13 Things to Buy for a Healthier Home in 2018
Want to make your home healthier? Health polled a panel of health pros (see the full list below) to get the scoop on the latest new innovations to hit store shelves. First, we asked them to share the most important criteria for each type of home product. Then we hunted for goods that not only checked off every box but also met our requirements for value and quality. We also considered third-party ratings, such as the product safety grades from the Environmental Working Group. Here, the top picks in the categories of air quality, improved sleep, and cleaning products.
Best products to breathe easier
Get some fresh air in your lair! Want to boost air quality quickly? Crack open a window. Even 10 minutes of increased air circulation—especially after a cooking or cleaning marathon—dilutes indoor pollutants. Here, four winning home buys that make a big difference, too.
1. Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier ($230; amazon.com). Indoor air can be even more polluted than outdoor air. Thankfully, a purifier with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter can remove airborne particles with 99.97 percent efficiency. This model has sensors to kick it into high gear when needed.
2. Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm ($119; nest.com). Nest Protect combines two safety must-haves (carbon monoxide and smoke alarms) into one. Even better: It has self-testing features, instructive voice alerts, and smart connectivity, so you can monitor and address issues from its app.
3. Honeywell HCM-350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier ($116; amazon.com). A humidifier that’s hard to clean can turn you into an accidental mold farmer—potentially upping your risk of asthma and allergy attacks. This one’s reservoir is dishwasher safe. Plus, its UV light kills any microbes that might be in the water.
4. Kenmore Elite 31150 Pet Friendly Vacuum ($320; amazon.com). This vacuum boasts powerful airflow that removes even the tiniest pet hairs. Just as important: The HEPA filter will keep particles trapped inside a disposable bag, rather than recirculating them into the air.
Best products to sleep better
A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that people who slept with a chest patch of lavender essential oil had better sleep quality than those with a blank patch. Or just try spritzing a little lavender essential oil on a tissue and keep it next to your bed. These buys can also help you get a solid eight hours of shut-eye.
5. Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Machine ($60; amazon.com). Some people are great at sleeping through every odd sound. For the rest of us, there are whitenoise machines. This pick has racked up more than 9,000 glowing Amazon reviews, thanks to its durability and wonderfully layered “ssshhh” sound.
6. Nidra Deep Rest Sleep Mask ($23; amazon.com). This well-designed sleep mask makes it easy to catch shut-eye, no matter your surroundings. Nidra’s version is soft and has an adjustable strap to keep it in place. The domed shape means there’s no pressure on your peepers.
8. AllerEase Hot Water Washable Allergy Protection Pillow ($21; amazon.com). Allergists recommend washing your bedding in 130-degree water to remove allergens, but most down pillows feel pitiful after a few spins in the rinse cycle. Not this synthetic option, which stays fluffy even with weekly washes.
9. Nokia Steel HR Activity Tracker ($220; nokia.com). Sleep tech tends to fall short on coaching, but this watch pairs with an app that tells you how much you slept and how to tweak your habits for better slumber.
Best cleaning products
10. Honest Laundry Detergent ($13; honest.com). To formulate these suds, the team at Honest skipped the usual dyes, fake fragrances, and chemicals in favor of plant-based cleansers and stain-fighting enzymes.
11. OXO Good Grips Compact Toilet Brush ($16; amazon.com). Something to know about toilet brush storage: If it isn’t able to fully dry or if the storage caddy is hard to clean, both can become breeding grounds for nasty bacteria. That’s why we’re fans of this option: The leakproof bowl is a snap to disinfect, and built-in air vents help the brush dry.
12. Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid ($17 for 6; amazon.com). These suds contain ingredients derived from plants and skip the synthetic dyes and fragrances. Another bonus: The bottle is made from recycled plastic.
13. Method All-Purpose Cleaner ($3; amazon.com). Method’s multitasking cleaner gets the job done—more impressive, when you consider it doesn’t rely on the usual harsh chemicals, like ammonia and chlorine bleach, that may cause health issues.
Meet our experts: Clifford Bassett, MD, allergist at Allergy & Asthma Care of New York and author of The New Allergy Solution; Julia Brody, PhD, executive director and senior scientist at Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Massachusetts; Phil Brown, PhD, director of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern University in Boston; Donna Smallin Kuper, certified housecleaning technician and author of Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness; W. Max Kirk, PhD, associate professor and indoor air quality researcher at Washington State University; Kelly Reynolds, PhD, environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona; W. Chris Winter, MD, sleep specialist and neurologist at Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine and author of The Sleep Solution; Junfeng (Jim) Zhang, PhD, professor of global and environmental health at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment