If you know the mistakes that make your home an unhealthy place, you can avoid them.
I recently realized a huge mistake I was making: I believed that because my house looked clean, and because it had a good smell, it meant that it was neat and hygienic. Surely you have thought the same thing, but home hygiene goes far beyond the superficial.
There are spaces in the house to which I did not pay enough attention, household tasks to which I did not give relevance and I was postponing them and postponing them, because I thought it was an exaggeration to worry about those little things and, also, I did not want to become one of those people obsessed with cleanliness.
But it turns out that just because of those missing chores, right in those spaces that nobody notices, ideal shelters were being created for all kinds of bacteria, and it was only a matter of time before I or my children got sick!
It’s not about becoming obsessive about cleaning, but something as simple as being a little more detailed when cleaning.
By adding just 5 more minutes to go over those dirty little places that nobody sees, you can save yourself long and terrible days in hospital for a stomach, respiratory, or even skin infection.
Here I am going to tell you what are those sources of bacteria that you often let develop in the home because you think these are harmless.
Protect your health, that of your loved ones and even that of your pets by avoiding the following 16 mistakes that make your home unhealthy.
Mistakes That Make Your Home Unhealthy And How To Prevent It
1. Do not use special protectors for bedding
In general, it is thought that changing the bedding once a week is already maintaining hygiene.
In fact, it is something of the utmost importance, since like the clothes we wear every day, bedding gets dirty with our sweat, saliva and dead skin, and sleeping on top of this type of residue can cause allergic reactions, fungi and spots on the skin.
But to protect ourselves in the long term, we must also protect the mattress.
The mattresses are made of porous material, highly absorbent, which stores all the dirt and moisture particles that pass through the bedding, and this has 2 consequences:
- The mattress is deformed and takes on a bad smell. Like a sponge, as it absorbs substances and residues, its composition changes, it becomes crushed and hardened in certain parts and it begins to give off unpleasant odors.
- Mites breed inside the mattress. These well-known micro-arachnids are scattered in the dust, but these prefer warm, humid places with traces of organic matter that serve as food, such as dead skin that falls into the pores of the mattress. Once these little creatures choose your mattress as their hiding place, these will not go away by the good ones, and these become one of the main causes of allergies in the home.
To avoid these 2 drawbacks, always use a special protector for your bed, a mattress cover that is waterproof and breathable. This way, the mattress will not be able to absorb particles or substances and will remain as new.
Either way, remembers to bring your mattress out in the sun at least once a month, so that any type of bacteria that has managed to nest in it will die.
2. Wear street shoes inside the house
If you or your family members are used to wearing street shoes to walk indoors then your floor is always contaminated, no matter how much you clean it.
In an average household toilet there are about 1,000 bacteria.
One of those bacteria that comes in shoes is the dangerous Clostridium difficile, which causes diarrhea, severe damage to the colon, fever, fatigue and abdominal pain. It is considered the most dangerous of all because it has a long resistance and reproduces through spores.
That means that once bacteria reaches your home on a shoe sole, it can keep living on the ground and in the air for up to 5 months; and as if that were not enough, it is very difficult to clean effectively, as it even adapts to many cleaning chemicals.
Still not enough reasons? In this study by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the presence of C. difficile was analyzed in different household objects, and it was detected that the most contaminated was street footwear.
So you walk with them around your house and you are spreading this and other bacteria all over the floor, and you put yourself at risk every time you drop an item of clothing and pick it up, or when your children play on the floor, or when your pet drops a kibble and then eats it.
Considering all this, the best idea is to place a small shelf next to the entrance of the house where you can store your shoes and put on some flip-flops or slippers to walk around your home safely.
3. Fill the house with clothes
You only leave a shirt here and a few stockings there, what harm could it do? The problem is not that you put the clothes in the wrong place, but that you usually forget to take them to their place later.
The clothes you take off retain your sweat, dead skin, multiple pollutants that adhere to the street, and sometimes even food scraps.
Therefore, leaving it lying on the sofa or chair for several days gives the bacteria time to multiply and move, and even after you remember to remove the clothes, the place where they were put will have been contaminated.
