Did you know that the quality of your home environment can have an effect on everything from your respiratory system to mental health? Check out this holistically-minded list for easy and effective ways to improve your household’s wellness from the inside out!
1. Bring in the fresh air! The easiest way to improve the indoor air is to let more of the outside air in. Keep windows and doors open as much as possible to allow good air flow around the house. The indoor air climate should feel as fresh and alive as the outdoor environment.
2. No shoes in the house. Removing your shoes will significantly reduce levels of dust, dirt, germs, pesticides, and many other unwanted things you’ve been walking around outside in. Place door mats at the entrances to wipe shoes and remove dirt and residue.
3. Invest in a good vacuum. Conventional vacuums without a quality HEPA filter will recirculate up to 80% of materials back into the air! HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters will filter particles down to 0.3um which traps the smallest of dust, mites, mould spores and dirt, preventing it from becoming airborne.
4. Switch it off at night! Electrical appliances should not be in the bedroom. Sleep is essential for our bodies to repair and regenerate and our bedrooms should be treated like a sanctuary. Turn off ALL bedroom electrical appliances at night – especially WIFI. Power boards, phones, bed lamps, baby monitors, need to be at least 1.5 meters away from your head, not under the bed, on the side table or under the pillow – and switched OFF at the wall. If your phone is your alarm, put it on flight mode and away from the bed so then you have to get up!
5. Read the labels. If you need a chemistry degree just to understand it, avoid it. The first third of ingredients (usually the top 5) listed make up over 95% of the product! If you wouldn’t eat it, why would you cover your body in it?
6. Reduce your chemical burden. Women put over 500+ chemical on their bodies every day, and it takes less than 25 seconds to be absorbed through the skin. Replace these products with organic and natural alternatives. Look beyond their ‘claims’ and ensure it has proper certification from legitimate organic bodies. Don’t be discouraged by pricing of organic products – your long term health depends on it. Remember health is a cheaper option than the cost of illness and disease.
7. Clean Green. Many commercial cleaning products contain toxic chemicals and with dangerous label warnings. How safe can a product labelled ‘POISON’, ‘CORROSIVE’ or ‘TOXIC’ be? Disinfectants, oven cleaners, drain cleaners, mould cleaners, window and floor polishes often contain a potent mix including solvents, bleach, ammonia and chlorine. Replace chemical cleaners with natural, non-toxic alternatives, many ingredients are common household products! Recommended brands that actually work include Abode and Ecover.
8. What’s that smell? Volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) are often released from things such as synthetic carpets and furnishings, commercial cleaning products, dry cleaning, polishes and waxes, paints, plastics, air fresheners, pesticides and aerosol sprays. VOCs can irritate skin, eyes, nose and throat, and cause dizziness, nausea and headaches when inhaled. Rely on your sense of smell to act on problem areas and remove the cause of the problem without masking odours with fragrances.
9. Filter your water! Our drinking water is purified or disinfected before flowing out our taps. Chlorine is universally used to chemically disinfect water and is added to your water to destroy germs, bacteria and living organisms. You are also a living organism, and your body is affected by chlorine internally as well as externally. Inhalation and skin absorption of chloroform and chlorine by-products are greatest in the shower, where these gases are vaporised. Chlorine is known to cause skin irritation, dermatitis, eczema, asthma or breathing difficulties. Only 4% of the world’s drinking water continues to be fluoridated, and 97% of western European countries banned it due to insufficient evidence to prove its safety, and is considered ‘mass medication’. Invest in quality water and shower filters. Reverse ozmosis systems will remove 99.9% of chemicals, including fluoride, bacteria, cysts and heavy metals from tap water.
10. Bring the outdoors inside! Indoor plants are amazing air filters and purifiers. They help maintain ideal humidity levels and add colour and life to any room! NASA actually tested a range of plants to determine their ability to remove certain pollutants from the air including common volatile organic compounds (VOCs) - benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. The results were impressive. Native Kentia Palm, Mother-In-Law tongue, Peace Lily, English Ivy and Bamboo Palms and are some of the best plants for absorbing these pollutants and suitable for indoors.
11. The power of sunshine. Sunny, hot days are perfect to air your mattresses, rugs and doonas out. Did you know that an average queen size bed contains over 2 BILLION dust mites, plus lots of other gross things…. and that favourite pillow you’ve slept on every night for 2 years – 10% of its weight is now dust mite poo and carcasses! Yuk. A whole day exposure to full UV sunlight will sterilize and kill dust mites. Airing doonas, rugs and pillows weekly will also kill bacteria and dry out any moisture.
12. Be proactive! Simple changes to daily habits and purchases can make a big impact on your long term health. Consult a qualified Building Biologist to come assess your home or workplace to ensure the long term health and safely of you and your family.
Find a Building Biologist: Australasian Society of Building Biologists (ASBB) www.asbb.org.au
Courses in Building Biology: Australian College of Environmental Studies (ACES) www.aces.edu.au