Tag Archives | Ecoholic Home

Tips To Improve Household Carpet Health

A shocking quote from a great new book I’ve been reading called Ecoholic Home really jolted me into shifting my cleaning agenda with my home’s carpet. “One researcher said you’d have to vacuum 25 times a week for several weeks to bring the level of contaminants below safety standards”. Yikes!  There’s a shocking statement for anyone that hasn’t started to pay close attention to the health of their carpet. What do I mean by carpet health? Maintaining a regular routine of proper carpet care and here are 3 great tips, mentioned in Super Natural Home, if you’re looking for natural and effective ways to start:

1) If you must buy a new carpet, choose one made of wool.  It’s naturally flame retardant, nontoxic, and non-allergenic, and it deters bacterial growth.

2) Vacuum with a well-sealed, high-quality high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum cleaner.

3) A good doormat will stop a lot of toxins right at the door. Or, take your shoes off when entering your house.

Thanks to Beth Greer for these tips. I totally agree with the tip regarding a great quality HEPA vacuum cleaner. My Dyson HEPA vacuum has already make a noticed improvement with the air quality in my home. I also learned that dirty shoes can drag in pesticides and unwanted chemicals into your home. A new found reason to have guests remove their shoes and put out door mats.

Air deodorizer are very toxic and should be removed from any cleaning routines (glade plug-ins, fabreeze, etc.), as they simply mask odour and off-gass phthalates into your home. Same goes for traditional carpet cleaners that you sprinkle, leave, then vacuum.  Skip the toxic route and grab your box of baking soda.  Even better <evil smile emerges>, give the box of baking soda to a young child and watch their delight in sprinkling this natural homemade carpet cleaner. Just like the antibacterial cloths that only need water to clean your windows, children can help out because it’s totally natural and safe. My sons love to help sprinkle the baking soda before I begin a deep vacuum of my carpeting. It’s a good idea to test the baking soda on darker carpets in a small test area first. My carpet is white so I’ve never worried about it.  Another tip before you vacuum is to replace toxic carpet spray for stains and go to the pantry to mix a paste of white vinegar and baking soda, work into the carpet with a brush or toothbrush, let paste dry and vacuum.  Two very easy methods to help remove odours, stains, and naturally reduce pollutants in your carpeting.  A huge bonus is you’re not yelling at your kids to get out of the room while you apply the cleaning cocktail or baking powder because it’s safe for them to be exposed to and even help clean with!

My last bit of research on improving the quality of your home’s carpet is the topic of hiring professional steam cleaners. There is nothing like a deep clean with steam that helps eliminate dust mites, allergens, dust, dirt, and chemical contaminants. BUT – with an extra big BUT…it is very difficult to find professional carpet cleaners that are truly non-toxic. I went with the company Citrus-O for many years, but they continually ask if you want the scotch guard extra (which is offering Teflon coating with the highly toxic chemicals PFOAs – a proven carcinogen). Also, I would always have a headache for days after Citrus-O left my house, dry mouth, and very irritated eyes. I haven’t the time to look over the material data sheets on their site, but my reaction says it all to me. If I find a company I can recommend, I’ll write a follow-up article. Over the last year, I’ve borrowed steam cleaners from friends that own them, and filled them with Dr. Bromers liquid soap (or you could use vinegar).  But if you want to hold companies marketing themselves as all-natural carpet cleaning accountable, ask them if they use either of these chemicals to ‘clean’ with: perchloroethylene (nickname is perc) or naphthalene. Suspected to be carcinogens, they are notorious dry cleaning additives known to cause dizziness, fatigue, nausea if inhaled (sound familiar to my symptoms?), kidney and liver damage. Next time you book your carpets to be cleaned, ask the company these questions and please post back to the comments of this article and share the results.

For more information on carpet health, you can read my recent review of the Dyson HEPA filter vacuum at: Dyson Asthma Certified Vacuum Cleaner

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Natural Tips to Improve Bedroom Air Quality

I recently had a wonderful phone call with ‘Mama Maven‘, otherwise known as Tanis Frame and like most green minded mamas – an instant connection formed. Tanis’ passion is to empower parents with knowledge and is hired to speak to schools or parent groups and share her quality knowledge with topics like healthy home, baby carrier info and diapering alternatives. She can also be contacted to speak in a smaller, more intimate setting with groups of friends – very cool for a group of ladies joining the new world of parenting.

During our phone call, she suggested additional tips for naturally removing contaminants and improving bedroom air quality and I’m happy I can share. My thanks to Tanis, who with a background in toxicology and children’s environmental health is an amazing resource for information and it’s always fun to learn tips that are inexpensive and easy to source.

Tips to Instantly Improve Household Air Quality

Fresh Air!   Could it be that simple? Inside our home is where many chemicals off-gassing resides, particularly formaldehyde and benzene. Released from furniture, carpets, cleaning products, along with phthalates and flame retardants in bedding and dust, these toxins tend to collect in our homes and the air we breathe.  So get outside and spend time outdoors and bring the fresh air in and open your windows and flush through fresh air. Enjoy the benefits of quick recirculation and refreshing of the air you’re breathing. An instant process to remove odours and think of it as nature’s air freshener. One of the quickest ways to create a toxic environment for children is to spray air fresheners and febreeze in the air. Read more on masking odours with chemicals here.

Bring in Plants! Not only do plants freshen the air we breathe, but also the planet and our indoor spaces. Tanis mentioned a study by Nasa about how plants remove assorted chemicals in different amounts. It is SO interesting!  The common philodendron, spider plant, devil’s ivy, and Boston fern naturally remove formaldehyde from the air.  Peace lilies, chrysanthemums, and gerbera daisies are said to filter out benzene and trichloroethylene.  Mama Maven’s personal favourite is the Snake Plant because it’s not only a top air purifier, it grow quickly, is inexpensive, and it’s very difficult to kill. (Big bonus for parents that don’t have time to manage finicky plants.) Another great plant is the Spider Plant because it hangs out of reach and the “babies” can be rooted in water and planted over the course of the year.

Added note from Suzanne… Certain plants recommended are considered poisonous houseplants so you need to keep up, away from pets and children (e.g. Snake Plant). Here is a list of Poisonous Houseplants from the Blog Houseplant Care Tips **

Added note from Suzanne… I read the Houseplant chapter of Adria Vasil’s latest Ecoholic book, called Ecoholic Home and she agrees with plants improving air purification and recommends “15 leafy creatures in a 2,000 square foot home should do the trick” for encouraging absorption of certain VOCs like formaldehyde and benzene. A great read if you are looking for extensive and quality research on greening and creating a healthier home.

Related Articles:

Tips To Immediately Reduce Toxins Your Bedroom

Polyester PJs and Flame Retardants

Are Cosmetics Killing Us?

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