Few things are sweeter than that first breath of spring air coming in the window after a long, cold winter. It just makes you want to start cleaning everything!
Spring cleaning washes away months of dirt, dust and grease, freshens the air, and gets rid of clutter. And, if done with some happy music in the background, it can be fun!
But you can do more than just clean your home this spring. With a little planning, you can detoxify and cleanse your home and make it a healthier living space than it’s ever been before.
I’ve written before about the host of harmful chemicals in household cleansers, as well as a few alternatives.
Now I’d like to offer you a more comprehensive list of tips on cleaning and detoxifying your home this spring. Even if you do half of these things, you’ll be breathing easier in the coming months.
Here’s how you can purge your home of cancer-causing, life-stealing toxins…
8 things you can do now
1. Keep houseplants in every room.
Living with green plants increases the oxygen level in your home. During photosynthesis, plants absorb the carbon dioxide we breathe out, and release oxygen.
At night, photosynthesis stops and most plants give off carbon dioxide. A few, including orchids, succulents and bromeliads, continue absorbing CO2 and releasing oxygen at night.
Also, see this NASA-approved list of plants you should keep throughout your home and especially in your bedroom to improve the air quality in your home while you sleep.
Note: Many beautiful plants are poisonous to dogs and cats, and to curious babies and young children. Check with your pediatrician or your veterinarian before selecting houseplants that your children or furry friends might want to taste.
2. Take shoes off at the door.
Keeping dirt, soil and dust out of your home is important for more than cosmetic reasons. Most of the dirt, lead and toxins in your home come in on your shoes. So it’s a good idea to leave your shoes at the door and put on house slippers to avoid tracking it inside.
Simple trick: instead of placing your doormat horizontally across the doorstep, place it vertically. More dirt will be scraped off that way.
3. Freshen the air without chemicals.
Using synthetic air sprays and other fresheners is hazardous to your health. These products contain carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, respiratory irritants and other toxins.
Instead, put a box of baking soda in an inconspicuous place in your kitchen and bathroom, buy some fresh flowers, and open a window. Homemade sprays that include distilled water and essential oils are lovely and non-toxic.
I’ve been using a combination of distilled water, pure vanilla extract and sweet orange essential oil to sweeten the air in my kitchen.
Quick tip: Keep your orange or lemon peels and place them in about half a cup of water in small sauce pan. Throw in a couple of cloves and simmer on your stove top on low. Makes the whole house smell great!
4. Switch to pure beeswax candles.
Paraffin candles release benzene and toluene, both known carcinogens. As for soy candles, they are still processed with small amounts of paraffin, and most contain artificial fragrances.
Beeswax candles, on the other hand, burn clean, with no black petroleum-based soot. They give off a warm honey smell that’s wonderful.
5. Stop cleaning with poison.
You’d be surprised at how a few inexpensive items you probably have at home can substitute for toxic cleaning products.
For example, a paste made from baking soda, castile soap and a few drops of the essential oil of your choice can clean sinks, counters, tiles and toilets beautifully (a final wash with water removes any baking soda residue).
A little research online or at your bookstore will reveal many aromatic housecleaning formulas that are safe and easy to make. Why not infuse your home with lavender, sweet orange or peppermint, instead of eau de formaldehyde?
6. Use essential oils for cleaning.
Commercial antibacterial products contain triclosan and formaldehyde, which lead to thyroid disruption and inflammation. Oregano oil soap or tea tree oil are great alternatives.
Clove oil is a sweet-smelling, non-chemical way to ditch the bleach and still get rid of mold and mildew.
7. Filter your water.
There’s a lot we can do proactively to keep toxins out of our homes. One step that’s easy is to purchase and install filters for drinking water taps and shower heads.
EWG’s Tap Water Database can help you identify potential toxins in your community’s drinking water.
In my small town water, it identified seven contaminants above health guideline levels, including arsenic, cadmium and cancer-causing PFOA. Sure glad I’ve got a water filter on my tap!
But why a shower filter? Because many contaminants in tap water become gases at room temperature. A shower filter can help keep these toxins out of your air.
8. Filter your air.
Vacuum regularly. Those dust bunnies are natural magnets for chemicals. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, and an allergen-capturing dust bag.
Placing a free-standing HEPA air purifier unit in your living room and bedroom will dramatically reduce the dust and airborne toxins you breathe. Be sure to get one large enough for the room and make note of when filters need changing.
Remember to change the filter regularly in the return air vent of your home’s HVAC system.
Little known tip: Did you know you can also filter the air in your home as it blows through your registers? You can find small filters in at most home stores that are easy to cut to size. And, they are easy to slip into your floor or ceiling registers. This way the air in your home is filtered as it is pulled into the return air vent, as well as when it blows back out through the registers.
Editor’s note: Have you heard of EDTA chelation therapy for removing heavy metals and toxins? Check out Dr. Michael Cutler’s guide, Chelation: Natural Miracle For Protecting Your Heart and Enhancing Your Health. Click here for a preview…
- EWGs Tap Water Database — Environmental Working Group
- 5 Benefits of Houseplants — Bayer Advanced
- The Benefits for You of Burning Pure Beeswax Honey Candles — Honey Candles