For most of us, undergoing a detox often involves drinking copious amounts of herbal juices or tea for a week or two, but not many of us apply the same practice to extracting the toxins lurking in and around our homes.
Recent studies show that many of our traditional household and personal care products could have negative health effects on our bodies given the chemical content that, up until now, has been largely misunderstood by consumers. In addition, environmental toxins have increased, given the state of the world around us. That being said, there is a huge degree of benefit to cleansing your home of toxic influences, some of which you may not even be aware of. So which potential toxins could be hiding in plain sight and what can you do to get rid of them? See our top tips below:
1. CLEAR THE AIR
One of the most important areas to target when detoxing any home is the air quality. Things like vacuuming or the constant going in and out of your home can unearth or bring in many airborne toxins without you even realising, particularly in winter when there’s more dust in the air and windows are closed to keep our homes warm. It may therefore be worthwhile investing in portable air purifiers or keeping house plants in every room as they act as natural air purifiers. It’s also advisable to opt for pure beeswax candles as opposed to normal candles or scented wall plug products as these could release harmful toxins such as phthalates and benzene when burning.
2. OPT FOR AN ECO-FRIENDLY MATTRESS
It may come as a surprise, but your mattress could be loaded with flame retardant chemicals which can have a negative effect on your endocrine system. Most mattresses that were manufactured before 2015 were sprayed with these chemicals so be sure to check with the supplier or manufacturer as to whether your mattress is certified to be chemical-free. It’s also worthwhile vacuuming your mattress on a weekly basis to get rid of any dust or toxins that may have found their way into your mattress during the week.
3. STORE THINGS SAFELY
It’s a scary fact, but some of your plastic-wrapped grocery products could contain traces of chemicals found in jet fuel. Furthermore, some plastic containers (especially cheap ones) can leach out a hormone-affecting chemical known as bisphenol-A or BPA, so avoid plastics marked with a BPA content of 7 and never place these in the microwave or dishwasher as BPA leaches out when heated. That said, the less plastic in your home, the better so rather store food items in glass jars or cardboard containers where possible.
4. CHECK YOUR SHOES AT THE DOOR
A simple way to prevent toxins such as pesticides and dust from entering your home is to leave your shoes at the door, or even better, make your home a shoe-free zone. Opt to go barefoot or purchase a pair of house slippers that can be worn indoors. Alternatively, buy a doormat and place it vertically at your front door so more of the dirt and toxins can be wiped away before entering your home.
5. BE CONSCIOUS WHEN CLEANING
Cleaning products are perhaps one of the greatest culprits when it comes to toxins and chemicals in your home as well as a strong contributor towards respiratory issues. It’s therefore strongly recommended that you look for greener, non-toxic alternatives when it comes to cleaning products. Everyday ingredients such as baking soda, water, lemon peel and white vinegar can be used as natural detergents and household cleaners and won’t damage your health or the environment. For example, vinegar can be used instead of bleach and baking soda can be used to remove mould from tiles or grouting. Furthermore, essential oils like tea tree or cinnamon can be used as healthier, natural disinfectants.
6. BE DETOX SAVVY WHEN SHOPPING
One final step in detoxing is simply reading and understanding the labels of the products you buy – from foods to face creams. When it comes to skin-care products, avoid anything that includes coal tar, formaldehyde, lead acetate, petroleum (including mineral oil), phenylenediamine, alpha hydroxy acids or silica. Rather, opt for chemical-free or organic alternatives or even have a go at making your own skin care products using natural ingredients such as beeswax, shea butter or nut oils. Food-wise, don’t purchase anything with artificial flavourants or colourants as these can add unnecessary toxins and chemicals into your body without you even realising.
While there are many more ways to prevent toxins and chemicals from unnecessarily entering our homes, successfully detoxing your home is more about being conscious than it is about being preventative, as we can’t truly stop our homes or our bodies from being exposed to the world around us. At the end of the day, educating yourself as much as possible about household toxins and chemicals will go a long way to ensuring that you aren’t exposing yourself or your family to anything harmful and that you put yourselves on the path towards a lifetime of health and well-being.