STOP BREATHING: Your Air Is Killing You (and what to do about it)

1.  Stop Smoking.

If you have sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, or asthma (or your children do), and you smoke …. seriously?!  Really?  Stop, duh.  It’s not cool any more.

Stay away from tobacco and other smoke.  Even the smell of smoke that you can smell on other people – on their clothes, in their hair, on their furniture – is toxic.  Keep them away.

2.  Change your furnace filters, already.

Check them every month, especially if you have pets. Change them at least every 6 months.  No – they were not meant to be changed every 15 years like the oil in your car ;D

3.  Run a HEPA-filtered vacuum at least every week.

More often if you have pets.  This will help minimize those dust bunnies.  It can also help minimize the dust mite or cockroach problem.

4.  Clean and detoxify your air with plants.

The 3 Plants recommended by Kamal Meattle (rhymes with Beattle):

  • Areca Palm – the “living room plant”
  • Mother-in-law’s Tongue – the “bedroom plant”
  • Money Plant – the “specialist plant”

5. Watch Meattle’s TED talk (HIGHLY recommended):

6. Read Dr. Wolverton’s book, “How to Grow Fresh Air,”

available on Amazon:

7.  Reduce mold in your home.

Every home has mold, but you can reduce it:

  • Run the ventilation fan when you take a shower.
  • Track down leaking faucets or condensation on pipes – look beneath your bathroom or kitchen sink.  Any stains beneath the pipes suggest a leak or dripping condensation.  Have it checked – that moisture is a potential source of mold.
  • If you use a humidifier in your bedroom at night (a good idea), turn it off during the day.  Open the room up to air it out.
  • You don’t need to use bleach to scrub away mold. Tea tree oil is a natural antifungal.  Add a teaspoon of the essential oil to a cup of water and apply solution with a brush.

6.  Get rid of as much plastic in your life as possible.

Sure, plastics have brought us convenience, but they have also brought us poisons.  The volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) from our furniture, wall coverings, PVC pipes, clothing, dishes, etc., all pollute our air, our water, our food. They are bad for us.  This means (these are mostly about your water, but still valuable):

  • Stop drinking bottled water.  Every liter of bottled water requires 2 liters of water to produce the bottle and get the water into the bottle (that’s a whole separate rant!), and we use enough oil to fuel 1 Million cars per year in this country, just to make the bottles for our water. Here are the startling facts, kindly collected by the Pacific Institute. Worse, bottled water contains toxins ( and ).
  • Use tap water.  Filter it if you must.  We do.
  • Carry your water around in a cool stainless bottle.  I use one by Klean Kanteen (see my Amazon Store on right column of this blog).
  • Store your leftovers in glass or stainless.

7.  Get rid of all those toxic cleaners.

In your home, in your office, in your garage, in your car.

Natural cleaning alternatives include:

  • Vinegar.  Mix 1:1 with water for natural all-purpose cleaner. Test on inconspicuous area first. Vinegar nicely cuts grease, removes mildew.  CAUTION: do NOT use on marble. AND: It may dissolve tile grout.
  • Use straight vinegar for toilet cleaning.
  • Use vinegar as a fabric softener: add 1/2 cup vinegar to rinse cycle in place of commercial softener.  Good for those with sensitive skin (and who doesn’t have that?).
  • Lemon juice.  Excellent at dissolving soap scum and hard water deposits.
  • Baking soda.  Sprinkle baking soda on cut half of lemon – use to scrub surfaces, stains, dishes.  Wow. Nice effect.
  • Baking soda is great for cutting grease, getting wax or lipstick out of clothing – make a paste with a little water and gently rub before loading into washer.

8.  Finally, take your shoes off.

It is said that 85% of dirt and toxins in the dust in our homes comes in on our shoes.  Leave your shoes at the door to prevent bringing the attached dirt, bacteria, and pollutants into your home.

Do a search on BPA or VOC to get a sense of how these toxins are contributing to your illnesses – from asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, and immune disorders, to all-out cancer.  If you or your children have ANY chronic illness, chances are there is a scientific study that demonstrates a link to toxins in our plastics.

Any other tips that you use to reduce the pollutants in your home? Please share.

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