by N J Howell
Featured Green-Living Product:
Whole Home Purification Unit
I'd be the first to say, I love my heating and my air conditioning. Yet, it's healthier to let some fresh air in. Cracking a window periodically can help keep the air you breathe inside cleaner and fresher. Whenever the weather permits, I always sleep with the window very slightly opened.
I also think folks who practice taking off your shoes before entering the house, whether by custom or due to inner pollution concerns, have the right idea. I know enough about internal parasites to be concerned about tracking in tiny worms or cysts on the shoes. If you kept your shoes on all the time, ok, but we all know we don't do that. Besides parasites, think about everywhere your shoes have walked -- the bathroom stalls and busy gas station floors ... bacteria factories!
If you walk around barefoot in your house, it's an even better idea to take your shoes off at the door. Of course, that only works as a parasite and bacteria deterrent if everyone i the house does it. Also, if you have pets who go in and out, definitely don't walk around barefoot. Pets can easily pick up and drop off parasitic worms so small they can enter through the pores. Wear slippers or slip-on clogs inside if you have indoor/outdoor pets.
Scrap the Carpet
Removing carpet and installing formaldehyde-free laminant or hardwood is a terrific way to cut down on dust mites. In addition, carpet outgassing is something I'm ultra aware of. I can walk in a place with new carpet and I feel like I'm choking within seconds. It is of particular importance to choose non-carpeted options for any home in which a new baby crawls around. There has been a spotlight on this issue after several children have fallen dangerously ill due to outgassing from carpets.
Ditch the Chemicals
In addition, just be more conscious of chemicals in almost everything you may be using to clean your home or help it smell good. Chemical air fresheners can be replaced with natural ones and there are effective organic cleaning products for just about any household need. You may have to find a Greenlife or Whole Foods and expect to pay a little more for some items. In the long run, I think it is well worth the effort.
Health Disclaimer: Though I lean incredibly toward organic and green products, it's true that there are carpets being produced now that address the outgassing concerns. There are brand name manufacturers who are listening to consumers and putting out more naturally based cleaners and fresheners. All I'm saying is that it pays to educate yourself, particularly if you have young children in the home or anyone with respiratory conditions.