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A healthier home makes for happier families

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Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:34 am, Sun Jul 27, 2014.

(BPT) - If you’ve ever made a decision not to eat a certain food because it was bad for you, then you’re like most Americans who are increasingly more health-conscious. As you consider what not to put in your body, there are simple ways to improve your health by examining what’s in your home.

Here are four tricks to help reduce your risk for headaches, fatigue, allergies, respiratory illnesses, heart disease, and other serious long-term conditions, and make your home healthier.

Clean green with DIY cleaning supplies

Basic housecleaning can improve your air quality as pollutants like mold and dust are eliminated. Unfortunately, chemical cleaners can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, which can irritate your eyes, nose and throat, and cause headaches, nausea, and damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system, according to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency.

You can replace many dangerous chemical cleaning solutions by creating your own green versions with various combinations of the following ingredients: baking soda, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, Borax, essential oils, such as lavender oil or eucalyptus oil, Castile soap, fresh herbs, citrus, or citrus peels, olive or vegetable oil and water, according to Apartment Therapy. For example, to clean mold and mildew off grout in your shower, you can spray a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water on the grout and scrub with an old toothbrush or grout brush. If you need something stronger, try making a paste of baking soda and water and scrubbing it on your grout.

A step toward better indoor air quality

Looking for a way to improve your indoor air quality? Tarkett Flooring, and its phthalate-free flooring options, can contribute to better indoor air quality. Staying true to its longstanding commitment to the four sustainability pillars of Good Materials; Resource Stewardship; People-friendly Spaces; and Reuse and Recycle, Tarkett Flooring committed resources in 2010 toward developing flooring solutions which help improve indoor air quality.

The company’s FiberFloor is the industry’s only residential flooring currently certified asthma & allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, because installation of FiberFloor does not result in elevated levels of chemicals, it has a low capacity for retaining allergens and the recommended cleaning will not result in exposure to airborne allergens. Additionally, other flooring options offered by Tarkett, such as its luxury vinyl tiles and planks and laminates, are FloorScore-certified by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) together with Scientific Certification Systems for better indoor air quality.

Plant power

Did you know that certain house plants can improve your health? Environmental activist, Kamal Meattle, says there are three plants - Areca palm, Mother-in-law's Tongue, and the "Money Plant" - that can improve your air by converting carbon dioxide into oxygen, removing organic compounds and filtering indoor air. House plants can also help you maintain ideal humidity levels in your home. And just like expensive air purifying machines, plants produce negative ions, which help remove pollutants, such as dust, bacteria and allergens.

Drive away dust

Dust is a major air pollutant that often triggers asthma and allergy attacks. Inhaling too much dust can lead to lung diseases, such as pneumoconiosis. The filters in your heater and air conditioner do a great job trapping dust and pollutants, but these filters need to be changed every 30 to 60 days to be most effective. One cost-effective way to reduce air pollutants even further is to invest in a high efficiency air filter, which can trap pollutants and allergens while also neutralizing odors and preventing bacteria growth on the filter itself. These simple steps can actually save you money by making your HVAC system run more efficiently.

Healthy choices don’t have to be difficult or expensive and sometimes it’s less about curbing the junk food and more about tending to your surroundings. With Americans spending approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, simple measures to make your home healthier are going to have a big impact on your own health and the health of the people you love.

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