Is your house making you sick? That fact is not comforting, but it’s true. The good news is that you can do something about most of the causes of illness in your home: You just need to identify the problems and eliminate them.
The following are some of the most common materials in your home that could be making you sick.
Mold can grow in damp, warm areas. Usually, it starts with moisture. This can be from something getting wet from a spill, flood or leak. As the moisture sits, it starts to produce mold, which releases spores into the air. You breathe those spores and your body reacts to them — and usually not favourably.
You may start to sneeze, cough and have eye and skin irritation. In severe cases, you may start to wheeze or have trouble breathing. People who have prolonged exposure and sensitivity to mold can suffer from severe respiratory conditions.
The best way to deal with mold is to keep it from happening in the first place. If there’s ever any water on your floors and walls, dry it completely, immediately. If you’re unable to do this, consider calling in professional cleaners. They have special equipment to dry wet areas and they can even treat it to keep mold from growing.
Even if you don’t catch any water on your floors or walls, you should try your best to keep the moisture level low in your home.
- Use a dehumidifier if you have high humidity levels.
- Use vents in your bathroom when you shower or take a bath.
- Open windows and doors when you’re doing laundry, especially when the drying is working.
- When cooking, be sure you have good ventilation, especially when there is a lot of steam.
You can’t always see mold, but sometimes, there are black spots on the surface. If you ever see this, have an expert come to your home for an inspection.
2. Harsh Chemicals in Cleaners
Many cleaners contain ammonia and chlorine, chemicals that can irritate your skin and lead to lung problems if the area is not properly ventilated. For those with asthma, they can cause an attack. Stay away from any cleaners that contain strong chemicals: The natural ones do just as good a job.
3. Germs on Faucets
Many people don’t think of disinfecting their faucets, but they are the most germ-laden things in your home. People use the faucets to clean their dirty hands, and before they do that, they turn on the water. This leaves behind some of the germs on the handles. By not cleaning them, you end up spreading those germs all over the house.
4. Vinyl Shower Curtains
Did you know that vinyl shower curtains could affect your reproductive health? They have phthalates, which have been known to affect fertility for men and women. Swap yours out for nylon or polyester ones.
5. Grout Cleaning Chemicals
These chemicals are so strong they can burn your skin. Don’t ignore the grout, though. It can harbor germs and lead to mold if neglected. Instead, clean with a combination of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. This mixture is just as effective and won’t hurt you.
6. Chlorine in Tap Water
Tap water has chlorine in it to make it safe for drinking, but you shouldn’t drink it or even use it. When you take a hot shower, breathing in the chlorine can lead to:
- Bladder Cancer
- Breast Cancer
Many people do not know this, which is frightening. To reduce your risk of these effects from the chlorinated water, install a filtration system for all of the water in your home.
7. Lead Paint
Most homes have been tested for lead paint, but not all of them. If you have a home built before 1978, have the paint tested to ensure there is no lead in it. Lead can cause serious disabilities, seizures, and even death.
8. Vinyl Flooring Containing Asbestos
Some old vinyl flooring can contain asbestos. This can cause severe health conditions if you’re exposed to it. Usually, exposure happens when the flooring is tampered with or removed. If you have vinyl flooring and you believe it’s old enough to contain asbestos, contact professionals to remove it. They have protective gear to limit their exposure and they know how to completely remove the asbestos so that no one becomes ill.
9. Air Duct Mold
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 4.3 million people die each year as a result of household air pollution. Whether or not you realize it, indoor air quality can be just as bad or worse than outdoor air quality. Why? Air ducts often trap moisture. This moisture turns into mold which, as you know, is hazardous to your health. To prevent duct mold, call a professional air duct cleaning company.
10. Pillows and Mattresses
Dust mites aren’t only found in public areas: You can have them in your very own bed. These mites thrive in humidity and warmth. Since our bodies can produce this each night, it’s quite possible you could have them in your bed. They are microscopic, so you can check for them.
Be sure to wash your pillowcases and mattress covers once a week in hot water. They should be completely dry before you place them back on your bed.
If you start to feel sick and you’re not sure why, you may want to have your pillows and mattress tested for dust mites. You can then take the proper steps to get rid of them.
11. Vacuum Cleaner
You may think you’re getting up all the dirt and germs with your vacuum cleaner, but the truth is, you may not be. Some vacuum cleaners pick things up and then spew most of it back out into the air. You won’t see or notice it at all, but that dust is there, and over time can make you sick.
Try using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. You should also clean or replace the filter regularly.
Protect Your Home to Protect You and Your Family
Now you know some of the most common materials in your home that could be making you sick. Do what you need to do to reduce the risks caused by those materials so you and your family will remain healthy and happy.