Spring is in full bloom and it’s time for the age-old ritual of Spring Cleaning. Instead of simply “cleaning,” detoxify your living spaces starting with these five easy DIY steps.
- INDOOR AIR QUALITY
Indoor air has become at least five to ten times more polluted than outdoor air.
- Open doors and windows and give your home a good airing out!
- Get some air and sunlight on those rugs, bed coverings, curtains, stuffed toys, pillows, and any items that trap moisture and become magnets for allergy-causing dust mites.
- Air exchange is essential for a healthy home. The best way to prevent mold or mildew growth is to have adequate ventilation. Indoor air has become at least five to ten times more polluted than outdoor air to the detriment of health. Exhaust fans are not adequate to dispel pollution generated by chemicals, such as formaldehyde, arsenic and other really toxic chemicals, introduced into homes through furnishings, clothing, cleaning products and cosmetics.
- To improve indoor air quality check humidity levels and clean A/C condensors, humidifiers and dehumidifiers.
- Duct Cleaning for indoor air quality should be on your maintenance schedule. Mold and bacteria can proliferate in ducts where moisture has infiltrated. Basic steps in duct cleaning would be to examine and seal joints for leaks; find moisture infiltration and remedy; clean registers and filters; empty drain pans; scrub ducts to loosen contaminants; and apply biocide to discourage bacteria growth.
- BEDROOM AS YOUR SANCTUARY
The average body loses about a pint of vapor into the bed every night.
The bedroom is our sanctuary for recovery and nurturance. During the night we shed metabolic waste, detox and regenerate. Unimpeded, this process promotes better immunity and vigor so that we can better handle pollutants during the day. Transforming the bedroom into a healthy, environmentally clean retreat is one of the most important steps to improve our overall wellbeing.
We spend about one-third of our lives in direct contact with the materials on our beds. It’s important to have conditions favorable for the elimination of mold and dust mites, meaning our bedding needs to efficiently wick and dry. Strip beds, wash all bedding and mattress pads, give your bare mattress a day of airing.
Replace synthetic materials in your bedding with natural fabrics such as organic cotton sheeting. Natural surfaces don’t attract as much dust. Organic fabrics undyed, or dyed with natural pigments are free of volatile organic compounds, or VOC’s.
- NON-TOXIC CLEANING PRODUCTS
A typical American home contains about three to ten gallons of toxic materials in the form of cleaning products.
Spring clean your home the non-toxic way! At the top of your “spring cleaning list” include a BOLD note to eliminate all toxic materials in the form of household cleaning products and replace with non-toxic. The very items you use to clean your house are primary sources of toxins and indoor air pollution.
Many ingredients are not listed on labels. Of particular concern are chemicals known or suspected to be carcinogenic. Unfortunately, “green” and “natural” do not automatically equate to safety. When chemicals in common household products hit our skin and lungs, they go directly into our bloodstream bypassing the body’s natural defense system.
Some ingredients in common household cleaners, detergents and even “green” cleaners create a toxic indoor environment. Some, but not all of these products are: Glycol ethers, Phosphates, Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), Phthalates, Petroleum solvents, Formaldehyde, Chlorine, Ethanolamines, Sodium lauryl sulfate.
For additional hazardous chemicals found in common household products: purezing.com/living/toxins/living_toxins_dangerousingredients.html
- BODY AND BEAUTY PRODUCTS
Our skin absorbs 60 percent of any topical product we use and more than 10,000 ingredients are FDA-approved for use in our personal care items.
Chemicals and toxins are widely used in common personal care products such as makeup, deodorant, mouthwash, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner that contain ingredients that are hazardous to our health. I switched all of my personal care products when I became aware of how these toxic ingredients were endocrine disruptors, or may lead to cancer, autoimmune diseases and other illnesses.
Take time to examine the everyday products you use to determine if they contain harmful chemicals that can adversely impact health. Parabens (endocrine disrupters) are added to many cosmetic products to keep bacteria and mold from growing on packaging. These can lead to hormone-related cancers in adults and early onset of puberty in girls. Read labels carefully and choose products with all-natural ingredients. Research and find toxin-free products to replace those of yours that contain chemicals.
- OUR GARDENS
Truly sustainable gardening considers nature’s balance of the whole eco-system and supporting life rather than killing an enemy.
Eliminate gardening poisons and create gardens that sustain without chemical fertilizers that are derived from petroleum. They are known to burn microorganisms and require up to ten times more water to prevent burning of plants. The first lesson on gardening without chemicals is not to believe people telling you that you cannot garden without chemicals. Resources for methods of organic, non-toxic approaches to gardening: motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/biodynamic-gardening-zmaz80jfzraw;
Janaki Welch Design Build has been building in L.A. for 30 years. She is available for consultation to guide you through solutions addressing your personal challenges and needs. janakiwelch.com; (310) 455-4323
By Janaki Welch