Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Improve Your Family's Health With An Allergy-Free Home Environment With Some EASY Eco Friendly Changes

A Guest Post
By Shaylee Oleson, Eco Shaylee, LCC

Did you know that if you or someone you love suffers from allergies, the culprit may be more than just the outside pollen count?  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that our indoor air is now five times more polluted than outside air.  Since we spend 90% of our time indoors, it just stands to reason that you should take a closer look at the inside environment you’re living in.

For example, are you
  • Running the dryer with scented fabric softener sheets?
  • Using plug-in air fresheners in bathrooms and elsewhere around the house?
  • Hoarding lots of clutter, especially papers and books, or even a huge surplus of kid toys and stuffed animals like those shown in the picture below of MommyBlogExpert's kids' room? 
There are many factors that go into creating good indoor air quality, and these are just the tip of the iceberg. The problem started back in the 70s during the oil embargo.  As heating costs rose, we sealed our homes by adding more insulation, caulking, etcetera, which then reduced air leaks in our homes.  However, we forgot to make allowances for indoor air circulation and overall interior quality.   

More than 50 years ago, 1 in 50 people had allergies, today 1 in 4 do.  The  Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America confirms that allergy prevalence has been increasing since the early 80s.

Today's marketplace is responding by creating healthier home care products.  However, do your research before buying and using these items because "greenwashing" -- touting a brand as green when it only has some green properties -- is an increasingly common consumer marketing strategy to boost sales.  

Some immediate actions to reduce allergies and green up your house include:
  • Choosing a furnace filter with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of 13-16 for forced air furnaces
  • Implementing a “no shoes” policy in your house.  Shoes carry allergy triggers such as pesticides and other allergens into your home.  Pesticides bond with fibers in synthetic carpets and can’t be vacuumed out
  • Buying or making your own non-toxic cleaners for household cleaning
  • Cleaning carpeted areas and upholstered furniture thoroughly once a week, ideally with an “S” type HEPA vacuum -- such as those made by Dyson and Miele -- since dust from many vacuums on the market today can remain in the air for up to two hours after vacuuming.
  • Avoiding scented dryer sheets and plug-in air fresheners because they contain phthalates, a toxic chemical that is also found in baby teething rings and bath duckies, which are hormone mimickers and can alter one’s hormonal balance.
  • Filtering out chlorine not only from drinking water, but also from showering or bathing water because toxins in chlorine can potentially trigger asthma -- you might be surprised to know that 50% percent of all chlorine intake each day is from showering
  • Reducing your clutter because the “C-word” gives mold and other allergy triggers great places to land and multiply, and can make cleaning much more difficult and time consuming than necessary
  • Adding plants to your environment and avoiding over watering of greenery that is another source of mold growth
  • Washing sheets in 140+ degree water and using a mattress cover because bedding or even your favorite couch or stuffed chair can be a huge source of dust mite activity -- and in fact, these parasites actually feed off your dead skin cells and allergic reactions and are from the feces
  • Wearing organic clothes and using organic sheets
  • Keeping humidity at 35-50% to avoid mold growth
You’d be surprised how incremental changes such as these can make a big difference.  So do what you can today for a healthier home and healthier lives for you and every member of your family.

MommyBlogExpert blames those pesky stuffed animals and kids' toys as the possible cause of allergies in her family.  What is your family's worst DUST MAGNET?  And if by chance you've been successful eradicating household shmutz, what is your secret solution to getting rid of it? We look forward to you sharing your thoughts on this in the comment section below this post.
Professional Eco Specialist "Shaylee" Sharon Oleson of Eco Shaylee LLC, pictured at left, is dedicated to eco-friendly initiatives that help both individuals and the environment.  Since 2005, she has worked with chemically- and electrically-sensitive people to improve their health through the home environment by providing environmental inspections and eco-consultations on consumer goods and new construction or remodeling projects.

FTC Disclosure:   Eco Shaylee provided the above blogpost to MommyBlogExpert for publication on this blog.   MommyBlogExpert did not receive any payment or other compensation for publishing this post from any of the individuals, companies, or organizations mentioned.  See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.        


  1. Does cat hair count as dust? lol

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Lissa:
    YES! cat (and dog) hair qualifies as does all the dirt the kids bring in on their shoes from outdoors.

  4. I guess I learned new ideas on how I can make my whole house have a clean and healthy environment. Thanks because this can really help me to improve my family's health.