What toxic items are lurking in your house that could harm your family? Find out what you should ditch and keep from room to room with these spring cleaning tips for household safety.
It's easy to become paranoid about potentially toxic household items and products -- what's safe and what's not seems to change from day to day. Here's how to feel secure and healthy in your own home as you dig into spring cleaning.
Not everything is toxic
The news media can make it seem as though every last thing is toxic, that your home is next to be infested by bed bugs that the items your children play with on a daily basis could cause irreversible side effects. "There are more than 80,000 chemicals in commerce. Rather than focusing on all of those, just be aware of what goes into your mouth or what is on your skin, as well as what is in the air we breathe, particularly at home," says Dr. Alan Greene, author of Raising Baby Green.
In other words, keep doing what you've likely been doing all along as a parent -- looking for the safest version of a toy, cup, spoon or nursery item for your child. Simply maintaining awareness about non-toxic household products is one of the best ways to keep your family safe, says Dr. Greene.
Safety room by room
There are likely items in your home that do pose a risk to the health of your family -- and some about which you might have unnecessary concerns. According to Dr. Greene, the average American is exposed to 126 chemicals in everyday items. As you do your spring cleaning, enhance your awareness about some of the most common hazardous products and follow these tips for replacing or removing them.
Under the sink: In the kitchen and bathroom, there are no doubt cleaners that pose a risk. "Replace your current cleaners -- those that have a 'warning' or 'danger' label on them -- with those that don't have harsh chemicals," says Dr. Greene. Toilet bowl cleaners in particular are toxic. There are plenty of "green" alternatives on the market now, or just stick to old-fashioned baking soda and vinegar for effective cleaning results.
In the fridge: Containers made with BPA abound in the refrigerator. "Choose BPA-free products to store foods," says Dr. Greene, adding that BPA is especially dangerous for pregnant women, babies and toddlers.
In the medicine cabinet: Sunscreen is a necessity for protecting skin, but certain formulas are toxic. "Look for sunscreen that contains minerals like zinc and titanium, which are less toxic," suggests Dr. Greene.
In the bedroom: Beds themselves can be toxic. "Kids' mattresses are made of polyurethane, are petroleum- and flame-retardant and are often wrapped in vinyl or PVC," explains Greene. If you make one large investment in an effort to detox your home, go with a natural or organic mattress.
DIY green cleaning products
Easy homemade cleaning products
Learn how to make home-made cleaning products in 3 minutes for SUPER CHEAP with Hilary Fleming!