Organize & Clean

Detox in a Day: Easy, Quick Tips for Every Room in Your Home

updated Jul 17, 2020
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(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

A detox doesn’t need to be the stressful, grouchy experience you’ve heard about. Do just one thing in each room of your home to significantly reduce your exposure to chemicals by tonight! Read on for the quick, easy plan.

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Kitchen — It’s really, really time to address your food storage containers. Flip over any plastic to find the small recycling number printed on the bottom. If you see a 3 or a 7, that’s an indication that that container contains BPA or phthalates — nasty little chemicals that could leach into your leftovers and mess with your hormones or even cause cancer. Even if you find the safer numbers — 2,4 or 5 — avoid heating any plastic in the microwave or dishwasher to prevent it from breaking down. Ideal plan? Start making the switch to glass.

Bathroom — Those smelly bathroom cleaners really do the job, but if you get lightheaded while scrubbing the tub, it’s a sign that it’s time to make the switch to green cleaners. After all, who needs the strong stuff (especially in a small, enclosed space like a bath) when simple vinegar can get your space just as squeaky clean.

Bedroom — A shirt fresh from the cleaners isn’t quite as clean as it seems. Chemicals used in the dry cleaning process can stick around for a few days. If you don’t have access to a green cleaners (look for the term ‘wet cleaning’ to avoid those harmful solvents altogether) make sure to immediatetly remove the plastic — it just traps the solvent in — and let your clothes air out for a while before storing them in the enclosed space of your closet. Another closet no no? Moth balls. The insecticide that kills the moths is also not so great for your own respiratory system. Try cedar or lavender as a healthy alternative. Or seach and destroy moths with these handy tips.

Living room — Flame resistant furniture may sound safe but the chemicals used in upholstered furniture (thanks to 1975 California furniture flammability standard TB117, which has just recently been revoked) are associated with many health concerns including reduced fertility, birth defects and cancer. If your furniture contains polyurethane foam and says it meets California TB117, it is perhaps time to think about replacing it. As of January 2014, furniture makers are no longer universally required to inject their wares with these chemicals.

Office — Don’t look now, but the computer on which you’re reading these very words is really filthy. In 2008, British scientist James Francis was wondering just how dirty our electonic devices are, so he swabbed them. Then he swabbed a toilet seat. Guess which one was dirtier? That’s right: your keyboard. In fact, it’s five times germier. So spend a few minutes today cleaning your keyboard and mouse. We’ll even show you how.

See that wasn’t so hard. A few quick tasks and your home is already feeling fresher and, more importantly, less toxic.