5 Easy Steps for Creating a Healthier Home

by Charise Rohm Nulsen

With the official start of summer right around the corner, as we spend more time outside in beautiful weather, it somehow seems easier to prioritize being healthy and creating a healthier home. Here are 5 easy steps that we will be prioritizing this summer to create a healthier home:

1. Eat whole, unprocessed, organic foods as much as possible:
Summer is a great time to try to eat as many foods as possible in their natural forms. The more unnatural and processed a meal is, the more chemicals are in your food. This means more synthetics, more additives, more mystery ingredients, less healthy enzymes and nutrients, and less support for organic farms. I know it can be challenging to buy all organic, but you can follow these easy organic guidelines to make sure you buy organically for the most important foods. Also, by eating foods in their natural and whole form, you are more likely to avoid packaging chemicals such as BPA.

2. Avoid plastic as much as possible:
We are surrounded by plastic – it’s in our packaging, our children’s toys, our household products, and even in our clothing. This may make it feel like avoiding plastic is a no win battle, but it is worth reducing your plastic exposure in order to avoid BPA, PVC, and PET. Why surround ourselves with carcinogens when simple choices like using cloth bags, buying wooden toys, and using glass or stainless steel containers can make our homes healthier? For more information on the dangers of plastic and for suggestions on how to avoid it, check out Cloth Diapering Mama’s post: Leaching…yucky word…yucky consequences…PLASTIC.

3. Fight indoor air pollution:
Summer is the best time ever to get in the habits that reduce indoor air pollution!
- Don’t wear shoes in the house. You’re most likely going to be wearing flip flops this summer anyway, so just slide them off at the door. This greatly reduces the amount of lead dust, bacteria, and allergens in your home!
- Open your windows! Especially when there is beautiful weather, why not keep your home healthier and enjoy the fresh air?
- Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to clean your home. We bought our Eureka Air Extreme after reading all of the fantastic research on AllergyBuyersClub.com.

4. Keep flame retardants away:
Sleepwear for children 9 months old to 14 years of age is treated with dangerous flame retardant chemicals. To avoid exposing your children to these chemicals, you can buy organic sleepwear or buy regular sleepwear that has a bright yellow tag attached stating that the garment is either “not intended as children’s sleepwear”, “meant to fit tightly”, or “is not treated with flame retardants”. These flame retardant chemicals are also in our mattresses and many of the foam products that we use for our babies and children. We will definitely be buying an organic mattress when it is time for a new one!

5. Use natural cleansers:
We use a mixture of vinegar and water on everything! As my baby licks the floor and bites the furniture, I feel especially thankful for not using chemicals and toxins on the surfaces of our home. For more cleaning power, you can mix in some Borax or baking soda.

Baby plays on the grass

Let the lovely fresh air into your home with open windows and fight indoor air pollution at the same time!

For more advice on creating a healthier home, visit Healthy Child, Healthy World.

What is your favorite piece of advice for creating a healthier home?

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eve June 7, 2011 at 11:07 am

This is a great post, Charise! I am super happy to say that I already do all of these things!!
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2 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama June 7, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Thank you, Eve! Awesome that you already do all of these things!! I’m sure Handsome appreciates it :-)


3 Suchada @ Mama Eve June 7, 2011 at 11:19 am

I love this post! It’s taken me baby steps over years to do all of these things, so “easy” doesn’t exactly describe it for me, but it’s definitely worth is, and every little step towards them is a step towards health!


4 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama June 7, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Thanks, Suchada! That’s so great that you are doing all of these things. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get there, as long as you get there, right?


5 Lisa @Granola Catholic June 7, 2011 at 11:31 am

Great tip on the flame retardant clothing for kids. It was always hard for me to find non-pj’s for my kids. Most of the pj’s for kids are of a polyester fabric and I always preferred cotton. So my kids would wear cotton long johns and big t-shirts for pj’s. If you avoid the polyester blends, you avoid the flame retardant. Polyester melts so you need to add retardant to it. Cotton and natural fabrics do not melt. So no need to add flame retardant.
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6 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama June 7, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Thanks, Lisa! This is great additional info about flame retardants in clothing!


7 Karen Foster June 7, 2011 at 11:41 am

great tips


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8 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama June 7, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Thanks, Karen! On my way to visit you!


9 Jessica | Cloth Diapering Mama June 7, 2011 at 12:11 pm

All excellent suggestions to green up your home and stay healthy.

Thanks for including my plastic post…together we can brighten up this world!
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10 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama June 7, 2011 at 5:16 pm


Thanks for being my plastic-less resource!