The best thing is always to throw your clothes into the laundry basket as soon as you take them off, and so the bacteria will remain trapped there until you throw everything into the washing machine.
4. Have a house full of plants
The plants inside the house are beneficial, they clean the air, provide oxygen, and help reduce stress and lack of concentration, but nothing in excess is good.
When you already have a dozen or more plants in the same room, there are negative repercussions.
If you have many plants you attract insects, such as caterpillars, bees, ants and spiders, and if you do not realize it in time they can reproduce and invade your home.
There is also the allergic problem. Plants release spores, especially flower spores, which shed pollen, while mold tends to grow in damp soil, and these are recognized allergenic compounds.
It is also worth considering that many ornamental plants are poisonous, such as hydrangea, lily, brugmansia arborea, some through touch and others through ingestion, which puts both children and pets at risk.
Finally, the issue that plants generate waste is still important. The dried leaves fall off, and the water splashes when you’re watering them, creating damp spots around the pot where bacteria can settle.
Choose well the plants that you will leave indoors, making sure they are not poisonous, and put all the others on the balcony, terrace or patio.
5. Not using the correct type of vacuum cleaner
There is no vacuum cleaner capable of completely cleaning the entire house and all its corners. If this were the case, there would not be so many types of vacuum cleaners, one for each need.
When you use yourself for everything without evaluating the type of floor, or the levels of dirt, it is inevitable that some spaces are half cleaned.
So that you know how to choose the right vacuum cleaner according to your cleaning needs, keep the following in mind:
- To remove dirt from the edge between the floor and the walls, and also around the legs of chairs, beds and furniture, use a robot vacuum cleaner with side brushes.
- To clean carpets and tile floors the best option is a broom vacuum cleaner.
- For parquet floors and for cleaning under furniture, a sled vacuum cleaner always be more suitable.
- And as everyone knows, for sofas, shelves, wardrobes and bookcases, nothing better than a handheld vacuum cleaner.
6. Keep the house very warm
When winter approaches, the use of heating begins, and if it is used disproportionately it becomes another reason why your house is unhealthy.
The high temperatures evaporate all the humidity inside the house, and with it the nasal passages and the throat dry out, so both are more vulnerable to any type of bacteria or virus.
On the other hand, when you keep your house very hot, you experience a strong contrast in temperatures every time you have to go out or enter the house, and that weakens your defenses, so it makes you more likely to catch diseases.
Try to keep your heating between 21° and 23° so that this does not happen to you, and install a humidifier or place a bowl of water in the spaces of the house where you spend more time.
7. Do not clean the air vents
You can’t expect to breathe clean air if you don’t clean the air vents.
The air conditioners, fans and ventilation ducts should be cleaned regularly, at least once a month, as it is the health of your respiratory system. But the air vents, in particular, it is very important to keep them clean. You can check there how to clean air conditioners yourself easily.
These usually have a screen, filter, or both, where many particles of dust and dirt get stuck, which is positive; but if you do not clean them for a long time, these become overloaded with impurities and become clogged, so the air finds resistance to leave and from one moment to the next it ends up taking all the dirt that was covering the outlet through the middle and spreads it through the environment, causing allergies.
To avoid this, vacuum and clean the air vents at least once a week.
8. Do not change towels
There is a belief that towels do not get dirty because these are used right after bathing, but in reality the opposite is true.
When you bathe and scrub, you are removing all the dead cells and microbes attached to your daily activities from your body, and what does not come off with the rinse remains stuck to the towel when you dry.
It may not be so many bacteria at first, but the towel is a humid, warm, and with oxygen, with all the comforts for these bacteria to reproduce and become stronger.
For this reason, if you do not change your towels regularly, these become sources of diseases, allergic reactions and fungal skin.
If you have how to dry your towel every day after using it, either in the sun or in the dryer, you can expect to change it once a week.
But if you always leave your towel in the bathroom and it stays damp for a long time, don’t use it for more than 3 days.
If you do not remember how many days you have used a towel, guide yourself by the smell. If you still smell like laundry soap, everything is fine, but if you already start to have a musty smell, that it is a sign of bacterial life, washes it off!
