7 Ways Your House Could Be Making You Sick


When we think of air pollution we tend to think of the air outside.  Clean air campaigns often focus on reducing vehicle and industrial carbon emissions so our kids can breathe better when playing outside.  But what about the air you breathe inside?

These days people are spending more and more time indoors, but indoor air pollution is a serious risk to your health.  Dust mites, mold, microbial activity, viruses, bacteria, and toxic chemicals may be lurking throughout your house and may be the cause of headaches, rashes, mood swings, respiratory problems, eye irritation, and much more.

#1 The kitchen sponge s the single dirtiest thing in your kitchen.  It holds moisture, allowing fungus and bacteria to grow.  The sponge commonly carries E Coli, Salmonella, and other dangerous viruses and bacteria.

Try microwaving your sponge for 1-2 minutes once a week to kill germs.  Place the sponge in a bowl with a small amount of water to allow the heat to distribute evenly.  Add 100% pure lemon essential oil to help kill bacteria.

#2 Heating and Air Conditioning traps moisture and can lead to mold and bacterial growth.  Have your air ducts cleaned professionally every few years to do away with these build ups.  And have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure its working properly and efficiently.

#3 Indoor leaks may be found in pipes, walls, basements, attics, windows, doors, and other areas.  These may be bringing moisture in to the house and allowing mold and bacteria to grow.  Check any space where leaks may occur and seal those areas and clean off any accumulated water and resulting mold.  Add 100% pure melaleuca essential oil to aid in killing mold.

#4 Mattresses and pillows – Did you know that you shed about 1.5 million skin cells every hour and sweat about a quart every day?  These skin cells settle and accumulate in your pillows and mattresses creating breeding grounds for dust mites.  Add to this pet hair, dander, mold, bacteria, chemicals, dust and other particulates and that is what you are breathing in every night while you’re sleeping.  Bottom line, all of this may be exacerbating your allergies and respiratory issues.  Cover your mattresses, box springs, and pillows with covers that are impervious to all of the above mentioned allergens.  Such coverings can be purchased at any bedding store.

Wash sheets, towels, bedding, and bath mats weekly in hot water and allow to dry completely before putting away or putting back on your bed.

#5 Household cleaning products – many have toxic chemicals that may cause eye, sinus, respiratory problems, headaches, rashes, and more.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a list of thousands of toxic chemicals that are routinely added to everyday household cleaning and personal care products.  A 2009 EWG study looked at 21 common household cleaners and identified 457 air contaminants, 24 of which have been linked to serious health concerns.  Furthermore, the makers of these products are not required to list what makes up the ‘fragrance’ in their ingredients list.  One fragrance can contain up to 200 compounds, which can include volatile organic compounds, and may react with ambient ozone to create formaldehyde and other toxic concoctions.  It’s best to keep such things out of the house and make your own.

Open a window or run a fan while cleaning and make your own cleaning products.

DIY tips for household cleaning:

  • Use a mixture of white vinegar, water, and 100% pure lemon essential oil to clean glass;
  • Use a mixture of white vinegar, baking soda, water, and 100% pure essential oils (such as melaleuca and lavender) to clean tile and toilets;
  • to freshen carpets, try baking soda infused with 100% pure essential oils sprinkled on the carpet, wait 10 minutes, then vacuum.

#6 The Vaccuum – Vacuums suck up pet allergens and dust and keep our floors looking clean but but many vacuums may be spewing these allergens back in to the air.  What’s scary is that household dust, especially the smallest particles, can contain heavy metals, lead, pesticides, and other chemicals.  Make sure to buy a vacuum that uses a HEPA filter.  HEPA filters are able to hold the small particles in and prevent them from passing through the filter back out into the air you are breathing.  Make sure to clean the filter regularly.   Try adding 100% pure essential oils, such as lemon or orange, to baking soda and sprinkling this on your carpet 10 minutes before vacuuming.

#7 Air fresheners, candles, and incense can contain volatile organic compounds and phthalates which have been linked with cancer and other serious ailments.  Candles and incense also release unneeded soot and particles in to the air which can irritate allergies and asthma.

To freshen the air in your home, you can get a diffuser that distributes essential oils out in to the atmosphere.  These not only aid in killing airborne pathogens, but can improve moods and making the house smell good at the same time.

For more tips on using essential oils, go to www.terra-thrive.com

Laurel Schumaker
Laurel Schumaker is a Certified Yoga Instructor with a background in environmental science and global public health. Laurel is a writer, speaker, life and business coach, entrepreneur, and holistic health educator living full time on the road across the US in an RV with her husband, cat and dog. Laurel empowers people to live a Thriving Life by guiding them toward lasting positive lifestyle changes for improved home environment, relationships, mood, and career.

Laurel has a B.S. in Conservation Studies and M.S.H in Global Public Health from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. She obtained her RYT 200 from the Yoga Alliance after studying with Suzanne Leitner-Weisse at 532 Yoga Shala in Alexandria, VA. She is working toward her PRYT certification (prenatal yoga) and studied with April Pucciata in Washington, DC. Laurel is an essential oil expert in her own right. She is a doTERRA Wellness Advocate and Gold level leader. To learn more about her essential oil courses, events she’s hosting and other programs go to www.terra-thrive.com