Holiday Prep: Indoor Air Tips for a Healthy Home

The holiday season is one that is often filled with memories of yummy smells, savory family recipes and great memories. Unfortunately, those smells may be making us sick. Here are a few Healthy Home Tips to keep your family and friends safe this season.

1. Shoe Check- The first line of defense to always improving your indoor air quality lies at the front door. Many cultures have had the practice of no shoes inside for hundreds of years. You leave the dirt at the door. We track dirt, dander, pesticides, and pollutants into our homes through the bottom of our shoes. Checking those at the door is one simple and free way to help keep our homes healthier.

2. Vent Your Kitchen- You should always be venting your kitchen, not just on Thanksgiving! The HomeChem Project found that a Thanksgiving meal can create as much indoor air pollution as a mid-size city experiences. Without changing all those savory dishes, simply turn on your range hood, microwave hood, or crack the windows to keep the airflow going and to keep ozone and particulates from accumulating in your home. 

3. Safer Candles- From scents like cinnamon and fir, to 'Mistletoe Makeout Session', there are a lot of potentially harmful synthetic ingredients in scented candles. The more unique the name, the more you should explore the ingredients in candles. Popular mainstream brands can contain 100s if not 1000s of synthetic ingredients to create the fragrance you adore so much. Unfortunately, you won’t know what those ingredients are or how much they might be harming your health because often they are protected by trade laws. Also, many mainstream candles still contain paraffin wax, which is petroleum-based. Candles made outside the U.S. may have heavy metals in the wicks.

To avoid potentially harmful effects, look for candles made of 100% beeswax, coconut wax or soy to ensure that they are paraffin-free. Check the wicks for 100% cotton, hemp or wood. Lastly, make sure your scents are 100% essential oils or botanicals. If you just want “better”, phthalate-free scents are safer than traditional fragrances. There are countless safer scented candles, our recommendations can be found here! 

4. Green and Clean- We spend a ton of time during the holidays cleaning. First, don’t dust- yes, I said, don’t dust. All you’re doing is recirculating dust and dander. Instead, grab old rags and wipe down surfaces.  Next, swap out those name brand basics for safer cleaning products. EWG has a great resource for evaluating what products are safer for cleaning your home. A few of our personal favorites are Meliora, Attitude Living, Branch Basic, and City Maid Green. Doterra’s Onguard and Thieves products are great additions to your home too.

5. EMBRACE the HEPA- HEPA filters are a great way to keep the air clean in your home. Making sure that your vacuum has a HEPA filter will improve the quality of your cleaning, and setting up air purifiers in your home will keep dust, dander and harmful chemicals from lingering while you lounge. Air Purifiers can be pricey, and they all cover different square footage. Our top picks include Honeywell HEPA, Molekule, Austin Air and Air Dr.  

Keep these tips in mind this holiday season to keep you and your family safe! Safer scents and venting are two small steps that can have big impacts on our respiratory health.