With the coronavirus continuing to disrupt lives and people spending more time at home for work and leisure, creating a healthy home environment has become more important than ever.
How healthy is your home? Is it a haven of wellbeing, or is your house making you ill? There can be many “hidden” causes of poor health in your property. If you’re feeling run down or experiencing unpleasant symptoms, keep an eye out for any of the following issues. And if you spot them, act fast to remove the problem and avoid ongoing illness.
- A Neglected Vacuum Cleaner
Some vacuum cleaners spread fine dust and bacteria into the air, which can contribute to infections and aggravate allergies. In general, vacuums collect more dirt and dust than they spit out — if they are cleaned regularly. Make sure that you empty and clean your vacuum cleaner regularly and replace the filter in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- High Humidity
If the humidity level in your home exceeds around 60%, this can lead to mould problems. Mould produces allergens, which can cause or aggravate many health issues, such as eczema and asthma. The elderly and very young people are particularly vulnerable to the effects of mould. If you spot mould, the first step in getting rid of it is to identify the cause of the excess moisture. It may then be necessary to hire a professional to solve the problem.
- Dirty Shoes
When we wear outside shoes in the house, we can carry in dirt and germs, which may contribute to health issues. This is an easy problem to solve. Establish a “shoes off at the door” rule to prevent bacteria from entering your home in this way.
- Dust Mites
Even if you’re not overly house proud, letting dust accumulate on surfaces also allows dust mites to take up residence in your home. These little critters can irritate the nasal passage and eyes. Dust will also attract dirt and particles from the outside. Keep your home dust-free if you want to reduce the risk of your home making you sick.
- Toxic Cleaning Products
Many household cleaning products and air fresheners contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These chemicals can irritate the throat and lungs. Spray products are more likely to lead to health problems than other types of cleaning materials. Opt for “allergy-friendly” products or try natural homemade cleaning methods using ingredients such as baking soda and white vinegar.
- Dusty Curtains
Just as dust on surfaces allows dust mites to gather, dirty curtains will present the same problem. If you don’t clean curtains regularly, they will collect dirt, dust and unpleasant odours. Use the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner every couple of weeks to keep curtains dust-free. Not only will this remove dust which could aggravate health conditions, but it will also keep your home looking its best, which is especially important if you’re trying to attract potential property buyers.
- Dirty Carpets
If not cleaned regularly, carpets can harbour all kinds of nasties that may lead to health issues — pet danders, dust mites, mould, dirt and bacteria. Vacuum at least several times a week, more if you have animals in the home. It’s also a good idea to open windows and doors a few times a week to keep your home well ventilated. Remember that vacuum cleaners can spread allergens as well as scoop them up, so ventilating your home can help get rid of any airborne particles.
- Gas Cookers
Gas stoves can release pollutants such as carbon monoxide and nitrous dioxide into the air, which may aggravate respiratory conditions. Try to open doors and windows when cooking to keep the kitchen ventilated. And always turn the extractor fan on if you have one.
In today’s fast pace of life, it’s easy to neglect household chores and ignore the dust building up. But as we spend more time in our homes, keeping them clean and free of allergens is more important than ever before. If someone living in your home is elderly or has an existing health condition, regular cleaning with non-toxic substances can help to reduce the number of substances which may cause unpleasant symptoms. Minimising allergens in the home need not take hours of daily cleaning. A few minor changes to your routine can dramatically improve the “health” of your home.