Your house is a safe haven where you want to relax and unwind after a long day of rush and hurry. Hectic work days, household duties and kids’ responsibilities are all unburdened and forgotten when you curl up on your couch with a hot cup of coffee. But there are times when all is not well with your house.
We all are aware of the ‘sick house’ syndrome, but not many of us ponder on it longer than necessary.
Sick houses are homes that are not fresh and healthy from within. They may look clean and beautiful, but harbor unhealthy allergens and chemicals that remain unseen, but have an adverse impact on those who live in them.
Do you know that one of the lesser-known effects of mold infestation in homes is weight gain and brain fog in residents? So if you are not your bright and chirpy self, realize that it’s time to give your home a health checkup.
You need not worry that your house and your near and dear ones are in danger. Rest assured, there are many things that you can do to make sure that your house is clean, safe, hygienic and healthy.
Regular vacuum, clean and dust-free furniture and carpets, minimal use of household chemicals and timely maintenance all go a long way in ensuring a happy and healthy home.
Here are a few tips that you can keep in mind to make sure that your house never falls sick.
1. Use Eco-Friendly Products
In our attempt to get squeaky clean homes, we use a variety of household products that promise stain-resistant, odor-free, clean and gorgeous homes.
Many of these products contain harmful chemicals including but not limited to volatile organic compounds (VOC), phthalates, perchloroethylene or PERC, ammonia, chlorine and triclosan.
Many ingredients in household cleaners like formaldehyde which is a known carcinogen, benzene, methoxydiglycol and chloroform are all known to affect internal organs and our overall well-being adversely.
Look up the names of household cleaning products mentioned in the Environment Working Group (EWG) Cleaners Hall of Shame list to know of the ones that are the most harmful.
A good way to steer clear from poisonous chemicals and products is to DIY cleaning solutions. There are any number of resources available that guide you to make simple and effective household cleaners, personal care products and even makeup. These options are not only far cheaper, but are also safe for your family and pets.
Remember that all green household products and organic products sold in stores and online are not reliable. Some contain a high concentration of harmful chemicals and the definitions of natural, all-natural, organic and herbal are very vague. The USFDA (US Food and Drug Administration) does not lay down very strict rules as to the formulations of these products, and there is a lot of room left for manipulation by greedy companies.
Ensure that you know to read labels of ingredients and buy wisely.
2. Ensure Proper Ventilation and Keep Things Dry
Poor household ventilation is the number one cause of mold infestation in a majority of homes.
If there is no effective ventilation in your house there is no way for fresh and clean air to get inside. What you breathe will be a concoction of harmful chemicals, non-allergenic noxious fumes, mold spores, dust mites, dust and other micro-particles. They circulate in your home and become toxic over time.
Poor ventilation and high humidity, especially as seen in winter months when our homes are fully sealed, can result in moisture buildup. This is also the perfect combination of factors essential for mold to grow and thrive. Keep in mind that any damp spot in your house is a potential breeding ground for mold.
Poorly managed heating and ventilation systems can lead to asthma attack, lung and breathing disorders, cold and runny nose, skin irritation and a host of other nasty side-effects.
Check the air condition ducts for dampness and have air ducts cleaned regularly. You must also see to it that the HVAC system is regularly serviced so that it functions efficiently and effectively.
Leaky plumbing is another culprit that causes excess moisture buildup in homes. Very often they do the damage in unnoticeable places like crawl spaces, basements and attics.
Regularly check pipes and plumbing systems to ascertain there is no leakage. Call in a plumber or roofer as soon as you see something is wrong.
If left unattended mold will grow and breed in wet areas. Ensure that you have them completely removed. Seek professional help if necessary. Infested carpeting, tiles, wood and other materials must be replaced entirely. You should also make sure that the source of moisture is also remedied to prevent future problems.
3. Clean up the Carpets and Furnishing
Carpets are aesthetic and can really glam up homes. But they are also home to virtually all nasty visitors who drop by in your home.
Carpet beetles, dust mites, bacteria, fungi, dead skin cells, pollen, pet hair and random food droppings all inhabit your carpet surface. Throw in dampness and humidity and your living room carpet is a living and breathing home to mold and a whole range of unpleasant creatures.
It is not only the carpet that traps in household pollutants. The plush living room sofa, your favorite couch and draperies all help remove dust and other micro-particles from home air, but become soiled as a result.
The picture of your lovely Berber breeding creepies and crawlies need not throw you into a tizzy. Timely and quality maintenance is all that your carpet requires to stay healthy and hygienic.
Regular vacuum will help remove dust, mold spores and almost all other micro particles trapped in the carpets. It is advised that you vacuum at least once every week. If you have kids or pets, then vacuum every room twice a week and the high traffic areas daily.
Call in the carpet cleaners at least once every year to give a thorough and complete cleaning to the carpets. You can also choose to DIY the carpet cleaning, but professional cleaners have specialized cleaning solutions and industrial strength machines that not only clean thoroughly but will also suck out moisture completely. This will give you super-clean and super-dry carpets that are clean, soft and hygienic.
4. Take Care of Your Closet
Most of us do not look at our wardrobes as hiding places for mold and bacteria. But that’s what it is.
Do not fold and put away clothes that are damp. The dark confines of the closet help mold and mildew to flourish. If your clothes are made of cotton or any other organic material, they are also nourishing food sources for mold.
Dry out clothes completely in well-ventilated areas before storing them away.
Ensure you use charcoal filters or other moisture-removing products in your storage closet. They will absorb excess moisture from the closets and keep the space dry. You can also improve air circulation in closets by not hanging clothes jam packed together, and leave some space in between them.
Sore clothes in freezer bags or large cloth bags. You can also wrap clothes in the newspaper because paper absorbs moisture and removes dampness. Drops of essential oils like rosemary, lavender or pine add a wonderful fresh fragrance to the closet and the stored clothes.
Cedar wood essential oil also smells divine and is a known moth repellant. You can use cedar hangers to hang fine clothing and enjoy the benefits of their lovely aroma as well as the moisture-absorbing properties.
Our homes can be beautiful, clean and safe if we are careful about how we care for them. Awareness about what is good and what is not, and a watchful eye on the products we use at home and our cleaning habits, will help us give the best TLC to our homes. So stay natural, breathe safe and clean, intelligently to get the best for your family.
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