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Our houses are supposed to be a safe place to call home at the end of the day, but the indoor environment can be more toxic than the outdoors if we are not careful. Household products contain many pollutants such as chemicals found in furniture, building materials, paint, carpets, upholstery, and cleaners, as well as emissions from gas appliances and heaters, create an unhealthy environment.
You can reduce toxins in the home by making a few simple changes.
- In the Caribbean, we have to deal with humidity, which can lead to mold on the walls, clothing, and soft furniture. It is vital to keep your home ventilated, use fans or the AC to circulate and dry the air and open windows during the day to air out the house. Make sure you carry out regular maintenance on the AC, clean the filters are essential to circulate clean air.
- Keep plants in your home; not only do they add decorative beauty, but plants remove toxins and improve the air quality in your home. Houseplants reduce common household emissions, including contaminants, such as formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, benzene, ammonia, xylene, and trichloroethylene.
- Dust mites thrive in heat and humidity; they live off dead skin and add to the air pollution of your home. To avoid allergies and respiratory issues, wash bedding once a week to kill microscopic dust mites. Replace or wash and dry your pillows a few times a year. Clean your house and furniture weekly with a HEPA filter vacuum.
- Use essential oil diffusers. Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties and can reduce airborne bacteria. Adding oils such as rosemary, clove, and eucalyptus to your homemade cleaners will help reduce dust mites in your home.
- Leave your shoes at the door, do not wear your shoes inside they are the perfect carrier for bacteria, feces, pesticides, pollen, chemicals and any other toxins you walk through each day.
- Ditch the commercial cleaners. There are many homemade options to consider, search the web for options using vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and essential oils.
- Proper ventilation for gas stoves, the flame creates nitrogen oxide emissions. When building or renovating your home, make sure your oven is ventilating the air outside, install a fan and a window in the kitchen for proper ventilation.
- Buy a carbon monoxide detector – CO is an odorless and colorless gas which is produced by heaters or appliances that burn gas, oil, wood, or propane and it can potentially have fatal effects if not detected. Make sure proper maintenance is carried out on all appliances.
- Pesticides – Exterminators spray poison in our home powerful enough to kill cockroaches. Most people are barefoot in the house, children and pets play on the floors, and we are absorbing and breathing in these long-lasting poisons.
Check out some safe, non-toxic ways to rid your home of pests.
To rid your home of ants spray with a mixture of citrus oil, cayenne pepper and water.
Cockroaches hate essential oils, try peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree oils to ward off roaches.
Orange Guard Home Pest Control is made from citrus peel extract, and kills and repels ants, roaches, fleas, silverfish, and many other insects. It is an organic product and is safe for use around food, people, and pets. According to their website, a recent study states Orange Guard reduced cockroach populations better than Dursban, the toxic ingredient in Raid.
- Avoid chemical spray, and plug-in air fresheners, instead fill your home with natural scents, add fragrance to your home with essential oils, beeswax or soy candles or simmer cinnamon on the stove.