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How to Create a Greener, Cleaner, Healthier Home

Making a few changes to your routine can improve your breathing, sleep, and overall health.

5 Ways to Green Your Home

Make your home a greener and healthier place to live with these five tips:

  1. Get on the list. Avoid products that don't list their ingredients on the back of the packaging. And check labels for third-party certification, such as the Green Seal and EcoLogo, environmental expert Ted Schettler, MD, PhD, advises. These seals ensure that the products meet certain "green" criteria and that you're not taking the claims of the manufacturer at face value.
  2. Take 'em off. The soles of your shoes have walked some grimy roads. Schettler suggests simply removing your shoes at the door each time you enter your home to prevent outside pollutants from coming in.
  3. Floor it. Carpets trap dust mites, mold, and other pollutants, which get released into the air you breathe. This can be especially harmful for those with allergies. If alternate flooring isn't an option, says Jordan Josephson, MD, a sinus and allergy expert, consider using a vacuum cleaner with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. This kind of filter traps the very small yet harmful particles that other vacuum cleaners send back into the air.
  4. Stay dry. Josephson recommends minimizing mold and mildew, two major threats to quality indoor air, by keeping the humidity in your home below 60% and keeping moist areas dry.
  5. Decorate with care. Parents-to-be are often eager to ready their baby's room with a fresh coat of paint and new carpeting. Both emit toxic gases harmful for expectant mothers, not to mention a new baby, Schettler says. He suggests looking for low-VOC paints, which release fewer toxic fumes. He also suggests asking the company providing your new carpet to "off-gas" it before installing it. They will "cook" the carpet to release harmful chemicals, including formaldehyde.


The opinions expressed in this feature are the opinions of the experts quoted and are not the opinions of WebMD. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.

Reviewed on February 23, 2010

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