The Home Health Checklist
Clean House Tips
Even if you look healthy, you know you still have to see your doctor regularly to check for underlying problems. The same holds true for your house: It could be sheltering a whole host of potential dangers you've never noticed, from poor air quality to hazardous waste. But you can practice a little preventive medicine under your own roof with this guide. Read on to find out how to destroy illness-causing germs, clear the air, and make swaps for healthier household products in every room.
5 Ways to Clear the Air
Scary but true: The air inside your house is up to five times more polluted than what you breathe outside. Use these strategies to improve your indoor air quality.
Don't let anyone smoke. Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of carcinogenic and toxic chemicals. Research shows they linger in furniture, carpets, and drapes and mix with indoor pollutants to form dangerous carcinogens.
Ventilate. Crack a window and run exhaust fans (make sure they vent outdoors and not into other parts of the house). Move furniture away from outside walls for better air circulation.
Switch paints. Most paints release volatile organic compounds even after they've dried. These gases have been linked to cancers, memory loss, developmental damage, and reproductive problems. Cut your exposure with low-VOC paints.
Rehab your closet. Use toxin-free moth repellents like cedar chips and take plastic off dry cleaning before putting clothes away.
Keep moisture down. Mold and mildew can aggravate allergies and asthma. To keep them from infiltrating, regularly check your roof, foundation, and basement for leaks or evidence of moisture problems.
Nearly 60 percent of household dust, which may contain lead, arsenic, and other pollutants, comes from tracked-in soil and airborne particles from outside. To keep it to a minimum, wipe down pets before letting them in, wipe shoes on outdoor mats, and leave coats and shoes by the door. Eliminate impurities that do make it indoors by changing air conditioner filters regularly and using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter.
- Catch allergens and dust with the HEPA-equipped Eureka AirSpeed. $120, walmart.com
- Brush the dirt off your soles on a cute mat. Poppies doormat, $20, garnethill.com
- Give your pet the once-over with Earthbath grooming wipes. $15, petco.com
- Leave shoes by the door. Get 15 percent off this Zebra-embossed boot tray with code GRLHJ11. $49, grandinroad.com
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