Cleaning For A Healthier Home

Cleaning house for a healthier home.

Cleaning for a healthier home. Home may be where the heart is, but it is also where germs, dust, mold, mildew, and other allergens set up shop. 

These nasty, invisible interlopers thrive even in households that look clean. They ride home from school on your child's hands, hitch rides on your handbag or briefcase, enter with foods you bring home and grow and multiply beneath the sink.

Although you really can't hope to eliminate such irritants, there are some effective ways of cleaning the house that will empower you to keep these menacing germs and allergens at bay. 

Focusing your house cleaning efforts on the germ and allergy hot spots will help you keep things well under control simply by cleaning for a healthier home.

Where Germs Lurk

As you clean your home, pay special attention to light switches, telephones, computer keyboards, remote controls for gaming systems, and doorknobs.

kitchen-counter-cleaning

These areas are favorite spots for any of the 150 sneeze- and cough-creating common cold viruses today.

Such places are also favored by the lesser-known but equally unpleasant rotavirus, which causes diarrhea, especially in infants.

These bugs can survive for hours on hard surfaces in the home, especially plastics and metals, as well as on children's toys.

If a family member shows signs of a cold virus or complains of intestinal upset, take comfort in the fact that cleaning your house and disinfecting common surfaces and toys daily until symptoms disappear is an effective way to maintain a safe and healthy home.

A cleaner labeled "disinfectant" will kill most tough germs on hard surfaces. Spray directly on an area and let the solution work for 10 minutes.

Wipe dry with a paper towel or lint-free cloth. As a preventive measure, clean your house and disinfect these surfaces weekly.

Areas prone to dampness—such as bathroom surfaces, the washing machine, humidifier, and air conditioner, and the area under the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry sinks—provide perfect breeding grounds for mold and mildew. 

Mop up any water in these spots and clean away surface mold with a fungicide or a bleach-and-water solution.

Cleaning For A Healthier Home and Sniffle-Free Sleep

Your cozy bed is a snug spot for dust and dust mites to settle in. These allergy triggers thrive in sheets, blankets, pillows, carpets, rugs, drapes, and blinds.

You'll rest more comfortably if you take a few steps to keep these microscopic culprits in check with weekly house cleaning.

  • Damp-wipe or vacuum blinds regularly - they're virtual magnets for dust.
  • If you have feather pillows or a goose-down comforter and you often sneeze all through the night, try changing to polyester bedding (it doesn't attract dust mites as much as cotton and feathers do) or consider encasing all of your bedding - both mattress and box springs - in a non-allergenic plastic cover. 
  • Regular vacuuming at least weekly—can help keep your home's allergen count down to livable levels. Dust-filtering vacuum bags are an inexpensive way to keep most of the sucked-up dust from escaping through the exhaust.

Cleaning For A Healthier Home - Virus, Mold, and Mildew Patrol

Microscopic life thrives in all bathrooms. Without proper strategies, even your toothbrush isn't safe from cold viruses, rotavirus, salmonella, Escherichia coli bacteria, mold, and mildew.

These pathogens and allergens flourish in and on toilets, faucets, floors, and walls, as well as in damp towels and washcloths.

Make it a weekly priority to disinfect the toilet, sink, and faucet handles as you clean your house.

Use a disinfectant cleaner or diluted bleach and water. Apply the cleaner, let it stand on the surface for 10 minutes, and wipe clean with a paper towel or lint-free cloth.

Here are a few more essential house-cleaning tips for the bathroom:

  • Regularly clean the soap dish in the shower and on the sink.
  • Every three days or so, replace used bath towels and washcloths with clean ones.
  • Always close the lid of the toilet before you flush to prevent stirred-up germs from escaping into the air and settling on bathroom surfaces.
  • After using towels, fold or hang them loosely to dry; this helps prevent germs and mold from getting a toehold.
  • Use a toothbrush cover to prevent airborne germs, yeast, and molds from colonizing on the bristles and getting into your mouth; or consider a toothbrush sanitizer. 

Cleaning For A Healthier Home and Safety

In the kitchen, proper handling of raw meat, fish, and poultry can stop most germs associated with them from multiplying to levels that can make you and your family ill.

