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Healing your home – how to remove toxins from your home

Your clean home can be a virtual breeding ground for germs and bacteria. The chemical cleaning agents can leave toxic residues. Learn how to keep your home clean and toxic free. Adopt natural cleaning practices that are healthier for your family and you.

We speak of pollution on our streets and how it affects our health but have you ever given a thought to the deadly toxins that float, almost undetected within your home. Yes, would you believe that your lovely house could also harbor harmful elements?

You have a water filter, your kitchen has antibacterial soap and there are clean towels in your bathroom every morning, you mop the floor with a disinfectant. You are doing everything to protect your family from the dangers that you recognize – viruses, bacteria and bugs that can harm their health. It's a clean and energy-efficient environment, but also one in which airborne toxins can rapidly build up.

Mother Nature the cleanser

You know you have to ventilate your home and you open the windows to let the air in. You run the exhausts in the bathroom and the chimney in the kitchen, so the toxic elements actually get blown away. But, you still use harsh cleaners, bleaches and acids – these may clean your home, but they also release noxious chemicals, the residues of which linger in your home.

Is there anything that you can do, to clean up your living environment, more safely? Is there anything less toxic than the chemical induced cleaning agents that you use?

The answer to that is a resounding yes. I'm going to guide you on how to effectively switch to environmentally friendly, less toxic agents around your home -

Multi-purpose cleaner

Mix four teaspoons of sodium bicarbonate also known as bicarbonate of soda and baking soda in a litre of warm water. It serves as an excellent cleanser that can pick up even stubborn grime, from any surface. Just dab some on a cleaning cloth and run over dirty surfaces, to make them squeaky clean.

Drain cleaner

The next time you have a clogged kitchen drain go to your kitchen cabinet and pull out that jar of baking soda. Transfer half-a-cup of baking soda into the drain followed by half-a-cup of white vinegar. Give it five minutes - let the mix work its magic, after which you just pour a saucepan full of steaming hot water down the drain and you'll be surprised how easily the water flows. It dissolves the gunk that gets lodged in the drain pipes.

Toilet bowl cleaner

Make your own toilet cleaner using lemon juice and borax, also known as sodium borate, disodium tetraborate or sodium tetraborate. It is available at hardware stores. Make a paste using these two ingredients and apply on the toilet bowl. Leave for a couple of hours and scrub clean. It removes stains; hard water deposits and leaves the bowl sparkling clean.

Cleaning the oven

This works for your OTG and the microwave. You need to attack the spills when they are still fresh. The longer you let them be, the harder they get to clean. Pour water over the spills, after you're done baking. Make sure the oven is still warm. Then sprinkle some table salt over the same. Wait for the oven to cool and you'll be able to swipe away the tough stains, with ease. If left ignore the spills can get mouldy.

Cleaning mirrors & windows

Water and vinegar are my handy ingredients when it comes to cleaning anything that has glass. Dilute vinegar with water in the ratio of 1:10 and spray it on the glass/window. Use a clean, absorbent cloth or newspaper to wipe it off. This is particularly good for removing scum from bathroom windows. If you clean your windows regularly you can use plain water for the same effect.

Room freshener

Fragrant air fresheners, advertisements of which you see on television are tempting. You probably want to buy one, if you haven't already. Instead, do this simple trick – strategically place fragrant indoor-plants around your home. Flowering adeniums or a fragrant jasmine plant can spread their scent all through your home.

Alternatively, use dried lavender sprigs (available online) as décor or leave fresh mint leaves standing in a vase of water. Bring home indoor plants that purify the air. Money plant and Aloe Vera make good houseplants that remove toxins and purify the air.

Rainy season blues

Damp weather can play havoc in your life. All the stuff that you have to deal with during the rains can be exasperating. Mould has a way of flourishing in wet weather and it can have some serious implications on your health - sniffles, itchy eyes, sneezing, wheezing…the works. I am allergic to this nasty stuff, so am extra cautious during wet weather, taking extra precautions to ensure mould does not inhabit my home. I fight mould using some simple techniques and have been quite successful with my endeavours.

Spores from the fungi can transfer from one item to another and colonise your home. Invest in a dehumidifier, especially if you suffer from allergies and have small children and aged people living at home, and if you have a perennial problem of mould. You can also have an electrician fix light bulb fixtures inside your cupboards, the heat from a bulb is enough to deter mould from growing. I practiced doing this, and this piece of advice was passed down to me (and to everyone who moves to damp Lonavala) by people who've lived there before.

