The Natural Home: An Insider's Guide
Natural Fabric Choices
- Sweetgrass Natural Fibers specializes in towels, robes, and curtains made
from hemp; sweetgrassfibers.com.
- Merida's chemical-free area rugs are handwoven of sea grass, jute, and
- Made from spongy, soft latex, Nature's Rest Forest Glen mattress repels
dust mites and mold; naturesrest.com.
- Coyuchi's soft organic cotton bedding is free of dyes and chemicals;
H 2 0 Filters
Although municipal water supplies must meet stringent quality standards set
by the EPA, many homeowners are taking the extra step of filtering their tap
water to improve taste, reduce odors, or significantly lower any existing
levels of chlorine, lead, and waterborne microorganisms, such as
cryptosporidium. Sleek faucet filters, such as Moen's Puretouch (moen.com), use
a carbon filter to deliver clear, clean water straight from the tap. Kinetico's
Drinking Water Filters 7500 (kinetico.com) is an under-counter reverse-osmosis
filtration system that delivers filtered water via a separate countertop tap.
Another option is KitchenAid's side-by-side refrigerators with built-in
AquaSense Ice & Water Filtration (kitchenaid.com). Convenient on-door
dispensers offer easy access to ice and chilled drinking water.
For answers to frequently asked questions about water quality, check out the
EPA's informative Website, epa.gov/safewater. The easy-to-navigate site lists
common contaminants in drinking water and outlines how to protect drinking
water from such contaminants as lead, cryptosporidium, and e-coli. In addition
to offering links to state and local sources of water-quality information, the
site also lists approved companies offering water-testing kits. To test private
wells, which are not regulated by the EPA, contact your state certification
officer to obtain a list of certified water-testing labs in your area.
To Learn More
To make simple, natural alternatives for everything from laundry detergent
and insect repellent to pet shampoo and shoe polish, check out Better Basics
for the Home (Crown; 1999), a compendium of 868 practical formulas for
non-toxic cleansers, beauty products, and house-hold supplies. Herbal
Homekeeping (Interweave Press; 1999) provides recipes for a host of all-natural
household cleansers, all of which are made from every-day ingredients and
essential oils. For healthy home products, including water filters,
"green" cleaning supplies, energy-smart appliances, and educational
books and videos, visit realgoods.com.