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It’s a scary reality that we live in a world filled with environmental factors that could make us sick and shorten our expected lifespans. While it’s impossible to avoid anything that could cause us harm, there are many ways to mitigate contact, particularly in our homes.

Making our home healthier is easier than most people think. There are many small changes you can make that will have a significant impact over time. Here are 10 easy ways to make your home healthier.  Richard Clayton explains.

Air purifier
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Monitor Air Quality

Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have become more concerned about air quality in our homes. However, improving air quality offers several benefits beyond combatting the respiratory virus sweeping the globe. According to experts at your home’s air quality also impacts your mood, mental health, and long-term wellness.

Fortunately, air quality monitoring systems are affordable to purchase and simple to use. They tell you what pollutants are in the air, the carbon monoxide levels in your home, and even the temperature and humidity levels. 

It’s also worth investing in air purifiers, especially in common areas in your home. These devices help filter and remove common pollutants when used in conjunction with proper cleaning techniques and air filtration. Monitoring air quality is a smart first step for those trying to make their homes healthier, as it indicates where to focus your efforts for improvement.

Maintain Your HVAC System

Your HVAC system plays an integral role in filtering the air and regulating humidity levels in your home. If they are too high, mold and bacteria growth can develop. Many irritants and allergens like dust mites thrive in humid environments.

Maintaining your HVAC system also helps prevent inefficiency and damage that could cause excess fumes to leak back into your home, instead of being burned off properly. Beyond health and wellness concerns, it will also save you money in the long run and contribute to environmental sustainability in your community. 

Start by scheduling an annual maintenance tune-up each year for both your furnace and your air conditioning unit. During these visits, a technician will ensure everything is working smoothly, replace the filters, and make minor repairs as necessary. 

It’s also worth setting a reminder each month to clean out your air filters to remove the dust and allergens your HVAC system collects. Don’t forget to schedule a reminder to clean out your dryer vent as well to prevent fires.

Decorate With Plants and Flowers

Decorating with natural elements offers various benefits. Humans are innately connected to natural features like wood and stone as they are reminders of our connection with nature. However, decorating with live plants and flowers is even more beneficial.

Many live green plants and potted flowers also contribute to better air quality by absorbing toxins and pollutants. While this improvement is minor, especially compared to using an air purifier, it’s worthy of consideration when evaluating the other benefits of decorating with plants.

Healthier home
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Using plants to decorate has been shown to help reduce stress levels and create a mood-boosting effect. Working with plants is also considered therapeutic for many and is frequently utilized in memory care facilities to help reduce anxiety in Alzheimer’s patients.

Many people are going beyond the array of succulents and snake plants to create micro gardens indoors. Creating a small indoor garden with herbs and other easy-to-grow vegetables also gives you more control over your organic food intake. 

Replace Cleaning Supplies With Natural Alternatives

Homes tend to be filled with an assortment of chemicals in the form of cleaning products. The vibrant, lemony pine smells that we grew up with come from a combination of toxic substances that may be doing more harm than good – just look at the warning labels. 

There are two options for removing chemical-based cleaning supplies from your home: purchasing natural blends or making your own. If you choose to purchase chemical-free cleaning products, become an avid label reader as terms like “natural” can be used for marketing with a lot of wiggle room. It’s also worth noting that most chemical-free cleaning products include ingredients that you can mix at home for less money.

When it comes to natural cleaning, vinegar and baking soda, or vinegar and hot water, remain some of the most effective combinations for all surfaces. Vinegar has astringent properties that kill some bacteria and viruses; adding a few drops of tea tree oil could enhance these benefits. You can also purchase cleaning-grade vinegar, which is double the potency of the vinegar used for cooking and pickling.

Healthier home
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Replace Cosmetics With Natural Alternatives

In addition to replacing the chemicals we use on the surfaces of our homes, it’s also integral to replace the chemicals we put on ourselves. Shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, and cosmetics typically contain a variety of irritants and additives that don’t promote health and longevity. 

Some of the common ingredients to watch out for include:

  • Parabens – These come in multiple forms (methylparaben, butylparaben, and propylparaben, to name a few) and can lead to hormonal disruption when absorbed through the skin.
  • Fragrance – As added perfume blends aren’t regulated, many cosmetic companies can incorporate a variety of chemicals under this label.
  • BHA and BHT – These are preservatives with connections to cancer and hormonal disruptions.
  • Siloxane and other surfactants – These can interfere with hormone function and may impair fertility. It also has a bioaccumulative effect that impacts food sources when washed down the drain. 
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) – This is a common irritant and possible carcinogen that impedes human development.

You can find these common chemicals and other concerning cosmetic ingredients in The Dirty Dozen list of cosmetics. 

Look for trusted brands that offer transparency around their production processes and ingredients. Unfortunately, most well-known brands on department store shelves use some of these cheap additives.

