We all know that we’re faced with pollutants day to day when we go out to work or play with little control over what we’re exposed to, but one place we can have a say about what we put into our immediate environment is of course at home.
Even there, toxins can lurk in the most unexpected places, so we need to start taking a closer look at our immediate home environment, especially in Dubai where indoor air pollution is generally higher. Overwhelming scientific evidence indicates that the air within our homes is polluted and that illness caused by exposure to these pollutants is a real threat to our health.
A healthier home enables us to take a break from the day’s exposures and use energy for rejuvenation and healing instead of detoxification.
There’s no need to freak out, but it is important to educate ourselves about household toxins and other potential indoor pollutants. Then, without going crazy, we can take these simple steps to detox our home so that it’s as safe as possible.
Ditch the synthetic fragrance
We all love delicious smelling things, so most of us don’t think twice when we see the word “fragrance” in the ingredient list on our home or personal care products. It always seems so...innocent? But the reality is that many synthetic chemicals in fragrances are derived from petrochemicals (petroleum-based), and can be harmful to human health. Not only that, but the word “fragrance” can actually contain thousands of different chemicals and ingredients because companies are not required to disclose any of the chemicals that make up their fragrance, because it is considered proprietary. This is dangerous as there are nearly no restrictions on what can be used to make up that fragrance!
Start to reduce the amount of products in your home with synthetic fragrance, look for products that are naturally scented with pure essential oils and make sure to always read the ingredients list!
Use a water filter
Other than the obvious environmental cost, bottled water is at risk of being contaminated by chemicals from the plastic that seeps into the water over time.
Using a water filter at home is a gamechanger to reducing toxins in your drinking water and in the environment. We love Liquid of Life’s under the sink filters because they are compact, quick to install, and give you fresh filtered water from your tap all year round.
Remove Dust, Often
You might not put household dust on the top of the list for things to worry about, but it is a cause for concern, especially in the Middle East which is no stranger to it!
A scientific study conducted by multiple institutions including George Washington University, Silent Spring Institute, and Natural Resources Defense Council found that building materials and consumer products shed harmful substances, according to Environmental Working Group EWG. Over time, traces of these chemicals accumulate in dust that can be inhaled or swallowed.
Grab a product like The Botanist Wood Duster and make sure to capture and lift dust particles from surfaces, rather then just moving it around the room, and do it a couple of times a week at least!
Check under (inside) your mattress
We spend so much of our life in our beds, but when’s the last time you thought about what’s in your mattress? The mattress is one of the dirtiest objects that we are in close contact with every day and it also happens to be the ideal breeding place for dust mites due to its warmth and humidity, especially in the UAE.
Dust mites can get into our mouth, eyes, and nose causing allergy, itching, cough, inflammation of the mucous membrane and other side effects.
To make sure you’re sleeping in a safe and healthy environment, it’s a good idea do a deep clean of your mattress on a regular basis. There’s a number of local companies that offer this service. One we’ve used personally is The Healthy Home - they offer a full dry, chemical-free and eco-friendly mattress, pillow and duvet clean. One you've had it done, you'll go to sleep with a bit of extra peace of mind!
Switch to natural cleaning products
Every time you wipe down the bathroom or kitchen counter with a product that contains harmful chemicals, you leave a little bit of toxic residue behind. The pollutants from harsh chemicals in innocently packed cleaning products that are used daily, cause more harm than good.
The American Lung Association warns that ammonia, bleach, and VOCs in cleaning products can irritate the eyes, throat, and lungs and may lead to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reaction, headaches, and even cancer. It seems that we’re paying for that streak-free shine with our health and that of the planet’s!
A much safer option is switching to natural cleaning methods and non-toxic cleansers like The Botanist, or make your own at home to reduce indoor air pollution.
Get a dehumidifier
Moisture hosts all sorts of allergens like dust mites and mould spores, so dealing with indoor air pollution in your home can be much easier when you have humidity levels under control. This becomes especially true when living in a high-humidity country like the UAE. Lower humidity is linked to lower air pollution, so it’s a helpful device to have in the bedroom for a healthier, better night’s sleep.
Small steps, big rewards
We know it can seem overwhelming, but small steps in the above areas will go such a long way to protect us from indoor pollution that might trigger easily avoidable health conditions.
Pick one thing a month from this list to tackle, and before you know it your home will be a much safer environment for you and your family!