Your home should feel like a haven — the place you can unwind after a long day at work. Without proper cleaning and precautions, the home you love could be a dangerous place filled with health hazards.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some of the most common dangers in the home include high radon levels, leaking water, structural issues, lead-based paint and malfunctioning smoke alarms. This list does not include the potential for vermin or insect infestations and mold that could come with a poorly cleaned home.
The specific safety needs of your house depend on who lives with you. If you live with children, individuals with mobility challenges or elderly people, you’ll need to take extra precautions. You can use these healthy home tips to improve the safety, health and cleanliness of the place you call home.
Tips for Making Your Home Healthier
A healthy home keeps its inhabitants and guests safe from bacteria and hazards. Every room has its own list of potential dangers, but with the proper planning and prevention, you can create a healthy environment so your family can relax and thrive.
To start promoting healthy practices inside the home, you must inspect the exterior to make sure you keep critters out and let fresh air in. To begin your home health improvement, you can:
- Inspect the exterior of the home for holes, cracks and leaks: Doing so will prevent the elements and unwanted critters from entering the house.
- Eliminate any standing water: If you have a bird feeder, add a fountain element to keep the water flowing. Standing water gives mosquitoes and other bugs the perfect place to lay eggs.
- Tightly cover your trash receptacles: Plastic trash bags entice animals like raccoons to rummage for tasty scraps. Secure your bags in a sealed bin, since plastic bags provide little defense against hungry animals.
- Clear and care for gutters: This can help direct moisture and standing water away from the home.
- Know your home’s age: If your home was built before 1978, your home could have lead paint. Be careful during painting or renovation projects because traditional sanding methods to remove the initial coat could release toxins into the air. Consult a professional on best practices for removing lead paint.
- Have a mat on both sides of the entryway door: Entry mats can help prevent dirt, allergens, pollutants and yard chemicals from entering the home. If you buy a mat you can hose off, you can make clean up even more effective and easy. To take safety even further, consider using a no-shoes policy indoors.
- Make sure you have a proper ventilation system: Proper ventilation can help bring the clean exterior air into the home and get rid of stale, polluted air indoors.
With stoves, burners and uncovered food, kitchens can pose several health risks. When inspecting the kitchen, make sure you:
- Sanitize often: Surfaces like faucets quickly become a breeding ground for germs with everyone using the sink to wash their hands, food or dishes. Installing a touchless faucet could be a great option to significantly decrease the germ build-up around your sink.
- Test the safety of your water: Most people think that clear water means safe water, but that’s not always the case. If you want to improve your family’s drinking water, consider working with a professional to set up UV water treatment. David LeRoy Plumbing’s UV water treatment removes the need to use harsh chemicals to clean water. The UV light from the installed equipment deactivates microorganisms that may linger in your water. This UV treatment leaves your water clean to support your family’s health. We offer a free water quality analysis if you have an interest in checking the safety of your tap.
- Install a carbon monoxide alarm: If you don’t have a carbon monoxide alarm, get one installed to protect your family from odorless and colorless carbon monoxide gas. If you have an alarm, get it routinely checked by a professional.
- Regularly check your fridge and pantry for expired food: Having moldy, decaying food could pose health risks. Dispose of it in a closed trash can to ward away unwanted critters.
Your bedroom is your inner sanctum. You can contribute to a relaxing, peaceful mindset by removing all possible hazards and improving the cleanliness of the room.
Consider these tips to support your family’s health in their bedrooms:
- Add an oxygen-rich plant: Greenery such as spider plants and aloe vera are easy to maintain and produce clean air by removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Having these plants in your bedroom will improve your air quality, which in turn could improve your sleep.
- Air out your bedding: Are you or your spouse a hot sleeper? Moisture from sweat in the bedding could attract mites to settle in your bed. Let the sheets and pillows air out before you make the bed to dry it out.
- Avoid keeping printers in your bedroom: While you should keep your bedroom free of office supplies to have a mental separation from work and rest, there’s also a health reason to keep your printer in a separate room. When used, copiers and printers can generate lung irritants, which could make sleep even more difficult.
Without proper care and prevention, bathrooms can become prime places for contamination and falls. Routinely sanitizing and securing potential trip hazards will help reduce these risks.
Use these tips for the bathroom:
- Make sure you have a clean toilet: Establish a regular, thorough bathroom cleaning routine that includes sanitizing your toilet. Updating your current toilet to a newer, more efficient model could also make a big difference in your bathroom.
- Get rid of expired medication: Routinely check the expiration dates to make sure your medications are up-to-date and safe to use. Store all drugs safely out of the reach of children. Use childproof caps in case they manage to get a hold of the bottles.
- Store cleaning products where young kids cannot reach: Safely dispose of any materials you no longer use to keep the cabinet orderly, and reduce the amount of solutions children could potentially get their hands on.
- Make sure rugs have non-skid mats under them: Trips and slips in bathrooms could be deadly. Include a non-slip grip mat in the tub to make sure you have traction in the shower. If you live with people who could benefit from them, install grab bars near the tub and by the toilet to help those who need the extra support.
- Inspect the walls for cracks and failing caulk: Mold and mildew frequently grow in cracks and failing caulk. Repair and re-caulk where necessary.
