Much of the time, we focus on ourselves when trying to get healthier. Eating better, exercising, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol are great ways to get and keep our bodies healthy, but sometimes we forget to hold our homes to the same standard. To keep ourselves healthy, we must have healthy homes too. By taking a few simple steps, it’s easy to maintain home health.
While there are many ways to make your home a healthier place to live, here are eight simple ones to get you started:
Use plants to decrease pollutants.
Houseplants have many different health benefits. According to a NASA study, one plant per 100 square feet of space in your home cleans the air of many indoor pollutants, including low levels of carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. NASA’s original research focused on how plants on board shuttles might help astronauts stay healthier, but this space-age solution works just as well in your house.
Keep your mattress clean.
Dust mites, tiny eight-legged creatures that feed on flakes of shed human skin, live in even the cleanest homes. Since they thrive in warm, humid environments, bedding is an ideal environment for these nuisance bugs. Many people suffer from an allergy to dust mites, suffering symptoms including sneezing, itchy eyes, and signs of asthma. Cleaning your mattress to remove dust mites reduces these symptoms. Simply sprinkle baking soda on the mattress, let sit for fifteen minutes, then vacuum up the baking soda and the dust mites along with it. “The baking soda method works only on fabric surfaces,” says Kelsey Dawn, Mattress.com sleep expert. “If you have a memory foam or latex core mattress, go with a professional cleaning service.”
Get regular professional HVAC cleaning
Jeffrey May, author of the book My House is Killing Me, asserts that your home’s HVAC system is a perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Getting the air ducts cleaned professionally every two years removes that risk and can bring immediate improvement to those suffering from respiratory issues. “Most of the time, most people get better after cleaning,” May told the Huffington Post. “Most people get a lot better.”
Replace your showerhead.
The place where you get clean may be pretty dirty. Mycobacterium avium, a non-tuberculosis bacteria linked to pulmonary disease, was found present in 30 percent of showerheads tested for the bacteria. Cleaning your showerhead regularly and replacing once a year stops the buildup of this potentially dangerous bacteria.
Mop damp areas with mild dish detergent.
Mold spores find the dark, damp areas of your house, including around your refrigerators, sinks, and toilets. When activated, they grow out of control and cause breathing problems and other unpleasant symptoms. Mopping forgotten corners using mild dish detergent can prevent mold from collecting in your home. While mold test kits are available at home improvement and hardware stores, visual inspection is the best way to detect mold in the home.
Turn down the thermostat before bed.
A four-month study done by the National Institute of Health shows that sleeping in a room cooled to 66 degrees is good for your health. Sleeping in these conditions not only allows you to burn more calories while awake—it increases your brown adipose tissue, commonly called “brown fat,” lowering your risk for metabolic diseases like diabetes.
Test for radon.
US Department of Health and Human Services research shows that as many as one in every fifteen homes is in danger from radon gas. A natural radioactive gas, radon can build up to unsafe levels indoors, necessitating regular radon testing. You can buy a test kit at a hardware or home improvement store, online, or over the phone. Place the test kit in the lowest level of your home where people spend time, such as a basement family room. If your home tests at a radon level of four or above, contact a professional to lower the radon level in your home.
Install a carbon monoxide detector.
Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, with infants and older adults the most likely to get sick from undetected CO. To prevent the carbon monoxide levels in your home from reaching dangerous levels, install a carbon monoxide detector in an area where its alarm will wake you up, and check or replace the battery twice a year—when you change the clocks in the spring and fall is an easy time to remember.
Keeping your home healthy does wonders for everyone living in it. Just like regular exercise and healthcare professional visits keep your body going, regular cleaning and testing make your home a healthy place to live.