Everywhere you go, you encounter germs, viruses, bacteria, and other potential health hazards. While this fact also is true for your home, there are steps you can take to make your home a healthier environment for your family and yourself. Some steps and repairs for making a healthy home are very simple, while others can be much more complex and involve professional intervention. Here are some of the most manageable tips for staying healthy and well at home so that you and your family can rest a little easier.
- Keep as many outside hazards at bay as possible
Do you and your family members wear your shoes inside your home? If you do, stop doing so today. Instituting a no shoes rule inside your home will improve your family’s health in a number of ways. Studies show that shoes carry toxins, like lawn care chemicals and tar on asphalt roads, inside your home. If you wear your shoes throughout your home, you track these health hazards all over the place. Shoes also are a breeding ground for bacteria, including E. coli.
You also should go a step further with your no shoes rule and place mats on both sides of your entry doors. Nearly 80% of the dirt found inside homes can be stopped on the mats. This also means that the allergens, bacteria, chemicals, and toxins you carry on your shoes can be left at the door on the mats instead of tracked all over your home.
- Be proactive in managing dust
While nobody loves dusting, it is important that you do all that you can to manage the amount of dust in your home because it aggravates allergies and contains hazardous chemicals such as lead, fire retardants, pesticides, and other chemicals. One of the best things to do is to dust frequently with clean rags or cleaning products that capture dust and allergens. Vacuum at least twice a week and take the time to use the tools to get into the corners, along your floorboards, and under furniture. Replace your vacuum filter with a HEPA filter that captures dust and dirt. Clean your vacuum bag and filter each time you vacuum to lessen the likelihood of the dust you have captured being released back into the air in your home.
If your family has allergies and asthma, one of the best things to do is to eliminate more of the dust and allergens in your home by replacing wall-to-wall carpeting with wood, cork, tile, or non-vinyl linoleum flooring that does not collect dust and allergens the way that carpet pile does. If you have children, vacuum their stuffed animals and wash them in the washing machine on a gentle cycle inside a pillow case. If you cannot wash the stuffed animal, place it in a freezer bag and freeze it overnight to eliminate allergens.
- Test your home’s health
Many homeowners understand the importance of testing for mold, lead, radon, and asbestos and having their homes inspected for hidden hazards. Homeowners should test their indoor air so that you know whether it is at a healthy level.
But, the majority of homeowners do not consider the air quality inside their homes; in fact, only 9% of Americans consider indoor air quality a hazard to their health, and 70% aren’t concerned about it at all. You should have a carbon monoxide alarm on each level of your home, and you should ensure that your gas ranges, cooktops, furnaces, and fireplaces, as well as your wood-burning stoves and fireplaces, are properly installed, maintained, and vented. Run the exhaust hood when you use your gas range or clean your oven, or open a window and clean your chimney annually
Other ways to improve your home’s air quality include opening windows to allow fresh air inside and running ceiling fans to keep the air circulating continually. Even if you don’t have a gas range, turn on the exhaust fan when you cook so that it can capture the vapors, grease, and smoke. Replace curtains with blinds that attract less dust, and add houseplants to fight air pollution. Some homeowners opt to purchase air purifiers, and you should be sure that the one you choose is approved by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers and is the appropriate size for the room you intend to use it in.
- Check your home’s water
Though it’s usually rare, contaminants can certainly find their way into your homes water supply and plumbing system. If you fear that your water is contaminated, you can either work with a local lab to test your water or test it yourself with a special kit.
And if you have a pool, don’t forget to do all the proper maintenance on its water. Follow the proper chemical schedule and test it regularly to ensure the water is free of harmful bacteria and isn’t over or under chemically treated.
It is important to check the health of your home and take steps to correct areas that pose dangers to the health of your family. A few simple changes and upgrades may be all it takes to keep you and your family healthy and well at home.