6 Tips for a Healthier Home

Keep germs and harmful chemicals out of your abode by making a few household changes.

Keeping House

Think your home is healthy? Don't be so sure. Here are some things you might not have considered.

Refresh your air freshener.

Live Greener

Like everything we build, our new homes in Fredericksburg, Virginia are painted with low-VOC paint, which is safer for the environment and you. If you do any additional painting in your home, remember to buy low- VOC paint, too.

Do you deodorize with commercial air fresheners? You might want to nix that practice. According to a study by The National Resources Defense Council 12 out of 14 air fresheners contain phthalates, a chemical believed to disrupt the human endocrine system (that doesn't sound good, does it?). And even fresheners that are labeled “pure” and “natural” contain phthalates. To make your own freshener, mix a few drops of an organic essential oil (GNC stores carry them) with distilled or purified water and spray with a mister. Another option is Greenhome.com, which sells a variety of non-toxic air fresheners.

Take off your shoes.

It's a good idea to remove your shoes, when you come home. Shoes bring in lawn pesticides, car-exhaust particles, and other yucky stuff (if you ever visit a dog park or a public restroom, you get our drift). To minimize a big shoe pile, think about keeping a shoe rack by your front door.

Beware of the VOCs.

Although all Ryan Homes are painted with Sherwin-Williams low-VOC paint, many new homes—especially older homes—aren't. According to the EPA, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are emitted by a wide variety of products, such as paints, glues, and permanent markers. If you must use these kinds of products, make sure you use them outside or keep the windows open.

Clean up your cleaning products.

Commercial cleaning products are full of those pesky VOCs that simply aren't good for you or the planet. The good news is that there are many other products on the market that are free of ammonia, chlorine, and parabens. Read our blog posts on the Best Green Cleaning Products or get thrifty and creative and simply make your own.

Rethink your dry cleaning.

Most commercial dry cleaners use perchloroethylene (a scary word that's been nicknamed “perc”). Bottom line: Perc is a toxic cleaning solution and a probable carcinogen (no one likes hearing that). If you often dry clean your clothes, experts suggest that you unwrap your garments and let them air out in your garage for two days before you move them into your home. Another, healthier alternative is to take your clothes to a pro who doesn't use perc. To find a greener cleaner in your area, visit nodryclean.com.

Filter your tap water.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which compiles millions of records from state water officials across the country, much of the water we drink contains contaminants you might not want to guzzle down. To discover what might be lurking in your tap water, and to find the right filter to reduce your exposure, check out the EWG's online water filter guide.

Ryan Homes Tip: When you come home at the end of the day, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to remove any pesky germs you may have picked up.