There are many things we can do in life to help protect our health and homes. From focus on air and water quality to commitments to the reduction of energy use, we can all help ensure the longevity of our bodies and our planet. Here are the top four ‘must haves’ for every home looking for an eco-safe and healthy environment.
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1. Be Your Own Farmer
Worried about GMOs, pesticides, waxes, preservatives, or cross contamination? The sure-fire way around these health risks is a simple one: be your own farmer. Don’t worry, this isn’t as hard as it sounds.
First, take a small plot of your land and turn it into a garden. Most beginners fare well with a garden at about 10×10 ft, using easy-to-grow vegetables. Try to pick out a sunny spot in the yard that will provide 6-8 hours of sunlight. If your yard is a bit more shaded, just choose different vegetables – maybe some leafy greens. Also, be sure to start with healthy soil. If you don’t already, start a compost pile or compost bin for free, nutrient-laden soil.
Once you have a garden, consider planting a fruit tree. They come in a number of sizes – dwarfs, semi-dwarfs, and regular sized trees – and of course you have a large selection for variety. This is more of a long-term investment, but between a well-tended, yet reasonably sized garden and a healthy fruit tree, you can literally get hundreds of pounds of fruit and vegetables a year for the cost of maintenance.
2. Breathe Deep
Allergies are a reality for many people, and even if you don’t have allergies, the air quality in your neighborhood may be poor. In fact, the American Lung Association has found that about 58 percent of Americans live in areas with unhealthy levels of pollution. Nearly all major cities suffer from the affliction: Los Angeles, Houston, San Diego, Dallas, Cincinnati – you name it.
To combat the pollution that may surround you, consider getting a HEPA air filter. Not only will this filter the outdoor pollution that makes its way inside, but it will also filter indoor pollution like dust, pet dander, and mold spores. “To qualify as a HEPA filter, it must capture at least 99.97% of all particles as small as 0.3 microns in diameter,” which means it must be able to pick up particles 150 times smaller than what we can see with the naked eye. HEPA is just one part of the strategy of having a healthy home, so be sure to keep everything clean (i.e. shaking out rugs, wiping down counters, dusting).
3. Drink Well
In addition to clean air, you and your family need clean water. It’s commonsensical to know that it’s important to know you and your family are getting a good, healthy, and clean source of water. At the same time, we don’t want t overuse plastics with the constant purchase of water bottles. Instead, consider a water filter – there are a number of brands and many effective models. They’re also very easy to install, so try one today if you haven’t already.
4. Clean Safe
Next time you decide to clean the bathroom, reconsider what it is you’re using. Harsh chemicals kill germs, sure, but they also leave the residue of harsh chemicals. They also can be a source of hazard for small children. Instead of using store-bought cleaners, consider whipping up a batch of your own. Here’s a quick guide for making your own cleaner.
5. Smell Great
The same goes for air fresheners or candles. Synthetic fragrances are harsh on the environment, and most air fresheners and cleaners, once they mix with the indoor ozone, “may react with ozone to produce a number of toxic compounds.” That said, it’s best to avoid this and go with all natural alternatives like 100 percent all-natural beeswax candles, quality incense with proper ventilation, and other types of safe-scents like essential oils and natural aromatherapy.
These are just some basic steps to help get your home healthy and efficient, which often go hand in hand. Save money and form some new habits – this is as good incentive as any for a change in lifestyle!