Homesick: How the Cleanliness of Our Homes Affects Our Health
There is a well known saying: Tidy home = Tidy mind. I would often think of this while writing up my PhD thesis, as I sat, crippled with writer’s block, surveying my cluttered and filthy desk. The interesting thing was that it seemed to be true. Spending twenty minutes clearing and cleaning my desk was often just the thing I needed to put my brain back in gear and organize my thoughts. It is not only your mental function that can be positively impacted by a clean and tidy environment, however. Having a clean house can have a generally positive impact on the health and well-being of your whole body. Here’s why.
It is well known that dust mites are one of the number one causes of allergies in the US. Dust mites are microscopically small and are incredibly difficult to eliminate completely, even from the cleanest home. There are ways to limit the negative impact on your health and well-being caused by dust mites:
- Instead of carpet, opt for wood or vinyl floor coverings
- Be sure to keep your cushions, cuddly toys, upholstery and curtains clean and vacuumed frequently. Go for loose covers on your three piece suite so they can be washed regularly.
- Instead of natural fibres – such as wool blankets and feather pillows and duvets, go for synthetic fibres, which are less hospitable to dust mites.
- Be sure to invest in a good vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter
- When dusting, use a damp cloth rather than a dry duster. Wiping down with a damp microfibre cloth is far more effective at banishing dust than using a spray polish and a traditional dry duster.
Mold and spores
It may sound like something out of Raymond Briggs’ Fungus the Bogeyman, but mold and fungi spores are actually a common problem in many homes. Molds can grow on any decaying matter, both in and outside the house. It is thespores these molds release, which occurs within a moist environment whenever the temperatures rises suddenly, that are the allergens.
There are a few ways you can prevent mold spores within your home:
- Ventilation is everything. Consider fitting wall vents and keep your home dry.
- In the bathroom and kitchen, use extractor fans when cooking or showering to prevent steam from spreading through your home.
- Drying clothes indoors should be avoided whenever possible. Use a tumble dryer or only wash on dry days when you can line dry your clothes outside.
- Attend to any condensation on your walls and windows quickly and regularly. Don’t allow it to build up.
It is unpleasant to think about but bacteria on your floor surfaces can be a real threat to your health, especially if you have small children who spend a lot of time playing on the floor. Carpet cleaning is essential and should be done regularly to avoid nasty bacteria from rotten food, animal droppings and other “nasties” that can come off your shoes onto the carpet.
- Remove shoes indoors, every time. This will not only prevent the depositing of nasties form the pavement on your carpets but will keep your carpets looking fresher and lasting much longer.
- Vacuum regularly. Every day if you can but at least twice a week in high traffic areas such as the living room, landing and stairs.
- Clean your carpets with a home carpet cleaning machine every month or two to keep them fresh. It is recommended to put a small squirt of biological washing liquid in hot water to spot clean bacterial spills such as milk or urine, although always test first that your carpet fibers can cope with it.
- Get your carpets professionally cleaned once or twice a year. The deep cleaning technologies used by the professionals by far out perform technologies available to the regular household.
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