How To Make Your Home As Non-Toxic (And Healthy!) As Possible

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woman cleaning

In the northern hemisphere, it's summer! Time for a fresh start after the long, cold winter months.

And what better way to start than to learn how to live a non-toxic lifestyle?

First things first, since you've had your house all closed up, it's now time to air it out, let in some clean, fresh air, and brighten up your home and environment.

Open up the windows and doors and let the fresh air into your house. Replace the filters of your air-conditioning system.

Wash your windows. It can be an amazing way to make your home or office look clean and refreshing.

Bring in a beautiful plant to lift your spirits and help clean toxins out of the air.

Clean out your refrigerator and pantry.

Declutter closets, rooms, drawers, etc., and start redistributing or throwing out things that are old, broken, you haven’t used in a year or more, or don’t make you feel happy anymore.

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Living a non-toxic lifestyle starts with knowing what's in your home.

One thing to be aware of as you're doing your cleaning is that most cleaning care products today are a mixture of synthetic chemicals, including known allergens.

These products are based on age-old recipes that used to include natural ingredients.

But over the years, many cleaning products have changed and many of them now contain toxic, carcinogenic ingredients. These can cause health problems when you're exposed to them on a regular basis.

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, which governs the safety of cleaning and personal care products, does not require manufacturers to substantiate the safety of their products before selling them.

For example, some U.S. soaps, detergents, shampoos, and conditioners will often contain two chemical preservatives — methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone.

These chemicals have been banned in the European Union for use in personal care products on the grounds that they are sensitizing allergens.

The U.S. has no restrictions, even though your skin is repeatedly exposed to these substances when used.

Product labels can list "fragrance" as an ingredient, but it's also a generic term.

Fragrance allows a number of carcinogenic chemicals to be added to a product in order to make it smell good, without having to be listed.

These chemical mixtures often contain toxic individual ingredients that have been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and serious allergic reactions.

By using the term "fragrance" on the label, companies can avoid telling consumers the truth about what is actually in the product.

If one company sells its products in Europe and in the U.S., it can make a particular product with two different recipes and two separate labels, but they will look virtually identical.

In Europe, where the regulation of ingredients in products is much stricter, its container will have to state that it contains seven known allergens in its "fragrance."

In the U.S., a list of known toxins is not required. As is the case with all personal and household products, companies can use almost any mixture of chemicals they choose.

The U.S. federal law regulating the personal care and household products industry has one of the weakest regulatory programs in the world, and it remains almost unchanged since 1938.

Knowing the quality of the ingredients in your household cleaning products is extremely important.

So, buy environmentally safe, non-toxic home cleaners. The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit group, does independent analyses of products for their safety, non-toxicity, and effectiveness.

Another thing to be aware of is that since our pets and children are much lower to the ground, their faces and noses can pick up toxic chemicals much easier.

This can cause many health problems, including nerve damage and allergies since these toxins go directly into the bloodstream through the skin, without being filtered.

Household cleaners and body care items, such as soaps, detergents, household cleaners, toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioners should ideally be non-toxic and non-carcinogenic, in order to protect you, your family, pets, friend, and the environment.

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Have you ever read the ingredients and warnings on a bottle of cleaner?

The other day, I was at a friend’s home and she had just mopped her floor. I got an immediate headache and started feeling sick.

I asked her if I could look at the bottle of the cleaner she had used. The label on the bottle had a warning that stated if you breathe in the fumes of this product, you need to call the poison control immediately.

I told her that many of these cleaners are highly toxic and can cause more harm than good. She wanted to kill germs so she thought she was doing the right thing.

Her grandchild crawling on the floor and her little 16-year-old dog, whose face is always very close to the floor, would be much better off if she used non-toxic cleaners.

Non-toxic cleaning can give you a wonderful feeling, knowing that your family’s and pet’s health is protected, that your home is a place for everyone’s bodies to rest and regenerate in a clean, healthy environment.

Make your own cleaning products!

You also might want to consider going back to making your own cleaning products, using completely safe, non-toxic ingredients.

They are extremely easy to make and very inexpensive. Invite your children to help you with mixing recipes in the kitchen. Make it a science project!

Most of the ingredients are staples that you already have in your kitchen pantry. With a few simple mixtures, you can easily transform your house into a non-toxic, healthy home.

Here are 7 recipes for non-toxic household cleaner recipes so you can live a non-toxic lifestyle.

1. Basic cleaner for surfaces.

In a study conducted at Virginia Tech University on household cleaners that kill germs (including salmonella), the most effective cleaner was a combination of three percent hydrogen peroxide (like you purchase at the pharmacy) in conjunction with white vinegar.

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The hydrogen peroxide and vinegar were put into separate spray bottles. One was sprayed on a contaminated surface, immediately followed by the other.

Used in this way, the sprays were more effective at killing germs than any store-bought product. It didn’t matter which one was sprayed first, the vinegar or the peroxide.

Do not be tempted to combine the hydrogen peroxide and the vinegar in one bottle, because it results in peracetic acid, which is potentially harmful.

Use the 3 percent hydrogen peroxide from the pharmacy instead of food-grade hydrogen peroxide, which is much stronger and needs to be used with extreme caution.

2. Window cleaner.

Combine 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol (isopropyl), 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2 tsp. corn starch, and a 1/4 cup lemon juice in a spray bottle.

Shake well before using. Spray this mixture on glass or windows, and wipe with a micro-fiber cloth.

3. Scrub for counters, sinks, and stoves.

Combine 2 cups baking soda, 1⁄2 cup Castile soap, 4 teaspoons vegetable glycerin, and a few drops of essential oil (lavender, peppermint, or tea tree). Store in a sealed jar.

4. Drain opener.

Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into the drain, and then pour in 1/2 cup white vinegar. Let stand 30 minutes. Flush with boiling water.

5. Furniture polish.

Combine 1/4 cup olive oil with 1⁄2 cup white vinegar. Add 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Apply to furniture, and then wipe.

6. Toilet bowl cleaner.

Sprinkle the bowl of the toilet with baking soda and add in a little white vinegar. Wait 30 minutes. Then scrub. You can also add 1/4 cup borax.

7. Purchased cleaners.

I buy Thieves Household Cleaner and other Thieves cleaners made by Young Living Oils. It's my favorite manufactured cleaner to use on the floor and walls.

It's safe for septic systems, has no harsh chemical smell, and is effective for deep cleaning.

I also like non-toxic cleaner brands Myers, Seventh Generation, and Planet. I buy these non-toxic cleaners for dishwashers, laundry, dishes, and more.

Support your health and well-being with a non-toxic environment. 

Creating a healthy home and office environment that supports your health and well-being, as well as your family’s, can be extremely rewarding.

Don’t put it off another day. Put on some uplifting music and start it today!

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Nancy Addison is a certified health counselor, as well as a certified practitioner of psychosomatic therapy with the Australasian Institute of Body-Mind Analysis and Psychosomatic Therapy. She also holds a lifelong teaching certification in the state of Texas. Nancy has written award-winning books on health, nutrition, and cooking. You can reach her on her website, Organic Healthy Life.