Healthy Home Living: What to Watch Out For

Your home is where you and the people you love most spend the most time. Clean and healthy homes are integral to people’s health and happiness. But if you’re like many people, chances are you haven’t put that much thought into how it looks, feels, and impacts your health. In fact, you may not have associated home maintenance and decorating with health at all. But the materials used in your home, as well as the way objects are arranged, really do affect your sense of wellbeing. That’s why clean and healthy homes are so important.

From decorating mindfully to keeping up repairs to using eco-friendly options, read on to learn our top tips for creating clean and healthy homes.

Furnish and Decorate Your Home Mindfully

Have you ever walked into a well-designed room and instantly felt better in the new, welcoming environment? Or on the other hand, have you ever stepped into a cluttered, poorly thought-out space and suddenly felt on edge? While most people don’t associate their surroundings with health much, clean and healthy homes are typically well-designed and beautifully decorated, too. This is because the environment around us does a lot to affect our emotions and our mental state.

If you have a home study, make sure you’re using ergonomic office furniture in it, as this can contribute to improved posture and an enhanced sense of wellness. Choose paint colors for the walls thoughtfully, based on what you want people to feel when they enter a room. Look up some clever organizational tips so you can hide away the clutter in attractive cabinets, baskets, or out of site.

Go Green Wherever Possible

Ecologically friendly materials and cleaning products are not only good for the environment, but good for keeping clean and healthy homes. Consider going all out with a complete solar energy system, as they’re getting more moderately-priced all the time. There are still countless things you can do to make your home greener.

For starters, do you know what ingredients are in the cleaning products you use? If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t even thought about it, let alone found out what those ingredients are. But many household goods contain ingredients that are bad for the environment. Not only that, but they’re bad for your family’s health, too. Make it a point to find some green, eco-friendly cleaning products the next time you shop.

Toilet bowl cleaner and window spray aren’t the only things with potentially harmful ingredients. The paint on interior walls in many homes also has harmful chemicals in it, often outgassing at room temperature, lowering the quality of indoor air. The next time you paint a room, look for paint with a low-VOC rating. These kinds of paints don’t have as much volatile organic compounds which can leach out into the air, sometimes resulting in symptoms like headaches and dizziness.

Keep Out Pesky Pests

For clean and healthy homes, two things are necessary: first, the home needs to be structurally sound and last a long time; second, it needs to be free of things that cause sickness or disease. But if your home becomes a home for pests, both of those things could fly right out the window.

For this reason, pest control — and better yet, pest prevention — is essential to your family’s wellbeing. Pests carry harmful bacteria and diseases that may expose your family and pets to illness. Eliminating pests like these can help you minimize exposure, thus protecting your family’s health and wellness in the long run. Certain pests, such as termites, can cause physical damage to your house, causing it to weaken and fall apart over time. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by keeping an eye out for signs of pests, and making sure to take practical precautions to avoid infestations.

Keep the Exterior Clean, Too

You know that keeping your house clean on the inside is necessary for keeping your family healthy and happy. But the outward state of your home counts for a lot, too. Letting weeds grow up in your lawn or paint on your siding start to peel may not cause any direct health issues, but everybody feels better in a home that looks nice. Indirectly, having a clean, appealing home on the outside can improve your family’s wellbeing.

There are lots of professionals dedicated to making homes look their best. Pool opening services get backyard pools uncovered after the winter and prepared for the warm season. If you don’t exactly have a green thumb, yard maintenance businesses are there to tend your lawn and landscaping. Handyman services and professional house cleaners can use pressure washing tools to get your exterior walls and sidewalks looking their best. If it’s been a long time since the outside of your house has seen any tender loving care, you should contact some of these professionals to get those jobs done.

Watch Out for Toxic Gases

We mentioned earlier that many brands of paint outgas airborne chemicals over time. But those aren’t the only kind of gases you have to worry about, and they’re not nearly the most dangerous. Radon and carbon monoxide are other, more commonly-known toxic gases that homeowners have to be concerned about.

Radon is a gas that occurs naturally outdoors. It’s produced from the natural breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. When it stays outside it’s harmless, but when it enters buildings through cracks in the floors, walls, or foundation, it can collect in dangerous amounts. Radon levels are typically the highest in basements and crawl spaces, and it’s more common in family homes than you’d like to think. It’s also a leading cause of lung cancer in people who don’t smoke.

You can find out if radon is collecting in your home in dangerous amounts with a do-it-yourself test kit. You can probably find one at your local hardware store. If you’re more comfortable letting a professional do it, there are services available that will test for radon for a fee. If radon turns out to be a problem in your house, the service professional can advise you as to what alterations have to be made to maintain your family’s safety. If you have a private well, you might want to have it tested for radon too.