While most pathogens that occur naturally in uncooked foods are killed by proper cooking - many germs can spread long before you pop the entree into the oven.

fridge-door-man

E. coli, hepatitis A, and salmonella - the most common contaminants - can find their way onto a sponge or dishcloth; you, in turn, can then spread the bacteria all over your kitchen unless you make an effort to stop them.

The most important thing you can do when cleaning the house to ensure your family's health and safety is to wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing food.

This will prevent you from spreading meat-, poultry-, or fish-borne bacteria onto refrigerator doors, cabinet handles, and countertops, where they'll be lying in wait the next time you reach for a leftover slice of pizza.

In addition to washing your hands, you can help prevent cross-contamination by washing the utensils used to prepare raw food in hot, soapy water. 

That includes all knives, cutting boards, and serving platters that have held raw meat, fish, or poultry. When grilling, don't serve meat on the same plate you used to carry outside before cooking.

If your kitchen counter comes in contact with even a drop of juice from uncooked meat, poultry, or fish, clean up the area with hot, soapy water and paper towels - not the sponge you use daily.

However, you'll need to clean the surface with a mild bleach solution (one part bleach to nine parts water) or use a commercial disinfectant to kill all the germs. 

Keep all kitchen surfaces dry; bacteria survive no more than a few hours when moisture is eliminated.

Even your kitchen sponges and dishcloths - the items that are supposed to help you eliminate lurking germs - can be part of the problem unless you wash them regularly. You should replace the sponges every two weeks. 

When cleaning the house, regularly throw dishcloths in the washing machine - always use hot water and bleach.

Finally, use a plastic cutting board (not wood) for raw meats - it is less likely to harbor bacteria. Wash it in hot, soapy water after each use.

You Might Like These:

  • Here are the homeowners expenses you should not skimp on. And tips on how to pay for it all.

    Homeowners Expenses Never to Skimp On

    Here are the homeowners expenses you should not skimp on. And tips on how to pay for it all.

  • Energy-smart day-to-day living is easier than you might think. Save cold cash year-round with these home energy savings tips.

    Home Energy Savings Tips

    Energy-smart day-to-day living is easier than you might think. Save cold cash year-round with these home energy savings tips.

  • Fixing a backed up toilet yourself has two great advantages: You save time and you save money.

    Fixing a Backed Up Toilet

    Fixing a backed up toilet yourself has two great advantages: You save time and you save money.

  • Easy bathroom caulking tips so you can do it yourself.  The result packs a big decorative punch that makes this fix more than worth the effort.

    Easy Bathroom Caulking Tips

    Easy bathroom caulking tips so you can do it yourself. The result packs a big decorative punch that makes this fix more than worth the effort.

  • Yes, you do have to maintain your garbage disposal. If you want it to keep it grinding away daily, that is. These simple tips for maintaining your garbage disposal can help.

    Maintaining Your Garbage Disposal

    Yes, you do have to maintain your garbage disposal. If you want it to keep it grinding away daily, that is. These simple tips for maintaining your garbage disposal can help.

  • An ant problem is a frustrating challenge, to say the least. You want the ant infestation gone - stat! Here are 3 effective, non-toxic pest control methods.

    Ant Problem? Less Toxic Solutions for Solving It

    An ant problem is a frustrating challenge, to say the least. You want the ant infestation gone - stat! Here are 3 effective, non-toxic pest control methods.

  • How to winterize your home. Don't wait until the first storm to winterize your home. The few hours spent checking your home's major systems and could save you a bundle.

    How to Winterize Your Home

    How to winterize your home. Don't wait until the first storm to winterize your home. The few hours spent checking your home's major systems and could save you a bundle.

  • Easy money saving ideas. Keeping your home up and running can cost a bundle. These money saving ideas can help you reduce your household deficit.

    Easy Money Saving Ideas

    Easy money saving ideas. Keeping your home up and running can cost a bundle. These money saving ideas can help you reduce your household deficit.

  • Home maintenance tackled throughout the year is the easiest way to prevent small problems from becoming big expensive fixes. Here's how.

    Home Maintenance and Repair

    Home maintenance tackled throughout the year is the easiest way to prevent small problems from becoming big expensive fixes. Here's how.

  • How to prevent plumbing problems. You can prevent plumbing problems - a clogged drain, leaky faucets, and other common plumbing nightmares - with a little preventative maintenance.

