Simple Changes Make A Healthier Home

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Simple Changes Make A Healthier Home


When we think of air pollution, we usually think of it happening outdoors. Cars, factory emissions, smoke, pesticides… they all contribute to outdoor air pollution and on certain days we avoid going outside because of poor air quality. But did you know the air you breath inside your home can be far worse than the polluted air outside? Here I’ll show you what my family has done to make our home healthier. The steps we’ve taken have helped us reduce our chemical exposure and saved us money.

Flickr photo credit: Maegan Tintari
Flickr photo credit: Maegan Tintari

Contact me, John Conca, at (530) 306-3494, if you’re interested in buying or selling a home in El Dorado County. I’d be happy to discuss your options with you. You can browse through new Placerville listings here.

Laundry Detergent

Store-bought laundry detergent can be filled with fragrances that are skin and lung irritants, brighteners that can contribute to sun damage on skin and which never fully break down, and are full of innocent-until-proven-guilty untested chemical combinations. My wife, Jeanne, is a Young Living Lemon Dropper (that’s an essential oil independent distributor) so we use a lot of essential oils in our home. I can honestly say, I think they’re great.

One of our favorite homemade laundry detergents is one using the Thieves household cleaner. Here is a graphic with the recipe:


thieves laundry


Fabric Softener

Fabric softener sounds like a pleasant addition to laundry; makes you think of a fluffy teddy bear or the soft-as-a-cloud towels. If carcinogens and hazardous chemicals aren’t the first thing to pop into your head just read what the Environmental Working Group wrote about fabric softener. Instead of allowing those unnamed compounds into our home to pollute our air we just add a half a cup of white vinegar to our final rinse along with a few drops of essential oil if we feel like it.

Flickr photo credit: Joe Wolf
Flickr photo credit: Joe Wolf


That’s pretty obvious, especially in a house with 2 cats and a dog. It’s good to have a HEPA filter on your vacuum, but if you can swing it then one of those water reservoir vacuums, like the Rainbow vacuum, would clean and humidify the air while cleaning the floors. We have a Lindhuas vacuum that we got about 16 years ago. It has a HEPA filter and still runs great.


We take our shoes off at the door. We live in the forest and there is plenty of dirt outside. Leaving that dirt outside saves wear and tear on our carpet, especially considering the tree sap we tend to collect on the bottom of our shoes. Not to mention the oils and chemicals our shoes pick up just walking around parking lots–we don’t need those tracked into our home.


It makes sense that if you have a couch that has open-weave upholstery that it would pick up and collect more dust, and then the dust

Flickr photo credit: Rubbermaid Products
Flickr photo credit: Rubbermaid Products

winds up in the air when you sit down. Vacuuming the furniture helps, but having leather furniture or removable, washable covers work best at minimizing furniture dust. Just steer clear of vinyl furniture which off-gasses and contributes even more to indoor air pollution. Other furniture to avoid is anything made with particle board which is made using wood chips and a lot of glue to hold it all together. The glue is always off-gassing pollutants into your home. Stick with natural materials when possible.

Household Cleaners

You’ve probably already guessed it, but we use Young Living’s Thieves Household Cleaner in our home. It’s a concentrate so you dilute it for what you need. Use it diluted 1:1 for hand soap, 1:20 for heavy de-greasing, 1:30 for most cleaning applications, 1:50 for light de-greasing and 1:50-100 for cleaning glass. You can also mix half water and half vinegar with about 8 drops of lemon essential oil (a lot of essential oils, if not all, are anti-bacterial, so just pick your favorite) and use it in a spray bottle for just about anything.

No More Comet

Melamine sponges (aka Magic Erasers) are little powerhouses. They work well on any stains that need scrubbing. I use them on anything from grout to crayon on the walls to soap scum and that rusty drip that can form in the bathtub. You just get them wet, squeeze them out, and erase all the grime away. Don’t buy the name brand though, save money and buy them on Amazon.

Flickr photo credit: Nomadic Lass
Flickr photo credit: Nomadic Lass

Ditch The Blue Stuff

The famous blue glass-cleaner has ingredients known to affect lung, kidney, and liver function. I have a simple favorite for cleaning glass; soda water. A big, cheap, flat, bottle of soda water with a microfiber cloth is the best indoor glass cleaner I’ve ever used. I never get streaks and it cleans fast and thoroughly without fumes. If you really want to you can add blue food coloring.  I still use the Thieves cleaner, diluted a lot for car glass cleaner and cleaning outside windows; both need more cleaning power.

Air Freshener

I’ve seen homes where they have plug-in air fresheners that warm up wax directly in a plug-in unit, and there was wax splashed behind it on the wall. That seems like a fire hazard, especially if you have pets or children running around who could accidentally bump it and could at least get burned by the wax. The reed diffusers that are so popular now also run the risk of spilling, ruining furniture and harming pets. Don’t even get me started on the risks of burning candles.

Flickr photo credit: Young Living Essential Oils
Flickr photo credit: Young Living Essential Oils

All of those usually have one thing in common: chemical fragrances. When a product lists “fragrance” in its ingredients (if they list ingredients) that word can cover hundreds of chemicals used to create that flowery scent. Chemicals aren’t the best thing to be breathing.

We use essential oil ultrasonic diffusers in our home. Diffusing helps humidify the air (so useful where we live) and creates negative charged ions which, combating the positive charges from electrical devices, help create a healthier home environment. Essential oils can also help clean the air. Studies found that Thieves essential oil, diffused for 20 minutes, killed 99.6% of airborne bacteria. There are many more reasons to diffuse essential oils which work toward cleaning your home rather than using products which pollute your home.

Full Disclosure

My wife, Jeanne Conca, is a Young Living Independent Distributor (as well as a Pediatric Physical Therapist and a loving wife and Mother) and so she does receive compensation for her business through Young Living. Our lives have been changed by the products though, and our home and family’s health has benefited greatly since switching away from conventional cleaning products. All of these opinions are my own and I have not been paid to include them in my blog.

A Never Ending Story

I’m sure we’ve only scratched the surface of ways you could improve your home’s health, but this is what we can take on for now. If this is too much for you, just take what you can use and leave the rest! If you are a healthy-home superhero and have moved past these simple changes years ago, then more power to you.  Any one of these changes, or variations of these changes will improve the health of your home and will probably improve the health of your family. There is always something you can do to begin.

Thanks for your time today! I hope you found some useful information in this post. Please feel free to browse my website and follow my blog for updates on real estate news, timely home maintenance suggestions and tips for buyers and sellers.


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