We all know that you shouldn’t drink detergent, or attempt to ingest glass cleaner (or at least, we hope you do). But at the same time, we actually breathe in those same substances all day.
As you cover the surfaces of your home with chemical-based solutions in an effort to clean away dirt and grime, you essentially coat your home with compounds that will leech into your air supply and enter your body. Or at least that’s what “ecoholic” columnist Adria Vasil believes. The Now magazine writer says that “Volatile Organic Compounds” are to blame for this phenomenon, because they are present in many conventional household products. They are also toxic, and can cause headaches, dizziness and eye irritation. So here are the products to watch our for, and what you should replace them with:
Vasil reports that candles, despite their romantic glow, can actually release many of the same toxins as a car’s exhaust pipe (like formaldehyde–yikes!). This is because most of your candles are likely made from petroleum derived waxes. No need to extinguish that flame for good though, just replace your regular candles with ones made of beeswax. Problem solved!
Conventional cleaners, especially ones that are lemon-scented, fill your home with all kinds of unwanted VOCs. Making the switch to certified green cleaners is one easy way to get rid of them (the same applies to your laundry detergent, by the way). If you’re looking to do it on the cheap, however, bust out the old school staples: Baking soda and vinegar. Both are inexpensive, and highly effective.
Sometimes fixing up your home can actually make it worse without you even realizing it. Renovation materials, like compressed wood, for example, can emit VOCs at levels that are “off the charts” according to Vasil. This is because formaldehyde is present in the resins that help hold the planks together. To prevent these toxins from seeping into your lungs, make the switch to wood products that rank low in formaldehyde emissions. If you’re unsure how to find them, ask your supplier.
Flame retardants have been removed from many products over the years as studies started to find a link between them and various health conditions. But they haven’t been removed from your electronics. And when dust builds up on these products, they pick up some of those chemicals which you likely end up inhaling later on. Short of ditching all of your devices, it helps to dust, vacuum and sweep as much as possible.
For more tips on how to get the toxins out of your home, check out the video above.