Ten Simple Upgrades for a Healthier Home
Updated on July 3, 2021 by Elizabeth Shields
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Upgrading your home can seem intimidating no matter who you are. Every upgrade needs to be planned, evaluated and the smallest mistake can lead to overwhelm and disappointment.
If you also want to make those upgrades have health benefits, it can be even more daunting.
How do you make your home better and healthier at the same time? Where do you even start? What do you focus on? There may be a million things you can do but starting with these ten will make you feel much better!
Ten Simple Upgrades for a Healthier Home
We often reuse towels at least once or twice before washing them. While the logic of “but you are clean when you use them” seems to make sense, wet or damp towels can still grow bacteria. Remember we are sloughing off dead skin when toweling off, so you run the risk of bacteria growing here too. In addition to cleaning bath towels, clean hand towels from the kitchen and bathroom more frequently as well. These towels are often used, but our hands aren’t always as clean as they can be. Wash them to prevent a build-up of bacteria.
Cleaners can be toxic and they are also sometimes unnecessary. Lemon juice, vodka, vinegar, and alcohol have all been cited as great cleaners. Lemon juice contains acid but is also sugary, so it is often used with hot water or vinegar as an odor eliminator. Vinegar and vodka are similar cleaners, but vodka has a less pungent odor. If you are sensitive to a vinegary smell, you may consider vodka as an alternative.
Cleaning is not just for inside the house. Plants and trees help to purify the outside air. By planting near your home, you are contributing to the clean air inside your home.
Plants also have an additional benefit. Planting and growing your own food, can cut down on your grocery bill and make your food supply healthier as you know what pesticides are being used and can plant organic crops.
Purify Inside Air
In addition to plants keeping bad air out, you need to pay close attention to the air inside your home. Installing a whole-house air purifier or even using a small air purifier in the home can provide excellent quality improvement for the air in your home. Minimizing toxic chemicals does help, but purifying the air is simple to do. Dehumidifiers in the basement can stop mold and mildew growth, which also improves air quality.
Purify Your Water
Most municipalities have excellent water treatment facilities, but some water still has heavy metals and minerals in it. This often creates hard water. If you are concerned about your water supply, getting a water purifier can solve this problem. Many of these companies will allow users to finance their system and include a drinking waterspout.
Clean Your Chimney
Residue stuck inside your chimney can be toxic or burn if too much gets trapped inside. Having a chimney sweep come to your house can minimize these risks. Even if you do not use the chimney, you may want to clean it anyway. Dust and debris can get trapped inside, and this creates a higher risk for fumes or mold to grow. Leaves and plant material that is left wet can grow mold. Many types of mold are toxic and harm your health. You can also consider hiring a chimney sweep to make sure that your chimney is free of mold and mildew.
Many brands of paint contain toxic chemicals. Using a non-toxic paint will reduce the risk of exposure, especially for young children. If your home was built before 1978, it is a good idea to have the toxic, lead-based paint removed before repainting. Not all homes have lead paint, as most of it has been removed at this point, but you should remove it if it is present. Even typical toxic house paint is better than lead-based paints, but replacing the lead paint with VOC free paint is the best choice you can make.
Get a New Mattress
Mattresses get full of skin cells that flake off your skin. Dust, dander, and other airborne particles can be found inside your mattress. If you have had your mattress for a long time, consider a new one. If you cannot get a new one, a mattress cover, frequent vacuuming, and cleaning it will help. Flame retardant material on some mattresses can also be toxic. This Old House recommends getting a bed without flame retardant material and using wool instead. Whatever you choose, pay attention to any poisonous chemicals when purchasing your mattress.
Change Your Vacuum
At the very least, you should be using a HEPA filter on your vacuum. If you are already doing that but want a significant upgrade, consider a whole house vacuum. It cuts down on debris, air, and noise pollution in homes.
Skip Chemical Air Fresheners
If your air is clean, air fresheners aren’t needed. However, sometimes you may like to have another smell in your home. Make your own potpourri, use essential oils, and cook dinner when you feel the air is pungent as chemical air fresheners have toxic chemicals in them. Removing them from your home will have a positive effect on your health.
There are many things that you can do to make your home healthier. Start with a few steps that you can take today to see if it helps to make you feel more comfortable in your home. Make the changes that are practical and save the impractical ones for later. Do not skip out on your health and take the necessary steps to minimize toxins in your home as you never know what damage they could be doing.
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