9. Forget about the bath mat after every shower
The carpets of the bathroom are a case very similar to the towels. If you leave them wet for too long, these become a home for multiple bacteria, and these even start to mold themselves and the floor’s surface.
It is important that you remember to hang the rug in the sun to dry, every day after bathing, as well as put it to wash at least once a week.
10. Do not ventilate the bathroom
It sure happens to you like me and most of the time you get out of the shower in a hurry, thinking about what to wear and what you are going to prepare for breakfast, and rarely do you take the precautions to ventilate the bathroom.
This is a serious mistake. And not only because of the smells in the bathroom, as you might think, but because of the different vapors that are concentrated in the bathroom and that are harmful to your health.
The vapors from the hot water condense on the walls and mirrors, forming a layer of small droplets that promote the growth of mold in the joints of the tiles, which can irritate the nose, mouth and throat, and cause rashes and other symptoms similar those with the flu.
The vapors of the chemical products with which you clean the bathroom cannot remain unventilated either. These vapors can resist for hours in the air, and if you are exposed to them for a long time you can feel anything from a mild headache to damage to the respiratory and immune systems.
Try to install an air extractor that expels these vapors to the outside of your home. And if you already have one, remember to leave it on every time you shower and when you clean.
11. Have the house disorganized
The disorder of the house also affects health. On the one hand, psychological health, since disorder leads to stress, anxiety, lack of concentration and depression.
And on the other hand, the task of cleaning is much more difficult, because all those spaces that should be clear have accumulations of things, and since there is no time to lift them all then you limit yourself to cleaning around them.
This causes cleaning to be ineffective, and accumulations of dust and dirt remain under all those objects that are located where these do not correspond, therefore, the chances of contracting an allergy are increasing.
12. Sleeping with the pet
The pets are part of the family, must be treated with love and provide corresponding facilities; but allowing them to sleep in the same room and even in the same bed as humans is a bit more than rational and threatens your health.
Dogs, cats, and other companion pets release large amounts of hair, saliva and dander each of those is an allergen.
They may not cause allergies in everyday life, but spending all night with the pet, the brain takes it as an overload to their immune system and you can develop hypersensitivity, which will cause you to start to feel an allergy to your pets after any interaction during the day or even because of the hairs that stick to your clothes.
In addition, pets do not usually wear shoes or clothes, and they lie on the floor, so even in a home with a neat floor, your pets are still much dirtier than you. That would make it necessary for the bedding to be changed too often, increasing your daily chores and loads of laundry.
Don’t let yourself get to this. Establish a warm and comfortable place for your pets outside your bedroom, and get them into the habit of sleeping there.
If your pets have already become accustomed to sleeping in your bed, it may be necessary for you to lie down in their bed for a few minutes every day, so that you can leave your scent there and that encourages them to use it.
13. Do not use an air purifier
You have no idea of everything that is in the air inside your home. The air inside the houses has stagnant smoke particles, organic compounds, bacteria, viruses, accumulations of dust, mold, waste generated by pets, among others, and it was verified that the air inside the home is between 2 and 5 times more polluted than outside air.
If you do not use an air purifier, you are resigning yourself to breathing in all that pollution, which little by little is causing negative health effects, such as perennial allergies on the skin, eyes or respiratory system.
The pollution of the air also disrupts sleep cycles, so you’ll notice a big improvement in your rest and your daily energy when you have an air purifier.
Considering its various benefits, it is much better for you to invest in this device than in expensive medical consultations.
14. Do not clean the refrigerator
There was a piece of pizza left in the box, and boom to the fridge. Someone gave you a handmade candy that you didn’t want to try at the time and boom to the fridge. Half of the avocado mask you made was left over, and… where does it go? Exactly, to the fridge!
The refrigerator becomes a kind of attic where we accumulate things that we later forget forever, and we run into several decomposing surprises when we finally deign to do the cleaning.
This is more dangerous than you think. The temperature in the fridge is not cold enough to keep bacteria at bay. Just as it is possible for things to spoil, it is possible for these spoilage bacteria to move and settle in other foods that were in good condition, contaminating them. Food can look good and smell good and still be contaminated, and that’s exactly what makes it so dangerous.
