5 Hacks for a Healthier Home
With the arrival of spring, which can bring on some of the most miserable symptoms for allergy-sufferers, our focus for Physical Environment week on our Spring Equitox package is on hacks for a healthier home. Sophie Lavabre Barrow, founder of KINN, sheds light on some fascinating topics, including how clutter is a hinderance to performance, the best alternatives to plastic packaging and which familiar cleaning products contain hidden animal fats. Yes, animal fats. In cleaning products.
To quote Marie Kondo, “does it spark joy?”
Personally, I cannot stand clutter (the thought of all that stuff just sitting there, not being used…accumulating dust) and so when Marie Kondo encouraged the world to stop hoarding and throw/give things away, I fully jumped onboard! To declutter is to de-stress. A study by scientists at Princeton Uni (1) found that clutter hinders your ability to focus and process information. Decluttering reduces anxiety because excess stimuli formed by a disorganized home can overwhelm your brain. It leaves that niggle in the back of your mind that you have yet another chore to get done: cleaning. It can also make you ashamed or embarrassed about your home, leading to further anxiety.
I don’t know about you, but I cannot sleep in a messy room, and decluttering can actually improve sleep!
REM sleep helps your brain perform tasks such as memory processing and helps heal your body and expel toxins. While we appear unaware of our external surroundings while we sleep, the brain still interprets the environment around us. If your bedroom is cluttered, you’ll not only find it harder to de-stress before bed, but your quality of sleep might be compromised.
Lastly, to address the aforementioned dust collecting clutter, by decluttering your home you can help reduce allergens in the home!
Get some plants inside
I love indoor planting, and I adore stepping into my grandmother’s house and the oasis of plants she has!
It's no secret that nature relaxes and rejuvenates our minds. By bringing nature indoors, you'll bring
these benefits into your home. Plants provide fresh air by producing oxygen and eliminating toxins. A highly recommended indoor plant is the spider plant - easy to grow in the home, it cleans the air of toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene. The rubber plant is also a popular indoor plant due to its attractive, oval shaped leaves. Even better than its ornamental appearance, the rubber plant is efficient at eliminating toxic compounds from the air. As the plant develops, its efficiency increases, too.
Plants also naturally humidify the air. Roughly 10% of moisture in the air is released by plants. There are certain plants, such as the Areca palm, which are very efficient at releasing moisture. A natural humidifying plant is particularly useful in the drier months. Plants like succulents or cacti, however, retain water so they don't release much moisture into the air.
Get rid of those synthetic products
When was the last time you read the back of a label and understood what was actually inside the bottle? For instance, until I started researching for the KINN laundry line, I had no idea that fabric conditioner in many cases contain animal fats! Yes, that’s right, animal fats hidden under the name Dihydrogenated tallow dimethyl ammonium chloride!
One of the most important steps to making your home a healthy one is to swap out standard cleaning and
skin care products for organic or natural products. They are one of the major factors of toxicity in the home. Toxic substances in cleaning products can enter our bodies through ingestion, inhalation or absorption through the skin. This can harm organs and lead to serious health problems, but also more common illnesses like repeated common colds or asthma.
Cleaning products which include essential oils are particularly beneficial as they not only remove dirt
and germs naturally, but they can also help lift your mood and leave your home feeling fresh!
Swap out plastic for glass
When you're decanting your food into the pantry or simply looking to store your leftovers there really is nothing better than glass food containers and beeswax kitchen wraps. If you are using plastic to store food then make sure its BPA free, and don’t reuse plastic water bottles, especially those that have been left in the sun! I recommend one of the lovely water bottles from Swell if you’re a fan of keeping your water cold (or ice cold as I prefer!)
Throw out those nasty cheap candles
Yes, you read that right, throw away those cheap candles with the fake fragrance, paraffin wax and toluene (known carcinogens) and instead invest in a diffuser and some pure essential oils and harness the benefits of aromatherapy. Not only can you mix and make your own scent, get the benefits of pure essential oils and aromatherapy, but you also won’t be breathing in the myriad of chemicals that can be found in candles.
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