In your home, you likely do your best to ensure it is as clean and healthy as possible for your family. Carpets are hoovered, surfaces are wiped and a nice environment is maintained. Regardless of your cleaning regime, it is always a great idea to keep on top of how healthy your home is, because there are always things lurking on surfaces or in the air, that we don’t even think about. Things you can’t see, things that grow. Its enough to make you run for the hills! But there is no need to, with our easy 5 point health check you’ll be on top of how healthy your home is in no time. Here are the 5 main health points to check in your home:
Mould is very common in homes, especially modern homes where insulation is done so well and the home is no longer able to breathe, so moisture actually gets trapped inside. Mould can appear as horrible black spots on the shower tile grout, in the corner of your living room, on curtains, across ceilings. It is certainly unsightly, but it can also be a health hazard. Those more susceptible to health issues from mould are:
- People with asthma
- People with lung conditions
- People with a compromised immune system
- Babies or the elderly
Even if you don’t fall into these categories, you may still find that parts of your body are affected by mould if it gets out of hand.
What To Do About It
To control the mould in your home the first thing you need to do is clear the mould that is there. This might involve regrouting, cleaning and painting over mould spots, and even changing curtains or furniture affected. In all instances ventilate the room well and protect your mouth with a mask when clearing mould, as it releases spores when disturbed. After you have gotten rid of the mould you need to make sure it won’t come back again. You could try the following:
- Ventilate your home as much as possible, opening windows to let moisture escape
- Use dehumidifiers where you can to control air moisture
- Try and use a tumble dryer to dry clothes in winter, or, make sure the rooms where the clothes are drying are ventilated
- Use extractor fans in particularly moist rooms, like the bathroom
In some instances, you may want to speak to a professional about your mould if the issue comes from a construction issue. Your home may benefit from damp proofing.
News headlines this year pointed out that over 21 million people already suffer with allergies in the UK. However, with the sporadic weather conditions teamed with air pollution, could mean a lot more people could become affected by allergies. And air pollution is a big factor inside the home, not just outside the home.
You might feel as though your home is an escape from the smog of the city, or the tree spores of the countryside, when in fact there are lots of air pollutants that can affect the home. Common air pollutants in the home are:
- Chemical fumes from household products
- House dust
- Dust mites
- Mould spores
Most people are affected on some level by house air pollutants if they are strong, but children, those with respiratory conditions and the elderly may find they are particularly sensitive to even mild levels of indoor air pollutants.
What To Do About It
There are lots of things you can do to make the air in your home more pure and healthy for your family including:
- Use a good quality hoover to suck up hair, mites and debris from both hard flooring and carpets. A good quality hoover should also enable you to hoover the furniture as well.
- Use hypoallergenic flooring like cork which has an extremely tight cellular structure, stopping common allergens getting trapped within it.
- Make sure your home is not too humid, as humidity can cause mould which as you read above, is problematic in lots of ways, not just with affecting air quality. It might be tempting to keep the windows closed to keep allergens out, but having no air flow at all will likely be just as problematic.
- Try to make your home smoke free as the fumes are unhealthy for everyone who breathes them in, not just the smoker. They also go much further than we can see.
- Get an air purifier. They are much more common now than they used to be, which means better products at much more competitive prices. Groom and Style’s top 5 best air purifiers for 2016 gives a great insight to available products on the market.
Surfaces are a common area for concern in the home. We clean then and dry them and yet we can never really see how dirty they are. Did you know bacteria can divide and multiply within half an hour? Pretty scary right! Plenty of studies show our homes can always be cleaner, especially when it comes to keeping nasty germs that make us ill, at a minimum. And the most common germs or dirt particles that make us ill are:
- Fecal Particles
Germs can easily spread a long way just from sharing surfaces and they most commonly live where food is prepared, in items used to clean and in areas that are warm, moist and commonly have organic material in or on them. Don’t panic though, there are lots of easy practises you can follow at home to make sure your family is protected from unhealthy worksurfaces.
What To Do About It
In The Kitchen
- Regularly change sponges
- Use anti-bacterial sprays and wipes
- Wash teatowels regularly
- Always wash your hands before and after touching food
Your Makeup Bag
- Wash makeup brushes regularly with soap and water allowing them to naturally dry
- Replace any cosmetics older than 6 months
- Store makeup in a dry place
- Clean surfaces with an anti-bacterial every day, doing it more thoroughly on a weekly basis
- Clean bathroom towels weekly
- Keep toothbrushes stored away from the toilet, and in a dry space
- Replace cleaning equipment regularly
Your Washing Machine
- Remove clothes from the machine straight after the wash is complete
- Run the washing machine through a cleaning cycle every few weeks
- Wipe down the seal regularly to remove any bacteria or mould
- Tablets, computer keyboards, phones and other tech are hotbeds for bacteria. Use a suitable alcohol wipe to clean the surfaces often
- Use a can of air to remove dust and debris from keyboards
- Store tech in holders if possible
Your Pets Items
- Wipe your pet’s paws before they come in the house (if you can)
- Wash pet bowls everyday
- Run soft toys through the washing machine every month or so, and wash hard toys in the sink every week or so
- Wash pet bedding every week if you can
Your water supply is safe, and deemed so by the government. However, studies suggest filtering water is a good idea for general health, especially if you consume a lot of water which you should, as our bodies need it to run efficiently.
What To Do About It
There are lots of water filtration systems you can use some really expensive, others really inexpensive. The most common systems are:
- Activated Carbon Filters – These remove the bigger bits of debris from the water and also reduce chlorine levels.
- Reverse Osmosis – These systems are more powerful than activated carbon filters and have the ability to purify water to a high level.
- Alkaline Ionizers – Electrolysis is used to pass water over electrically charged plates which separate alkaline from acidic providing you with water much better for the body which prefers to be alkaline.
- UV – These are commonly used in fish ponds and water features but can also be used with water consumption systems to destroy bacteria in the water.
- Infrared – This works like an alkaline ionizer only heat and light is used to alkalise the water.
We’ve talked a lot about how home health affects your physically, but what about the mental health side of things? Clutter is known to be bad for your mental health, and it is no surprise. ‘Stuff’ is a one way ticket to keeping your mind on the past, when mindfulness teaches us that we should be in the present to make the most out of our lives. If your stairs are piled high with magazines, your coffee table covered in letters, pens and puzzles, your shelves lined with books, ornaments and a number of ‘things’ that really seem to have no home, it is time for a clearout.
What To Do About It
To effectively clear your home out and make it clutter free:
- Set aside dedicated time to work on de-cluttering. It can be one afternoon, one hour in the evening, or a whole weekend – just commit to de-cluttering during that time.
- Make it fun by putting your favourite album on, having some snacks at hand, and even getting friends and family to help.
- Have the right equipment ready to do the job – rubber gloves, boxes, bin bags – whatever you need should be with you so you don’t have an excuse to ditch the job.
- Separate your items into piles of – rubbish, charity, keeping, selling and giving to friends or family members. Everything should get to where it needs to go, and if it is in your garage for ages waiting to go to the car boot or charity shop, it is cluttering another space so try and speed up getting it where it needs to go.
- Be ruthless – it is just stuff, it does not define you. Try and be as ruthless as you can to avoid hoarding items you will never use or enjoy.
Hopefully this article has helped you feel inspired to freshen up your home in the healthiest way, to the benefit of your entire family. Happy Health Checking!