When I work with families on a one on one basis, we start with non-toxic house ideas that they can really achieve. There are a few different approaches to removing toxins from a home and with most families, it’s easiest to plan out small tasks within each room to tackle.
I’ve even found this is the most effective way to do things in my own house. As we’ve either updated rooms or every now and then when I do an organizational overhaul, I go through the room I’m working on and do what I like to call a room detox.
Non toxic house ideas don’t have to be complex and they certainly don’t have to cost a small fortunate to implement. When I create a plan with one of the families I’m working with, we look at what works for their family and how they can sustain this change or purchase any product swaps. It’s very similar to the blog post I did here about not being able to change everything in your home.
This is the exact process and plan I’m excited to share with you this week in order to help you get some non toxic house ideas of your own to plan out a room detox or get you started on the right foot.
I’m also sharing with you my Room by Room Detox Workbook that will walk you through each room of your home with a detailed plan for removing toxins and creating a healthier space for you and your family.
Remember though, as you go through these non toxic house ideas, that you don’t have to change everything at once, nor does EVERY change work for every family. Simply focus on the areas you’re willing to change now, make a plan for what you’re willing to change in the future and leave the rest. Creating a stress around detoxing your house and feeling overwhelmed by non toxic house ideas will leave you in a worse place than you started.
NON TOXIC HOUSE IDEAS TO START WITH
There are two ways I choose a starting point with each of my non toxic house ideas. Basically, it boils down to two main questions. (1) What room do you spend the most time in; and (2) What toxins are you coming into contact with the most.
These two questions give me a lot of insight into the most effective area to change and which non toxic house ideas are going to be the most impactful for a particular family. This is how I would recommend any family start if they’re attempting a home detox on their own.
Oftentimes the easiest non toxic house ideas to start with are actually habit changes. And while these can be the most difficult to get going on, they really create the best momentum to move forward. When you’re constantly thinking about a particular healthy house choice, you’ll begin to notice other areas where changes wouldn’t be so difficult. It acts like a snowball as you get going and add on more changes.
If you’re going to try out some of these non toxic house ideas for yourself, these blog posts are going to be the most helpful in getting you started:
- Create the Perfect Humidity Levels
- Complete Kitchen Detox Workbook
- Create a Sleep Sanctuary
- Bathroom Detox Ideas
The idea behind these non toxic house ideas is this:
- Address the climate of the room through humidity levels, dust and air flow
- Remove toxic products and toxic materials
- Replace toxic products and materials with natural elements
While these non toxic house ideas may seem vague, as we go through each of them more thoroughly and break them down, it becomes a small list of to-dos that you can easily accomplish in each room of your home.
THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF THESE TOXINS
As we go through each of these non toxic house ideas, I also want to share with you the facts about WHY each of these areas are so important to change in your own home. I’m a firm believer in understanding WHY you do something so that the change will stick for the long term. This is why the education piece of my work is so incredibly important. You MUST understand the health effects of these different toxins in order to have a big picture view of why you’re making the changes you are.
High Humidity: Homes with high humidity have the tendency to not only grow mold at faster rates, but there are other problems that come into play when it comes to our health as well. For starters, we know that any home with mold is a home that can affect our bodies on a variety of levels (mentally and physically).
The first issue with homes that have high humidity levels (over 40%) is that they have been studied and have been linked to high levels of off gassing formaldehyde from indoor materials. We know that formaldehyde is a carcinogen and very toxic to our bodies and health.
The same study showed that the increase in relative humidity indoors creates an abundance of allergens and pathogens that affect our bodies.
Other studies have linked high humidity levels in homes to a general feeling of being unwell and feeling sluggish. This could be from allergens irritating the airways and causing the body fatigue or from an increase in dust mite population (which I’ll talk about next), but some researchers also think it’s just the increase in humidity that irritates the airways.
Dust & Dust Mites: Another thing to look at in rooms is how much dust and how many items produce fine amounts of dust. Upholstery, carpet, rugs, drapes and pillows all hold dust and house dust mites within them and can create a feeling of irritation due to allergic response. Dust Mites thrive and reproduce in humid environments (anything higher than 40%), and while you may be able to kill them, you must completely remove them from your home in order to prevent allergic health effects.
Dust can also be created by these items and their foam, leaving airborne particles of formaldehyde, PVC and PFOAs in the air and on other surfaces. Which are all contributors to body burden, endocrine disruption and potential increase in cancer.
Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is in SO many of our home products and materials. Any items made with adhesives or particle board or plywood have the potential for off-gassing formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is also in foams that are in upholstered furniture and mattresses.
Formaldehyde not only increases the risk for asthma and allergies, but it is also a known carcinogen to humans. It never stops off gassing once indoors, and when concentrated in high levels can even cause short term reactions such as allergy-like symptoms.
Plastic Toxins: Plastics contain so many different types of toxins including phthalates, polyvinyl chloride and other plasticizers. We know that many of these toxins cause hormone disruption, as well as abnormal reproductive development and neurological toxicity in kids and adults.
Pretty much any plastic in a space, whether it’s your kitchen containers or your kids toys is concerning on some level.
Chemical Cleaners: This post I did on natural cleaning products really breaks down the big ingredients that cause health problems. Essentially between the added products you’re looking at risks of liver problems, thyroid issues, diabetes, cancer, hormone production and immunological problems. That list is enough for me to ditch chemical cleaners and opt for something more plant based and something that is natural.
While not all cleaning products have every chemical, it’s important to note that even the ones that look green and healthy may not always be free of every chemical, fragrance or additive. This is called greenwashing and this is why it’s particularly important to do your research beforehand.
Furniture: And there’s the furniture we choose. Furniture can contain many of the chemicals listed above including PFOAs and PFCs that are linked to liver toxicity and cancer, and Formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen and has been linked to long term hormonal effects, in both foam and wood. There’s also the risk of flame retardants which has been linked to neurological development issues and is a known hormone disruptor.
THE ROOM BY ROOM DETOX WORKBOOK
HOW TO GO THROUGH EACH INDIVIDUAL ROOM ON YOUR OWN
You can do an individual room detox on your own without the work book, and this is the simplest way to go about these non toxic house ideas.
Grab paper or your phone and start by doing a visual of the room you’re in. Look around, starting in one corner and jot down each item you’ll be able to change. If you’re in a kitchen or bathroom, that means opening up the cabinets too.
Start your list as just that, a list. Once you’ve gone through the room and your list is complete, you can easily start organizing it into groups. I like to start with the easiest things to change.
Oftentimes at the top of the list are habit changes like dusting, vacuuming or lowering the humidity.
Next comes small items that I can either remove or replace. Getting rid of candles and fragrances is another small change you’ll likely not notice right away.
Make your list of small items and then move on to things that may involve some research or some budgeting on your part. Make a plan for each item in terms of how long you’ll need to research it and/or save up for the item. This may include furniture, textiles or other things that you’d like to replace.
Finally, add in those big items like flooring or very difficult, expensive projects. You might even choose to just forgo these parts of the detox — and that’s completely fine. Remember you can only change so much. If you did everything else on your list and left a few items that are too big to change, you are still moving in the right direction.