The air that is inside of your home can have a big effect on the health of you and your family. When you are constantly breathing in allergens like dust, dander, pollen and mold spores, this can cause a number of health issues. You can experience an increase in allergic rhinitis symptoms, asthma attacks and even upper respiratory illnesses. Improving your indoor air can go a long way towards decreasing the risk of these issues.
Filter Your Air
There are a couple of different ways that you can filter the indoor air that you breathe when you’re at home. Your HVAC system and furnace have a filter that air passes through before it is dispersed into your living space. There are a number of different filters that you can choose, but the requirements vary based on the type of furnace that you have. A HEPA-grade filter is the best choice if you’re looking to remove allergens. You can also use a stand-alone air purifier in rooms that you want to be especially clean.
Carpet tiles in the home can harbor a lot of allergens. Even if you vacuum regularly, there are allergens that can work their way into the deep fibers of a plush carpet. According to Floors Direct, Hardwood floors can be a downside in humid areas but engineered hardwood can resist moisture damage better. This type of flooring allows you to clean up easier and more thoroughly.
Open Your Windows
With all the different allergens that can accumulate inside your home, it’s important that you periodically open your windows to get some fresh air. In the warmer months, it is a lot easier to do this. In the winter, you may only be able to open your windows for 10 minutes each day. If you have fans in your bathroom, it is recommended that you run them for about one full hour each day. This is a way to circulate the air in your home and make it cleaner. It’s often difficult to determine if you have allergens floating around your indoor air. While you can’t necessarily see them, you can listen to your body. If you’re not feeling well a lot of the time, indoor allergens may be to blame.
Try a few different ways of freeing your home from allergens, and see if you notice a difference in how you and your family are feeling.
Interested in keeping your home clean? Check out this other article: What You Should Clean Before Winter Hits
Many of us fancy ourselves expert cleaners. Most of us learned from our mothers and they learned from their mothers before them. Cleaning tips and tricks have been passed down for generations. What we don’t know is that there are cleaning mistakes that we make every day. We just don’t realize we are doing them!
Here are just a few cleaning mistakes we are probably making daily. It doesn’t mean we aren’t good housekeepers. It just means that we can learn something new every day!
1. Spraying window cleaner directly on the window
A lot of people are guilty of this one. When you are cleaning windows or sliders, you probably spray window cleaner right on the window. Most people spray the cleaner evenly from top to bottom. They then thoroughly wipe the window with their paper towel or cloth.
The mistake you are making is spraying the cleaner directly on the window. You should actually spray the cleaner on your cloth. Then, wipe the entire surface. When you are done, dry it with a clean cloth. You will find you can clean the entire surface using a lot less cleaning product.
2. Putting wet toilet brush away
Cleaning a toilet is probably your least favorite chore. But, it has to be done. Like the rest of us, you probably use a toilet brush and a cleanser often with bleach in it.
Using bleach is not the problem here (although there are many safer, chemical-free alternatives that may be a better option, especially if you have children or pets in the house, such as a blend of distilled white vinegar and baking soda). The problem is that we put the brush into a dirty toilet. We then scrub the bowl with that brush. The worst thing you can do is put the brush away as soon as you’re done.
Think about where that brush was. Think about what kind of scum it was scrubbing. What you want to do is use the brush to scrub the bowl using your chosen toilet cleaner. Then, flush the toilet. Once the bowl fills with clean water, rinse the brush off in the clean water.
Before you put the brush back in its holder, let it sit for about five minutes. You want it to be somewhat dry before you put it away. If you put a toilet brush away wet, it becomes a petri dish for bacteria.
3. Don’t use bleach
For many people, bleach is their ‘go to’ cleaner; it’s powerful, it’s quick, and it can handle some pretty tough stains. But bleach isn’t as good as we think. In fact, not only can it be quite dangerous (particularly upon direct contact with the skin, or if inhaled), but it’s also not great for some specific types of stain, such as rust stains which can actually become tougher to remove if they’ve been treated with bleach.
Using an all-purpose cleaner in the kitchen is fine, but if you’re interested in trying some safe cleaning methods in other parts of your home that really work, there are quite a few natural ingredients that are surprisingly effective.
For caked on dirt and grime, salt is an excellent abrasive and works to gently scrub away any dried food or mud from surfaces. And the acidity in lemon juice is brilliant at lifting stains and sanitizing areas… it can even mimic bleach by gently fading stains on cloths, simply squeeze a little lemon juice onto the fabric and leave to dry in the sun.
If you’re missing the classic cleaner smell, try adding a few drops of essential oils to your natural cleaning products to make your home seem fresher.
4. Scrubbing carpet spills
When we see someone spill juice or wine on our carpet, we cringe. We are tempted to take a rag and scrub the stain immediately. This is abig cleaning mistake – and one that can cause permanent damage to your carpet.
Scrubbing carpet spills can tear or twist the carpet fiber. It can also cause the stain to spread. Chances are, you won’t be able to fix either of these issues.
There is a better way to clean carpet spills. Rather than scrub the spill with a rag, try the following:
- Blot the spill with a paper towel. Don’t use a cloth rag – it can worsen the stain.
