Look for the winner on the next episode of Natural Interiors® TV
From Florida to California, Natural Housewives — and Husbands – have stepped up for a chance to win our first annual Natural Housewife Contest by sharing their tips for keeping natural, healthy order. For most of them, healthy indoor-air quality is key. And thought for the health of the planet is a given.
While our judges continue to narrow the field of candidates with winners to be announced next week, here are the six finalists. One will win $500 in Nature’s Carpet, and a second place winner will get a room’s worth of Earth Paint.
More valuable, are the lessons these Natural Housewives and Husbands have to share with us:
Tonya Ainsworth of Fort Mill, South Carolina
She mops her floor with a steam mop, again using water and no chemicals.
And air fresheners are a no-no, she says. “Use plants to filter indoor air, and boil a pot of water and sliced oranges to freshen the air after cooking.”
Danielle Black of Cincinnati, Ohio
Black doesn’t buy paper towels or napkins and uses only cloth, which gets washed instead of thrown in the trash. And her cleaning products consist only of vinegar, Borax, baking soda, lemon oil and castile soap.
In addition, “Less is more,” she says. “We strive to have less and what we buy we actually use, then reuse. We try to find new uses for things before we throw them away.”
“Everyone knows that plants convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, but did you know that they can filter out formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene, carbon monoxide and other airborne pollutants?,” Choi says.
These are toxins, she says, that come out of carpeting, furniture, bedding and cleaning products and contribute to unhealthful indoor air. Her solution?
Indoor plants. Areca Palms and Lady Palms filter the air the best, but the Boston Fern and the Peace Lily also are on the top 10 list, based on a study NASA conducted on plants, she says.
“So, go and buy some plants, take care of them, and they will take care of you,” she says.
Sara Eickhoff of Cincinnati, Ohio
The first step was to rid her home of any toxic cleaning products with “mystery” ingredients, which she disposed of at the county’s hazardous waste drop-off site. Her cleaning products now consist of white vinegar – grain-sourced, not petroleum-sourced – organic castile soap and synthetic-free bar soap.
The next step was to remove a number of other items, including dishes with probable lead content. She also traded cookware with non-stick surfaces and utensils made with questionable plastics for cast iron and stainless materials. And she replaced her plastic storage containers with glass. (Note the photo of her refrigerator at the beginning of this blog.)
Next, she says, it was time to lose “the make-up, toothpaste, deodorant, skin-care products and hair products that contained petroleum and a slew of synthetic and carcinogenic ingredients and, instead, take time to research and purchase quality toxic-free products.”
Eickhoff also added a compost bin and soon plans to switch to a push mower for cutting the lawn so they won’t need to use excess gasoline.
“It’s been almost a year since I started my journey to becoming a Natural Housewife,” she says. “It hasn’t always been easy, as change is often difficult when everyone else in the household doesn’t necessarily have the same perspective, but we’ve made it work and now even my husband is starting to appreciate the benefits.”
Rick Green of Highlands Ranch, Colorado
“I’m an extremely eco-conscious individual,” he says. “ My wife and I recycle about 75 percent of what we throw away. We recycle batteries either through waste-management recycling centers or through Whole Foods Markets. We donate or recycle old shoes and sneakers through local programs. We recently donated/recycled old Styrofoam through a local UPS Shipping store. And each and every week, we bundle cardboard boxes for curbside recycling pick-up.”
Indoor-air quality is also high on Green’s priority list. He only uses non-toxic household products that are planet-friendly, he changes the furnace filter every three months and uses two air cleaners.
In addition, “I love to vacuum,” he says. “I vacuum each room at least once per week, sometimes twice.”
Kirsten Stilgenbauer of Cincinnati, Ohio
For cleaning silver and jewelry, there also is no need for chemicals as rubbing it with toothpaste, natural or regular, will do the trick, she says.
“I am always thinking about my family’s health, as well as trying to keep in mind the environment, when making decisions around the house,” she says. “This pertains to cleaning my home, personal products, controlling insects, lawn and garden care, carpet and flooring and paint. The more you think about it, you realize how many chemicals we use on a daily basis, and sometimes, it is just so much a part of our lives, that we don’t even stop to consider that something may not be healthy for us, or for the earth.”