Expert tips on how to make your home healthier


ten years ago, Shauna Holman I knew something had to change. She’s been battling chronic health ailments for years, including debilitating migraines and brain fog. Western medicine provided some reprieve but weakened her immunity. She needed a radical makeover. A way to remove the root causes of her problems and support her body. So I set out on a journey to reduce the toxins in her life and her family – from theirs elements of self-care for them household products for them foods.

Little by little, Holman was healed. As she researched, tossed around, and switched in and out of her life, she gained a lot of knowledge about making our homes and lives “a little less toxic,” she says.

Featured image of Sunday House by Kate Zimmerman Turpin.

picture The living room of Brian and Jesse De Lowe by Michelle Nash

How to make your home healthier

Holman has become a trusted resource in accessible, everyday home wellness. Her website and her book A healthier home: a room-by-room guide to making any space less toxic He offers accessible tips for cleaner living, from how to make your home healthier to easy healthy recipes.

I recently contacted Holman to get her advice on how to do this Reduce toxins in our homes. As we talked, I learned that what convinced her most was her humility and nonjudgment. Her approach, as explained below, is to take small steps and do what works for you.

“I like to set an example of taking a giant step,” Holman says. “You may lose your balance a little—then if you extend your foot further, you will fall. But I took a reasonable step for me. It may not seem like someone else’s. As long as I am able to keep moving forward.”

Tips for a healthy home from an expert

picture Diana Rio’s Kitchen by Teal Thompson

For anyone who wants to start making their home healthier, what’s the best place to start?

One place that will have the greatest impact, and you can start right away, is the food in your kitchen. This is where I started. Because when it comes to food, these are the things you’ll replace anyway. So if you run out of ketchup, replace the next bottle with something with better ingredients that fit your budget. If you keep doing this, you will see big changes very quickly.

Next, look at the other things you use in the house most frequently. This usually means products and personal care items. When you start to get low, look for less toxic options. But always give yourself a slack so you can do some research and find a product that meets your needs and budget.

photo by Kate Zimmerman Turpin

When it comes to toxins lurking in our homes, what are some heavy hitters that we should avoid?

fragrance. It’s in pretty much everything—even in places you wouldn’t expect, like blush, concealer, and feminine products. Perfume is made of dozens, even hundreds, of different chemicals that don’t have to be legally disclosed on the label. These components often contribute to poor health outcomes and poor indoor air quality.

So look for the fragrance in your ingredients. If you can avoid them, it makes a huge difference. I can tell you after getting rid of the fragrance, when I encounter it now, I can feel it in my throat, nose, and in my head. Many people have said that to me who have also removed it from their lives.

You are a strong advocate of opening windows. Why is this useful?

I think of it as if we’re on this earth, and the sunshine comes in, and everything inside is bubbling up. When we keep the doors and windows closed, even if we have air conditioning systems circulating, it keeps all the gaseous stuff released from our stuff, the microtoxins from the dust, and whatever else is more concentrated. So opening doors and windows, even for 10 to 20 minutes a day, will allow fresh, clean air to come in and out. This also applies to cities where the air quality may be poor. The house is still more polluted when the doors and windows are closed.

Michelle Nash’s photo

We spend a lot of our lives in the bedroom. How can we quickly make that room healthier?

For the bedroom it is necessary to start with the basic things:

You can reduce dust by keeping clutter to a minimum, cleaning more often, and opening windows. All of this contributes to a healthy environment.

As for our beds, because we spend so much of our lives in them, bedding is essential. It can be a very large investment to buy a whole new mattress, so if you can’t afford it, invest in a high-quality, non-toxic mattress and topper made from natural materials. This helps reduce your exposure to toxic substances.


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