There are so many things to love about fall and winter: changing leaves, colder temperatures, hot chocolate, and roaring fireplaces; however, with this seasonal change, we often find ourselves spending more time indoors and trying to stave off allergies, the flu, and of course, the common cold. If you find yourself stuck inside a lot, you need to make sure your home is healthy place in which you and your family can thrive. Today we’re going to look at some ways to make your home a healthy haven.
First of all, let’s go ahead and talk about flooring and floor care. Hard surface flooring products (hardwood, tile, vinyl, laminate, etc.) have long been the darlings of homeowners (and allergy sufferers) not just because they are beautiful but because they are easy to keep clean and free of allergens. Carpet has thus gotten a bad rap, but according to the Carpet and Rug Institute, studies with allergy and immunology physician Dr. Bruce Mitchell, prove that carpet IS a good choice for asthma and allergy sufferers when it’s properly cared for:
“These studies challenge the long-held belief that carpet must adversely impact indoor air quality as it pertains to asthma and allergy sufferers,” Dr. Mitchell is quoted in the press release. “Effectively cleaned carpets have the capacity to trap allergen and microbial particles, making these particles less available to become airborne and thus maintaining indoor air quality. This makes regularly cleaned carpet a choice for families impacted by asthma and allergies.”
Whether you have carpet or hard surface flooring, vacuuming/sweeping and dusting are key components to improving air quality in your home. For allergy sufferers, a vacuum with a HEPA filter is ideal, and make sure to replace vacuum bags or empty the canister when they’re 2/3 full. For dusting, using a dry cloth often stirs up dust and dander. Use a damp cloth or one treated with a dusting product to wipe surfaces clean.
While air purifiers are a great way to improve indoor air quality, another wonderful option is house plants! We all know that plants take in carbon dioxide and give back oxygen. Did you know that many plants also absorb harmful pollutants and gases? Check out HGTV's "Top Ten" of houseplants that promote air quality.
Next, make sure to check your bathroom for mold and mildew. Shower curtains should be washed or replaced regularly to prevent and remove mildew buildup. Also, check your wallpaper (if you have it). Wallpaper can foster the growth of mold if a bathroom isn’t properly ventilated with an exhaust fan. Install a fan, and consider replacing wallpaper with mold-resistant paint or tile. Invest in a good mildew remover or tile cleaner, or make your own if you’re sensitive to chemicals. Many great household cleaners can be made from vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. Check out some homemade cleaning recipes HERE.
For the kitchen, the same cleaning rules apply. Wipe down surfaces to remove grease, dust, and mildew. An often-overlooked item that can go bad fast is the trash can. Make sure to wipe it down regularly to remove stains and buildup and prevent mold growth.
If you have pets, all these cleaning tips are going to help with keeping hair and dander at bay, but there are a couple of extra points to consider. Bathe your pets once a week, and keep them off furniture and out of bedrooms.
Speaking of bedrooms, wash any linens you’ve had in storage before using them, and don’t forget that dust collects on curtains! They should be washed too. If allergies are a big problem for you, you might even consider hypo-allergenic bedding like this collection from Pottery Barn. Find tips on choosing hypo-allergenic bedding HERE.
Putting these tips into practice as regular habits will have keep your home healthy for fall and winter “hibernation.” For more cleaning tips and tricks, check out our Keep It Clean Pinterest board.