Photo Credit – Garboodles Soup
Even most outdoor enthusiasts eventually have to come in. I read somewhere that the average person spends about 80-90% of their time indoors. My first reaction was stunned and disbelief. Certainly they can’t mean everyone, right?
I thought, we spend a lot of time outside in the summer, and even the warmer days in the spring and fall. Then I started adding up all the time we are indoors for eating, working, watching TV, household chores, and especially sleeping. If the average sleep for a person is 8 hours that is 30% of our day indoors alone.
As reality sank in, I decided it was time to make our home as healthy as can be. Yes, it was time to give our home a healthy makeover. Time to get rid of the allergen trappings, and mold possibilities that can make us sick. I used to get allergy shots on a weekly basis, and it’s not fun. It’s time consuming, costly, inconvenient, and itchy. If I can eliminate some of that risk for my kids, I’m going to do just that.
I recently came across a quote by B.K.S. Iyengar…’Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.’ And, I wanted that harmony for my home.
So, I am going to share some ideas that I have in getting our homes, where our children spend most of their time, in the healthiest state possible. Some of these ideas might be seem like common sense, but others might be a little surprising. So, in addition to common sense cleanliness…
1. Check the Temperature
Your household temperature can act as the enemy if it’s not set at a healthy level. By keeping it approximately 70° F, and a humidity level between 30 and 50%, it can help eliminate risk of increased mold and dust mites. Anything warmer and more humid than that can be a ripe breeding ground, which can lead to illness.
Some furnaces come with a dehumidifier, or you can purchase stand-alone units for rooms. Just make sure to follow manufacturer’s directions in use and maintenance. Anyone who suffers from allergies such as a dust mite allergy, will appreciate this move.
2. No Smoking Allowed
It’s not very common any more that someone will come over and expect to smoke inside your home. Most people who smoke understand and respect the wishes of the homeowner. However, for the rare person who doesn’t ask, or expects to smoke indoors, simply provide them an ‘ashtray’ and ask them to smoke outdoors. It’s up to you whether or not you want to explain why, or just let it go at that. Smoke is a trigger for allergies and asthma, and will linger on walls, furniture, and window treatments long after the cigarette is put out.
3. De-Clutter where Possible
We all have it, to some degree. However, I have found that clutter is not only a health hazard by collecting dust, but it’s also not good for mental health. Have you ever noticed how good you feel on a day of purging? It’s very liberating for me.
If you don’t want to get rid of it all together, at least store it in the garage in air-tight containers, if you don’t use it on a regular basis.
4. Replace the Carpets
If you can, replace the carpets with a hard surface such as the following:
Carpets are an easy trap for allergens. Area rugs can at least be taken out for cleaning more often, so that helps. But, if you have a pet, skin dander and hair have a way of holding onto the fibers of the carpeting. Using a Hepa-filter vacuum helps significantly, but isn’t a guarantee.
If you can’t do all the rooms, at least remove the carpet in the bedroom of anyone who has bad allergies and asthma. This is where they spend a lot of time, breathing deeply.
5. Use the Exhaust Fan
Anytime the shower is running, or someone is taking a bath, the exhaust fan should be running. This will help prevent some moisture from gathering and developing into mold.
If you don’t have an exhaust fan in the bathroom, have one installed. I once had a bathroom without an exhaust fan and swore I would never do that again.
6. Dump the Vinyl or Plastic Shower Curtain
Vinyl and plastic shower curtains are a haven for mold and mildew. Just think, you might be taking a shower or bath with uninvited guests that could make you sick.
If you don’t want to install a glass shower door, then look into a cloth shower curtain that doesn’t have a plastic or vinyl liner. These can easily be washed, to help prevent the mold and mildew from building up.
7. Candles are Just Fine
I wasn’t sure about candles any more, with all the scent that accompanies most of them. However, I learned that candles that use essential oils, or natural ingredients for scent, rather than using artificial scents, are much healthier and don’t have the same risk.
Beeswax candles are a good example of what I am referring to above. They have a naturally sweet smell, without having to add any artificial fragrance, which can trigger asthma.
8. Change the Filters on a Regular Basis
Regardless how much cleaning you do, and natural products you use, it will not eliminate all allergens completely. Dust mite, mold, and ragweed allergy sufferers will also benefit greatly by changing air filters, and often, on the furnace and air conditioner unit, and all humidifiers and air purifiers.
It might not remove 100% of the particles in the air, but by following manufacturer’s guidelines, I know that I am eliminating as much as possible.
Hopefully I have provided some helpful ideas for you to successfully makeover your home, into a healthier one for all the time spent inside.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Munroe is a freelance writer who writes on topics which he has experienced and that he has researched, that will help his readers. Married, he lives in Nevada with his family.