Healthier home
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Create A Deep Cleaning Schedule

As mentioned previously, using air purifiers only does so much. Both your HVAC system and your cleaning habits impact the level of pollutants and irritants in your home. Now that you’ve addressed the basic air quality issues and started replacing cleaning products, it’s time to create a deep cleaning schedule. 

Deep cleaning refers to those chores we don’t accomplish on a weekly basis — things that tend to get put on the back burner. Scheduling a couple of deep cleaning tasks each month can significantly impact the health and wellness of your household.

Some Deep Cleaning Tasks To Consider Include:

  • Dusting
  • Vacuuming vents
  • Washing the walls
  • Steam cleaning rugs, mattresses, and furniture
  • Cleaning windows, screens, and sills
  • Sanitizing garbage cans
  • Washing curtains and blinds
  • Scrubbing the fridge and stove
  • Cleaning the dishwasher

The goal is to eliminate those sneaky allergens and germs that get overlooked during daily and weekly cleaning tasks.

Cleaning home
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Create Functional Separation Between Rooms

As the World Health Organization famously published, “Without mental health, there can be no true physical health.” Mental health plays a pivotal role in our longevity and well-being, and there are many steps we can take at home to promote better mental health.

One of the most straightforward ways to improve mental health at home is to create functional separation between rooms. This means creating boundaries between the room’s different roles and activities. In other words, there should be places to work, places to gather, and places to disconnect. 

For example, those working from home shouldn’t do so in the bedroom, no matter how tempting that comfortable bed might be. Similarly, the kitchen table shouldn’t be covered with work or homework at the end of the day.

If it’s not possible to reorganize your house to create designated areas for different activities, set rules about putting things away. Not working in the bedroom could be a rule for yourself, or ensuring your kids pack away their schoolwork from the table before supper could help create that separation. 

These rules around separation should also pertain to technology use in the home. Consider defining boundaries about when and where technology can be used. You might decide to ban phones from the bedrooms at night or create tech-free times and zones for relaxation.

Adding this level of structure to your home will be an adjustment for everyone, but promotes better mental health, reduced stress and anxiety, encourages work-life balance, and limits social media access

Create a health-centric Entryway

We tend to think of the entryway as a transition space for the home, allowing your family to keep the mess accumulated from outdoors to one area. Beyond tracking mud through the house, creating a functional entryway also helps limit the introduction of germs and allergens to your home.

While it might go against some cultural norms, consider banning people from wearing their outdoor footwear in the house. To ease the transition, create a slipper basket at the entryway inviting guests to choose a pair for their comfort; this is a fun way to enforce the rule without seeming impolite. 

Put a basket of wipes in the entryway to wipe your pets’ paws as they step inside as well. Consider adding an abrasive mat for people to clean off their footwear as they step in. It’s also worth shaking off your outerwear before stepping in, especially during the pollen season. 

These suggestions may feel over the top, but consider the chemicals and other contaminants you potentially step in during the day. Using the entryway as a low-key decontamination chamber is worth the effort. 

Eco friendly shopping bags
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Eliminate Cheap and Single-Use Plastics

It’s widely known that single-use plastics cause significant damage to the environment, but those cheap plastics are also impacting your health and wellness. Many cheap plastics use BPA, a chemical compound that’s connected to the development of cancer during heat fluctuations. It’s worth noting that those heat fluctuations don’t need to be significant as a plastic water bottle sitting in a warm car can release those toxins.

Shopping for BPA-free plastic products can help reduce exposure to this known toxin. Regardless of what plastic containers you use, you should never reheat food in the microwave in them. Instead, put your food into a glass bowl for reheating purposes.

If possible, eliminate plastic entirely and opt for glassware instead. You can always repurpose glass jars to store salads, soups, sauces, and so on. You can also get stainless steel canisters if you’re concerned about breakage.

Using Eco-Friendly Supplies During Renovations

When it comes time to make upgrades to your home, be conscientious of the supplies you use to accomplish the work. One of the easiest upgrades to make when completing home improvement tasks is to use VOC-free paint. Using VOC-free paint ensures no toxic fumes are being released into your home over the years, and they can even seal VOC-heavy paint underneath. 

As you navigate the home renovation process, it’s also beneficial to incorporate eco-friendly materials that are better for your health. For example, bamboo, cork, and wood are better than using carpets.

Healthier home
Photo by Maria Ilves on Unsplash

Final Thoughts

Don’t feel overwhelmed by the changes recommended on this list; every little change is a big improvement. Start by monitoring and working to improve your air quality, using some of the techniques listed above. Then, consider longer-term changes like incorporating habits and replacing chemical-ridden products and materials. Incorporating these changes will make your home a healthier, happier place to be. 

Longevity Live Partner Content.


Richard Clayton

Richard Clayton owns a gardening shop in Texas. He is an avid gardener and loves sharing his love of plants and flowers. In his spare time he is a freelance writer on health and wellness.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.