- Dehumidify the air: Mold and mildew thrive in damp environments. If properly ventilated to the outdoors, the exhaust fan can remove the moisture from the air after a shower to discourage the growth of spores. For even more reliable drying, purchase a bathroom dehumidifier.
You want your home’s communal space to feel welcoming and safe. Here are some ways you can make this space feel even safer:
- Invest in a quality central vacuuming system: A system that vents outdoors has the highest chance at clearing away all the harmful dust and allergens.
- Set up an air purifier: The air inside your house has concentrations of pollutants up to five times higher than air from the outdoors, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Air purifiers enhance your experience inside your home by eliminating odors — and they also remove pollutants and chemical vapors. Choose a purifier with a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, so you can ensure the microscopic particles get cleaned as well. For the best results, consider investing in a whole-home air purifier.
When considering home health, you may not think about the basement. But even if it’s out of sight, the basement can play a significant role in your home’s safety.
Consider these tasks to improve your basement’s safety:
- Have a professional test your water for backflow issues: When your plumbing does not function correctly, your waste water could backflow into your potable water, making the water you use for cooking, cleaning and drinking unsafe. Talk to a plumber to make sure this health risk is not impacting your family.
- Schedule an HVAC checkup: You need to ensure all appliances like furnaces and boilers are functioning properly and venting carbon monoxide correctly. The presence of carbon monoxide in the home comes with serious health risks, so make sure you protect your family by ensuring the effectiveness of your machines.
- Get rid of unneeded solvents, paints and hazardous materials: When removing these hazardous materials from your home, keep in mind you can’t toss them in with your regular trash. Look up how and where you can safely dispose of hazardous materials in your county to make sure you keep yourself and your garbage disposal professionals healthy and safe.
Tips for Keeping Your Home Clean
Once you make the long-term changes you need to better your healthy home living, it’s time to figure out how you can maintain this routine. Taking small steps every day or once a week will help you keep your home healthy and safe.
Simple steps like cleaning up clutter make a significant impact. By clearing the clutter, you remove tripping hazards, eliminate a place for dust to collect and get rid of a home for burrowing insects and rodents. Here are some additional tips on how to have a clean house.
When performing daily tasks in the kitchen, these tips for a clean home can help keep this space sanitary:
- Allow dishes to dry completely before putting them away: When you put damp dishes in the cabinet, you give mold and mildew a place to start growing, infecting the surfaces you just cleaned.
- Sanitize counters before and after cooking to make sure all your surfaces stay clean: While you cook, clean up after yourself gradually. It makes the clean up easier in the end and reduces the risk of cross-contamination.
- Toss cracked cutting boards: Germs get in the crevices and cuts in old cutting boards. When cutting boards don’t get thoroughly cleaned, the bacteria from the last meal’s prep may infect your next cooking venture. This could be especially dangerous if you were cutting raw meat. Replace old cutting boards with a hard plastic or wood board for a long-lasting option.
- Switch out sponges: Sponges can harbor bacteria if not cleaned often enough. Put them in the microwave or soak them in bleach periodically to kill built-up bacteria.
- Always put away and seal any food products: Doing so will eliminate the food-based attractions for mice and insects to enter the home.
Living Room Cleaning
One way to feel accomplished when figuring out how to clean your home is to clean a shared space, like the living room. Once a week, make sure you:
- Dust corners, shelves and flat surfaces: Properly dusting may seem simple, but it plays an important role in getting allergens out of the air.
- Clean hardwood floors with a less harmful solution: Look for a product with fewer VOCs to reduce lung irritation. You could try using a home remedy like a mild vinegar and water solution.
- Clean carpets with a HEPA-filtered vacuum: If you aren’t using an in-wall vacuuming unit, make sure your vacuum has an agitator and the proper attachments needed to clean corners, couches and drapes and reach under and around all furniture.
- Sanitize devices and frequently touched surfaces: Objects like remotes, keyboards, consoles, touch-screen devices and door handles could harbor bacteria and germs. Sanitizing them routinely helps stop the spread of germs.
Laundry Room Cleaning
One of the best ways to remove germs and dust mites from linens is by running them through a hot wash and drying cycle.
Once a week, you should wash:
- Your bedding: Hundreds of thousands of dust mites live in your bedding, feeding off of dead skin cells. Washing bedding in hot water and drying it in a hot cycle can kill off the microscopic pests. This chore plays an especially important role for those in the family with asthma, as dust mites could induce an attack. After loading the machine, wash your hands with hot water to kill any germs you may have touched — especially when someone in the house is sick.
- Your kitchen towels: Using towels in the kitchen is a great way to reduce waste from paper towels. Washing towels frequently will help keep them sanitary and ready for the next mess.
- Your pet’s bedding: Wash with hot water to kill fleas or other unfriendly bugs that made their way in on your pet’s back.
Want to Keep Your Home Healthy? Learn How David LeRoy Plumbing Can Help
If your home could use a tune-up when it comes to ventilation, heating or cooling, David LeRoy Plumbing, Inc. has the experience and track record to keep your home running smoothly. We’re professional, clean and ready to serve with our 24-hour emergency service. We’re here for our community and want to make your home-owning experience the best it can be.
To learn more about our services and schedule an appointment, contact us today so we can improve the comfort and safety of your home.