We like to think of our home as a safe place in a world full of hazards. Yet some of the things you see right in your own home can harm your health. The good news is that for every toxic household product you find in your home, there is a safe alternative.

Here are some easy things you can do to reduce the level of toxins in your home.

  1. Wash your windows with vinegar and water. Ammonia can hurt your eyes and lungs, and burn your skin. Mix half of a spray bottle with distilled white or apple-cider vinegar and fill the other half with water. Spray on your windows and wipe with a soft cloth for a nice shine that will be free of streaks.
  2. Use cozy, all-natural cotton flannel sheets on your bed. Do not use polyester sheets which have more than likely been treated with formaldehyde. When you are exposed to formaldehyde it may irritate your skin and cause respiratory problems.
  3. Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home.
  4. Use sweet sachets instead of toxic moth balls. Mothballs are made from 100% par dichlorobenzene, a powerful toxin that can cause headaches or an itchy nose and throat. Over time, it can hurt your liver and kidneys. Mothballs look and smell like candy, so watch that your kids do not eat them. Keep your wool clothes free from the toxins in moth balls–make sachets from dried lavender, dried rosemary and mint, or whole peppercorns.
  5. Use a natural soap instead of detergent to clean dirt. Detergents may appear to be safe, but they are petrochemical-based products. Soap on the other hand is made of natural oils and minerals and has been safely used for many years. Mix all-natural liquid dish-washing soap with water to clean your entire home. A little bit of soap goes a long way so if you use too much, you will have to spend a lot of time to get the soap bubbles off what you were cleaning.
  6. Do not use plastic water bottles. It is good for you to bring your own water to work and drink it during the day; but if it comes in a clear polycarbonate plastic bottle, it will leak a toxic substance – Biphenyl-A (BPA) – into your water. BPA can disrupt your hormones and shut down the reproductive organs. BPA can also harm breast tissue and slow prostate development. Instead of plastic, drink from a glass, aluminum, or stainless steel container.
  7. When you make a meal, use fresh, organic, foods to avoid toxic pesticides. Most fresh produce sold in supermarkets is sprayed with pesticides that have been linked to cancer. Look for pesticide-free organic food grown near your home.
  8. Take a botanical bath. Many bath products contain detergents and artificial fragrances that can make your skin dry and rough. Add dry herbs-lavender, rosemary, or peppermint-to your bath water, relax and have a nice warm bath. You can also add buttermilk or bath salts.
  9. Use water-based pens and markers. Look at your pens and markers and throw away any with “permanent” ink. They contain very toxic solvents such as toluene and xylene.
  10. Clear the air in your home with house plants. Houseplants are pretty to look at and make the air fresh. They absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale and release the oxygen that is vital for us to breathe. Some plants, such as the spider plant, take away air pollutants.