How a Boston Fern Can Improve Your Health

How a Boston Fern Can Reduce Formaldehyde

You’re probably surprised to learn that your indoor air is dirtier than outdoor air, and you’re wondering how this could happen.

It’s pretty simple. It’s because just about everything you bring into your house off-gasses creating Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs for short. And then to make matters worse, most of the time your windows are closed which traps all sorts of pollutants inside.

So, what is to blame for VOCs?

Here’s a partial list: carpets, paint, wall coverings, fabrics, cleaning products, scented candles, air fresheners, perfumes, pressed wood furniture, polyurethane foam furniture, adhesives, stains, and cooking. Another source of VOCs is laminate wood flooring which you’ve probably heard a bit about with the recent allegations against Lumber Liquidators and formaldehyde-releasing flooring.

The most prevalent VOC in homes is formaldehyde and it’s in just about everything.

According to the EPA, at certain exposures, formaldehyde can cause a variety of adverse health effects, including eye, nose, and throat irritation, as well as other respiratory symptoms. The National Toxicology Program recently classified formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen.

So, it’s generally not good news for you, although fortunately formaldehyde does dissipate over time.

How long does it take for formaldehyde to disappear? It really isn’t clear–testing is difficult for many reasons. The EPA simply says that “formaldehyde emissions are highest when products are new and diminish over time so the longer a product has been in place, the lower the levels of formaldehyde likely to be emitted.”

How to Reduce Formaldehyde with Boston Ferns

The good news is that Boston Ferns are proven to reduce formaldehyde. And so, living with plants, specifically the ones that work to lower VOCs can improve your health. According to Dr. Bill Wolverton an Environmental Scientist, plants can be used effectively to reduce VOCs.

You’ll need two plants in 10-12” pots per 100 sq ft. For more information check out his book “Plants: Why You Can’t Live Without Them”. Many studies support plants’ ability to reduce VOCs. In addition to Boston Ferns, English Ivy, Snake Plant/Mother-in-Law’s Tongue and Spider plants also reduce formaldehyde.

Here’s the list:

  • Boston Fern
    • One of the most efficient air purifying plants for formaldehyde according to study published in HortScience
    • Requires moisture and humidity to thrive
    • Removes formaldehyde (carpeting, curtains, plywood, particle board furniture, and adhesives)
  • English Ivy
    • Thrives in low sunlight
    • Absorbs formaldehyde (carpeting, curtains, plywood, particle board furniture, and adhesives)
  • Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
    • Thrives in low light
    • Lowers carbon dioxide and rids air of formaldehyde and benzene
  • Spider Plant
    • Easy to grow
    • Reduces formaldehyde and benzene

How do you keep your indoor air clean? Have you tried using plants?

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How to Create a Toxic-Free Home Challenge


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How to Know if You’re Buying the Best Water Filter

How to Know if You're Buying the Best Water Filter 

Find the Best Water Filter

You’d like to buy the best water filter, but you’ve got concerns. So many things could go wrong. You could buy an inferior product or pay too much.

You also have questions. Which type of filter should you choose? And, once you’ve chosen the type, which brand performs the best?

You’ve visited so many sites. It’s unclear whose advice you can trust. When you read the fine print, you realize that many water filter manufacturers create sites that look like independent sites, but are really biased.

It’s no wonder their brand seems to come out on top in the side-by-side reviews!

So, how do you know if you’re buying the best water filter?

You first decide which type of filter is right for you based on your needs. You might want something portable or you might want to remove fluoride or radium. Not all filter types remove all contaminants.

Then you need to find water filters that have been independently tested and certified by a trusted party. And, finally, you need to read the trusted third-party testing results so you can compare performance. For example, one filter might remove 50% of arsenic, and another might remove 99% of arsenic. You’d probably prefer to buy the one that performs at the 99% level.

But wait, that’s a lot of work, right?

Well, we’ve already done that work for you. We built a simple app that you can use to select the right type of filter. And, then we found all the water filters that were tested and certified by independent third-party testers.

Why is testing important? Many water filter manufacturers make claims of being the best, but not all take the next step to prove their filter’s performance. If a manufacturer really believes in their product, they get it tested and certified by NSF. And, they make those test results available on their website for your review. If their product is not tested and performance results aren’t available, you’ve got to ask yourself why.

Next, we read all the performance reports and selected the top performers. Finally, we looked at pricing and selected the best values according to three-year cost of ownership!

