More and more of us are trying to find ways to be healthier. This includes trying to eat healthier and exercise more. For an increasing number of people, it also includes finding ways to make our homes healthier by going to “greener” cleaners and even looking for options to keep the air in our homes cleaner. Below, you’ll find a few general tips designed to help you on your journey to a healthier home.
When it comes to keeping the air cleaner, a good vacuum cleaner can be a great start. Regular vacuuming can remove a great deal of the dust and other allergens that can be problematic for those with allergy, sinus, or breathing issues. Air purifiers can remove airborne allergens and other potential pathogens. If you find that the air in your house tends to seem dry (this can be most problematic during the winter), a humidifier can add moisture to the air, which can help keep nasal passages and sinuses from drying out. (Dry mucous membranes are more likely to trap germs, bacteria, and allergens.) If, on the other hand, the air in your home seems too damp (this can be a problem for those who live in more humid climates and don’t have an AC to remove moisture from the air), consider a machine such as a dehumidifier to rectify this problem. Dehumidifiers can be a lifesaver for those with breathing issues that respond well to drier air.
As for floors, carpets can be hard to keep completely clean and sanitized. Regular steam cleaning can help. Look for cleaning solutions that contain all-natural ingredients, but make sure they’re suitable for your type and color of carpet. For bare floors, mopping can provide an effective level of protection from germs and bacteria. Opting for more natural cleaners (like a simple mix of vinegar, water, and a few drops of tea tree oil) or store-bought cleaners that use natural ingredients can disinfect without the harsh and potentially harmful fumes contained in some cleaners. Steam cleaning mops are also a great choice. The heat from the steam can kill germs and bacteria with absolutely no need for harsh chemicals. Just make sure you know how much heat your floors can take, as some hardwoods and vinyls could be damaged by excessive heat.
In terms of general-purpose cleaners, there are more and more nature-based commercial preparations available today. They tend to cost more than their harsher chemical counterparts, but the extra cost can be worth the peace of mind that comes from using products that are less likely to produce noxious fumes and/or pose a potential threat to children and pets. You can also make your own cleaners. The above-mentioned vinegar mixture is great for cleaning and disinfecting all of your surfaces. Mix 1/2 cup vinegar with 3 cups of water and 10 drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle. You can add 10 drops of your favorite essential oil for a scented cleaner. Full-strength tea tree oil can be toxic if ingested. Most experts recommend a dilution rate of at least 10:1; the recipe above features a dilution rate of over 1,600:1 with only the water factored in. If you’re worried about the house smelling like vinegar, don’t be–the smell of the vinegar dissipates very, very quickly. Vinegar is also a great way to remove cooking smells from the kitchen. Pour a half cup or so of vinegar in a bowl in the kitchen, and your cooking smells will be gone in no time–including that “fried” smell that seems to linger for days. And vinegar is still pretty darn cheap!
While the above tips only barely scratch the surface, we hope they represent a good few first steps on your way to a healthier home.