• Use gentle castile soap and water - these have been shown to keep surfaces as free of bacteria as antibacterial soaps do. In fact, antibacterial soaps and disposable wipes have not been proven any more effective than regular soap in preventing infections among average consumers, but raise significant concerns about developing resistant bacteria. Also, triclosan commonly used in antibacterial products has been linked to negative environmental and health impacts.
• Buy safer cleaning products. Many local, online, and discount stores carry cleaning and home products that are very effective without harsh chemicals or fumes.
• Make your own safer cleaning products. Baking soda is a great scouring agent and vinegar mixed with water makes an effective glass cleaner.
• Reduce your use of products altogether by investing in microfiber cloths or hand held steam cleaners, both of which clean effectively with water alone.
Personal Care Products
• Look for products made with certified organic ingredients and those with the fewest ingredients.
• Use fewer products and smaller amounts.
• Avoid body care products with Parabens, Phthalates (DEHP, BBP, DBP, DMP, DEP), DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance, Triclosan, Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate,DEA (diethanolamine) and TEA (triethanolamine), Formaldehyde, PEGs (polyethylene glycol), and anything with "glycol" or "methyl."
• Look for products made with natural materials. Call the manufacturer to find out what a product is made of (be sure to ask about adhesives, coatings, and treatments.)
• Re-invent and re-use furnishings to reduce your exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – often recognized as that “new smell.”
Nick Novelli, Novelli PhotoDesign