The 10 Easiest Ways to Reduce Toxins in Your Home

1. Open your windows (even in the winter, even if you live in Michigan).
Due to more energy-efficient construction, newer homes allow little air in or out except through the windows and doors.  The EPA warns that indoor air pollution is now often a bigger problem than outdoor air pollution.  Opening your window, even for just a few minutes, can drastically improves indoor air quality.  You might want to focus on opening windows after cleaning and in rooms where your kids spend lots of time (for example, children's bedrooms before bedtime).

2. Take off your shoes at the door.
Does your child spend a lot of time on the floor, maybe even licking the floor?  Mine does. Taking off your shoes keeps a lot of man-made toxins out of your house, off your floor, off of little kids' hands and out of kids' mouths.

3.  Avoid flame retardants in sleepwear.
Choose snug-fitting 100% cotton pajamas for children (and you) instead of pajamas made of synthetic fabrics (such as polyester), which are treated with flame retardants.

4. Use iodized salt.
I like kosher salt and sea salt too, but I make sure I sometimes cook with iodized salt.  Iodine buffers against chemicals such as perchlorate that can disrupt your thyroid system.

5.  Keep strong fumes out of your house.
When you bring home an item with strong fumes (dry cleaning, new car seat, new particle board furniture, new mattress), let it air out outside or in your garage before you bring it inside. Those fumes are chemicals, and they are not good for you.

6.  Wash hands often, but don't use soaps with triclosan.
Most antibacterial soaps contain triclosan, which is potentially toxic and probably contributes to the creation of super-bacteria.  Regular soap and water are just as effective at killing bacteria and microbes anyway.  If you really want antibacterial (in the kitchen after handling raw meat, for example), try a natural alternative, such as Cleanwell soaps.

7. Use plastic wisely.
Consider plastic alternatives, especially for food storage and preparation and for teethers and other infant toys.  Basically, you are trying to eat less plastic.  When you use plastic, use #1, 2, 4, 5 if you can.  Don't microwave plastic and replace plastic food containers that look worn.

8. Switch to greener cleaners.
When I started thinking about greener cleaning products, I noticed that the instructions on my household cleaner spray stated that I should rinse with water any surface that would come in contact with food after use.  I used this cleaner all the time in the kitchen and had never rinsed the counter after. In addition, my teething baby often sucked/licked our wood floor and I was pretty sure my floor cleaner wasn't safe to be ingested.  Most cleaners don't even list their ingredients.  I decided to switch to greener cleaners.  Method and Seventh Generation are two popular and easy-to-find brands for green cleaning products. Other benefits of greener cleaners:
-- no toxic residue
-- no toxic fumes
-- your kids can clean with you
-- no gloves necessary

9. Dust and vacuum (with a HEPA filter) often where your kids hang out.
Because dust contains chemicals in it that you don't want them to ingest or inhale.  (Regular household products "shed" chemicals over time and it ends up in your household dust.)  This one actually isn't that easy  for me, but I do try to focus on my kids' play area and bedrooms.  If you are a better house cleaner than I am, you probably already do this one.

10. Use fewer personal products.
Maybe you love your shampoo and don't want to change it, no matter what's in it.  One easy and cheap way to reduce your exposure to potentially harmful chemical ingredients in personal products is simply to use less of them.  Use less lotion, wear less make-up, wear less perfume.  This is especially true for children, who are more sensitive to hormone disruptors and other chemicals.  To reduce their exposure, just bathe your kids less often, use less shampoo and soap, slather them in less lotion, use less diaper cream, and cover up with clothes instead of using sunscreen.

Here are some other lists of ways to green your homes.  Warning: Some of these lists are very long and not very easy.

What are your easy tips for a healthy home? 


  1. I hear you about the super bacteria. I learned that a long time ago in my microbiology class that all the antimicrobial soaps were NOT a good thing.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog...I love getting new visitors. :)

  2. Wow! I have never thought of some of those before!! Thanks for the ideas & the reminders:)

  3. Good tips--I like the "use less"...that's the easiest one for every area of life!

  4. Definitely checking some of these out as I hadn't heard of them. We have been trying to do a lot more with eco-friendliness.

    Thanks for sharing! have a great day!

  5. This is a fabulous post! I was so glad to see we're already doing a lot of what you mentioned here!!! Thanks for the list!

  6. About plastic. As long as folks throw things into a dumpster, there's not real incentive to change their habits. In Provo, UT, it's cheaper to dump in the landfill than it is to recycle.

  7. Most of these tips I already do, but hadn't thought of the salt or pajamas - Great points!

  8. I love it! I am making most of these changes already. I actually never wear makeup, don't like petroleum products in most of the lotions either so I stopped using those and then stopped using shampoo and started the whole 'no poo' method with baking soda and vinegar. My 25 year case of dandruff has finally found a solution!

  9. People would ask 15 years ago "when will we have an antibacterial cleanser" Shaklee's response "Never - it will create stronger strains of bacteria" - They were right. We have been using Shaklee's "Get Clean" line for YEARS!!! Not only does it work VERY well, but saves $$ (concentrated), and has been great for our septic system. This short video explains why - PLUS you can get them at wholesale!

  10. ** Add plants that naturally purify indoor air quality. Here is one list I found online:

    I've used Norwex, a line of high quality, antibacterial microfiber, for over a year and just signed on as a consultant because I LOVE them so much. I am able to clean my house with only WATER, no product at all. Even green cleaners leave behind a residue that attracts more dirt and dust. And I love the Norwex body cloths with NO soap.

  11. Great tips!Making your home healthier and greener doesn't need to be extravagant, or overwhelming.Only a couple changes can improve the health of you're home,everybody in it - and the planet it sits on.Thank you so much.

  12. Great tips! It's hard to keep up with all of them, but we can all make a difference & do the best we can!
    As someone else said, I also purify the air with plants & also (de)humidifiers with essential oils that purify & balance the toxin overload. I'm also a big fan of Norwex, making cleaning super safe & easy with no cleaners, just water, thanks to microsilver in their cloths. They're amazing, leaving no streaks & most importantly no bacteria like lots of green & toxic stuff does!


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