You keep a clean house and want your home to be a comfortable haven. During winter, flu, and allergy seasons, finding ways to keep a safe and healthy home is even more important. Here are a few tips to help protect your family.
Establish a Regular Cleaning Routine
Keeping a clean house reduces contaminants like dust, mold, and pet dander and promotes healthier living spaces. Indoor air pollutants can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.
When cleaning your house, use a top-down approach. Clean higher surfaces first and finish with a thorough sweeping and mopping of hard surfaces before vacuuming carpets and rugs. Use a HEPA-filter vacuum to trap even the smallest particles.
Dust rags, dish sponges, and mops will just spread dirt and germs around if they’re not cleaned after each use. Wash your cleaning tools at a high temperature to help kill germs. Replace your dish sponge every two weeks. To kill germs in the meantime, pop the sponge in the microwave for a minute.
Don’t Allow Smoking Indoors
Designate a space for smokers outdoors. Secondhand smoke is dangerous for the entire family. It irritates the lungs and worsens allergies and other respiratory symptoms. There are chemicals in smoke that are known carcinogens. Smokers should go outside to use tobacco or vaping products.
Encourage Hand-Washing in the Home
Hand-washing is an important habit for every family member to develop. The CDC recommends washing hands often and for at least 20 seconds.
It can be difficult to get young children to wash their hands. To encourage this behavior, create a rewards chart. List times children should wash like before meals, after school, anytime they use the bathroom, and after playing with friends or pets. Mark the chart and give rewards for well-practiced behaviors.
Manage the Humidity to Keep a Safe and Healthy Home
Humidity affects the indoor air quality of your home. Too much humidity and your home is at risk for mold and mildew. Too little and the air is dry, leading to skin and sinus irritation. The ideal humidity for a home is between 40 and 60%. Purchase a moisture gauge at the local hardware store and see how your home fares.
Use a dehumidifier in rooms that have a with high humidity levels or in damp spaces, like the basement. Less moisture in the air will help stop mold growth.
Quick Tips for a Safe and Healthy Home During Cold or Flu Season
- Disinfect household surfaces with antibacterial cleaner. Pay special attention to items a sick person has touched. Clean tabletops, cell phones, the TV remote, computer keyboards, faucet and cabinet handles, doorknobs, and light switches.
- If your household is battling the flu, use disposable cups in the bathroom and take extra care not to share towels or washcloths.
- Use a small wastebasket to collect tissues. Line the basket with a plastic grocery bag and take the trash out daily.
- Sanitize laundry and towels by using bleach when you wash.
- Use the dishwasher to clean dishes. Your machine does a better job than hand-washing your dishes when it comes to killing germs.