Woohoo, I’m a new homeowner! ? It’s been super exciting moving into our first house (goodbye, apartment living!) but at the same time, it’s been a lot of work. Although I pretty much have the whole clean eating, green beauty, and non-toxic product thing down pat, moving into a new home has made me realize that there’s a lot to know when it comes to living in a non-toxic ENVIRONMENT as well! Here are some of the things I’ve learned and ways my husband and I made our house a more pure place to live.
Here’s what this post covers, click a section to jump right to it if you don’t want to read the full post:
- Better air quality
- EMF + radiation protection
- Energy-saving thermostat
- Filtered water
- Natural cleaning products
- Non-toxic cookware
- Organic cotton towels + natural bedding
- Standing desk
- Zero VOC paint
- Our “green home” wish list
Better Air Quality, Naturally
Beeswax Candles: Are you a candle lover? I used to be until I found out that they aren’t the best for air quality due to the synthetic fragrance, lead wicks, and paraffin waxes. Even soy candles can be contaminated with paraffin and GMOs. I suggest beeswax! My friend Ali owns Welch Candle Co., a Wisconsin-based company that makes pure, 100% beeswax candles ? They basically smell like honey when they are burned, and they actually release negative ions which purify the air and can give relief to allergies! Code ORGANICALLYBECCA gets you a discount on her 6 oz. candles.
Dyson Pure Hot Cool Link Air Purifier: When we moved into our house, I couldn’t help but feel like it still smelled like the previous owners, plus it was still pretty dusty from them moving out. I just wanted to clean the air as much as possible! We got this Dyson and I love it (first of all it’s really cute!). It hooks up to your WiFi so you can see all the stats about your air quality and program it to your liking. The air quality when we moved in was Fair, borderline Poor, and since we’ve been running the purifier every day it has been Good! It also has heating and cooling functions.
Plants galore: There are so many plants that naturally purify the air ? Now I’ve never been a plant lady, but we bought a few and so far they have been surviving much to my surprise. We have a Peace Lily, Bonsai tree, and Yucca tree. Some other plants that are well known for air purification are Areca Palm, Lady Palm, Ficus, English Ivy, and Boston Fern.
“Between 1980 and 1984 NASA proved plants in sealed test chambers that were exposed to volatile organic chemicals could remove them from the air.” –Our House Plants
Himalayan Salt Lamp: Not only do Himalayan salt lamps look awesome, they have well-known health benefits too like air purification! They also release negative ions and reduce EMFs in your house and can help with allergy relief. I like to keep mine in our bedroom or move it to where there’s a lot of technology. Not all salt lamps are created equal though! I use the brand So Well made which is fair trade and authentic. You can read more about that in this blog post.
Did you know that having a humid home puts you at risk for mold growth? We invested in this dehumidifier which we keep in our basement. It’s crazy how much water it sucks out of the air! Ideally, you want between 25-55% humidity indoors. Anything lower is too dry and anything higher is an ideal mold growth environment.
EMF + Radiation Protection
EMF stands for electromagnetic fields or frequencies. Basically, it’s the radiation that is given off by our electronic devices like phones, laptops, and microwaves. Although it’s not something you can see, obviously, your body definitely feels it. According to Defender Shield:
“Some types of radiation can adversely influence the biology of the cells, modifying their behavior. Radiation known as “thermal radiation” has the ability to heat up our cells. And finally, our bodies use electricity within to properly function and external signals from electronic devices can interrupt or confuse living tissue.”
HOW I LESSEN MY EMF EXPOSURE:
DefenderShield Laptop Pad (also on Amazon): A pad that you place on your lap when sitting with a laptop! It has multiple layers of shielding to block laptop EMF radiation (and Wifi/Bluetooth radiation) as well as reducing the heat that’s outputted. The heat from laptops sitting on your lap has been linked with decreased sperm motility in men! They also make phone and tablet cases ?
Moved the microwave downstairs: Our old apartment didn’t come with a microwave, so we learned to live without one but I’m actually glad! We removed the one in our kitchen and replaced it with an under-cabinet wine rack and moved the microwave to the basement. We prefer to reheat food on the stove or in our toaster oven. Why? Microwaves strip your food of their nutrients, release EMFs, and alter the molecules of your food! They can be especially harmful when the food you’re heating is contained in plastic because that plastic actually leaches BPA and endocrine-disrupting chemicals into the food when heated. You can read the blog post my friend Chantel from Choose Love Art wrote about why she doesn’t use a microwave.
Phonetic Eyewear Computer Glasses: These are non-prescription glasses that block the blue light given off by your phone, laptop, TVs, etc. They have greatly helped with dry eyes and eye strain I’ve had due to the blue light! ?
Keep our phones off the nightstand: We’ve stopped charging our phones or leaving them on the nightstand while we sleep because of the EMFs they give off. I don’t love the thought of having them so close to my head for 8+ hours! We charge them on the other side of the room or leave them out of the room completely.
