Detox Your Home for Spring

*Congratulations to Julie Stewart, winner of the Neom Organics Real Luxury Home Candle!*

The arrival of spring (and this week's warm weather on the East Coast) is an occasion to throw open the windows and let the fresh air and sunshine pour in. It's hard to imagine, but during the winter the air inside your home became even more toxic than outside air, even if you live in the big city.

What makes this air so dirty? Think fragrances, cooking fumes, detergents, and household cleaners- to start. So let the breeze sweep in and take a moment to consider the unnecessary exposures that you can eliminate from your home environment.

Here are eight easy ways that you can detox your home this spring, and all year-round:

  • Don't use non-stick pans. Non-stick pans that are coated with chemicals like Teflon release fumes when heated- which happens every time you cook! Choose a safer option for your cookware, like stainless steel, enameled cast iron or traditional cast iron.
  • Get informed about CFL lightbulbs. These bulbs may be marketed as the eco-friendly option, but inside they contain a significant dose of mercury that is toxic when released (if a bulb shatters). They are safe to use when the mercury is contained in the bulb, but in the event that a bulb break occurs, be very careful about exposure during cleanup!
  • Watch out for dry cleaning chemicals. Traditional dry cleaning uses perchloroethylene, better known as 'perc,' a toxic chemical that has been linked to esophageal cancer, lymphoma, cervical and bladder cancer. "Perc causes liver and kidney damage and is toxic to the nervous system even in low amounts. Repeated exposure can lead to headaches, loss of coordination, and cognitive problems," according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Perc was banned in California in 2007, and will be completely phased out across the state by 2023. But why not be an early adopter? Switch to an eco-friendly dry cleaner that does not use perc. If you must use traditional dry cleaning services, remove the plastic from around your clothes and let them air out outside for several hours before wearing.
  • Switch to natural household cleaners and detergents. All of those chemicals and fragrances being sprayed around your home add up. Check out natural cleaning options, and don't be afraid to whip up some homemade recipes for household cleaners with ingredients like white vinegar and baking soda.
  • Quit using antibacterial soaps with triclosan. Soap and hot water is no less effective than 'antibacterial' soaps with triclosan, which increase environmental risk of drug-resistant bacteria and may affect thyroid function. If it's not necessary, let's skip the antibacterial soap- and the associated risk.
  • Rethink home fragrance. We've become accustomed to scenting our home with fragrance, but many traditional home fragrances, like plug-in diffusers, candles and sprays, are loaded with chemicals like phthalates. Breathing them in on a regular basis is not healthy. Skip fragrance, or choose a natural version like Neom Organics candles- this week's giveaway!- or a plug-in essential oil diffuser like those by Aura Cacia.
  • Limit your exposure to EMFs. Cell phones, wi-fi, electric blankets, even most digital alarm clocks emit EMFs, or electromagnetic fields. Problem is, we don't really know what the effects of cumulative and large-scale exposure to EMFs will be. When you can, cut down on your exposure. Don't sleep with your cell phone near your head on a bedside table, and plug into a wired internet cable instead of relying on wi-fi, whenever you can.
  • Watch your plastics. Storing and heating foods in plastics can release chemicals like BPA, and taking home your leftovers in styrofoam can release the chemical ethylbenzene, especially if the foods are warm or oily. Limit these chemical exposures and help the environment by switching to glass storage containers at home.

A great guidebook to help you create a healthy home environment is The Everything Guide to a Healthy Home: All you need to protect yourself and your family from hidden household dangers, by Kimberly Button. If you get the book, keep an eye out for Beauty Is Wellness in the resources section!

To support your environmental detox, this week’s spring giveaway is a Real Luxury Home Candle from Neom Organics (a $60 value), courtesy of O & N Collective. The Real Luxury candle (shown above) is scented with a blend of natural lavender, jasmine and rosewood essences that release a warm, relaxing scent. You won't miss your old, toxic candles (toss them!); Neom Organics candles are beautiful.

Neom Organics candles are made with vegetable wax, paper and cotton wicks and pure essential oils that are safe to breathe and free of the toxic phthalates contained in traditional fragrances. They are clean-burning and won't release any soot into your environment.  Every drop of this candle will burn (you won't have any wax stuck to the sides) and it will last up to 55 hours. You couldn't find a more gorgeous, natural, and elegant candle for your healthy home.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling me one way you’re detoxing your home this spring by the end of the day (Midnight EST) next Monday, March 19th. The winner will be contacted Tuesday, March 20th. One entry per person.

A huge thanks to O&N Collective for all three natural product giveaways in the Spring Detox series! Check them out for amazing natural beauty brands like Tata Harper, Kahina Giving Beauty, La Bella Figura and Zoe Organics.