Our homes are supposed to be a safe haven where we can rest and renew to face an outside world of dangers and stress. However, unfortunately, there are hazards in our homes that you may not even see that can be making you feel unwell.
In the Bathroom
Bathrooms are generally small spaces that are filled with heat and humidity which can promote the growth of mould, human body soil and waste, and chemicals from personal care and cleaning products. Health hazards may lurk on nearly every surface and in the air.
The biggest health dangers come from:
- Improper cleaning and hand washing that leaves bacteria like E.coli and viruses on surfaces.
- Cross-contamination from shared use of towels and bathmats that can spread bacteria and fungi like Athlete’s Foot.
- The use of harsh cleaning chemicals, spray air fresheners, and limiting fresh air.
- Poor water quality
Mould and Mildew
Mould and mildew spores are found in nearly every climate around the world. But in warm, humid environments, like our bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements, the spores can grow and multiply to create a colony that can be hazardous to your health. Most mould in homes is a surface mould like mildew, while others can be black or green mould that will penetrate the structure of your home making it unstable.
All types of mould are irritants to your respiratory system and can cause health problems such as asthma and recurrent chest infections. That’s why it is so important to identify and remove mould from all surfaces.
Here is my helpful natural mould remover recipe:
Vinegar + Tea Tree Oil: start by combining 6 tablespoons distilled vinegar, a naturally antimicrobial substance, and 5 drops tea tree essential oil in a spray bottle. Give it a little shake and spray the mixture directly on the mouldy area. Let it sit (don’t touch the mould or try to scrub it away) for 30 minutes. The vinegar will kill the mould with its acid, while tea tree oil is naturally anti-fungal and one of the best natural mould killers.
In the Living Room
The living room or family room gets lots of use by everyone in the house and guests. We snack there, play with pets, put our feet up to rest, and handle lots of remote controls to control entertainment systems. It’s a place to gather and share everything, including bacteria.
One of the biggest culprits in the living room are the remote controls. Does everyone have clean hands while handling them? Lots of illness-producing bacteria and viruses can cling to those surfaces. I highly recommend taking the time to clean them with disinfectant wipes.
The next biggest issues are outside contaminants and dust. Having everyone remove their shoes at the door will prevent outside problems from entering. Using a good vacuum with a HEPA filter regularly and dusting often will keep allergens under control.
In the Bedroom
Bedrooms are where we retire to rest and restore our bodies. Unfortunately, they are filled with dangers that not only affect your sleep but also your health.
The biggest culprit is your bedding. Pillows and mattresses that are not cleaned properly (at 90 degree Celsius) are filled with particles of the skin cells we shed and the dust mites that feed on that skin. The mites can produce a severe allergic reaction for many. Sheets that are not washed often and correctly contain bacteria like Salmonella and E.coli that can cause infections and spread illness.
In the Kitchen
Sinks, drain openings, and garbage disposals that are not cleaned regularly are a petri dish of bacteria of some type of coliform bacteria including E.coli.
Each time you use any type of cutting board, microscopic cuts are formed that can harbour bacteria. It is particularly important to use separate boards for produce and meats to avoid cross-contamination.
Even the cleaning tools you use can do more harm than good. Sponges and dishcloths can harbour Salmonella and E.coli and using them to wipe down kitchen counters simply spreads the bacteria. Proper and frequent cleaning is a must.
Harsh cleaning chemicals can be caustic to the skin, cause-breathing issues, and are dangerous for pregnant women.
If you must use a strong product, always follow directions carefully, open windows, and use a fan to increase airflow. Opt first for more natural cleaning methods that are far less toxic to humans and pets.
Wall-to-wall carpet is comforting in a bedroom or living space but it is also a bacteria and dirt magnet. For those with allergies, the dust, dust mites, pet dander in carpet can cause breathing issues and skin conditions. Hardwood floors with washable throw rugs produce many fewer irritants.
New carpets emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from preservatives like formaldehyde that can be toxic causing respiratory problems and nosebleeds.
Carpet should be vacuumed regularly with a HEPA filter vacuum and professionally cleaned regularly.
So there you have it, the bare facts on some of the areas in your home where you should pay close attention to ensure your home isn’t making you feel unwell.