Receiving sick may be the sets. But before you blame your bout of sniffles on your travel on the filthy coach or a dirty waiting-room, be aware: your own house might be causing you to sick. Here’s how to make your house a “sick-free” zone.
1: Check and Change Your Filters
The filters in your home’s air-conditioning and heating units require annual inspection and—depending on where you live—regular changing. When neglected, they can release (rather than trap) harmful pathogens.
2: Don’t Be a Speedy Sucker
Home cleaning is important. But when it comes to vacuuming, the slower the better. Rapid vacuuming raises, rather than eliminates, dust. When the bag is full, take it out outside to empty it. “When you empty the bag, it may release a big cloud of E. coli and salmonella into the air,” says Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona.
3: Turn on the Fan
Running your bathroom fan while showering helps prevent steam and moisture from building up and turning into mold. This sneaky substance may be causing your family’s runny nose, chest tightness, and itchy eyes. Mold is particularly dangerous for asthma and allergy sufferers, as it can activate attacks.
4: Purge Poisonous Products
Many cleaning products, detergents, and air “fresheners” contain toxic ingredients. For example: phthalates, a chemical found in many products, can cause skin reactions, and can even affect reproductive development. There are safer ways to keep your home smelling fresh, such as boiling citrus peels and pleasant smelling herbs. These natural products do not contain the harmful perfumes and dyes found in many household products.
5: Clean the Kitchen Faucet
That little metal screen on your faucet is a breeding ground for bacteria, which thrive in moist areas. Eventually, the bacteria could break off and get into your dishes or food. To nip bacteria in the bud, remove the screen and soak it in a diluted bleach solution once a week, rinsing it off before replacing it.
6: Wash the Welcome Mat
Bacteria are houseguests that you should always turn away. According to recent studies, almost 96 percent of shoes contain traces of coliform, a type of bacteria that includes sickness-causing fecal matter. To lock out bacteria, spray your doormat with a disinfectant spray once a week and take off your shoes before moving past the doorway.
7: Sanitize Your Fridge Seal
To protect your family and food from mold, make sure to clean the seal on the inside of your fridge. A University of Arizona survey of 160 homes found 83 percent had mold growing on this fridge seal. To keep your refrigerator door germ-free, wipe the fridge seal with a diluted bleach solution or disinfectant once a week.