8 Dangerous Ways Your Home Probably Isn’t ‘Greenproofed’

What family doesn’t childproof? Shortly after you get a positive pregnancy test, you start to notice all there is to do—electrical outlets to cover, cleaning product and medicine cabinets to lock, and potentially sharp materials like scissors to stash far from little, curious fingers. It’s a must. Unfortunately, for most families, this is where the process begins and ends. This is not safe as it misses out entirely on the many environmental hazards to safeguard against. Think of this process as greenproofing.

Turns out that environmental toxins have a disproportionately large effect on babies and kids; children’s developing bodies are much more vulnerable to the damage they can inflict.

Some greenproofing comes easily. It’s pretty simple to banish synthetic pesticides and to replace chemical cleaning products with non-toxic alternatives. Done and done. The real trick lies in tackling less obvious dangers like these:

  • Wipe surfaces. Dust is the final resting place for many of the toxins in our home’s environment. Remove as much as you can with a damp cloth not a duster—these just spread the dust around instead of trapping it. If the cloth contains a plant based cleaning product, all the better. Then keep up with future dust accumulations.
  • Get rid of your non-stick cookware. Its coatings can emit perfluorochemicals, another class of endocrine disruptors. Use cast iron, stainless steel, or enamel coated cast iron instead.
  • Perfluorochemicals are also found in stain-resistant fabric treatments. Get some tight-weave slipcovers for any furniture that’s received them. If buying new, don’t ask for stainguarding treatment.
  • Banish chlorine. The chlorine in dishwasher detergent, laundry bleach, and treated tap water is easily volatized into inhalable vapors when heated. Use a drinking water filter, a bath/shower filter, and chlorine-free products to keep it out of young lungs and bodies.
  • Test your tap water and filter accordingly.
  • Make a clean sweep of your bathroom cabinet. Unless you have an all-natural personal care routine, the conventional products you’re using are filled with unhealthy chemical ingredients.
  • Get in the habit of “cleaning your indoor air by opening windows for at least 10 minutes a day even in the winter. The EPA says that indoor air can be 3 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air, even in an urban environment.
  • Remove the foam pads under your area rugs. They’re a key source of toxic flame retardants that can interfere with the endocrine system. Replace them with natural latex no-skid versions.

Are there ways you have greenproofed your home to protect you and your children?

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60 comments

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson2 years ago

China doesn't make green for the USA.

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen2 years ago

Thank you :)

Natasha Salgado
natasha salgado2 years ago

I avoid all carpeting+only have a couple lil rugs...and no cleaning products are used in the house just lemons-vinegar+baking soda. Thanks

Holly W.
Holly Windle2 years ago

Open your windows for ten minutes a day, even in winter? Oh, really? Old houses like ours have enough ways for cold air to get in -- and Minneapolis is just now emerging from a particularly cold winter. This particular suggestion should depend on the climate, the air-tightness of your house, and perhaps whether you just installed some off-gassing vinyl flooring.

Beth Wilkerson
Beth Wilkerson2 years ago

Now I'm feeling fatalistic.

Fi T.
Fi T.2 years ago

For both our house and our homeland

Christie C.
Christie C.2 years ago

These are all great home detox tips. The best part about detoxing your home is that you end up buying a lot less junk by learning how to replace toxic products, like laundry detergent, with something you can make yourself for much less money. It's a win win, and once you master a few challenges, you'll look forward to the next.

Care2 is full of DIY recipes and there are lots of them elsewhere, too. Just be careful, as a lot of recipes call for toxic ingredients, like lip balm made out of petroleum jelly- totally defeats the purpose. If you're not familiar with an ingredient, Google the ingredient +toxic and favor the .gov or .edu website results when considering whether or not it's safe. I look at the whole picture- how the ingredient is made as well as how it will react with my body and the environment.

And don't forget to bring some plants into your home and office to help remove chemicals from the air- there's a list of the best indoor plants on Care2.

Kamia, have you tried hydrogen peroxide?

Clare M.
Clare M.2 years ago

All cleaning products in our home are chemical and cruelty free. I will make a note of the cookware though.

Roxana Saez
Roxana Saez2 years ago

TYFS