No one wants to see their children continually suffer from runny, stuffy noses or have trouble breathing and sleeping. Often such symptoms are chalked up to the unavoidable—allergies or winter's cold and flu viruses, but what if you can eliminate the cause of your family’s misery? What if the cause isn’t coming from the outside of your home, but within? If you’re really ready to learn more about and eliminate the problem, discover more about household toxins and use these tips to keep your family out of harm's way.

1) Skip the sprays, aerosols, oven cleaners, the fragrant odor-eliminators, candles, and dryer sheets!  Basically, if it has a smell, and it’s not directly derived from something natural, don’t bring it into your home. (And don't forget to tell the groomer to skip the perfumed sprays on your pet too!). You may love the nice smells, but the trade-off can be dangerous lung irritants and allergy-like symptoms (or worse) due to hundreds of unnamed chemicals hiding under the ingredient “fragrance.” Because of pesky loopholes in regulations, even products which say words like “safe” or “gentle” may be the opposite. Use the Healthy Living app from the Environmental Working Group to scan your products and see if there are harmful toxins lurking within. When looking for safer replacement products, there are both natural solutions (Instead of dryer sheets for example, dump some baking soda in with your wash.  It softens fabric and eliminates odors) and products you can purchase (look for certified B corporations). 

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2) Consider leaving shoes at the door (the same shoes with the doggy doo-doo, pesticides, and who-knows-what-else we've been tramping around in).  You don't want to track what’s normally outdoors and underfoot all around the house, and you definitely don’t want little ones crawling around on a floor that is contaminated.

3) If you can put a few easy-care plants around (i.e., philodendron), they breathe out life-giving oxygen for you and your family!  As a bonus, many plants actually help clean toxins from the air in your home. Thanks, Mother Nature!

With a little determination this upcoming winter, you won’t be fooled into thinking every sniffle is courtesy of cold and flu season. Remember, you’re the gatekeeper for your home; even little steps in the right direction may make a big difference in your success at creating a happier, healthier, toxin-free home.