Moving to Seattle has been exciting as I step into a new chapter in my life.
While I don't indulge in retail therapy often, I didn't own much walking in the door of my apartment so I have been shopping everyday.
Since my health is important to me, I have bought specific things to ensure my home is a part of my healthy living journey. Whether you are already settled in your home, moving somewhere new, or setting up your son, daughter, or nephew in their first apartment/home, I hope some of these tips will support you and loved ones to live in a non-toxic healthful home!
I want to be clear that I am not a saint and have had to make certain decisions based on finances, so we all have to try to do our best while minimizing toxicity in the space we live.
- Jute Rug: Natural fiber rugs (jute, seagrass, sisal, coir, abaca, etc.) are biodegradable and do not off-gas chemicals.
- Reclaimed Wood Table: Saves virgin wood, has an eco-friendly non-toxic wood finish, and looks amazing!
- Couch: Here we enter a bit of a challenging area. Most couches (and mattresses) these days are made using polyurethane foam. While the EPA and industry claim that the foam doesn't off-gas, some beg to differ. Polyfoam is made from potroleum, is pretty toxic to produce, and if it catches on fire (keep your candles far away) it creates a toxic smoke which is very dangerous. The bad and good news is that most couches produced in 2015 and after are no longer sprayed with chemical flame retardants which disrupt the endocrine system responsible for hormone production in the body. The challenge is that couches using latex foam (more on this in a moment) or wool can cost $3,000 and up for a seven footer. If you have the money do it, if you don't opt for a couch that isn't sprayed with flame retardants, make sure to clean your space often (dust mixes with chemical residue and sticks around longer), and even in the winter open windows and air out your living room space every three or so days.
- LED Light Bulbs: Save a ton of energy and money, mercury free (compared to CFLs), and reduce energy use which equals less CO2 emissions from coal power plants. Obviously these are not just for the living room.
- Mattress: How many hours do you sleep a night? While sitting on a couch a few hours a day made from synthetic materials is one thing, sleeping on a toxic polyfoam mattress is bad news. Opt for latex mattress (but beware natural latex made from the rubber tree is what you want, synthetic latex is a fake full of toxicity). Wool is also an option but more expensive. Especially if you have children invest for their sake as the younger the human body is the more it will be affected by chemicals.
- Bedding: Same as above, spend the money especially on pillows for wool or buckwheat hulls. Think how many hours you breathe with your head on a pillow. I also invested in a wool duvet (real down feathers results in many geese dying and many duvets are synthetic), organic sheets, and an organic cotton duvet cover. If I am going to spend 1/3 of my life in bed I might as well by eco and cozy.
- Bed Frame: While many furniture manufactures are shifting to be more responsible it is taking time, trees are the lungs of our planet. Look for FSC sustainably managed wood or products approved by the sustainable furnishings council.
- Shower Curtain: If you use one this is one of the greatest sources of toxicity, especially when it interacts with hot steam. Choose chloride-free PEVA vinyl which doesn’t emit harmful chemicals into the air.
- Glass: Bowels, tupaware, cups, pitcher, blender, jars, and anything else glass.
- Stainless Steel: Knives, utensils, serving spoons, measuring cups/spoons pots and pans (cast iron pan is also good and to clean your stainless steel pan use a stainless steel scrub brush, makes it just as easy as non-stick, and Teflon is toxic).
- Wood: Bamboo is a good sustainable choice for cutting boards, dish rack, and large cooking spoons.
- Real authentic old-school ceramic cookware is also non-toxic but beware of the new nano version, not enough data.
- Notice that my kitchen doesn’t have any plastic, simply no need and plastic leaches chemicals with heat, no thank you!
- Cleaning Supplies: Yes most conventional cleaning supplies have a ton of unnecessary chemicals. Buy or make your own green options, just as potent but no harm involved.
- Water Filter: While I prefer tap water over bottled it is vital to filter water especially if your city uses fluoride (now clear it is effective topically but creates problems for the thyroid when ingested). Reverse osmosis or a counter top option like the Berkey are ideal, basic filters like Britta don't do enough.
This conversation could go on forever but these are some big keys to a non-toxic home especially in the bedroom where we spend a ton of time sleeping. Remember, that besides the big priced items (which are an investment for the long term) most of these choices are extremely affordable and you can find good options at places like Ross (great stainless steel options), Goodwill (or other thrift shops, amazing kitchen supplies), Whole Foods (have these amazing biodegradable green sponges to replace paper towels), and other stores.
One purchase at a time you can have a non-toxic home or apartment as well!!!