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Winter Wellness: Tips on a cleaner, less toxic chilly season

Two laughing children read a book inside a blanket fort.

As the weather outside gets frightful, staying indoors this time of year is much more delightful. With fewer places to go, it’s an excellent opportunity to keep homes free of hazardous waste.

Improving and maintaining good indoor air quality

Fewer opportunities to go outside and enjoy fresh air mean we need to keep indoor air as clean as possible. Simple practices like regular vacuuming, dusting, and using safer, less toxic cleaning products go a long way in improving the air your household breathes. Explore better cleaning solutions and effective homemade recipes that are safer than conventional products containing toxic chemicals.

Additionally, maintaining your heating system and changing air filters as needed helps to keep the air inside your home clean when you turn up the heat. If using a space heater, opt for electric heaters and keep them away from potential flammable objects like curtains, blankets, and furniture. Never use charcoal grills, hibachi, or portable propane heaters for indoor cooking or heating. This is also an ideal time to ensure your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors have fresh batteries and are functional.

Avoid smoking indoors and limit the use of scented candles, opting for ones made of natural materials like beeswax. Find more information on strategies to improve indoor air quality on Public Health – Seattle & King County’s website.

Less toxic deicing strategies

As temperatures drop and walkways freeze, it’s crucial to keep them thawed to prevent slips and falls. Consider safer deicing alternatives over rock salt or other options containing harmful chemicals or minerals.

Instead of chemicals, shoveling and using sand or dirt can effectively reduce snow and ice on walkways. Creating a homemade deicer is also an option with easily accessible items:

  • Half gallon of warm water
  • Six drops of dish soap
  • Two ounces of rubbing alcohol

If opting for a store-bought deicing product, look for those that are people- and pet-friendly, without salts or chlorides.

Visit the Hazardous Waste Management Program’s website for more information on limiting exposure to hazardous materials or proper disposal of toxic products.

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