Wouldn’t you like a Healthy Home?
Nothing feels better than coming home to a place we love, that’s ours or shared with friends, where we can relax, unwind and have fun.
But what if that environment was making you sick or even just ‘not quite right?’
From cleaning up our water to reducing pollutants in the home, my good friend and guest blogger Bronwyn Bennett is going to show you how to clean up your act!
Here are Bronwyn’s first 4 easy steps in which to create a healthy home:
1. Open some windows!
A Healthy Home needs fresh air, so open windows and doors as often as you can. A healthy home smells of clean air. It is important to have fly screens fitted on windows and security screens on doors for safety, so you can open doors and windows and know your home is safe from intruders and insects. Modern homes are designed and built to save energy, and are often built using toxic materials and paint. This means that buildings are insulated and wrapped so tightly no air escapes, which is not healthy for the occupants, as it is essential to have an adequate oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange.
Further to airing out the home, regular airing of pillows, doonas, blankets, and under lays will ensure a healthier environment in which to sleep. Dust mites will not survive the sunshine and fresh air. Pillows should be replaced every 2 years, and mattresses every 10 years.
The way in which we clean our home is a major factor in creating a healthy home. Eliminating dust is our target, so wet dusting with a damp cloth rather than dry dusting, removes the dust, rather than just circulating it back into the air. Investing in quality microfiber cloths makes this job easier. Avoid sweeping your floors, use a microfiber broom/mop that catches the dust, or vacuum your hard surfaces.
2. Take off your shoes.
Removing shoes at the front door can reduce up to 50% of the dust bought into the home. By placing a shoe rack outside the front door, and another inside the front door, shoes can easily be removed and stored. Not everyone likes to remove their shoes though, so ensure that there is a heavy duty doormat made from material such as coir at the front door, then there are no excuses for you or your guests not to wipe dirty feet.
3. Invest in a good vacuum.
Poorly cleaned carpets have been linked with irritation of the eyes, airways and skin, as well as headaches and fatigue. An efficient vacuum cleaner is therefore an investment not to scrimp on. Choosing a brand that has a true HEPA filter, will reduce the exposure to allergens like mould, house dust mites and dander. A HEPA filter ensures these harmful particles do not become airborne by trapping them inside the vacuum cleaner.
Dust particles carry bacteria, viruses and mould, hence the importance of minimizing the dust in the house. A vacuum cleaner with a motorized head is essential especially if you have pets or family with allergies. Be aware that many vacuum cleaners claim to have filters, that are ‘like a HEPA filter’, but are not a true HEPA filter, and there is a huge difference in the capability of trapping the ultrafine dust particles.
Filters that can be washed and reused are great to keep the vacuum cleaner functioning effectively. Avoid cleaners with dust bags, these suck up the dirt and dust at one end, and exhaust at the other end, which releases billions of microscopic particles that can float for hours before settling again, waiting to be inhaled
4. Get a good water filter.
Water is essential for our survival, a person can only survive three to five days without water. Many Australians talk about “how good the water quality is” and the catchments here around Melbourne are miles away from the city in protected forest catchments areas, where no one can access them. Sounds good right?
So what is the problem then? Well, we don’t actually drink this water, we drink water that has been treated to ‘purify and protect’ it, from the hundreds of kilometers of pipes through which it must travel to your home and this affects the quality of water that ultimately comes out of your tap.
The health concerns associated with water will depend upon the source of drinking water, whether tap, tank, bore or bottled. Building Biologists can test your tap water for up to 10 different contaminants.
Here’s a few of the major ones:
Chlorine: this is an essential ingredient in mains water, however many people find chlorine to be a skin and airway irritant. A lifelong consumption is associated with an increased risk of bladder and bowel cancer.
Flouride: a toxic substance, that is not essential for healthy living. It can inhibit calcium absorption leading to brittle bones, and as it is used as a medication, there is no monitoring of the dosage or the side effects. Applying fluoride directly to the teeth does strengthen them, but the toothpaste should not be swallowed. Recent research has proven that drinking fluoridated water does not prevent tooth decay, which is the reason that fluoride was first introduced back in the 1970’s. Water filters can reduce or remove fluoride, depending on the filtration system.
Many pesticides are linked with cancer in humans and can be be found in our water supply. A pesticide is any agent used to kill or control a pest and includes insects, rodents, birds, unwanted plants (weeds) fungi, or micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses. Many household products are pesticides, such as cockroach sprays and baits, rat poisons, pet flea collars, products that kill mould and mildew and kitchen disinfectants. Pesticides are an umbrella term that includes insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and microbiocides just to name a few.
Copper may leach from our hot water pipes and can cause digestive problems, liver and kidney damage, and increase the risk of miscarriage.
Discoloration of water may indicate the presence of iron, which not only affects the water pressure but may cause digestive problems.
Bacteria such as E Coli can cause serious illness and death. A water test will also test for pH of the water, hardness, lead, and nitrates.
I would greatly recommend a water filter system for most households. No one water filter suits all homes, so each house needs to be individuality assessed. Shower filters are available to remove chlorine in the bathroom, great for allergy and asthma sufferers.
There you have it, stay tuned or sign up for the next instalment – coming next week!
Send Bronwyn some love and comment below or head over to her Facebook page: Creating Healthy Spaces
PS. However you landed here, I am glad you did! If you are just a little bit curious to hear about the next instalment, then sign up to my mailing list so I can chat to you regularly.
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Have a beautiful day,
Kate and Bronwyn x