Talk Clean to Me: 7 ways to create an eco-friendly home

2020 is here and we are in a whole new decade - can you believe it? Who else is guilty of choosing the typical vague New Year's resolutions like: lose weight, workout everyday, eat healthier, etc.? How about you decide to put yourself first and make your 2020 goals more creative, specific, and attainable so you don't poop out by February.

First up - work on creating a safer and cleaner environment at home. See below for some of my suggestions for going green and bettering both the environment and your health. Bonus: many of the brands I've included below are female-owned!

Did you know: The average household contains about 62 toxic chemicals, say environmental experts. From synthetic fragrances and cleaning products to skincare/haircare products and coatings and finishes on clothing and furniture, we are exposed to them daily. Ingredients in common household products have been linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, hormone disruption and neuro-toxicity. Whaatt?! How are these products legal?? As it turns out, according to Environmental Working Group (EWG) there is no federal regulation or testing on chemicals used in household cleaning products or other products used in the home. How scary is that?!

Another fun fact: The terms "natural," "eco friendly," and "nontoxic" are not regulated terms, so any can slap them on a product and trick you into purchasing an unsafe product. That's pretty shady and makes it even harder to find the safest products out there! Have no fear - we've done the research for you.

1. Spoiled with (Essential) Oils / Use an essential oil diffuser instead of scented candles or air fresheners. My favorite essential oil brands include: Supernatural and Mountain Rose Herbs .

Also, imagine you could have a "smart" air purifier. This one syncs with your Alexa & Google Home systems and is voice-activated. You can use the app to create schedules, change the LED colors, and control mist intensity. Pretty cool, right? Looking for something a little simpler? Try this one on for size. It is made of porcelain with a BPA-free plastic water reservoir.

You can also add an air purifier to get rid of the nasty toxins that are saturating the air you breath. This brand is one of my favorites. An even better choice is employing Mother Nature as your air purifier. Check out this blog post about the best plants you can use to purify your air (and which aren't safe for pets or kids).

2. Tangled in the (Organic) Sheets / Imagine the fabric that touches your skin everyday for eight hours a day is non-breathable and potentially coated with chemicals? Although it isn't always the case, your sheets could be coated with formaldehyde resin. Even if they weren't treated with chemicals that could have been created with fibers grown in a non-sustainable way. Check out

Plover. Founded by two sisters-in-law, their products are free of pesticides and other chemicals and toxins and 100% organic. Boll and Branch is another good option. They don't use any toxins, chlorine or formaldehyde and instead of pesticides for cotton, their farmers plant marigolds. Isn't that awesome? Looking for more linens? Boll and Branch also has green bath towels, pajamas, and robes.

3. Sleep Tight / What good are safe and healthy sheets if you are putting them on a chemically-treated mattress, you ask? Useless, actually. We spend roughly eight hours a day inches away from our mattresses so shouldn't we be sure they aren't filled with VOCs and aldehydes? I think so. There are a few companies out there that are adamant about having high safety and purity standards. One such company is Naturepedic has just about every organic certification out there and has been dominating the organic mattress industry for over a decade. They have removed all polyurethane foam, flame retardant chemicals, formaldehyde, pesticides, GMOs, glues/adhesives, vinyl and phthalates from their products some of which are known to be carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. If that doesn't convince you to get an organic mattress I don't know what will. Another company is PlushBeds. They claim that less than 1% of mattresses can match their purity certifications. That's quite a claim, isn't it? Another good option is Awara. They brag a plush Euro Top cover made with soft New Zealand wool & organic cotton and latex foam sourced from real rubber trees. Their mattress is a hybrid, coils combined with the contour of the natural, organic latex layer all of which is moisture-wicking and prevents mold and dust. They also give you a 365 day trial. Sounds like a win-win to me!

4. Furniture Frenzy / Finding commercially-sold furniture that isn't treated with any chemicals is quite difficult which is why I was impressed when I came across Medley. They don't use any fire retardants or harsh chemicals. Their upholstery frames are made with kiln dried hardwood from certified locally sourced forests, and FSC certified and they use only hardwood so they avoid the chemicals typically used in plywood frames. None of their fabrics have fire retardants or stain finishes, and they use 100% natural like cotton, hemp and wool. Their foam cushions are made of natural latex. Never heard of it? Natural latex is 100% natural, made from the sap of rubber trees, very durable, with no chemicals. it's also bacteria, mildew, and mold resistant. Sounds awesome, right? You can also check out InMod who use everything from sustainable, FSC certified wood and bamboo to VOC-free glues and stains. Another alternative is to have your furniture made by local fabricators where you can monitor the materials used a bit more closely.

5. Painted Ladies / Paints are typically filled with Volatile Organic Compounfs (VOC's) which can include Xylene, Ethyl acetate, Methylene chloride, Glycol, Formaldehyde, Benzene, Phenol, Quaternary ammonium compounds, Carbamates, Methylisothiazolinone, and Methylchloroisothiazolinone. These are all just fancy scientific ways to say that they can cause headaches, nausea, coughing, skin irritations, breathing issues, and more. Yikes! Luckily there are some great safe VOC-free paint options out there. Check out Clare Paint who touts zero VOC products and are GREENGUARD Gold Certified for low chemical emissions. The Real Milk Paint Co is also a no-VOC company, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly. All of their products are made from 100% organic material and safe for kids and pets. ECOS also sells non-toxic, odor-free, zero-VOC paints and stains with options for atmosphere purifying paint, glues/sealers, and "pet paints."

6. Squeaky Clean / A fan favorite is Branch Basics which is human-safe, plant and mineral-based, free of harmful preservatives, biodegradable, not tested on animals, and non-GMO. You simply dilute their concentrate with water and be on your way. Their products are also refillable (made from recycled, BPA-free plastic) which makes them more eco-friendly. Their products have no parabens, phthalates, synthetic preservatives, synthetic fragrances, alcohols, ethoxylates, or SLS and range from laundry and every aspect of house cleaning to skincare. Another great brand is Supernatural. Their products are made with plants, minerals and 100% pure essential oils - that's it. Pretty cool, right?

7. Beauty is Only Skin-Deep / A huge change to your health and wellness would be to clean up your skincare, makeup, hair care, and hygiene routine. So many of the products that we slather on our body are full of chemicals, toxins, and other terrible ingredients. I will be devoting entire blog posts to each of these categories in the coming months, but for starters (and quite the rude awakening), punch the ingredients in your current products into this handy tool to see how toxic they are. I promise, you will be shocked.

I hope you are inspired to make some changes to your home to improve both your health and the environment. Here's to a cleaner 2020!



Hi, I'm Courtney, and I'm the founder of Courtney Schrank Design Studio. I help high-powered female executives maintain their identity and well-being while working for someone else. Read more about my services here!

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