Who else is ready for a clean start to 2021? Many of us are glad that 2020 is behind us, and hopeful that 2021 is going to be a year of transformation, healing, and pawsitive change. To help you start the year off right, our clean living gurus shared their top 10 tips that will leave your nest cleaner and healthier for you and your four-legged children.
1. Get rid of plastics. Millions of tons of plastic pollute our oceans each year. Even worse, the Covid pandemic has made things worse as PPE-related plastic (especially gloves and masks) find their way into our precious seas. Become an anti-pollution crusader by eliminating plastic in your home.
Get started now by:
- Considering whether reusable and breathable face masks could be right for your situation.
- Carrying your own reusable shopping bag when restocking
Discarding shampoo bottles and switch to shampoo bars. Did you know some 80 billion plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles are thrown out globally every year?!
- Replacing plastic bottles with one portable, reusable glass drinking bottle. (Try to stick with glass to avoid leaching of plasticizers and other chemicals in the plastic into your drinking water.)
2. Avoid storing or heating food in plastic containers. Plastic breaks down with repeated use and releases chemicals into food. Most 'microwave-safe' plastic containers contain phthalates, a harmful chemical that negatively affects the endocrine and reproductive systems.
3. Slow down on chemical cleaners. Chemical detergents and cleaning solvents release harsh toxins into your environment. When inhaled, they can cause respiratory problems for you and your dog over time. Go with organic cleaners that are toxin-free and safe for the environment whenever possible.
4. Air fresheners. Aerosolized air fresheners and scented products (like synthetic candles) contain toxic ingredients that can irritate your dog's sensitive nose. A safer way to scent your home is by using pet-friendly organic oils or fresh flowers. Kitchen products like white vinegar and bicarbonate soda are great for eliminating odors too.
5. Perfumes and fragrances. Besides the irritating scents (from a dog's view), perfume products may contain upwards of 200 chemicals. These chemicals can harm the respiratory system or irritate a dog's sensitive skin if there is prolonged contact with these chemicals. Choose products scented with natural oils.
6. Discard non-stick cooking items.
The non-stick surfaces on pots and pans contain a chemical called PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). With time, the non-stick layer chips off and mixes with your food. High amounts of PFOA may be associated with certain cancers in humans (read more
). Cast, iron, aluminum, copper, hard-anodized, and stainless-steel pans are safer cookware alternatives.
7. Get rid of loose paint. Lead-based paint can be harmful when it starts to flake. Chipping paint can cause lead poisoning when inhaled. When you notice your paint flaking, repaint the area with a fresh coat of non-lead-based paint.
8. Store dog food in air-tight containers. Dog food goes stale or rancid if left exposed to the environment. Leave the dog food closed with a clip in its original packaging if using plastic storage containers.
9. Safely store cleaners. Toilet cleaners contain corrosive ingredients that can irritate the nose and skin (especially if your pup ever sneaks a drink from the toilet bowl). Oven cleaners contain equally corrosive alkalis. All potentially-harmful cleaning agents should be stored on a high shelf or in a lockable cabinet, and toilet seat lids should be kept down.
10. Read your product labels. Be as vigilant with the ingredients in pet care and grooming products as you are with food labels. For instance, cocoa butter sometimes contains theobromine (an ingredient in cocoa) that is harmful to dogs. Essential oils such as tea tree and wintergreen are also considered toxic to dogs.
Unfortunately most cosmetics, cleaning agents, and pet grooming products contain potentially harmful ingredients. Switch to safer alternatives or store these products in safer places. Also, update your cookware.