Radon isn’t the only dangerous gas that can make its way into houses. Carbon monoxide is another one. It’s odorless, tasteless, and completely invisible, and it’s produced by all fuel-burning systems. That includes your car, your wood-burning fireplace, and your furnace and kitchen stove if they use gas (electrical heaters and appliances don’t produce carbon monoxide).

The effects of mild carbon monoxide exposure include headache, nausea, and other flu-like symptoms. On the extreme end, exposure can cause unconsciousness, brain damage, and heart and lung failure. The reason carbon monoxide is so dangerous isn’t just because it’s deadly — it’s because humans can’t detect it unaided. For that reason, and because it’s present all around us, it’s required by law to have working carbon monoxide detectors in any home that has a fuel-burning appliance or connected garage.

Gases aren’t the only potentially deadly substances that find themselves in people’s homes. If you have an older home, it could be insulated with insulation made with asbestos, a highly toxic material that can cause cancer through contact. Although you aren’t at too much risk if there’s always a wall between you and the asbestos material, you should seriously consider getting asbestos inspection if you’re concerned that it may have been used to construct your house. These kinds of precautions are absolutely essential to maintain clean and healthy homes.

Avoid Unhealthy Habits

Of course, clean and healthy homes aren’t just a result of your environment. The way you live your life, all the way down to your smallest habits, has the biggest impact on your wellbeing. And it doesn’t just affect you: if you have children, they’re learning from your example, not from what you tell them. For that reason, it’s incredibly important not only to discourage negative habits in your children, but also to avoid them yourself.

As far as common habits go, the most destructive one is probably smoking. It can cause cancer to appear in multiple parts of the body, and dramatically increases your risk of succumbing to severe health disorders. The health benefits of giving up smoking are almost immediate, because your cardiovascular system and lungs will start to repair themselves within minutes of your last cigarette. Your lungs could be working better within a month, resulting in less coughing and more energy.

Smoking is an obvious habit to break, and one that’s just as obvious is excessive drinking. If you drink more than you should for your health, alcohol becomes a poison. People who drink excessively are at a higher risk for liver damage, high blood pressure, and various types of cancer, as well as depression. You don’t have to give up alcohol completely, although if you’ve become dependent on it it’s not a bad idea. As long as you’re not having more than one drink per day if you’re a woman, or two drinks if you’re a man, you should be fine.

If you struggle with substance abuse of any kind, it may be worthwhile to seek out an addiction treatment center. Your life is worth too much to waste it consumed by destructive habits and addictions. Have the courage to make the right call now, and your future self — as well as your family — will thank you.

Keep Your Plumbing in Good Repair

It goes without saying, but clean and healthy homes need to have clean and functional plumbing. Not only does it directly affect the health and comfort of everyone in the home, but it also impacts your home’s value and future.

Most of the time, you’ll notice when a plumbing problem occurs in your home. But other times, issues are less obvious and take a watchful eye to be noticed. Some of the most common plumbing problems families face are clogged disposals, sewer line backups, and clogged toilets.

If your kitchen sink has a garbage disposal, you know how useful it can be. But it’s also prone to getting clogged, especially if you attempt to put something inappropriate into it. If you occasionally have company over, you’ll have to watch and make sure no one tries to put something down the disposal that ought to go in the trash. Children are especially prone to attempting things like this. Make sure it’s clear to your family, and anyone who visits, what can and can’t be put down the disposal.

Sewer line backups are harder to miss, and depending on how wet the area around your home is, it may be harder to avoid. Sewer backups happen whenever heavy rain and growing tree roots force more water than usual into the sewer lines. If lines become blocked (or simply overfilled with water), it could make its way inside, coming up through the drains. If this happens, you should call a professional plumber right away, as consumer drain cleaners won’t be powerful enough to solve the problem. As always, make sure to be a steady customer for the local septic tank service so your septic system stays in good repair.

To avoid clogged toilets, it’s important to make sure your kids and their friends know what can go down the toilet and what can’t. Show them how much toilet paper is a responsible amount to use. Ensuring that paper towels, disposable wipes, feminine hygiene products, and other such things are never flushed down the toilet will go a long way to prevent clogs.

Watch Out for Leaks and Water Damage

Finally, one of the most important problems to watch out for is water damage caused by leaks in the roof, walls, basement, or plumbing. If you notice water damage on the ceiling or walls, it’s not enough to call drywall services and be done with it (although that’s an important step in the process). Stains and damage caused by water in places it shouldn’t normally be is always a sign of a deeper issue.

The reason water damage is so significant is because pooling water and excess moisture can create prime conditions for mold and mildew to thrive. And when that happens, it’s not good for your family’s health, or the integrity of your home. Water can cause structural damage when it gets in the wrong place, and living in the presence of mold and mildew can cause allergy-like symptoms in your family.

As you can see, clean and healthy homes involve a lot more than good housekeeping alone, and they never happen by accident. By being mindful of the products you use, the lifestyle you encourage, and the general state of your home, you can improve life for yourself and your family. Clean and healthy homes are just a few good habits away.

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