Not only are the Nest thermostats chic, they save energy and we even got a refund from our local energy department! Score. It learns your patterns too, so it pretty much knows how you like the temperature in your house.
I ? my water filter. So much that I even wrote a blog post about it. There’s a lot of nasty stuff that is in our tap water, and sadly the cheaper filters don’t do a whole lot. The Pure Effect filter we use has lasted us years, plus they even have a converter kit so we were able to place it under our sink and it dispenses through a faucet on our counter! We also love their shower filter which really helps especially if you have dry, itchy skin due to the chlorine in the water ?
Natural Cleaning Products
A recent study found that household cleaners can have the same effect as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day! Due to the chemicals in common cleaning products, women who regularly expose themselves were found to have “accelerated decline in lung function, suggesting that exposures related to cleaning activities may constitute a risk to long-term respiratory health.”
What kind of scent or smell do you associate with the word CLEAN? To me, clean doesn’t have a smell (except maybe some lemon or natural essential oil smell). Not the bleach or synthetic fragrance smell. Here are some of my fave natural household cleaning products:
- Branch Basics: This concentrate can be used for all cleaning needs around your home, including dishes! The ingredients are natural and safe; you can even use your own bottles if you want to avoid plastic.
- Buckaroo Organics: Natural laundry detergent made with organic soapberries. I also love their wool dryer balls which are a natural, cost-effective replacement for dryer sheets.
- Cleaning Essentials: Glass bottles that come with measurements on the side so you can mix up your own cleaning products at home with natural ingredients.
- Dr. Bronner’s: Castile soap that you can use for SO many different purposes. I use it for cleaning, washing makeup brushes, and sometimes shampoo or to brush my teeth!
- Kosmatology Hand Soap: My favorite hand soap ever, we have these next to all of our sinks!
- Ode to Clean Wipes: Totally natural and gentle cleaning wipes, yet so effective for cleaning.
If you’re in the market for new cookware, I suggest staying away from non-stick and Teflon products! According to Dr. Axe, chemicals in non-stick cookware have been associated with neurotoxicity, thyroid issues, inflammation, high cholesterol, and other concerning health issues. We do still have some, in full transparency, but have mostly transitioned them out with the following:
- Cast iron skillets ? (plus it’s a natural source of iron!)
- Ceramic pots and pans (make sure it’s pure ceramic, not Teflon-coated or non-stick)
- Glass tupperware instead of plastic
- Silicone Stasher Bags instead of Ziplocs
- Stainless steel pots and pans
Related blog post: A Complete Guide to Non-Toxic & Eco-Friendly Kitchen Supplies
Organic Cotton Towels + Natural Bedding
Did you know that cotton is considered one of the “dirtiest” crops because it’s so heavily sprayed with pesticides? And a lot of towels and bedding can off-gas harmful fumes or contain flame retardants. Here are some options I like:
Pact Organic Cotton Towels: Made with certified organic cotton in a fair-trade factory.
Savvy Rest: We use Savvy Rest pillows and body pillows in our bedroom and LOVE them! They are totally natural and have zero weird chemicals on them. You can also read my review of their pure latex mattress. Ever our pup Dexter has one of their organic dog beds ?
Huüt Organic Egyptian Cotton Sheets: Not only are these SO soft and comfortable, but they are organic, fair-trade, responsibly-grown, and contain zero gross chemicals or pesticides!
Sitting is the new smoking! ? Since I work at home it was super important to me to invest in a standing desk. We bought this one by Fully and love it. It has 4 programmable settings so you can press a button and it will automatically adjust to your saved heights. Be sure to use an anti-fatigue mat under your feet when standing for extra cushion and support!
Zero VOC Paint
Have you ever walked into a freshly painted room and instantly got a headache? YEP, you can thank VOCs for that (VOC = volatile organic compound). When we moved into our new house, we painted a few of the walls with Behr zero VOC paint. Zero VOC means it won’t off-gas those compounds or have a smell. It’s probably not totally non-toxic, but hey, it’s paint and the fact that it didn’t leave a smell was great ? We love the quality and how it performed.
On Our “Green Home” Wish List
Buying a house and renovating is expensive! There are few more things we’d like to do once we have a little more money saved up:
- Mold inspection: 40% of American houses have undetected mold infestations, scary! Mold and mycotoxins can be REALLY dangerous to your health so I want to look into hiring a professional inspector.
- Old Barn Milk Paint: 100% organic, non-toxic, solvent-free paint for repainting some furniture
- Organic hemp shower curtain by Rawganique (most curtains and liners contains VOCs)
- Savvy Rest furniture: Once it’s time to replace our furniture such as couches, I will be checking this out! Savvy Rest furniture contains no VOCs and is made with all-natural materials.
- Wool carpets from the Green Design Center
- Smart Meter shield
So our house DEFINITELY isn’t perfect, but we’re trying to make changes here and there which I think is a reasonable way to approach it! For example, we still use Wifi which gives off EMFs too, but we’re not trying to be hermits off the grid ?
What are some ways that you “greenify” your house? Let me know in the comments ?
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