There are countless studies which prove a direct correlation between the cleanliness of our homes and the state of our own physical and mental health. It’s proven that people who clean their homes more often suffer from less allergies, and are in general more energetic and physically active. Scientists still debate whether it’s the physical fitness that makes people clean more, or the fact that they clean more often makes them physically fit, but the important fact is that it’s healthy to clean. For those of you who are still in process of finding their cleaning routines, here are a few tips on how to organize and clean your home for better health.
Health Benefits From a Clean Home:
- Keeps pests away. Bugs and rodents are attracted to all kinds of messes – spills, leftover food, cluttered areas, dirty pet bowls. They not only damage properties, but they also spread dangerous diseases, like gastroenteritis, salmonella and hantavirus. Regular cleaning and proper storing of the food will help keep the pests away, and in case of infestations, you will notice them before it becomes a serious problem.
- Reduces allergies and asthma symptoms. Dusty carpeting, upholstered furniture or bedding, along with damp areas like the basement or garage, are the main causes for worsening allergies or frequent asthma attacks. Mould, pet dander and dust mites can trigger unpleasant reactions in the human body, lower the air quality and cause illness.
- Lowers stress. When people live in messy homes, their subconsciousness constantly reminds them that there is work to be done, which causes stress and fatigue. Too much clutter can be the reason for all kinds of stressful situations – things get lost and it takes you ages to find them, it takes longer to prepare meals, and so on.
- Limits the spread of germs. Most people think the bathroom is the biggest source of germs, but the truth is that it’s the kitchen. We handle raw food there, and there are many surfaces where splatters can sit for days. According to specialists, it’s important for the kitchen surfaces to be made from impervious materials, so we can easily clean them using detergents (bleach for instance) after preparing raw meat or fish. Cleaning sponges or cloths should also be sanitized after each use because they support the growth of pathogens.
- Improves safety. Fires and falls are the main causes of injuries and deaths inside houses. It’s easy to trip over or slip on a wet surface, and the results can be head injuries, broken limbs, and more. And in case of fire, the clutter can prevent you from getting to safety. This is why it’s important to keep your home free from unneeded items and spills or leaks.
Here’s how to achieve it:
Avoid common toxins:
- Take care of plumbing leaks and water damage in time to prevent mould growth. Breathing air contaminated with mould spores can irritate your air ways, skin and eyes, as well as cause allergies. This is why regular inspections of the house are a must. The easiest way to clean mould is to use a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach and 3 parts water, scrub off the mould with a wire brush, and then rinse and dry.
- Avoid using pesticides. The prolonged exposure to bug, weed and fungus killers can cause neurological problems, as well as cancer. Explore organic ways to deal with these things, there are plenty of plant-based insecticides you can try.
- Check your house for common toxins. Older homes can have lead pipes. Other common problems are leaks in gas stoves or water heaters, poorly maintained chimneys, and more.
Improve Indoor Air Quality:
- Ventilation is pivotal. Did you know that indoor air is in fact way more polluted than outdoor air? Shocking, yes. To get rid of the airborne germs, open windows every day, preferably on opposite sides of the house, so the air flow can clear the air. Vent windows and air grates should also be kept open, if possible. The better ventilation, the healthier indoor air.
- Don’t smoke indoors. Even if you smoke near an open window, second-hand smoke can still stay behind inside curtains, upholstered furniture or inside your car. Even though you can’t sense it, you’re still breathing in toxins.
- Keep dust under control. You can do that by vacuuming at least twice a week, getting rid of clutter to slow down the accumulation of dust mites, washing your bedding once a week and keeping the premises generally clean.
Clean Home, Healthy Family:
- Make kitchen hygiene a priority. This way you will reduce the risk of foodborne diseases. Wash your hands in between handling different types of food and keep food preparation surfaces clean at all times. Also, use separate cutting boards for vegetables and meat, to avoid cross-contamination.
- Bathroom hygiene is also important. Even though it’s not the dirtiest place in the house, the bathroom is also very germy. So, bathtubs, showers, sinks and the toilet need to be disinfected once a week. It’s also good to remember to wipe all buttons, knobs and handles regularly, they hold the most germs and are often forgotten.
- Use chemical-free products. Things like baking soda, lemon juice, white vinegar and cornstarch can be also used as nature friendly cleaning products when mixed together. You can find many nice homemade cleaning recipes online, and they provide the same quality of cleaning as commercial cleaners. But they don’t contain ammonia and other harmful toxins. Or if you're pressed for time, use an organic, fair trade product such as Dr Bronner's Sal Suds Liquid Cleaner.
- Limit the use of plastic bottles and canned goods. First, they are very harmful to the environment, most of these things never get recycled. Second, these products can contain bisphenol A, which is an industrial chemical, and its safety is very questionable.
Declutter to De-Stress:
Decluttering and organizing your home may seem hard at first, but in the long term it will save you lots of time on cleaning and tidying in the future. The house will be a lot easier to clean when you don’t have to move all kinds of items around, or when you don’t have to spend time looking for something lost. Here are some decluttering tips for a healthy home:
- Try to not get too attached items. If you don’t need something, just donate it or throw it away.
- Clear away things which gather lots of dust. Things like piles of magazines, old unused clothes piles, various junk items on shelves, and similar.
- Clean up the medicine cabinet regularly. Get rid of expired pills and supplies and replace them with new ones.
- Clear the pantry and the fridge regularly. Get rid of all the spoiled goods, store spices and other commonly used products in airtight containers, and get rid of cookware you don’t use.
Sometimes even 20 minutes a day spent cleaning can change our lives for the better. Don’t let the chaos overrun your life and destroy your health, take care of it right away.
About the author
Jane Wilson is a Melbourne based mother, blogger and business manager. She is the head of marketing and social for Fantastic Cleaners Melbourne, a licensed cleaning company, which provides all kinds of services for the home or office. Her hobbies include home improvement, DIY and gardening.