October 8, 2012

The Green Minute: Reducing Toxics in the Home

Courtesy of Pat Byington, The Green Register Editor

One of the best green websites in terms of everyday eco-friendly tips is  Not only does the website provide useful information, it also makes available for purchase hard to find eco-products.  Today’s Green Minute focuses on simple steps people can take to reduce indoor toxics in the home.

The following list comes from our good friends at

Change or clean your furnace or A/C filters, at least once every 1-3 months depending on use.

• Establish a ‘no shoe’ policy in your home. To drastically reduce the amount of pesticides and other chemicals that you may pick up outside, have visitors and family members leave shoes at the door.  Residuals of toxic chemicals may last for years in carpets.

• Use toxin-reducing houseplants. Researchers from NASA have identified certain houseplants which are useful in absorbing potentially harmful gases and cleaning the air inside homes.

• Only use natural cleaning products in your home. Most health food stores will have these available or you can make your own cleaning products using safe ingredients.

• Avoid using chemical pest control products. There are safe, non-toxic alternatives for controlling insect pests in the home, including many new non-toxic pest control products for the homeowner.

• Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances as they can pollute the air you are breathing.

• Avoid using lawn care chemicals. Residue is easily tracked indoors where chemicals can persist in carpeting and furnishings. Use natural lawn care methods which eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers and herbicides.

• Have your tap water tested and, if contaminants are found, install an appropriate water filter on all your faucets (even those in your shower or bath).

• Use low-VOC paints, caulks, sealants, finishes and carpeting. Look for low-VOC labelling on sealing and finishing products. Most major paint brands now carry ‘low’ and ‘zero’ VOC lines for interior painting. For a list of non-toxic paint suppliers, click here.

• Ventilate. Modern homes and business are created to be leak proof; meaning, toxins are sealed in and fresh air is sealed out! To ventilate indoor air in winter, open doors and windows on opposing sides of the room to facilitate air flow, and close them in 5 – 10 minutes. The furnishings, drywall and any stonework will retain residual heat and restore room temperatures quickly.

Once you take these steps, you will experience a dramatic change in your home.  Not only will you be living a more eco-friendly lifestyle, your home and family will be safer and healthier.

Image Credit: alexwhite / Shutterstock

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