How To Make Your Home More Healthy

If you're worried about germs invading your home and attacking your family, check these guidelines for help in winning the battle.

There's something about a clean, fresh home environment that makes us feel comfortable and healthy. The problem is that it is difficult to sanitize our living quarters adequately enough to stamp out all the billions of germs that live there alongside us.

Microbes, or bacteria, have been on this planet as long as humans have. Invisible to the naked eye, these small life forms have become quite crafty in creeping into the most well-kept household. But if you're serious about keeping your house or apartment healthy and safe from our insidious enemy, the following suggestions might prove useful.

1. Buy antibacterial soap. Kids like using the dispenser kind with a pump, so place one in each bathroom of your house. The liquid or gel is great for washing kids' toys, too, as long as you rinse them thoroughly afterward.

2. Wipe counters and cooking areas daily. In the bathroom keep paper towels or use a quick swipe of toilet tissue to keep the sink basin, tub, or shower free of visible grime. Wipe counters free of hair, make-up, drips, or spills to avoid bacterial build-up. In the kitchen, wipe the counter, stove, microwave, and refrigerator quickly after dinner, then place the scrub cloth in the laundry rather or use a paper towel. Consider using antibacterial soap or a non-toxic cleaning compound. Many people use bleach water, but check the container for a safe mixture of this substance.

3. Replace contaminated cleaning materials. Scrub cloths should be washed in hot (not warm or cold) laundry water after each use. Rinse the mop in hot water after scrubbing the floors, replacing the mop head after three months or so. Kitchen sponges can be washed clean after each use for about a month before discarding them. Continuing to use these materials over a longer period of time allows them to become a breeding ground for germs.

4. Protect personal hygiene items. Keep toothbrushes in a container or a drawer. Leaving them on the counter exposes them to the toilet germs that explode into the air after flushing, along with attracting dust and insects. Wash cloths and towels should be replaced after two or three uses. Unused cosmetics should be discarded after a year and replaced with new products. Soak hairbrushes and combs in hot water with shampoo.

5. Clean furnishings and floors regularly. Mop uncarpeted floors weekly and vacuum rugs twice weekly if possible. Wipe or vacuum furniture and draperies monthly. Plan a semi-annual thorough cleaning that lets you wipe down cupboards, closets, bookshelves, walls, garage, and basement, as well as other areas of your home that require routine maintenance.

6. Bathe indoor pets or have them professionally groomed each month. Routinely wash their bedding, food dishes, and grooming supplies.

7. Get rid of toxic chemicals, substances, or cleaners that you no longer need. Opt for environment-friendly products that you can buy or make yourself. Clean out the medicine cabinet to eliminate outdated medicines or prescriptions.

8. Air out your home frequently. Open windows with screens daily for a few minutes, at least, to let the dank air out and the fresh air in. (Supervise children around windows to be sure they don't push through the screens and fall out.) Even in the winter it is a good idea to crack the window a few inches for air flow. Consider a HEPA air filtering system that traps allergens and cleans the air in your home. Research shows that modern insulation materials inhibit good air exchange, so it should be done manually. Children who do not receive access to clean, healthy air but are forced to breathe household air contaminated by cigarette smoke, cooking by-products, toxic cleaners or strong fumes, and animal dander often develop allergies that may eventually lead to asthma.

9. Do laundry weekly. Clean clothes not only make us look and smell better, they keep us healthier, too. Let the kids help sort, wash, and fold clothes to keep laundry from becoming an overwhelming chore.

10. Store food and wash dishes promptly. Food left sitting out for two hours or more can become a harbor for air-borne bacteria. Put leftovers away immediately after eating. Put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher or stack them in the sink after rinsing. Dirty dishes attract insects, which in turn can leave waste that literally can make you sick.

Taking advantage of natural elements like air and water can go a long way in getting rid of unwanted germs. In a few easy steps you can make your home a healthy place for the family's comfort and enjoyment.

© High Speed Ventures 2011