labels and avoid the ingredients listed above. I personally use Thieves Laundry Soap for our whole family and love it! Like the cleaner, it is 100% plant-based and I highly recommend it. You can purchase it here.
-Many wonder if fabric softener is really even necessary. This is more of a personal choice but if you’d like to use it, give vinegar a try instead! 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar in a load of laundry will soften clothes just as well, but without all the added chemicals!
-Ditch the dryer sheets. This is one of the most toxic items people have in their homes and they’re honestly not even necessary! Instead, use wool dryer balls with essential oils to make your clothes smell nice! We love using these dryer balls (3 for small loads, 6 for large loads) and we add 5-6 drops of essential oils to each ball. They actually cut down on drying time and last several months so they’re even more cost effective than dryer sheets!
4. Replace Candles & Air Fresheners with Essential Oils
Another big item that we avoid in our home is candles and air fresheners. I know, I know- they smell absolutely heavenly and give your home that warm inviting feel. But once you know what’s in them, they’re a little less desirable. When I decided to stop using these products I definitely thought I’d miss them, but I don’t! It turns out that the fragrance found in all the nice smelling things like candles and air fresheners is considered the new secondhand smoke. Yikes! Unfortunately, fragrances can disrupt your endocrine system and add cancer causing chemicals to the air in our homes and to our bodies. Candles and air fresheners also contribute to indoor air pollution because they put off chemicals that have been found to be just as dangerous as the chemicals that are actually in secondhand smoke from cigarettes. We’re talking cance causing carcinogens, hormone disruptors, etc. Pretty much all the things we wouln’t want our babies to breathe in! We definitely don’t want that, right? Some alternatives to candles & air fresheners to help create a healthy home are:
-Soy candles! You’d still want to check the ingredients label on these but soy and beeswax candles that don’t contain any toxic chemicals are a great alternative.
-Diffusing Essential Oils! This is my favorite alternative to candles. When I said I thought I would miss candles but I don’t… it’s because of this alternative! There are dozens of health benefits to diffusing essential oils, especially if you’re using an ultrasonic diffuser- and they give your home that amazing scent without all the health rirks.
Benefits of using a diffuser:
-An ultrasonic diffuser emits negative ions throughout the air, which actually helps reduce indoor air pollution!
-Diffusing essential oils has tons of health benefits too and they smell great. For one, diffusing pure essential oils will give your home that wonderful smell without all the toxins! In addition to this, every essential oil had different therapeutic benefits and diffusing them will allow you to experience those health benefits!! We like to diffuse purification to clean and purify the air, lavender and lemon for a nice and inviting smell, orange and grapefruit for an uplifting and invigorating scent, and much more! You can read more about some of my favorite oils and diffusers here.
5. Use Himalayan Salt Lamps
Another great way that you can create a healthier home is with Himalayan salt lamps. I absolutely love these things! First, they are great because they are calming and create a dim light- they make perfect night lights for babies’ rooms! But the really great thing about them is how they can benefit our homes. Himalayan salt lamps help clean and purify the air in your home, help reduce allergies, improve mood, and naturally generate negative ions. You can read more about their benefits here. I love these Himalayan salt lamps- they are perfect for every room in the house!
What are some of your favorite ways to create a healthy home? What are some things you’d like to start doing to make your home healthier?