This time of year, we often find ourselves spending more time indoors and trying to stave off allergies, the flu, and of course, the common cold. Now many of us are confined to our homes to stave off the COVID-19 pandemic. While at home, cultivate your environment into a healthy place in which you and your family can thrive. Today we’re going to look at some ways to make your home a healthy haven.
Hard surface flooring products (hardwood, tile, vinyl, laminate, etc.) have long been the darlings of homeowners (and allergy sufferers) not just because they are beautiful but because they are easy to keep clean and free of allergens. Carpet has thus gotten a bad rap, but according to the Carpet and Rug Institute, studies with allergy and immunology physician Dr. Bruce Mitchell, prove that carpet IS a good choice for asthma and allergy sufferers when it’s properly cared for. Regularly cleaned carpet can essentially trap harmful allergens and microbes, hindering them from being released into the air.
Regardless of the type of flooring you choose, vacuuming and dusting are key components to improving air quality in your home. A vacuum with a HEPA filter is ideal for allergy sufferers, and make sure to replace vacuum bags or empty the cannister when they’re two-thirds full. For dusting, using a dry cloth often stirs up dust and dander. Use a damp cloth or one treated with a dusting product to wipe surfaces clean. Pay special attention to furniture, knick-knacks, books, home office equipment, etc., all of which are great harbingers of dust.
Improve indoor air quality with air purifiers and houseplants! We all know that plants take in carbon dioxide and give back oxygen. Did you know that many plants also absorb harmful pollutants and gases? Check out this article on 8 Houseplants that Clean and Promote Air Quality. Houseplants also bring an element of the outdoors in, which is great when weather or other factors prevent you from enjoying a bit of fresh air.
Next, make sure to check your bathroom for mold and mildew. Shower curtains should be washed or replaced regularly to prevent and remove mildew buildup. Also, check your wallpaper (if you have it). Wallpaper can foster the growth of mold if a bathroom isn’t properly ventilated with an exhaust fan. Install a fan, and consider replacing wallpaper with mold-resistant paint or tile. Invest in a good mildew remover or tile cleaner, or make your own if you’re sensitive to chemicals. Many great household cleaners can be made from vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. Check out some homemade cleaning recipes HERE.
For the kitchen, the same cleaning rules apply. Wipe down surfaces to remove grease, dust, and mildew. An often-overlooked item that can go bad fast is the trash can. Make sure to wipe it down regularly to remove stains and buildup and prevent mold growth. Use an antibacterial cleaner to properly sanitize all surfaces.
If you have pets, all these cleaning tips are going to help with keeping hair and dander at bay, but there are a couple of extra points to consider. Bathe your pets once a week, and keep them off furniture and out of bedrooms.
Speaking of bedrooms, wash any linens you’ve had in storage before using them, and don’t forget that dust collects on curtains! They should be washed too. If allergies are a big problem for you, you might even consider hypo-allergenic bedding.
Putting these tips into practice as regular habits will help keep your home and family healthy year-round.