- Test your carpet stain remover in a discreet spot - don’t use it on your open carpet until you know it’s safe (better yet, try spraying it with MamaSuds All-Purpose Cleaner or Castile Soap!)
- Once you test the carpet cleaner, apply it to the affected area
- Follow the instructions on your cleaner to determine if you need to blot after application
If you follow these steps, you will manage to get the stain out without ruining your carpet.
5. Vacuuming while there’s still dusting to do
When we’re cleaning, we are tempted to work one room at a time. We tend to clean and dust one room and then vacuum that room. Once we’re done one room, we move on to the next. However, you should wait to vacuum until you are done dusting the entire level of your house.
When you dust and clean chandeliers and ceiling fans, you cause dust to blow around. This dust will settle on your furniture and floors. If you dust after you vacuum, you will be soiling your floors all over again.
The best way to clean is to first clean all ceiling fixtures. Then dust and polish furniture. After this is all done, then it is safe to vacuum. By this time, any dust and debris that is going to fall to the floor has already settled. If you vacuum last, you ensure that your house will be in tip top shape.
6. Putting the silverware in the dishwasher in the same direction
When loading the dishwasher, we all have our own style. Some people face all the plates one way. Other people insist on putting their silverware face down. One mistake many people make is having their silverware all face in the same direction.
If you put your spoons, knives and forks in the same direction, they end up getting in their own way. One fork blocks the next one from getting clean, and so on.
The best way to load your silverware is to put every other piece in an opposite direction. If you do this, each piece can be hit by the jet streams and get totally clean.
We all like to keep a nice home. We pride ourselves on being good homemakers. However, nobody is perfect. We can all learn a thing or two when it comes to cleaning. Follow the above guidelines the next time you attack your household chores:
- Don't spray cleaners directly on the surface – spray it on a rag
- Do not put a wet toilet brush away
- Don’t use bleach unless absolutely necessary
- Do not scrub carpet spills – blot and treat
- Vacuum last
- Stagger your silverware
Anita Edwards is a professional writer and editor. She works as blog editor at Spekless, where she shares her own and her colleagues' tips for cleaning. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and going on day trips with her children.
Decorating a home can be an intimidating process for anyone. Trying to be eco-friendly when designing a new space adds an additional challenge. Luckily, eco-friendly home décor has come a long way, making it totally possible to create an ethically sourced design without compromising on style. Keep reading for some tips on making your green space look its best.
One of the easiest ways to keep your carbon footprint small is to buy pre-loved furniture and home décor. Start by checking eBay and Gumtree, which have fantastic vintage pieces added every day. You can also check your local thrift stores and use social media to see if anyone has pieces they’re looking to sell. Although secondhand furniture may not seem as exciting as getting something new, vintage pieces actually make your space unique. You can also always DIY the furniture to make it fit your space better. With so many tutorials on YouTube and blogs, you should be able to find a method that will work best for your renovation.
Think Before You Paint
Many people begin any room makeover by putting on a fresh coat of paint, as it’s one of the most affordable ways to change up a space. If you’re looking to design in an eco-friendly way, however, you should take the time to research the type of paint to use. Many paints contain VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, which release toxic emissions into the atmosphere for years after they’ve been put on your walls (EPA). This is not only bad for your family, but also detrimental to the environment. VOCs used to be critical to the paint-making process, but this has changed in recent years. When you select your new color, just make sure to buy one that is clearly labeled “low VOC.” In fact, some brands have no VOCs at all!
Take on a Project
One of the coolest ways to make your home more eco-friendly is to take on some DIY projects that are both energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing. For example, you can create a water wall with a collection of beautiful mason jars. Simply place the Mason jars on a window that receives a lot of sunlight. The water will then absorb heat during the day and release it at night, keeping your house cooler while you’re awake and more comfortable while you’re sleeping. You can even paint the jars so that your room is filled with colored light, creating a stained glass effect. Alternatively, you can just mix some food coloring into the water.
Even easier than a DIY is splurging on a bunch of houseplants. They’ll purify your air and look beautiful while doing it. Look through the home design inspiration here to get ideas for houseplant placement.
Avoid Normal Curtains and Carpet
Standard curtains don’t do a whole lot to control the temperature of your room. By investing in thermal curtains, you’ll cut down your energy bills for years to come. If there is a certain look that you absolutely love, you don’t have to sacrifice style. Simply buy a plain thermal curtain lining and place it behind the decorative curtains of your choice.
You may also wish to consider investing in hardwood floors instead of carpet. Carpet is not only full of pollutants and chemicals that release toxins into your home, but also harms the planet during the manufacturing process. And even the best carpets need to be replaced every ten years or so. Although real wood, the most environmentally-friendly choice, can be pricey, it will hold up well over time and increase the resale value of your home.
Although decorating a space in an environmentally friendly way can be a challenge, it’s worth it to know that you’ve helped your planet while also beautifying your space. Grab a paintbrush and get started today!
• The small carpet cleaner brush was used to scrub it in.
• The machine was then turned on and the stain sprayed with water and scrubbed further until it disappeared.
• The soapy residue was removed by spraying and soaking up the soap for 10 minutes, until only water remained.