Boost your family's wellness this winter by creating a healthier home. Since the average family spends roughly 90% of their time indoors, with winter here, it's time to think about how to best keep your baby and family healthy during the cold months ahead.
9 Ways To Create A Healthier Home
Start at the front door
Babies and children spend a lot of time on the floor playing and crawling around to explore their environment. By simply placing a natural material doormat (think jute, wool or sisal) at all entrances and enforcing a shoes off rule, you can reduce the outdoor toxins and winter time salt that are tracked into your home, across your floors (for baby to touch) and in your air.
Wash up with soap
Please forget about your need to sanitize those cold and flu germs away! Triclosan (or Microban) is the chemical typically found in these products and has been found to be negatively impacting our environment, possibly be contributing to the development of “superbugs”, and linked to several other health concerns.
Instead, stock up on bars of non-toxic soap for cold and flu season. Washing hands is a great way to minimize germs and keep healthy. Bars are the ultimate in minimal waste as you use every last scrap of soap and they have less packaging than their pump counterparts.
Keep some safe hand cleanser like Germs Away Mist at the front door for guests to use. You may find people will often automatically reach out to spray a little on their hands and you can avoid the awkward moment where you ask them to wash their hands before touching your baby.
Use the Toxic Ten shopping guide from Environmental Defence to help you choose skin care products free of nasty substances that can harm your health or sign up for our green beauty guide for a more comprehensive look at your own products.
Fight static, naturally
Throw 3-4 wool dryer balls into your dryer to naturally way to cut static and wrinkles. They also reduce drying time by bouncing around your dryer, saving energy and contributing to lower electricity bills. Unlike dryer sheets, wool dryer balls aren't coated in nasty chemicals that coat your family's clothes to be absorbed into their skin.
Find fresh fruits and vegetables
Avoiding the Dirty Dozen and finding organic food is more difficult during the winter months with the closure of most farmer's markets.
Consider signing up for a local CSA or Organic Food Box to make access to healthy foods simple-this is especially helpful if you have a baby starting solids and you want to make their food yourself.
Air quality is key
Opening a few windows every day, including baby's room, is an easy way to circulate fresh air in your home and release indoor air pollutants. But if you're ready to do more, invest in the Healthy Home Coach. It's my new favourite product for a healthy home.
This discrete household tool reads the humidity levels, temperature, noise and air quality where it is placed (I've been placing it in the rooms where we spend the most time) and sends you hourly feedback to your smartphone so you can take action.
Too much humidity may mean you have a moisture problem on your hands leading to mould and health issues. Too little humidity can make for some dry lips and sinuses.
Poor indoor air quality can lead to sleepiness and headaches! And of course, knowing a room's temperature is especially helpful in a baby's nursery where they don't yet sleep with bedding.
Use a humidifier
Keep baby breathing easy with a cool-mist humidifer which is more energy efficient. Carefully monitor the humidity levels in the room, the Healthy Home Coach is perfect to set and forget for this and be diligent about cleaning the humidifier as it can lead to some serious health problems if not maintained.
Consider an air purifier
An air purifier may be particularly helpful for babies and people who suffer from allergies or asthma and are ideally located in their sleeping quarters or places where they spend the most time. We splurged this fall and bought the Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Air Purifier for our basement play area.
Open windows when cleaning
Forgo the fragrances and complicated ingredient lists, eco clean with products that have a simple ingredient list that you recognize but no matter which product you use, Environmental Defence reports that we must be sure to open the windows! Yes, even in the winter and even with green cleaning products.
Ready to do more? Shop your pantry for baking soda, castile soap, vinegar and lemons. These items can be used in many ways to clean everything! Find yourself a spray bottle and a few small mason jars to store your do-it-yourself cleaning recipes.
Microfibre reusable cloths do much of the heavy lifting when green cleaning. They grab dust, clean mirrors, and scrub out stains. I recommend having several of these super cloths on hand so you'll have some available even on laundry day.
And since you're greening the way you clean, rather than reaching for paper towels start supplementing your needs with rags made from old towels and t-shirts.
Plants are nice
Not only do houseplants make for some easy decor but according to NASA study from the 1980's, many indoor plants are great at removing VOCs like formaldehyde and benzene. Since we tend to keep our homes shut tight in the winter, adding several plants to each floor of your house may help to improve indoor air quality. Before purchasing, do your research, not all plants are baby safe.
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