Your home is likely the place you feel most comfortable in, the refuge you retreat to after a long day at work. But for some, it could also be full of hidden dangers in the form of mold, common household chemicals, and even bugs and mites. It’s important to be familiar with these dangers and to understand the ways you can combat and prevent them.
Here are some of the most common ways your home could be making you sick.
Heating and cooling
Your air conditioning unit should be checked every year when the weather gets warm to ensure it’s working properly and that there are no leaks. Even a well-maintained A/C unit often leaks a small amount of water in the ducts, which can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. It’s a good idea to have the unit cleaned and inspected before using it every year.
The heating system will also need to be maintained. Furnace filters can become clogged after repeated use, sending dust and debris back into the air inside your home. Change these often and buy a few extras to keep handy for the winter months.
No matter how clean you keep your bedroom, it’s one of the rooms in your home that acquires the most dust and dead skin, so it’s important to wash sheets, pillowcases, curtains, and any other fabric that attracts dust in hot water once a week. Mites and bedbugs are attracted to these areas, so it’s important to keep them clean.
Even if your bathroom is spotless, mold can form and hide in the smallest spaces. Turn on the fan while you shower to reduce the amount of steam that rises up and dry off as much as possible while you’re still standing in the shower so the bath mat won’t get wet. Hang it up and let it air dry after every use to keep mold from forming on the underside.
Dryer sheets, air fresheners, and certain cleansers contain harsh chemicals that can irritate allergies and asthma. These can be toxic, as well, which is why many people chuck the store-bought cleaners in favor of plain old vinegar and water and homemade dryer sheets.
Check the fridge
The refrigerator can be a breeding ground for bacteria and other yucky things, so clean out trays, drawers, and shelves often with hot, soapy water and throw out anything that looks questionable as soon as it starts to go bad. Leaving perishable food in the fridge too long can lead to other foods rotting.
If your home is more than thirty years old or has older paint in some rooms, it’s a good idea to test for lead and have your family tested, as well. For more information, contact (800) 424-LEAD.