green living

Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

BY KATE SHEAN

Did you know that your home’s indoor air quality is more polluted than the air you breathe outside? According to an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)...

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Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

BY KATE SHEAN

Did you know that your home’s indoor air quality is more polluted than the air you breathe outside? According to an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) the air inside your home can be up to two to five times more polluted.

Can you imagine what you are breathing? Mold, dust, pet dander, toxins and chemicals from household items. Yuck. And if you have asthma or allergies, your own home can be the cause of what is keeping you sick. Instead of reaching for the Claritin, you may want to try improving your air quality first.

How to Keep Your Air at Home Clean

1. Start with a clean air filter. Ideally you should change your HEPA air filter every 3-6 months, and maybe more often if you have pets or you are living near construction.

2. Vacuum thoroughly and often. Some people like to think that hardwood floors are cleaner than having carpeting and while this can be true, it is only true if your hard surface floors are very clean. Carpets and rugs can act as an additional “filter” in a room, trapping dust and dander in their fibers. Sounds gross, right? But hardwood floors can be equally problematic because every time you walk on them you are kicking up the tiny dust particles into the air and then inhaling them. Bottom line: keep your floors very clean.

3. Get your ventilation system cleaned annually. A filter is only going to get you so far. If you let the air you breathe pass through vents as dirty as the picture above you’re likely going to have allergy issues. Cleaning and sanitizing them annually, especially in older homes will decrease this possibility.

4. Prevent mold growth. Dry any water damaged areas within 24-48 hours to prevent any mold growth. If you already have mold, check out the EPAs website for steps to getting rid of mold.

5. Radon testing. Radon is a natural gas (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water that gets into the air we breathe and is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. To test if your home has a radon exposure you can order a Radon test kit. If your home tests positive, not worry, it can be mitigated easily. To find out more, check the EPAs guide to Radon Reduction.

6. Do not store chemicals in your home. Do not store chemicals of any kind in your home. Store them in the garage and if your garage is attached to your home, you may want to think about a ventilation system in it to suck the gases from your cars and chemicals outside otherwise each time you open your door those gases are entering your home.

7. Air purifiers. Beware when you purchase a very expensive air purifier thinking it will solve your allergy problems. Some systems are very expensive and offer little relief. Typically ones that use charcoal filters are best. Check consumer reports before making a hefty investment.

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Natural Dishwasher Detergent

BY KATE SHEAN

If your dishes look like this after they’ve been cleaned, you are not alone. The cloudy appearance covering our plastic cooking tools is most likely a...

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Natural Dishwasher Detergent

BY KATE SHEAN

If your dishes look like this after they’ve been cleaned, you are not alone. The cloudy appearance covering our plastic cooking tools is most likely a result of your dishwasher detergent not a broken dishwasher. In June of 2010, it became mandatory to remove phosphates from dishwashing detergents in efforts to keep our waterways clean. While a noble gesture that is keeping rivers and streams clean, it has left us with piles of dirty dishes.

Attempts to remove the whitish film from our dishes have included thoroughly scrubbing dishes by hand before putting them in the dishwasher, using fabulously fragrant vinegar, baking soda, and wasting money on natural cleaners that claim to do the job. Unfortunately, none of these have really worked and have cost us time and money, two things most of us can’t spare.

So why do we miss the good ‘ole days of phosphates? Well, for starters, phosphates clean really well by breaking up food and grease dissolving the calcium that binds them together and washing them away leaving us with sparkly dishes. You may miss your old Cascade, but you shouldn’t miss what it was doing to our waterways.

Phosphates seriously pollute water and cause algae to grow like crazy, like the photo on the right. Algae growth uses up most of the water’s oxygen killing fish and plants making the delicate ecosystem a toxic wasteland. In efforts to be green, commercial companies removed phosphates from dishwasher detergent, but now we are left with dirty dishes that have to be cleaned by hand, run the cycle twice, or replace our dishwashers. In the end, it just doesn’t seem very “green” at all.

Believe it or not, there is hope! Cloudy dishes will be a thing of the past, and you can do it naturally with no phosphates or stinky vinegar smell. Diamond Brite is an amazing product that contains all natural ingredients and is phosphate, bleach, and chlorine free, using enzymes to break down food and grease and wash them away. Everything is biodegradable, so no harm to our waterways! Fish everywhere are thrilled!

Dishes will come out of the dishwasher looking new. No more coffee or tea stains, no more cloudy cups or white film on your dishes. Even better, this concentrated formula will have you using half of your normal detergent, cutting down on recyclables. Even skeptics will be amazed!

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