Built Green and Sustainable LivingFor HomeownersHome maintenance tipsReal Estate October 20, 2010

Five Easy Ways to Stop Polluting Your Home and Your Body

Take Your Shoes Off! It’s not rocket science here, but simple common sense.  If you’re not bringing outside dirt into your home, you’re not bringing in pollutants.  Shoes that slog through mud, dirt, sand, over sidewalks and streets with oil on them, and who knows what else, all bring pollutants into your home.

Shoes are Among the Biggest Home Polluters

Think about where you’ve stepped. Think about all the stuff over the years you’ve stepped in that you wished you hadn’t.  Do you want to bring that into your home?

Have a walk-off mat at your front door for people to wipe their feet before they come in and take their shoes off.  Your mat should be one that can easily be rinsed off.

Open your windows, bring fresh air in and ventilate your home occasionally.

Check, clean and replace furnace filters regularly.  Filters are obviously designed to filter pollutants out, but some filters work better to capture tiny particles.  When replacing your filters look for the MERV rating, which is the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the MERV number the better the filter is at removing pollutants.

Stop using products filled with chemicals to clean your home. Look at your cleaning solutions, paints, and  personal care products, like soaps and shampoos. These are the products you use on a regular basis.  Harmful stuff shows up in all kinds of things, so read the labels.  There are many products with green labels these days.  Check those out.

I got a shock yesterday when I heard a story on NPR about the dangers of the Brazilian hair straightening process. They’ve found the process includes formaldehyde. I didn’t have this process done in my home, but it was done to the hair on my head!  (Those of you with curly hair will understand the things we do for straight hair) I don’t fault my hairdresser.  I think most hairdressers are unaware of the chemical contents in the treatments they use, just like many of us are with the things we use at home.  So I will not be using this process again and will be asking more questions about what goes on my head at the hair salon.

These are simple, inexpensive ways to cut down pollution in your home and on your body.

What other suggestions do you have for easy, inexpensive ways to cut down on pollution in your home?