5 Ways to Improve the Health of Your Home
Having a healthy home doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, the foundation for a healthy home consists mostly of the free activities we should be doing on a regular basis in order to maintain a clean, healthy environment. Buying fancy organic bed sheets and non-toxic furniture will only get you so far if you’re not thinking about these 5 things. There’s a laundry list of items we can be purchasing to upgrade our fortress, but I’m here to remind you that a healing environment starts with you — not your wallet…for the most part.
Invest in a High Quality Water Filter
This is by far the most important thing you can do for your health today. It’s also the only item on this list that isn’t free. Far too often people tell me that they drink their tap water because it tastes good — so it must be clean. This is absolutely not the case. Our tap water is loaded with contaminants. Not to mention, we don’t know what the city pipes are made out of. Did you know there are still lead pipes installed throughout the United States that haven’t been replaced with new pipes yet? This is a huge health hazard and studies have shown that there are no safe levels of lead. Among potentially having lead in your water, some of the contaminants that are commonly found in water are bacteria, fluoride, chloroform, chlorine, pesticides, radium, pharmaceuticals like birth control, and other chemicals and solvents that have found their way into our water stream. Think about it, you are drinking this every single day. These contaminants build up over time and have a compounding effect. We know chemicals can disrupt our endocrine system and we might see things like thyroid issues.
My recommendation would be to test your water to see what contaminants are specific to your water. The water quality varies from house to house so you can’t rely on your neighbor to tell you how the water is. You can go to My Tap Score to order a test that will come to your house and walk you through how to test your own water. Once you send the test back you will get a detailed outline of hundreds of different chemicals that could be in your water. Knowing what’s in your water will help you understand which filter you want to buy. Not all filters are created equal and you want to make sure the filter you buy is actually filtering out what you need it to.
If you can only buy one thing to a healthier home, a quality water filter would be my recommendation!
Make a No Shoe Rule
A no shoe rule is so simple, yet so effective. The outside world is laden with chemicals these days, from pesticides, to motor oil, to bacteria and other biologicals that get stuck to our shoes. When we wear those same shoes into our homes we welcome these contaminants into our space. The danger really comes in when we have rugs and carpet. These surfaces can trap contaminants and hold on to them for dear life. In fact, you have to run your vacuum cleaner over a carpeted surface 10+ times in order to make a dent in what's trapped at the bottom. This can be especially harmful to children who might be crawling around on floors and then putting their hands directly into their mouths. A no shoe rule can really help eliminate what’s being tracked in from the outside.
Open your Windows Often
Homes these days are tighter and tighter making it really hard for them to breathe. Studies have shown that our indoor air is actually more polluted than outdoor air, even in a dense city! One way to combat this is by opening our windows. Opening your windows and letting fresh air in is one simple way to exchange the air in our homes and allow for better indoor air quality. Ventilation is such an important factor in a home. Passive ventilation is one of the best strategies to exchange the air in the home and works best when you have two windows in a line on opposite sides of the home. This allows air to push through one window and out the other. Another easy way to get a quick fresh air is to open all of the windows in the house and then close them — this is helpful when the weather isn’t too great. The best way to do this is to start in one room and work your way room by room until all windows are open. Once all of the windows are open you go back to the first room and start closing all of the windows. This trick will give your home a quick breath of fresh air!
Wash Your Bedsheets Once a Week
Believe it or not, we’re not the only living things in our beds… Microscopic bugs like dust mites thrive in our warm, cozy sheets! They love warm environments and feed off our dead skin cells. It’s important to turn our bed sheets down in the morning to allow the sheets to cool down and create an undesirable environment for such bugs. By making our beds as soon as we wake up we’re actually creating a more desirable environment for these little critters! Try shaking your comforter when you get out of bed in the morning to air it out and open the windows to let the sun shine on the sheets. Give your sheets a good clean once a week to make sure you’re sanitizing and preventing any bedtime intruders.
Manage Your Dust
It should be no surprise that regularly cleaning your home is the most important free thing you can do to improve your home’s health. Regular vacuuming and dusting are essential to managing dust. Have you ever wondered what dust is? It’s a bunch of tiny particles that clump together and are composed of things such as pet dander, dead skin cells and hair, pesticide (start that no shoe policy!) chemicals like SVOCs from building materials, mold, textile fibers, soil, pollen, and dust mites. That is essentially what is accumulating all over our house as time passes. Regular cleaning will keep these at bay so you’re not breathing these nasty pollutants in. You can use any tools you have to vacuum and dust, but if you want to invest in some tools that will get the job done right you will want to get yourself a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner as suggested in this article. HEPA filters actually clean the air while we vacuum, instead of allowing small particulates to recirculate in the air. We also love using microfiber cleaning cloths to dust because they capture all of the toxins. It should be regular practice to vacuum and dust your home making sure that at least once a month you’re getting to some of those hard to reach places. If this seems overwhelming, make sure to focus on your bedroom. This is where our bodies repair each night so it is considered the most important room in the home in terms of needing to be healthy.
Doing these simple things regularly will greatly improve the health of your home, which means YOUR health. There are a million things we can purchase to slowly upgrade our homes, but it’s important to remember that we don’t have to spend a lot of money to upgrade our space! When you are ready to upgrade or you want to look at some of the other ways to start building your healing sanctuary we can set up a 1x1 strategy call to determine the best place to start!
This piece was written and contributed by:
Ashley, the founder of Awakening Spaces, supports environmentally susceptible and health-conscious individuals in creating safe, healthy, and beautiful environments. As a licensed Interior Designer, she combines her expertise of the construction industry with her knowledge of health and wellbeing to support and empower you along your own journey in creating a healing environment. Ashley is currently pursuing a triple certification in Building Biology and will soon be certified to assess your home for mold, electro-magnetic radiation, and other harmful environmental toxins. Awakening Spaces offers both Full Service Interior Design as well as Environmental Health Coaching services for those looking to improve the health of their home. Ashley finds inspiration in her work through nature and is most grounded when spending time outdoors and exploring new places.