The stomach infections are not something to be taken lightly. If you are lucky these cause only simple reflux and nausea, but these can also lead to diarrhea, gastric ulcers, stomach cancer and even death. And all for eating that badly covered piece of pizza that looked perfect and smelled delicious.
The cleaning of your fridge has to be constant. Not every month, not every week. Every day, when you are looking for what you are going to use to cook, take a couple of minutes to review everything and remove everything that is old, expired, that does not have an expiration date or that has not been stored inside a suitable container, as these are all possible nests of bacteria.
And of course, once a month if you take time remove everything to clean thoroughly, and wash the trays and internal supports of the fridge. This way you eliminate other potential sources of infection such as the remains of spilled drinks.
15. Not cleaning the garbage container
We must stop thinking that, since it is the place where the garbage is deposited, it does not matter if it is clean or dirty.
On the contrary, a dirty garbage container is the perfect abode for cockroaches, flies and mice, and once one of these species invades you, you are completely vulnerable to the many diseases that they transmit through their droppings.
To clean your garbage container, use high-pressure water, detergent, and a scrub brush. When finished, leave it face down on a cloth or rag until it has been wrung out, and go over it with the cloth to dry it inside and out.
Once you use it again, the most important thing will be prevention:
- Put a plastic bag or recyclable garbage bag inside. Do not throw the garbage directly into the container.
- Do not spill liquids unless they are in hermetically sealed containers.
- Take out the trash daily, it doesn’t matter that the bin is not completely full yet.
- Spray the outside of the container with vinegar, using a spray bottle to create a very light coating that dries quickly. This serves to scare off insects and quell garbage odors.
If you take these preventive measures into account, your container will remain hygienic, and you will only have to wash it once a month.
16. Using chemical pesticides
The chemical pesticides generate more harm than good. Its efficiency is unquestionable, yes, but at what cost?
No matter how much they specify “for cockroaches”, “for ants” or “for flies” the composition of chemical pesticides affects all living things to a greater or lesser extent.
Humans and pets are very vulnerable to pesticides. Through smell or the skin it is possible to suffer poisonings that lead to dizziness, vomiting, migraines, allergies and disorders in development and reproduction. Sometimes it is not even necessary to use them; it is enough that they are poorly stored so that they give off chemical residues capable of damaging your health.
Many species of good insects, such as ladybugs, beetles, moths, and harmless spiders are also killed by the use of pesticides. Doesn’t that seem so bad to you? Well, let me inform you that they are the ones in charge of controlling the smallest insect pests in your home, such as flies, mosquitoes and ants.
If right now you have an excess of any of these 3, have you ever thought that perhaps it is because you killed their natural predators? Choose to use pesticides made with natural ingredients, such as lemon, vinegar, baking soda or garlic, and give the kind species a chance to reappear, and you will see how little by little the balance is restored.
If none of this works for you and you ultimately prefer to continue using pesticides, then I have no choice but to give you these tips to minimize their negative effects:
- Move all food, kitchen utensils, pet bowls, clothing, or toys away from the area where you will be spraying the pesticide.
- Protect yourself with gloves and a mask during use.
- Read the label to review the instructions and be aware of any contraindications.
- Do not use a chemical pesticide that does not have an information label, because if poisoning occurs you will not have any reference to take with you to the health center so that they know how to proceed in your case.
- Leave the space you sprayed for at least 2 hours.
- When you return to the fumigated space, open all the windows and run an air purifier for another 2 hours.
- If you are going to spread pesticides in your yard or garden, be sure to position yourself with your back to the wind.
- To store your chemical pesticides, select a dry and cool place that is outside the main rooms of the house, preferably in the basement, garage or patio, stored on a shelf with doors that can be locked or padlocked.
It is difficult that you have identified with all the mistakes, but a number of them are sure to be of immense use in motivating you to clean the house more thoroughly, protecting you and your family from many illnesses.
Remember that personal health and peace of mind are a reflection of hygiene in your home.