1. Choose your products wisely
Don't believe the hype when it comes to green products, says Alba. Just because a product contains one natural ingredient, that doesn't make it natural or eco-friendly. Read the ingredients list and look for certifications from internationally recognized governing bodies, such as the USDA or Ecocert. Avoid products containing parabens, artificial fragrance, phthalates and sodium laurel sulfate, which can be harmful.
"Having all of that in your home-cleaning products, personal-care products and your diapers, you're exposing your child and yourself over and over again. That buildup of exposure could cause harm," says Alba. From your dish detergent to your laundry detergent, parents should look at purchasing eco-friendly products for all aspects of their lives, she says.
2. Take off your shoes
"You're walking around all day and stepping on sewage, pesticides, tar and dirt," says Alba. Leave your shoes at the door so that you're not carrying those toxins throughout your house, she says.
3. Open your windows
If you're cleaning your house with toxin-laden cleaners, your house might be filled with harmful chemicals that can't escape. Open your windows to let in fresh air once a day, suggests Alba.
4. Rethink your decor
Some paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), says Alba, so look for a VOC-free formula when sprucing up your house. Even the rugs and furniture you buy might be made with harmful chemicals. Ask the manufacturers about the products you're choosing, and find out what's in them.
When creating ambience in your home, opt for 100 percent soy-based candles with essential oils. "It's really about taking baby steps," says Alba.
5. Buy an organic mattress
Many mattresses contain chemical fire retardants, toxic foams and synthetic fibres. Buy a natural mattress if you can afford one, or cover your mattress to prevent off-gassing. "Children spend half their time in bed breathing that in," says Alba, so the more eco-friendly the materials are, the better.
6. Green your beauty routine
Your shampoo, conditioner and skin-care products could contain chemicals that affect your health and cause skin irritation, like contact dermatitis or psoriasis, says Alba. She uses eco-friendly products on her family—even her pet. "I have a rescue dog and her skin is so sensitive, so we use a natural shampoo and body wash on her," says Alba.
7. Green your diet
When it comes to foods that are typically high in pesticides, like blueberries and strawberries, Alba recommends opting for organic varieties. If you can't buy strictly organic, skip processed, packaged goods and opt for fresh, whole ingredients when cooking. Invite your kids into the kitchen to teach them how to prepare foods from scratch, she suggests.
For more tips on living green, check out how your appliances can save energy.