A clean home is more than just sparkling countertops and well-vacuumed floors, it’s fresh-smelling and chemical-free too. Here are some easy ways to detox your home from Simply Green Parties by Danny Seo (HarperCollins Publishers, 2006).
1. Instead of using a synthetic air freshener to get rid of a smell, open a window or use an exhaust fan instead. Aerosol air fresheners emit volatile organic compounds, which can irritate your eyes and lead to headaches.
2. If your refrigerator has a drip pan, clean it out every month. The moisture in the pan can breed mold and other bacteria.
3. Use non-toxic cleaning supplies. Eco-friendly, all-purpose cleaners can now easily be found at major discount retailers and supermarket chains. The effectiveness has been improved and the prices have come down. To make cleaning even more appealing, add a few drops of essential oil to the bottle. While you clean, you’ll fill the room with a fresh, natural scent.
4. If you have central air conditioning, wipe down the vents where the air comes out. The dust that collects on the vents could recirculate when the air flows out.
5. Lose the vinyl shower curtain. Most shower curtains (including all liners) are polyvinyl chloride/PVC-based, which release chemical odors and gases into your house almost the second they are taken out of their packaging. They can continue to release these gases for years. A simple solution is to take a cue from hotel chains: Go nylon. These simple, white nylon shower curtains do not need a liner and are easy to clean–just unhook and throw into the washing machine. Good as new!
6. Ditch plastic plants for the real thing. In addition to being unsightly, silk plants are nothing more than dust catchers. A few houseplants–like ivy and even cacti–will help naturally filter the air in your home by absorbing bad gases and by giving back oxygen.
7. Microwave sponges. After washing the dishes, toss the wet sponge into the microwave and nuke it on high for about a minute. This will radiate all the bacteria away and make sure it’s germ-free for the next time you use it.