Top 5 in Real Estate Network® Members are dedicated to providing you with the most up-to-date, helpful real estate information. This monthly newsletter, "Real Estate Matters," offers articles on a range of topics that will inform you in your real estate pursuits.

How to Do a Home Detox

While you may have tried a juice cleanse or a gluten-free diet to rid your body of unhealthy substances, have you ever considered what harmful elements might be inhabiting your home?

According to the home experts at Martha Stewart Living, giving your home a detox is a great way to purge chemicals and toxins that can lead to health hazards like allergies, asthma and more serious issues such as cancer. While going completely chemical-free may be impossible, here are six things you can do to improve your home’s health, and more importantly, yours:

1. Household cleaners are one of the biggest sources of toxins in the home, so opt for natural cleaners such as baking soda, white vinegar, water and castile soap - a soap made only from vegetable oils that is both biodegradable and nontoxic. And don’t forget good, old-fashioned elbow grease.

Before you throw away your old cleaning products, check with your city’s sanitation department to find out how to safely dispose of hazardous household waste. Never pour them down the drain as they could contaminate water supply.

2. If you still want to buy cleaners, look for those that don’t contain phosphates, chlorine or artificial fragrances. For scented products, choose those that use essential oils for their fragrance.

3. Remove toxins from your indoor air by eliminating volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are often found in scented air fresheners and disinfectants, as well as paints, carpeting and flooring. Increase ventilation by cracking a window or using an exhaust fan while cleaning. A good air filter will also do the trick; just be sure to change the HVAC filters regularly.

4. Test your water for lead, heavy metals and PH levels, and buy a water filter if necessary.

5. Read ingredient labels on skin care products, and familiarize yourself with common ingredients that may be harmful to your health, such as parabens  (a preservative) and triclosan (an antibacterial agent).

6. Incorporate essential oils into your household routine, both in terms of your cleaning and personal care. Anytime “fragrance” is listed as an ingredient on a product, it may be hiding up to 3,000 ingredients that manufacturers are not required to disclose. Remember, essential oils are highly concentrated, so diffuse them accordingly.  

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