Sustainable Living Tips
This series is designed to showcase small, actionable steps that anyone can take in order to make your lifestyle more sustainable. It doesn’t matter what level of sustainable living you are currently on. These tips are intended to help you more easily navigate this new “trend” of being kind to our earth. Let’s work hard to make it more than a trend. We can make it our lifestyle. Remember: Everything can be done in a sustainable way. This week’s topic of improving your indoor air quality can is no different.
- “Your furniture may be the most dangerous culprit” because of the flame retardants used contain carcinogens
- “IAQ is a Top 5 Health Risk” due to the fact that indoor air pollution can typically be 2-5 times greater than the pollution outside, and in some cases even 100 times greater.
- Candles and Air Fresheners are basically poison because of the carcinogens in them.
- Poor indoor air quality can make you sick or make your sickness worse. It worsens asthma for those who suffer from it, and it is extremely taxing on people who spend their entire day inside, such as the elderly or those that are extremely ill.
Source: Global Healing Center
Where’s the “Indoor Air Quality” Warning?
If your home is your sanctuary, you should treat the air in it as such. Cleaning your home is cathartic for some, a dread for others, but necessary for all. The products that you use to clean your home could be causing more harm than you know, though. Everything that you bring into your home has the potential to either improve or worsen your indoor air quality. Even the furniture that you buy has potential risks associated with it because of the chemicals used to produce and protect the fabric.
People who do not smoke probably choose not to do so deliberately. They want to protect their lungs and the lungs of those around them. People who do choose to smoke generally understand the risks associated with it. There are associations, government warnings, commercials, clubs, and more warning us about the danger of inhaling smoke. But do you know what you’re breathing in on a regular day at home? There are no warnings listed on any of these items to tell you this, so here’s what you need to know.
How to Better Your Indoor Air Quality
Open Your Windows
Now, look. I’m country. I like being outside. I love fresh air. Most of the people in my life can’t stand it when I open the windows. BUT WE NEED IT. It is necessary to help clean out the air in our homes. Personally, it keeps me connected to nature, which is something I love and that I think many of us need. Opening windows allows for better air circulation to move old air out of your house. It can do more than your HVAC (see below) in a short amount of time. Window screens are helpful to avoid any unwanted guests from entering you home while you naturally air it out.
Stop Using Synthetic Fragrances
These are the killers. Literally. Artificial scents are hazardous. We’re used to them, some enjoy them, a lot overuse them. There are
- diffuse essential oils
- boil aromatic fruits and spices
- soy candles with natural scents
- use natural cleaners and/or cleaners with naturals fragrances
Bring Nature In!
Certain plants and trees help to filter the air in your home. If you are a plant person, or if you want to try your hand at being one, start with plants that will help you by cleaning the air in your home. Some air-cleaning plants that are easy to care for includes:
- Snake Plant
- English Ivy
- Spider Plant
- Aloe Vera
- Rubber Plant
- Weeping Fig
Ditch the Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets are one of the most dangerous items in your home because of the chemicals they release when heated up in the dryer. Those chemicals may feel nice on your clothes, but they definitely contribute to poor indoor air quality. As an alternative, hang your clothes to dry, or use wool dryer balls and aluminum balls (just balls of aluminum foil) to help dry your clothes and prevent static.
Keep your HVAC Up-To-Date
An HVAC is a big machine hidden inside your home, on the side of your home/apartment, or on top of your apartment building. The acronym stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and it is pronounced “h-vac” or “h.v.a.c.” Most people who know of it think of it as the central air system, but it is also it’s job to help filter and clean the air in your home. Help it to help you.
- Change the air filters regularly.
- Buy better filters.
- Keep the HVAC clean and clear of debris (outdoor systems).
- Make sure the condensation drain line isn’t broken, and keep it clean once a year with a 1:3 bleach to water mixture.
- Have a professional check your HVAC regularly.
Phase Out Toxic Furniture
Now that you know that most furniture is toxic, it is important that you also know that less toxic furniture does exist. You can start with simple things like throw pillows or placemats. Instead of buying home decor and essential items that have iffy and obscure labeling, be intentional and buy eco-friendly pieces. Arhaus is one of the brands that creates such pieces, including their tables made from recycled copper and wood, or their sofas like the one pictured above. Their use of eco-friendly and natural materials means less pollution across the board – less pollution in the process of creating their products, and less toxins entering your home.
I Want To Challenge You:
What are you planning on buying for your home next? Before you make a decision on what to purchase, I challenge you to research sustainable, eco-friendly, and natural alternatives to add to your list of possibilities. If you’re buying something small, research upcycled or second-hand items. If you need a new chair or couch, look up options that are eco-friendly. Arhaus created this graphic and incorporated one of my eco-friendly home tips on it. I encourage you and challenge you to try all of the tips listed on it!
xoxo dolls & dudes,