how to detox your home cleaning

The Frenshe Editors

5 (Actually Easy) Ways to Detox Your Cleaning Routine

Cleaning your house shouldn’t make you sick—but as anyone who’s ever felt headache-y after cleaning knows, certain household cleaners can do just that. In the short term, chemicals like bleach can irritate the eyes, lungs, skin, and throat. What’s more, some common household chemicals, such as those considered volatile organic compounds (VOCs), are linked to chronic health problems. 

“Small exposures can have a big effect,” says Sophia Ruan Gushée, a nontoxic living expert, author of The A to Z of D-Toxing and the founder of Ruan Living. “If we decrease our exposures, we can decrease our body burden, which decreases our health risks.” The good news, she says? You don’t have to choose between a clean home and a healthy one. Here, five ways to detox your cleaning routine for better health and a tidier home. 

1. Learn to love slippers

One of the best ways to detox your cleaning is to avoid bringing in dirt and unhealthy substances in the first place. Guess where a lot of them are living: on your shoes. The soles of our shoes are typically covered not just with dirt, but with everything from pesticides to carcinogens such as coal tar from pavement. Keep them out of your home by slipping off your sneaks (or stilettos—you do you) at the front door. “‘No shoes in the house’ not only reduces dirt and germs, but also toxic chemicals and heavy metals,” Ruan Gushée says. 

2. Dust differently

Dust can contain microscopic amounts of heavy metals such as lead, which is why cleaning it up is so important. While feather dusters might have a certain retro appeal, they’re not doing much to clean your home—but there’s a simple swap that changes everything. “Dry dusting recirculates dust into the air, and then the dust resettles onto surfaces,” says Ruan Gushee. “It’s not as helpful as wet dusting, which can capture more dust.” To successfully lift up dust, use a damp cloth and wash it frequently as you clean. Easy.

3. Make your own cleaning solution

According to the American Lung Association, common household cleaners contain chemicals that can cause allergic reactions, breathing problems, and asthma. Bypass the usual cleaners and instead, make your own with plant-based ingredients. Ruan Gushée’s go-to mix involves adding a few drops of liquid castile soap to water inside of a glass spray bottle. “This mixture is the safest one, since some other ingredients can harm materials like marble,” she says. And yes, it works!

4. Just add steam

Investing in a steam cleaner can help keep floors and tile sparkling. “Steam cleaning can deodorize, clean, and kill germs, bacteria, and more,” says Ruan Gushée. “I find it especially helpful in cleaning the grime in bathroom tiles—nothing works better!” Be mindful of the materials you’re steaming (steam can damage wooden floors, for instance) but otherwise—be prepared to be amazed. 

5. Clear the air

Not-so-fun fact: Indoor air is often much more polluted than outdoor air. (Sounds crazy, but it’s true.) Air purifiers can help, but opening your windows can immediately improve air quality—especially when you’re cleaning. “Generally, you want to ventilate when cleaning and do what you can to reduce cleaning fumes,” Ruan Gushée says. As long as you’re aware of any outdoor air quality issues (for instance, a high level of allergens) you should be able to quickly freshen your air. Best of all, it won’t cost a dime.

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