We are committed to helping you have a healthy, clean home and believe that green cleaning is the key to achieving that goal. By reaching out to experts from some of the top eco-friendly sites and asking for their advice, we collected the best tips to help you detoxify your home. These include specific recommendations about what types of plants to purchase to help filter your indoor air, unconventional shampoo choices, reminders to take your shoes off indoors, and suggestions for making your own natural cleaning supplies.
Indoor plants improve air quality
Plants not only spruce up a room’s decor, but they can also improve the air quality inside your home. Sonalie Figuerias said, “As a homeowner, one of your best resources for ridding your home of harmful toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide are plants such as the Bamboo Palm, the Philodendron, and the Rubber Plant.” This tip was also recommended by Melandria Romero, who said, “For a toxin-free home, find a good air-supplying plant and place it inside your home; it cleans indoor air and adds beautiful green scenery to your house.”
One of the quickest and most effective changes you can make to impact the cleanliness of your home is to stop bringing the outside in with you. Drop your shoes off at the door and leave the toxins outside. This advice is recommended by Anjali Shah, who said, “Don’t wear shoes in the house, since most household dirt, pesticides, and lead come in on your shoes. Go barefoot or wear slippers inside.” Derek Markham agreed, saying, “One of the ways in which we reduce toxin and pollutant exposure in our home is by removing our shoes at the door so that outside materials aren’t tracked into our home.”
Make your own eco-friendly cleaning supplies
It’s super-easy to roll your own by DIY’ing your green cleaners. Natural cleansers you already have in your pantry go a long way to scrubbing your surfaces and leaving your home free of toxins. Our experts recommend using vinegar instead of bleach, baking soda to scrub tiles, and hydrogen peroxide to attack stains. Becky Striepe said, “My number one way to get chemicals out of the house is to make my own cleaning supplies. We have a ton of DIY cleaning recipes that use all natural ingredients to get you started! They’re effective, affordable, and safer than store-bought cleaners.” Courtney Cordaro urged homeowners to make their own green cleaning products, saying, “Simple ingredients go a long way; white vinegar is a great replacement for harsh bleach. It’s great to know exactly what you are using to clean your home and what better way than creating the product yourself.” Tamara (Gemma) Douge and Amanda Hern also advocated switching to non-toxic cleaning products, noting how easy it is to make them yourself.
Shop smart, buy green cleaners
The most common piece of advice from our experts was to start making smarter, greener purchasing decisions. If you don’t go the DIY route of making your own eco-friendly cleaning products, you can support brands that offer a green cleaning solution right off the shelf.
Rona Fried cautioned that big consumer brands are not looking out for your best interests. “Mainstream products usually have nasty ingredients, so the best approach is to buy from green companies with strong reputations,” she said. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the switch to green, Lindsay Gallimore had some practical advice: “Start small with what already needs to be replaced at home. For example, when it’s time to buy a new bottle of shampoo, figure out how you can make the best choice. (I advocate for solid shampoo bars!) Every time you find something new on your shopping list, spend a bit of extra time making sure the item —no matter how big or small—respects your goals for a toxin-free home.”
This room by room approach was echoed by Dawn Gifford: “Exchange all your conventional chemical cleaners one room at a time to make it manageable (kitchen, bathroom, laundry, etc.). You can often find one or two non-toxic products that will do the work of several different conventional products, which will save you money and shopping time, too.” Laura Agar Wilson also recommended swapping conventional cleaners for eco-friendly ones.
Stay away from antiseptic or antibacterial products
Germs are not our #1 enemy… creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria with the over-proliferation of antibacterial products is! Diane MacEachern brought this to our attention, saying, “My number one tip would be to stop worrying about germs so much. Our obsession with germs has driven us to use all kinds of ‘antiseptic’ cleansers that, instead of making us healthier, may actually be weakening our ability to fight germs. Skip commercial cleansers that say they are antiseptic or antibacterial. Look for ingredients like ‘triclosan’ on the list, which is an antibacterial agent, and don’t buy them if that’s what the product contains. You can clean up pretty much everything in your house with hot soapy water and a sponge.”
Green your bedroom
We spend a third of our life sleeping, so it’s important to make sure that the room you’re catching your ZZZ’s in is as detoxified as much as possible. This important point was brought to us by Andrea Bertoli, who offered suggestions such as, “To rid your bedroom of environmental toxins and harmful VOCs, choose a natural mattress, ensure paint is low-VOC, and choose natural furniture that doesn’t off-gas into the future. Remove all scented candles, scented plug-ins, and sprays that are adding chemicals into the air. Finally, adding houseplants to reduce indoor pollution is really key— not only does the greenery enhance your space, it helps to purify the air naturally.”
Don’t introduce toxins into your home
Another easy first step to take is to commit to not bringing in any toxins into your home, willingly. That means starting to think about the ingredients of products you’re using, from cleaning supplies to pest control. As David Guion put it, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Don’t introduce toxins into your home in the first place.”
One area that you might not realize is bringing toxins into your home is during the battle against insects. Greg Seaman brought this up, saying, “Many pest control products are more harmful than the pests. The simplest, most effective, safest and least expensive solution is diatomaceous earth (DE). DE is broad spectrum, so all household insects issues (even bedbugs) can be easily controlled.”
And don’t forget about the potential hazards of chemicals in your furniture or building materials. Anna Hackman raised this issue, saying, “Furniture, closet systems, and cabinetry can be made of particleboard which could emit formaldehyde. Inquire from the store or company if the product was made with glues that contain a low emitting or no added formaldehyde product.”
Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to creating a healthy and clean home that is safe for you, your family, and your pets. Thank you to all our experts for weighing in with suggestions. Have a specific tip that you recommend for people trying to detox their home? Let us know in the comments!