Your home should be safe, clean, comfortable…a dust-free, allergen-free place where you can come home and recharge after a busy day. Unfortunately, many of us have picked up bad housekeeping habits that are keeping our homes significantly less than clean.
#1 - Eliminate pesticides and chemical cleaners from your house
Chronic exposure to chemical pesticides, bug killers and household cleaning products has been linked to all sorts of nasty things like cancer, neurological disorders and hormonal disruption. This summary of non-toxic household cleaning products is a great start.
#2 – Ventilate as much as possible
Indoor air can easily become stale and full of pollutants and toxic particles if the home is not regularly ventilated. With Americans spending 90 percent of their time indoors, that’s a lot of exposure! So throw open the windows (preferably on opposite ends of the house) and keep grates and vents open as much as possible.
#3 – Address plumbing leaks to prevent mold from growing
Breathing in mold spores can cause all sorts of health issues, from allergic reactions to eye irritations. Ventilate areas like bathrooms and laundry rooms as much as possible, and handle water damage right away to keep mold from growing in the first place.
#4 – Keep dust mites under control
Launder all your bedding, from pillows to duvets. All those nighttime hours spent sweating, shedding skin and drooling create the perfect condition for dust mites to thrive in your bed (Gross!). This is also a great opportunity to wash the laundry basket itself and put on mattress and pillow covers.
#5 – Install a water filtering system to your kitchen tap
Tap water, while considered generally safe if it comes from a public water system in the United States, still carries a number of contaminants and microorganisms. Especially vulnerable to these water contaminants are people undergoing chemotherapy, transplant patients, children and infants, and pregnant women. Why not install a tap water filtration system? Better safe than sorry!
#6 – Clean germ-laden items like doorknobs and remotes
It’s too easy to forget to clean daily use items like doorknobs and handles, TV remotes and the buttons on the microwave. But these actually carry a ton of bacteria! To minimize risk, use a non-toxic disinfectant on a regular basis, especially in the kitchen after preparing a meal.
#7 – Create a space for residents to leave their shoes at the door
It’s no secret that shoes are one of the most bacteria-laden items out there. Wear them inside and all you do is track ickiness onto clean floors. The best solution to the problem? Enact a no-shoes policy inside the house for both residents and guests.
#8 – Introduce some air-purifying plants into the mix
Research shows that indoor pollution is often much worse than outdoor pollution (a scary thought), and that plants offer an effective way to improve indoor air quality. Thank goodness! I’m a big big fan of lady palms, rubber plants and Boston ferns.
#9 - Disinfect your sponges
Bacteria like E.coli and Salmonella breed so easily in the moist, dark crevasses of sponges. Disinfect them at least once a week one of two ways: soak your sponges in a bleach solution for 5 minutes or microwave them on high for 2 minutes to kill 99 percent of bacteria.
#10 - Swap synthetic home fragrances for natural options
Fragrances found in household items — particularly air fresheners, deodorizers, candles, laundry detergents, fabric softeners and cleaning products — have been shown to have adverse health effects like headaches, nausea and asthma-like symptoms. Ditch the icky stuff and try one of these yummy options instead.