Friday, November 6, 2015

The Toxin-Free Home (Book Review & Giveaway - CLOSED)

I like to read books that provide tips on organizing and cleaning our homes. Probably more than I like to actually organize and clean. Definitely more. My latest read in this regard is The Toxin-Free Home: A Guide to Maintaining a Clean, Eco-Friendly, and Healthy Home by Alison Haynes.

The Toxin-Free Home guides us as we create a "clever house" - a house that's healthy, doesn't take an undue toll on the environment, is comfortable and safe, is reasonably affordable to maintain and is run efficiently. Sounds like a tall order, doesn't it?

Increase Your Clever Quotient

Haynes advising upping the clever quotient of your house gradually. Maybe start by switching any chemical cleaning products for earth- and people-friendly options. Ultimately, the goal is to create a healthy house that's properly ventilated, low on mold and bacterial growth and friendly to its inhabitants, including children and pets. If your house is energy-efficient and free of clutter, you get more points for cleverness.

Banish VOCs

The Toxin-Free Home has suggestions for reducing our exposure to dangers such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can cause problems such as nose and throat discomfort, headaches, allergic skin reactions, fatigue, nausea and dizziness. We spend a lot of time in our homes and, especially when windows are shut in cold weather, our exposure to VOCs is much higher indoors than out. Haynes points out that the average home contains more than 40 VOCs. Products that we use each and every day emit VOCs - things some of us take for granted, such as fabric softeners, perfumes and permanent markers.

When my kids were small I used to spend a great deal of time worrying about the chemicals they were exposed to - and with good reason. Babies and children are particularly at risk from the ill effects of toxins in our world. But you could drive yourself crazy thinking about it, right? Now I prefer to focus on the steps we can take to make our home as safe as possible, recognizing that perfection isn't achievable.

Live Well With Pets

The book's Clever House section includes advice on living with pets. Currently that is a focus for me. When we went from one dog to two last year, I really noticed the difference in terms of smells. Fortunately Ace and Jolene don't shed all that much, but they sure do create some unpleasant odours! Haynes suggests some "pet etiquette," like washing your hands after handling your furry companion. There is advice for keeping pets clean and banishing fleas too.

Toss Those Nasty Chemical Cleaning Products

Let's be kind to our lungs, okay? When you spray those commercial cleaning products into the air, you are potentially breathing in solvents, surfactants and other chemicals. I have oft heard people say they don't like the smell of vinegar. I would much rather smell vinegar than the artificial fragrance of a commercial cleaner. The Toxin-Free Home includes recipes to create your own natural, safe cleaners using basic, affordable ingredients.

Create a Clever Kitchen, Laundry Room, Bathroom, Bedroom...

The Toxin-Free Home is broken into chapters according to the main areas in your home. The kitchen chapter, for example, outlines what makes for a clever kitchen, how to save energy in the kitchen and how to safely care for and clean work surfaces, chopping boards, sink, sponges and appliances. There are recipes for all-purpose cleaners, a mild abrasive cleaner, scouring cleaners and even a basic dish washing liquid. The chapter also outlines safe food storage, clever food shopping, kitchen safety and managing pests.

Lovin' this tip - for a fresh-smelling fridge, wipe over the inside with a cloth and a few drops of vanilla extract!

Clean and De-Clutter Too!

Although the main title is The Toxin-Free Home, this book goes well beyond the subject of greening your home, with countless ideas for cleaning and de-cluttering and basically managing it in a way that Mrs. Hughes would approve of. If only we had her staff...

Handle stained laundry, create your own shampoo, remove wine from carpets, make an organic face mask, recycle soap scraps, revive limp flowers - you can do it all with the tips in this book. It even sounds sort of fun, doesn't it?

Get The Book

Get The Toxin-Free Home in Canada
Get it in the U.S.

What steps do you take to keep your home free of toxins?



Enter to Win a Copy of The Toxin-Free Home

Skyhorse Publishing will give one winner, from the U.S. or Canada, a copy of The Toxin-Free Home. Enter using the rafflecopter below until November 30th.

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*This posts contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after following this link, Woman in Real Life will receive a (very) small commission. Your purchase price does not change.


  1. Oh, I'd love this book. We clean with all natural cleaners, vinegar etc. Thanks!

    1. I'm so glad the review was helpful to you! :)

  2. We have eliminated all nasty cleaners. We stick with steam, vinegar, baking soda. We have air cleaning plants. I try to keep windows open but living in the GTA doesn't make it easy :-)

    1. I hear ya! I love the days when we can open windows!!!

  3. we have less toxic cleansers (although we could do better) and we never bring anything for dry cleaning.

  4. I use vinegar as much as possible and when that doesn't work we use environmentally safe products.

  5. I use either vinegar instead of harsh cleansers or I use biodegradable products.

  6. I choose environmentally friendly products as much as possible.

  7. I only clean with product I make myself (mainly vinegar based). I also make my own facial cleanser, hair conditioner, laundry detergent, etc. I have removed carpeting to reduce allergens. The dog is only allowed on our main level (no worries - that's where we mainly are, plus he has his own pretend leather chair), and we have gates up to block the cat from our upstairs bedrooms. I only buy clothes that can handle being machine washed on cold so that no harmful laundry detergents or dry cleaning are needed.

  8. Along with my daily Plexus regime, I like to use non-toxic cleaners and soaps in our home.
    I also just got a Himalyan salt lamp to purify the air!
    See my plexus page here:

  9. I try to use home made cleaners whenever I can. I especially like using lemon and vinegar. I also like to incorporate using essential oils for deodorizing and disinfecting.

  10. I have been using a steam mop on the floor instead of harsh chemicals.

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