There are plenty of easy ways to improve the environmental health of your home, but many of them are easily forgotten. Some of these you might know (like avoiding chemicals and paints with VOCs), but did you know that using mats on both sides of doors can eliminate up to 80% of the dirt that gets tracked inside? Read about this and more tips below:
While I won't repeat all 72 hassle-free steps here (see ThisOldHouse for the entire list), I will point out a few of my favorites. Here are my 7 favorite tips from 72 Hassle-Free Steps to a Healthier Home.
- Air out dry cleaning. Take off plastic bags before you come inside so that any residual perchloroethylene, a common dry-cleaning solvent and suspected carcinogen, can evaporate. If your dry cleaning has a strong chemical odor when you pick it up, give it back and ask that it be properly dried. Or Google "organic dry cleaning" to find a perc-free service near you.
- Change fridge filters before their expiration date. If your refrigerator comes with a water dispenser, change the filter every six months, before sediment buildup starts to overwhelm it.
- Opt for a copper sink or counter. The metal is naturally antimicrobial.
- Invest in machine-washable curtains. Keeping them dust- and allergen-free will be that much easier.
- Swap out vinyl shower curtains for washable nylon or polyester ones. Vinyl can contain phthalates, which may be hazardous to reproductive health.
- Install linoleum, cork, tile, wood, or stone in place of carpets and vinyl flooring. Unlike vinyl, these natural materials contain no phthalates, and linoleum inhibits bacterial growth. All collect less dust than carpeting does.
- Nip fleas naturally. Launder your pet's bedding regularly in hot water. Take it to a commercial laundry if your machine can't handle the bulk.
- Avoid placing office equipment in the bedroom; copiers and printers can generate lung irritants.