Before you get overwhelmed thinking about all of the plastics and fragrances that you’re going to have to get rid of and replace, remember that starting small is still a start! Pick one or two things, and go from there! Or replace items as you finish them with a cleaner version. Here are 10 simple ways that I’m making my home less toxic this year.
1. Swapping Out Cleaning Products
Too many cleaning products on the shelves are filled with harsh chemicals that can have very adverse health effects (especially if used over a long period of time). Switching to all-natural products will not only keep your house clean, but it’ll also keep it free of unwanted toxins. I’m focusing on replacing the cleaners I use most, like laundry detergent, dish soap, toilet cleaner, and multipurpose spray. Pro-tip: Warm water mixed with white vinegar and essential oil makes a great, safe all-purpose cleaner.
2. Saying So Long to Candles
Most store-bought candles and artificial air fresheners have ingredients that are a no-go. Instead of burning or spraying these toxic chemicals all over my house, I’m making homemade candles with beeswax and coconut oil, putting simmer pots on the stove, and diffusing essential oils. My house smells better than ever, and the air we’re breathing is much cleaner.
3. Ditching Toxic Beauty and Personal Care Products
It’s probably no surprise that many makeup, hair, and other personal care products are replete with toxins. Fortunately, there are so many amazing alternatives nowadays. Check out companies like Beautycounter, Innersense, and ILIA if you, too, are looking to revamp your hair and makeup routine with natural products. If you’re not ready to do a complete overhaul all at once, slowly replace things as they run out.
4. Choosing Glass over Plastic
Plastic containers may be cheap, but they’re not as durable or as safe as glass containers. In order to avoid all those toxic chemicals that are released when plastic is heated (yes, even in the dishwasher), I’m storing food in glass. If you’re not looking to drop a fortune on loads of containers, try Mason jars! And while you’re getting rid of your plastic Tupperware, consider tossing cups, water bottles, and other plasticware crowding your cabinets.
5. Breaking Up with the Microwave
Microwaves are convenient, but they have too many things going against them to keep them around. Not only do they kill the nutrients in your food, but they also cause toxins in containers and packages to leech into the meal you’re about to enjoy. As a busy mom, I’ll be the first to admit that I do still warm the occasional cup of coffee in the microwave. For the most part, though, I’m choosing to heat my family’s food on the stovetop or in the oven. It takes a little longer, but it’s well worth it.
6. Cooking in Cast Iron
Cast iron, stainless steel, and glass are the safest cookware materials, so it’s farewell to nonstick pots and pans that are loaded with toxins like Teflon, aluminum, and lead. Choosing to cook in non-toxic cookware ensures that chemicals aren’t getting into your food or being released into the air. I love to cook, and my cast iron skillet is my go-to. It’s easy to use, easy to clean, and makes all of our food taste spectacular.
7. Filtering Our Water
Unfortunately, your tap water is not as clean as you think. Contaminants from pipelines, chemicals from the disinfection process, and even estrogen from birth control end up in the water flowing from your faucets. For this reason, it’s smart to get a water filter – whether it’s a pitcher like this or a full system like this. We need water to survive and thrive, so it’s worth it to make sure you’re drinking pure goodness!
8. Buying the Dirty Dozen Organic
Have you ever heard of the “dirty dozen”? According to the Environmental Working Group, some produce is more likely to contain pesticides than others. There are 12 fruits and veggies on the “dirty” list (including strawberries, apples, and spinach). If you can afford it, you should opt for organic when shopping for these 12. I’m choosing organic tomatoes and pears, but not worrying so much about whether or not my avocados are organic.
9. Decorating with Plants
Did you know that plants aren’t just a means of beautifying and livening up your home? They also do lots of behind-the-scenes work, even filtering the air you breathe! Some great options are English ivy, spider plants, and pothos. They’ll clear the air of pollutants like benzene and formaldehyde. I’m filling my home with these potted wonders, and I absolutely love it. Go ahead, you can become a plant lady too.
10. Keeping Phones out of Sight and on Airplane Mode
Cell phones emit electromagnetic radiation, and exposure to this can lead to many health problems like depression and infertility. No, thank you! Instead of keeping my phone on me at all times, I’m leaving it at a designated spot on my desk and limiting my overall use of it. At night, I switch it to airplane mode (which cuts almost all of that unwanted electromagnetic radiation). Detaching from my phone is better for my health and my family’s health and is also allowing me to be a more present person. A huge win-win!
Non-toxic is the new trend, and we love it! Choose the more natural path this year, and your well-being is bound to improve drastically. If you need to start slow, start slow! Pick one way to make your home healthier each month and go from there. Enjoy the process, get creative, and inspire others to do the same.
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