The Healthy Home Audit
Start the new year with a healthy home audit. Why? Because your home environment could be making you sick! And it has nothing to do with how clean your house is!
We are bombarded with chemicals every day wherever we go. We can’t escape them. But you’d think your home environment would be pretty safe…right? Wrong! The EPA says that the home environment is one of the most toxic. Why?
Let me list a few reasons:
· Dryer sheets
· Air fresheners
· Outgassing from furniture, cabinets, bedding, etc
· Cleaning products
· Building products
· Chemicals off gassing from oven, non organic food
· Toxins from outside like auto exhaust getting trapped in air tight homes
· Chemicals leaching into the house from heating sources
· Skin care products
· Pesticides, chemical fertilizers, etc. if kept indoors
· Electronic toxins like toners
· Dust particles brought into the house on shoes
· Biological toxins like mold, mildew, dust, etc.
The list is intimidating to say the least.
Here’s the bottom line, you can’t always control the environment outside your home, but you can control it inside your home. For family members who suffer with allergies, asthma, chronic colds and flu or chemical sensitivities it is vital for them to have a safe place they can trust that doesn’t exacerbate or cause reactions.
Taking a home audit can help determine subtle and not so subtle triggers to reactions and direct families where they can lower and minimize chemical and toxin exposure.
When I do a healthy home audit I always start in the laundry room. We think, that because its downstairs or by the back door, or away from heavy use rooms, it would be a safe place to store things like ant or wasp spray, left over paint, smelly glues or any number of items. You may never smell them, never think they could be giving off toxins, but they can and they do.
And it isn’t just the individual items leaking fumes, it’s the synergistic effect when these chemicals mix together. Even science doesn’t have a good idea of how a combination of toxin can affect us!
Here is a simple laundry room checklist:
- Any containers, whether empty or not that contain synthetic chemicals remove to an outside shed.
- Look at your laundry soap, is it scented? Replace with non scented.
- Use less soap than what is suggested.
- Double rinse clothing for the skin sensitive individual.
- Use washing soda and/or borax instead of powder or liquid detergent.
- Non chemical detergents though less toxic, may contain dirt eating enzymes that could cause dermatitis. Be vigilant for outbreaks.
- Do you use dryer sheets? Or fabric softener? To remove static cling, throw a ball made of aluminum foil into the dryer with wet clothes; it attracts the electricity. Instead of fabric softener, add ¼ cup of vinegar to your washer. It acts as a natural softening agent and helps remove soap residue.
- Regularly clean lint catchers and vacuum areas behind or under lint catchers.
- Periodically treat your washing machine, especially high efficiency models with 1 capful of non-bleach product in a low rinse cycle. Wipe down the inside and outside of washers with a diluted solution of this product or a non toxic spray cleaner that removes mold and mildew.
- Check drains, lint hose outlets and under washing machines for leaks and potential breeding grounds for mold. Hire someone in if you are unable to do this.
- If your laundry room tends to get humid, get a dehumidifier and set it up.
- Is the location of the laundry room near a garage or area where exhaust could get in? If so, you might consider adding an air purifier to that room. You might also consider checking for air flow from windows, this could draw exhaust into the room.
- Is there a furnace, wood stove or boiler near the laundry room? Make sure filters are changed regularly. Conduct a candle test with the wood stove to check for air leaks (hold a candle to seams in the piping to determine if there is air flow).
Your home is your castle, make sure it’s a healthy one! Want more information on creating a healthy home? Send your questions to VitaCare Natural Health Clinic.