For an every day clean, there are a few low-effort and high-impact things you can do to make sure your home environment stays low on toxins and irritants.
Open the wind. VOC (volatile organic compound) levels are higher indoors than out, so opening your windows for even just a few minutes every day – EVEN IN THE WINTER- can significantly improve your indoor air quality.
Take off your shoes. I love shoes but their bottoms are nasty. Lead dust, animal faces, gasoline, fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals all pack into soles. When you enter your house, leave your shoes at the door and keep this grossness there, too, of tracking it all over. Keep your bedrooms and kid’s room shoe free! You might even consider leaving a basket of slippers or brightly colored socks at the door for guests to use, if that’s your think.
Kick your chemical habit. Switching to nontoxic cleaning products is just about the single most important thing you can do to purge your home air quality of VOCs and other toxic chemicals. Embrace label reading and avoid products with all the stuff listed in the dishonest ingredients charts – the biggies in this category are chlorine and ammonia, though cleaning products contain hundreds of other “inert” ingredients that you won’t find on labels.
Dust. Most of the stuff in your house, plus the materials used to make the building itself, is slowly degrading and breaking down into microscopic particles that wind up in your dust. So wipe up surfaces regularly with a damp cloth and wipe hard floors with a damp mop (you typically only need water for these tasks). Swipe your screens (some of the most contaminated dust is found on TV an computer screens) and vacuum regularly with a machine outfitted with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter, which tightly traps the dust rather then flinging particles back into the room.