11 Kelly June 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Awesome suggestions Charise. :)

I’m continually amazed at how many of these things I’m doing now – things I certainly didn’t pay attention to just a year ago!

Another way I’m trying to make our home healthy is getting outdoors as much as possible – especially now that it’s summer and we don’t have to wear all those layers! Even if it’s just taking the dog for a walk – I want the Bean to get outdoors as much as possible (and it’s honestly not something I always want to do – especially when it’s hot!).

We’re also growing some of our own food this year – and hoping it works! :D
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12 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama June 7, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Thanks, Kelly!

It’s so impressive how far you and I have come in a year! Nothing like a baby to inspire you, right?

Getting outdoors is a great suggestion. We do that as much as possible :-)


13 michelle spreckels June 7, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Great Information Charise! As a fellow greenie mommy, I already adhere to your 5 ways. A tip? We have many green plants in our home. They help eliminate toxins, and add oxygen, and beauty to any space. We found a list of safe greenery for our children in Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano.
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14 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama June 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Thanks, Michelle! Excellent tip! We do that too. We actually got Baby two plants for his room in his 1st Easter basket this year :-)


15 Dr. Julie-Ann aka The Modern Retro Woman June 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm

As I was doing my morning routine this morning, I was thinking about how many “retro” homekeeping methods are really healthier and better for us than the modern chemical-laden stuff. Who need Febreeze when I can simply open some windows to freshen up the air in house?
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16 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama June 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm



17 Alison Golden - The Secret Life of a Warrior Woman June 12, 2011 at 5:50 pm

I’d never thought about that before – taking shoes off cuts down on allergens etc. I’d just thought about dirt and me having to do more vacuuming! Good point!


18 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama June 13, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I thought about it the same exact way up until the past couple of years, Alison!


19 Mimi June 15, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I try to have my windows open even on not so warm & sunny days. I can’t imagine how expensive an organic mattress will be, but living healthier certainly is more appealing!


20 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama June 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm

That’s great, Mimi!


21 Bibi June 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm

These are great tips,Charise.

I am a stickler about people taking off their shoes at the door and I never liked my kids sleeping in flame retardant sleepwear. Healthy and organic food was never issue in my house (luckily), but we need to work more on our plastic use and green cleaners.


22 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama June 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Thanks, Bibi! Sounds like you have a very healthy household!


23 Sarah June 15, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Thank you for the tips. I learn so much every time I visit your site. I especially liked the tip about the pajamas!


24 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama June 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Aww… thanks, Sarah! It means a lot to hear you say that!


25 Laura June 15, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Great tips, especially #1! Stumbled!
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26 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama June 16, 2011 at 11:49 am

Thank you, Laura!


27 Kristl Story June 16, 2011 at 11:46 pm

I bought my last case of bottled water 2 years ago! Now everyone in the family has their own refillable stainless steel bottle for work, school, sports, etc. It’s both budget friendly and earth friendly! http://www.TheBudgetDiet.com/the-budget-diet-girl-goes-green
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28 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama June 20, 2011 at 8:22 am

Good for you, Kristl!


29 Dr. Julie-Ann aka The Modern Retro Woman June 20, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Back for another visit: Stumbled
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30 Tara @ Testosterone Treatment July 18, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Thanks so much for outlining these tips. I have been recently trying to make my life and my home as healthy as possible and this is a great starting off point for me to follow on a daily basis. Glad I came across it!


31 Bob Lipply@tarpon springs realtor September 17, 2011 at 2:36 am

Very practical tips Charise! I’m not just really sure about the vinegar thing :) What can we mix with it to avoid its smell? Thanks for sharing this one.


32 Alyssa Hall September 28, 2011 at 11:23 pm

A lot of sense and great information. You are absolutely right that eating unprocessed foods like fresh vegetables, fruits, and fresh meats contributes good health to your body. In the other sense, vinegar is good as a cleanser because as the study shows that it kills bacteria 99% , and it is much effective than other disinfectants that has a strong mixture of chemicals.
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33 Tawna Guerra November 21, 2011 at 7:07 pm

There is no good thing to benefit about in eating processed and preservative foods, it will makes your body prone to diseases that usually cause you to die. Eating healthy foods like fresh vegetables, fresh fruits/juice, and all fresh foods is necessary. This could be a great reminder to all of us here to beware of eating processed foods.

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34 Rebecca @ Natural Mothers Network February 18, 2012 at 8:54 am

Thank you Charise for sharing these great tips with us on Seasonal Celebration. If you want an email reminder each week click here http://eepurl.com/i-8pr
Rebecca x
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