What does that mean for you? You don’t have to worry. You know you’ve selected the best performing and best value water filter for you!

Time to get started.

Three Steps to Picking the Right Water Filter System

It’s easy. All you have to do is:

  • Read a few paragraphs (one down, only a couple more to go)
  • Answer a few simple questions
  • Make your product choice

1.  Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you want a portable or installed water filter? If you’re moving soon or renting, you may want to consider portability.
  • Do you have a standard, non-pull out faucet in the room where you want your water filter? If you have a pull-out sprayer, your faucet is non-standard.
  • Do you need instant gratification or are you OK waiting for a gravity filter? A gravity filter simply means that you wait for gravity to pull the water through the filter. Pitchers and containers are gravity filters.
  • Are you OK with installing under your sink? You’ll need space under your sink and maybe a plumber. How much space? A reverse osmosis system will take up roughly half of your under sink space while the under counter systems without reverse osmosis need roughly a quarter of your space. It’s not a big job for the plumber so plan on one hour to two hours at most.
  • Do you want to remove the most contaminants possible including Arsenic, Fluoride, Nitrate and Nitrite, Barium, Selenium, and Radium? These contaminants are typically the hardest to remove.

2.  Next, use our Water Filter Selector App to find which type of water filter is right for you. It takes only minutes and will help you decide what type of water filter to buy – reverse osmosis with carbon water filter, under counter carbon water filter, counter top water filter, faucet water filter or water pitcher filter.

Start here.

How to Select a Water Filter - Use our App!


Done? Great, now you know which type of water filter you need.


3.  Finally, Choose Your Brand & Buy One!

Why Buy From Pure Living Space?

Pure Living Space offers excellent customer service and honest, unbiased product reviews. Our products are hand-picked based on product research and third-party testing results. We only pick the best. You have our guarantee.

See why this high-tech brand of water pitchers and containers from the US-based company Propur comes so highly recommended. These pitcher and container water filters are so effective, they remove fluoride and other hard to remove contaminants. Find out more about these outstanding pitchers and why they remove 10 times more contaminants than the big brands.

Austin Springs and WaterChef counter top water filters are both excellent choices. Portable, highly effective, certified to remove 50+ contaminants. See why the Austin Springs and WaterChef filters are so highly recommended. Both carry the important NSF certifications so you know you’re getting the cleanest water. The Austin Springs’ counter top water filter is an especially good value at today’s sale price of $59.99.

Austin Springs and WaterChef under counter water filters tested the best of all the under counter filters certified. See why the Austin Springs and WaterChef filters are an excellent choice. Austin Springs is an especially good value at the current sales price of $99.99 or 50% off the regular price of $199.99.

Aquasana’s reverse osmosis under counter water filter is in a class by itself. No other reverse osmosis and carbon filter system has three certifications, so you can trust it’s delivering clean water to your tap. It has a 4 stage filtration process and removes fluoride and other hard to remove contaminants. Learn more.

Have questions? Contact us. We’ve help many people select the best water filters.

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The Truth About Vinyl Flooring: Four Ways to Protect Yourself

The Truth About Vinyl Flooring Safety

Are you concerned about the safety of your vinyl floor? You’ve heard the news about unsafe wood laminate flooring, and now you’re hearing that there is trouble with some vinyl floor brands. You wonder if any company can be trusted, and whether you have toxic flooring in your home.

You can relax a bit because you can protect yourself and your family by learning the facts.

Vinyl Flooring & Phthalates

In April 2015, a study was released about vinyl flooring and toxic phthalates. Flooring samples sold by five major home improvement stores were tested and of the 65 vinyl flooring tiles tested, 58% contained phthalates. The study was part of ongoing research at

What is the Concern About Phthalates?

Phthalates have been linked to serious health issues in animals and human studies. According to Washington Toxics Coalition, in animal studies, phthalates cause an array of reproductive problems in male offspring. In a study on people, boys born to mothers with greater exposure had altered genital development. In addition, phthalates have been linked to asthma.

Although phthalates do not accumulate in your body which is a good thing, you are constantly being exposed.

How are you exposed to phthalates? Phthalates migrate into your air and settle into household dust. And, phthalates are in many of your consumer products like personal care products, vinyl shower curtains, children’s toys and basically anything made with PVC.

There is hope though to reduce your exposure.

The Worst and Best

According to the study, Lumber Liquidators and Ace Hardware had phthalates in 100% of the flooring sampled. Check out Healthy Stuff Vinyl Flooring Report to see if your flooring was part of the study.

The good news is that among the brands, Armstrong and Designer’s Image flooring had no phthalates detected, so if you purchased these brands, you’re in good shape.

In 2016, any vinyl flooring sold by Home Depot will be safe because Home Depot has pledged to stop selling flooring with phthalates by the end of 2015. This is little consolation to any of you who already purchased.

 What to Do: Four Ways to Protect Yourself

  1. Check out the report to find and purchase flooring brands that are phthalate-free.
  2. Consider non-vinyl flooring alternatives. recommends bio-based linoleum, natural rubber and ceramic tile.
  3. Reduce your exposure to other sources of phthalates. Learn about these sources.
  4. If you have vinyl flooring, consider using an air purifier designed to remove VOCs like phthalates from your indoor air so you can breathe easier. Dust and vacuum frequently with a HEPA filter vacuum.


Kitchen Cleaners – Safe, Non-Toxic Ways to Clean Your Kitchen

Safe Non Toxic Ways to Clean Your Kitchen

You might feel confident when you buy kitchen cleaners with “Green” or “All Natural” labels that you are getting a safer product. After all, you want safe ways to clean your kitchen.

But, are you really?

The answer will surprise you and here’s why.

Green and All Natural are simply marketing terms. In other words, these words are meaningless in terms of ensuring product safety for you or the environment.

And, to make matter worse, even if you read the labels, you cannot be sure that the manufacturer disclosed all the ingredients.


Because the regulator of kitchen cleaning products, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), does not require disclosure of all ingredients, so there’s simply no way of knowing what’s really in your kitchen cleaning products.

Kinda frustrating, right?

But, you can find safe cleaning products, without the neurotoxins, hormone disruptors, and likely carcinogens, by buying trusted brands.  Trusted brands disclose ingredients and use safer ingredients. These brands include:

  • Lion Bear Naked Soap Co.
  • MamaSuds
  • Green Mission™
  • GreenShield Organics

Lion Bear Naked Soap Co. and MamaSuds are available at Pure Living Space. Many products ship free and the rest ship with a low flat rate. You’ll want to try the best-sellers including:

Many products come unscented or you can opt for a variety of essential oils scents (lavender, lemon, orange, cinnamon, etc.) You don’t have to worry about unhealthy perfumes or questionable ingredients. And, these are proven, tested products. They receive stellar reviews from Environmental Working Group SkinDeep database which reviews over 70,000 personal care and cleaning products.

You’ll love having your laundry soap delivered directly to your door. No more lugging products around the grocery store or worrying about whether they’ll be carrying your brand.

Prefer to make your own? You only need a handful of simple ingredients to create non-toxic, safe ways to clean your kitchen!

Non-Toxic, Safe Ways to Clean Your Kitchen

Here’s what you need to create your own safe, non-toxic kitchen cleaners.

  • White Vinegar (buy a large gallon size) – one word of caution: never use vinegar on marble or travertine
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Corn Starch
  • Baking Soda
  • Lemons
  • Lemon Juice
  • Spray Bottles
  • Funnel (makes it a lot easier to get the ingredients into the bottle)

Now for the recipes. You’ll love the all-purpose and grout cleaners.


All-Purpose Cleaner:

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 10 drops tea tree oil

Mix in a spray bottle. The tea tree oil improves the antimicrobial properties. Kills bacteria and mold. (Do not use on marble or travertine.)


Glass Cleaner:

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 TBS corn starch

Mix in spray bottle. Alcohol and corn starch result in streak-free glass.


Silverware Cleaner for Silver and Stainless:

  • Soak silverware in full strength white vinegar, rinse with water and dry


Scouring Cleanser:

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 TBS dish soap
  • Enough white vinegar to form a paste

Great for cleaning cookware.


Wood Cutting Boards Sanitizer:

  • Wipe with full strength white vinegar OR
  • Rub with cut lemon (use leftover lemon sliced to freshen your disposal)


Disposal Freshener:

  • Cut narrow 1/2″ lemon slices and grind up in disposal


Grout Cleaner:

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 7 cups water

Mix in spray bottle. Spray and let soak for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing a bit. For extra dirty grout, let soak longer and use a scrub brush with stiff bristles. It will make your grout look like new.


Ready to Take the Toxic-Free Home Challenge?

How to Create a Toxic-Free Home Challenge

Save DIY Kitchen Cleaners to your Pinterest board or follow the Pure Living Space Healthy Home Board where you can find this and many other helpful ways to make your home healthier.

DIY Green Kitchen Cleaners


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Six Killer Ways to Kill Ants Exterminators Won’t Tell You

6 Safe Ways to Kill Ants Without Chemicals that are Harmful

Ants are everywhere. And, crawling where they shouldn’t in their single-file lines. When you try to cook or even brush your teeth, you have to stop and wipe up the ants.

You’re tempted to call the exterminator because you need relief, now.

What’s the solution? Check out six proven ways to get rid of ants.

Be honest.

You’re worried about safety and effectiveness.

No worries! All six are organic remedies AND they are proven to kill carpenter, sugar and fire ants.

Best of all, you won’t need to call your exterminator.

4 Ways to Kill Ants Without Chemicals that are Harmful

Relief is closer than you think. You probably have three of these ingredients in your pantry.

  • Dust area with baking soda
  • Dust area with cinnamon
  • Crush or chop pieces of bay leaf and sprinkle area
  • Sprinkle area with natural, food-grade diatomaceous earth (do not use pool grade DE)

Never heard of diatomaceous earth (DE)?

DE is a white powder that is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. When a bug with an exoskeleton (think ant, roach, flea, bed bug) comes into contact with DE, it sort of works under the shell, punctures the body, and the bug dies.

Sounds like just what you need, right?

But, admit it. It also sounds dangerous…

You don’t have to worry though because DE is completely non-toxic. While it certainly is dangerous to bugs with exoskeletons, all mammals are safe from its effects.

More good news. There is no buildup of tolerance like poisons because the killing method is physical, not chemical.

Keep these things in mind:

  • Remember to keep the DE dry
  • Although you can eat food-grade DE and rub it on your skin, do not inhale DE because the silica is bad for your lungs (wear a mask when applying)
  • Buy it at your local natural gardening store or order from
  • Always use food-grade DE and not pool-grade DE


2 Ways to Kill Outdoor Ants – Fire & Carpenter Ants

  • Fire Ants: Mix the following (find these ingredients at your local organic retailer like an organic gardening store or order at
    • 2 oz. Compost tea
    • 2 oz. Horticulture liquid molasses
    • 2 oz. Orange oil
    • 1-gallon water
    • Mix and pour on fire ant mounds
  • Carpenter Ants:  Mix the following (find these ingredients at your local organic retailer like an organic gardening store or order at
    • 2 oz. Orange oil
    • 1-gallon water
    • Mix and spray

What is orange oil?

Orange oil is simply the raw oil collected from the citrus peel during the juicing extraction. Orange oil degrades the waxy coating on the exoskeleton of insects, causing dehydration and asphyxiation of insects, not you.

Dehydration and asphyxiation sound perfect, right?

What is compost tea?

Compost tea is a concentrated liquid created using a process that increases the numbers of beneficial organisms as an organic approach to plant/soil care.

You can brew your own, or better yet, simply buy some at our local organic gardening store. (source:

What is horticulture liquid molasses?

Liquid Molasses is a soil amendment to feed and stimulate microorganisms. You use it in sprays to help organic pest controls and as an ingredient in many organic fertilizers. (source:

Cross that ant problem off your list!

Now you’re armed with six “killer” ant killers, so start sprinkling, dusting and spraying. Cross the ant problem off of your list and remove your exterminator from speed dial.

Need Help with Controlling Other Pests–Naturally?

Got a flea problem? Read The Best Way to Get Rid of Fleas, Naturally. Don’t skip the step of treating your yard with beneficial nematodes. It’s the key to keeping fleas away.

You’ll also learn how best to calm flea bites.

The Best Way to Get Rid of Fleas Naturally

The Best Way to Get Rid of Fleas, Naturally!

Bothered by roaches? You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to control them without harmful substances. Read How to Solve your Bug Problem without Harmful Chemicals.

How to Solve Pest Problems Without Harmful Chemicals

If mosquitoes are a problem, try these solutions.

The Unconventional Guide to Mosquito Control


Want the very best and smartest tips on how to create a toxin-free home? Sign up for our free 12-week e-course – The Zen of Pure Living. We take you step-by-step to learn about how to live healthier at home. Sign up today for a new perspective on a healthy home.



The Organic Manual – Natural Organic Gardening and Living for Your Family, Plants and Pets by Howard Garrett aka The Dirt Doctor.