If creating a healthier environment in your home is a priority that keeps getting shelved, chances are, you're going about it the wrong way. Eco lifestyle expert Danny Seo insists that it's actually easy to purge your home of hazardous materials without sacrificing style or spending a ton of money. Check out his six secrets for giving any home an instant eco upgrade!
- Choose light-colored paint with a flat finish
- Use kitty litter to dispose of paint properly
- Opt for a sofa from natural fibers and not chemically treated
- Check out laminate instead of granite for your counters
- Buy thermal drapes to save on energy costs
- Pick natural latex over memory foam
Be sure you're choosing Zero-VOC paint. Choose light colors over dark tints for your walls; the lighter the color, the less colorant need to be added to the paint, which means fewer chemicals. Choose a flat finish over a glossy one; chemicals are added to make paint glossy.
To dispose of paint properly, stir kitty litter into leftover paint and allow to air dry. Toss the dried paint in the trash; recycle the paint can with your bottles and cans.
Avoid leather sofas. Leather is treated with a chemical called chromium, which is used during the dying and tanning process, and many people have reportedly developed severe allergies to chromium-treated leather. And when buying a natural fiber couch, ask the store to not spray it with any chemicals used for stain-resistance or fire-retardant.
Look at American-made high-definition laminate, which has come a long way from your grandmother's laminate countertops. They look and feel just like stone but are a tiny fraction of the cost. They are just as durable, easy to transport, and are recognized by the US Green Building Council as an eco-friendly surface choice.
Choose smartly designed drapes for your windows. Thermal drapes are lined to help block heat, harmful UV rays, and drafts in the winter from entering your home. When the drapes are closed during the day in the Summer or on extremely cold days, you can save as much as 20 percent on your energy bill with an average savings of $480 a year.
Many people like memory foam beds but don't realize that the memory foam is actually made from petro-chemicals that give off chemicals while you sleep. If you like the feel – but not the chemicals – choose natural latex instead. It's naturally antimicrobial, so it's resistant to dust mites, mold, and mildew.