    How To Prevent Plumbing Problems

    How to prevent plumbing problems. You can prevent plumbing problems - a clogged drain, leaky faucets, and other common plumbing nightmares - with a little preventative maintenance.

  • Home repairs you can do yourself offer two big advantages: You save time and you save money.

    Home Repairs You Can Do Yourself

    Home repairs you can do yourself offer two big advantages: You save time and you save money.

  • How to save on energy bills by making a few simple changes on your gas and electrial use daily around your home.

    Save on Energy Bills

    How to save on energy bills by making a few simple changes on your gas and electrial use daily around your home.

  • Do it yourself home repairs have two big advantages: You save time and you save money. You can easily handle these quick fixes around your home .

    DIo It Yourself Home Repairs

    Do it yourself home repairs have two big advantages: You save time and you save money. You can easily handle these quick fixes around your home .

  • How to save energy. Of course you want your home to be warm in the winter, cool in the summer. And you can have both - without sky-high bills.  Here's how to save energy at home.

    How To Save Energy at Home

    How to save energy. Of course you want your home to be warm in the winter, cool in the summer. And you can have both - without sky-high bills. Here's how to save energy at home.

  • Dealing with wasps: What you need to know about identifying a wasp infestation and getting rid of it safely.

    Dealing With Wasps

    Dealing with wasps: What you need to know about identifying a wasp infestation and getting rid of it safely.

  • How to lower your air conditioning bills. Just when you think it can't get any hotter, it does. You want to stay cool - and keep utility bills under control. These 10 air conditioning tips can help.

    Lower Your Air Conditioning Bills

    How to lower your air conditioning bills. Just when you think it can't get any hotter, it does. You want to stay cool - and keep utility bills under control. These 10 air conditioning tips can help.

  • Fixing a backed up sink yourself has two big advantages: You save time and money. These tips for clearing a sink clog can help.

    Fixing a Backed Up Sink

    Fixing a backed up sink yourself has two big advantages: You save time and money. These tips for clearing a sink clog can help.

  • Building a home toolkit. You really can handle many minor repairs and home-improvement projects around your home all by yourself. A basic toolkit is all you'll need. Here's what to include

    Building a Home Toolkit

    Building a home toolkit. You really can handle many minor repairs and home-improvement projects around your home all by yourself. A basic toolkit is all you'll need. Here's what to include

  • Of course you want your home to be cool and comfortable during the dog days of summer. Save cold cash year-round with these home energy saving tips.

    Home Energy Saving Tips

    Of course you want your home to be cool and comfortable during the dog days of summer. Save cold cash year-round with these home energy saving tips.

  • Hiring a carpet cleaning service to do the dirty work on your flooring surfaces may be the safest, fastest and easiest option. These tips can help.

    Hiring a Carpet Cleaning Service

    Hiring a carpet cleaning service to do the dirty work on your flooring surfaces may be the safest, fastest and easiest option. These tips can help.

  • Easy refrigerator maintenance tips. These refrigerator maintenance tips will help keep the appliance in peak operating condition - and the fridge repair people at bay.

    Easy Refrigerator Maintenance Tips

    Easy refrigerator maintenance tips. These refrigerator maintenance tips will help keep the appliance in peak operating condition - and the fridge repair people at bay.

  • Yes, you could always just hang something over the wall hole to hide it from sight. Almost as easy? You can fix a wall hole yourself. Here's how.

    How to Fix a Wall Hole

    Yes, you could always just hang something over the wall hole to hide it from sight. Almost as easy? You can fix a wall hole yourself. Here's how.

  • Preventative home maintenance checklist. A house may last for generations, but its parts and systems won't last a lifetime without regular attention. Tackling preventative maintenance tasks throughout the year will keep your home running smoothly.

    Preventative Home Maintenance Checklist

    Preventative home maintenance checklist. A house may last for generations, but its parts and systems won't last a lifetime without regular attention. Tackling preventative maintenance tasks throughout the year will keep your home running smoothly.

  • The air is crisp; the nights are cool. What better way to complete the cozy picture than a roaring fire in the hearth? These easy fireplace maintenance tips will help get it ready to glow.

    Easy Fireplace Maintenance Tips

    The air is crisp; the nights are cool. What better way to complete the cozy picture than a roaring fire in the hearth? These easy fireplace maintenance tips will help get it ready to glow.