Say Tata to chlorine

The water in your tap is chlorinated; it's an effective germ-killer and destroys most waterborne bugs. Unfortunately, too much chlorine can be harmful to you. What's the solution? Bottled water is one or you can have an activated charcoal water filter installed in your kitchen.

Boiling water will not remove chlorine, but if you swirl a piece of alum in the water, let it stand for a while, you'll do a better job at removing it.

Sound the war bugle against dust mites

Even the most scrupulously cleaned house might not be free from dust mites, because of the little nooks and crannies that people ignore. If you have a vacuum cleaner your cleaning routines can be made much easier. But, most people I know do not use vacuum cleaners as often as they should. It is a mere showpiece, stashed, behind a door. You need to use that gadget, to extend its life and yours as well.

My folks would sun the mattresses, ever so frequently. And this is one practice that I don't follow. Blame it on the bulk of the present day mattresses, lugging them out into the open is no mean task. But, what I do is air them once a week. Mattresses collect a lot of sweat and dead skin cells. So, I vacuum the mattresses once a month and leave them without a sheet for half-a-day, once every week. With the windows left open, they receive a good airing out.

Unseen to the naked eye, dust mites are harmful little critters, which keep multiplying, if you allow them to. Make sure your home is not just superficially clean, but really clean. The top of the cupboards, the intricate woodwork on the table legs, and space under heavy furniture are a safe haven for dust mite. Keep those areas clean and you'll breathe healthier. It helps to have a weekly routine that includes cleaning of neglected areas.

Cold shoulder the germs

We come in contact with germs wherever we go. They are present on the cleanest of surfaces, so how do you protect yourself. Washing your hands and disinfecting them is one way, but that might not always be possible. Instead, avoid touching your eyes and the mouth, for that is one of the ways they invade your body. If you do not allow them to enter your body they cannot make you sick.

Your kitchen sponges and the scrubbers can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Ensure that these are properly washed and dried each time. Damp and dirty scrubbers will allow the bacteria to multiply.

These are just some ways through which you can heal your home and prevent toxic build-up from happening. What are your healthy practices?

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Author: Venkiteswaran24 May 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

It is a tradition to burn Agarbathi (incense sticks) in homes and places of worship. This though done as a sort of tradition and habit is actually done as a sort of cleaning the air inside the places. They serve as air purifiers and deodorants. They also drive away small insects, mosquitoes and other flying insects.

The purpose of whitewashing (lime washing) home walls is also for same. The freshly whitewashed walls reflect light well, discourage insects and creatures from settling on walls. The use of fireworks in moderation during certain festivals also help in cleansing the ambient environment and sanitising to some extent.

Author: Juana02 Jul 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3


Agarbathi or incense sticks do not serve as air purifiers. They, in fact, pollute the air and emit toxins, as they burn. There are studies done on the effects of smoke from incense sticks and all of them point to it being hazardous.

I am allergic to agarbathis and suffer from severe allergic reactions in their presence.

The smoke drives away small insects, as you say, and that proves my point, of it being hazardous. The tiny creatures recognise the potential danger and flee. Fireworks have the same effect, as burning them raises the sulphur content in the atmosphere which kills/drives away insects.

The purpose of this article was to suggest the use of green products to purify and clean our homes. And your tips, I am afraid, pollute the environment and I will not endorse them.

Author: Sanjeev Gupta28 Oct 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

Today when the air is more polluted because of fewer trees we need to check out some natural ways to keep our home clean and free of germs. Here are a few additional tips to keep your house clean-

1. Carpets of our home are to be cleaned regularly as dust gets collected and trapped in and under them.

2. Always use a light wet cloth for the dusting of your home so that the dust particles may not fly and remain suspended inside the house and ultimately cause problems in breathing.

3. If you are a smoker, quit smoking and ask your guests too not to smoke at home.

4. Above all, try to plant more trees near your home as they would help in purifying the air around us.

Author: Juana19 Jun 2019 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 5


Thank you for sharing these tips here. Additionally, we must also open all doors and windows, for at least ten minutes, once every twenty-four hours, preferably in the mornings, when the air outside is fresh. Doing so helps remove the stale toxin-laden air to be replaced with pure air.

The house must also be swept and mopped every day. Cleaning the difficult to reach areas of the house is equally important. Areas such as the top of cupboards, under the bed and under the heavy furniture. These places are often overlooked.

Dusting must also be done meticulously, to ensure the house is spotlessly clean. Areas that need special attention include behind wall frames, wall clocks a mounted television etc. The grills on the windows, intricate woodwork all need to be dusted regularly. I follow a daily cleaning routine and focus on one area a day, so every part of the house gets dusted periodically.

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