6 simple steps for reducing dust, germs and chemicals in your home.
Your house's air quality and the products you use every day can all have an effect on your health and that of your family. Taking the steps to make your home a safer and healthier place to live doesn't have to be expensive -- here are some easy fixes to get you started:
1. Get dust under control
House dust doesn't just aggravate allergies; it also contains the household chemicals that linger in your home, including lead, pesticides and other chemicals. Vacuum at least twice a week and consider removing any wall-to-wall carpets, which tend to collect dust and dirt.
2. Get rid of mold
The black yucky stuff can make allergy symptoms worse and even contribute to breathing problems. To keep mold at bay, inspect your home for leaks and condensation and keep rooms as dry as possible. If you find mold, scrubbing it with a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. But if the problem is widespread, call your local public health department to take care of it.
3. Clean your shower curtain regularly
The combination of constant moisture, dirt and soap scum makes your shower curtain a haven for bacteria. Machine-wash it along with a cup of vinegar, and then hang it up to dry.
4. Put the lid down every time
If your kids often forget to put the toilet lid down before they flush, remind them of this simple (and gross!) fact: When you flush with the lid open, the whole bathroom can get covered with a fine spray of fecal bacteria. Not something you want near your toothbrush!
5. Take your shoes off in the house
Dirt, germs and chemicals cling to the soles of your shoes and get tracked through your home. Make a no-shoes rule to keep dirt and germs at bay.
6. Don't rely on pesticides
Pesticides that kill insects and rodents contain strong chemicals, and chronic exposures may put children at risk of health problems, including asthma and learning disabilities. To keep roaches and ants away, you're better off taking preventive steps such as clearing rubbish frequently, cleaning up all food debris and keeping food sealed in tight containers.