Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Furnishings and the Healthy House

The Basics of Furnishings

If you want to create a healthy indoor environment, you can make smart choices in purchasing new furnishings or refurbishing old ones.

Furnishings, drapery, and carpeting can be a significant source of indoor air pollutants. These pollutants can potentially have a variety of affects on health, including allergies; skin, eye, or throat irritation; headaches and more. Many furnishings contain contaminants such as formaldehyde, irritating fibers, synthetic dyes, resins, volatile organic compounds, and anti-stain coatings.


  • Avoid synthetic upholstery and opt for natural fibers that have preferably not been treated with anti-stain or other coatings.
  • Strive for coverings and pillow covers of cotton or similar natural material that can be periodically washed. Throws can cover cushions and washed frequently, particularly if you have pets.
  • Select natural wood furniture and furniture with hard surfaces such as metal. These hard surfaces are good for minimizing dust and fibers in the air. Hard surfaces are also easier to clean. Avoid particle board, chip board, and plywood that often contains formaldehyde.
  • Select water-based or natural finishes over synthetic oil-based finishes and stains.
  • Avoid soft-plastics that can release volatile organic compounds into the air.


  • Select natural materials, such as cotton drapery, that can be washed.
  • Venetian or wood blinds are a good option to minimize dust.


  • Tile, hardwood, and marble are preferred over wall-to-wall carpeting. Formaldhyde is often used in carpet backing and padding as well as adhesives. Synthetic carpets are often a source of volatile organic compounds. Hard surfaces are easier to clean and don't trap dust, pollens and other allergens.
  • If you prefer throw rugs, select natural fibers, such as sisal or cotton.

Look out for more tips in the next post.

Friday, February 16, 2007

First Steps to a Healthy House

A healthy home has many components that are based on preferences as as well as health concerns.

This blog posting will begin the focus on the health component. Indoor air quality can have a significant impact on the immune system, allergies, and overall health. A first step to improving the air quality in your home is the following:

Evaluate the relatively easy-to-fix sources of pollutants in your home.

Look around you house and answer the following questions:

A. Do you have a lot of clutter that collects dust? Simplify where you can, and remove unnecessary magazines, newspapers, mail, and trinkets. This step does not cost anything and can leave more space for beneficial and beautiful things in your home.

Is your bedroom cluttered? Your bedroom is where you spend time sleeping while your body regenerates and rejuvenates from the day. Keep it particularly clutter-free, and place items in drawers or closed cabinets when possible. If you have a child with allergies or asthma, pay particular attention to stuffed animals and pillows. They are also a source of fibers and dust in the air.

B. What type of cleaning products do you use? You can make different choices for cleaning products that are not only healthier in not releasing chemicals into the air, but also can be cheaper than many cleaning products. There are many commercial products available in stores, such as Seventh Generation products. You can also create you own cleaning products from vinegar and other common household items. One good book on this topic is: The Naturally Clean Home: 101 Safe and Easy Herbal Formulas for Nontoxic Cleansers. This book includes recipes for many household chores, from scrubbing sinks to cleaning the floors.

The next posting will discuss some more things you can do.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Welcome to My Blog at Eco-Basic Home

Greetings from Texas!

For over 10 years, I have been interested in healthy homes and the environment. My goal is to share my knowledge and experience I have gained from my life and many related jobs and businesses.

From my own experience with health and allergies, I believe people can make changes in their lifestyle, homes and offices to greatly improve health. While over 10 year ago only a small portion of people were talking about this, more recently there has been an increased interest in the subject.

Just today, February 15th, the New York Times featured an article "A Safe House? Anxious Parents Buy into the Promise of Natural Cleaning Products." Parents are using more natural cleaning products, like Seventh Generation, in their homes. Many schools are choosing this route as well. This idea is now becoming more mainstream, but I believe there is still more progress to be made.

Thanks for your visit and come back again as I develop the site: