New baby? Pets? These are only two very good reasons to improve the health and eco-friendly aspects of your home. Don't forget your long-term health.
To get the detox process started, you'll want to look beyond the furniture, cleaning products, and carpet: Start with the walls themselves. Choosing a paint that's low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) -- or, even better, totally free of them -- can improve indoor air quality (and your health).
But keep in mind that even paints labeled "low" or "zero" VOC aren't always created equal. The current standard for a paint to be labeled low-VOC requires that it have fewer than 250 g/L; zero-VOC paints have to meet a less-than 5 g/L requirement.
1. Behr Premium Plus Enamel Low LusterBehr, the Home Depot house brand, comes in more than 4,000 different colors, with zero-VOC versions of semi-gloss, flat interior, eggshell, and base finishes.
Use the color finder at Behr.com to pick the shade that's right for your room or look at photos of finished spaces for new inspiration.
2. Benajmin Moore Natura/Aura
Benjamin Moore has been making paint since 1883 -- but the company's modern-day innovations include the line of Natura Waterborne paint, a zero-VOC-qualifying product that comes in the company's full line of colors and, on most surfaces, doesn't need a primer.
3. Milk Paint
Organic paint from Old-Fashioned Milk Paint bills itself as "The Greenest Paint There Is," boasting that the "ingredients in the base paint are used in the food and pharmaceutical industries and are all completely biodegradable" (these include milk protein and minerals).
You don't have as many colors to choose from -- just 20 that you can mix with white for varying shades -- but the traditional look is appropriate for antiques and other classic pieces.
4. YOLO Colorhouse
In the 7 years since Virginia Young and Janie Lowe founded YOLO Colorhouse, long a TreeHugger favorite, they've added more than 40 new colors to their original 49-shade paint lineup -- all of which are made without carcinogens, VOCs, formaldehyde, or phthalates. In fact, YOLO goes above and beyond no VOC certification to really address every single ingredient.
But it's not just what's in the can that's better for you: The containers are 100 percent recycled plastic, the labels are made from recycled material and printed with soy ink, and they ship the product using biodiesel-fueled vehicles.
5. Sherwin-Williams Harmony
Sherwin-Williams may be one of the most famous names in paint, which means you're likely to find a retailer near you -- and which means the company's zero-VOC Harmony acrylic latex paint should be easy to get to.
An anti-microbial ingredient helps minimize the growth of mold and mildew, so you can keep your walls clean without interfering with your healthy home.