Tips to a clean and healthy home

Lesotho Times - - Property -

IT’S no fun be­ing sick or car­ing for a sick baby, or try­ing to do both at once. Ward off ill­ness by prac­tis­ing sim­ple hy­giene and clean­ing rou­tines. Be­low are some tips on how to keep a healthy home…

1. Make hand wash­ing a pri­or­ity for ev­ery­one

Fam­ily mem­bers, vis­i­tors and ev­ery­one en­ter­ing the house should wash their hands fre­quently. Make sure to wash your hands be­fore eat­ing or pre­par­ing food, af­ter us­ing the bath­room, af­ter com­ing in from the out­doors and play­ing with pets, while car­ing for some­one who is sick, and so on. To make hand­wash­ing easy, make sure you have soap, water and clean tow­els read­ily avail­able.

2. Ban­ish food-borne ill­nesses

For adults or older chil­dren, a food-borne ill­ness is un­pleas­ant, but usu­ally not dan­ger­ous. Not so for ba­bies and tod­dlers, whose im­mune sys­tems aren’t as ready to tackle tough bac­te­ria. For ev­ery­one’s sake, keep bugs at bay with the fol­low­ing tips:

To tackle food-borne ill­nesses wash your hands in hot, soapy water be­fore, dur­ing, and af­ter you pre­pare food. Be es­pe­cially metic­u­lous when you han­dle raw meat, poul­try, fish or eggs. Stock up on cut­ting boards. Keep one for pro­duce and an­other for pro­teins like meat and fish. Put them in the dish­washer af­ter each use or scrub them us­ing hot, soapy water.

Al­ways re­mem­ber to re­place your chop­ping boards when they get scarred and pit­ted as bac­te­ria love to make them­selves at home in those crevices.

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold and fre­quently wipe sur­faces like coun­ter­tops, han­dles, door­knobs, and so on with dis­in­fec­tant. Also wash kitchen rags, sponges and tow­els reg­u­larly.

Home­own­ers should also avoid cross-con­tam­i­na­tion. This can be done by mak­ing sure that they don’t place cooked foods in a dish that pre­vi­ously held raw foods be­cause the bac­te­ria from the raw meat (or veg­gies) can trans­fer onto the cooked burg­ers (or veg­gies).

3. Sleep cleaner

Since you spend most of the night in your bed, you’ll want that en­vi­ron­ment to be a healthy one. Wash your sheets once a week in warm or hot water, more of­ten if any­one falls ill. Crib sheets need more fre­quent chang­ing, since they’re prone to be cov­ered with all man­ner of leaks, spills, drib­bles and drool.

If you have dogs or cats, get them their own cosy beds and dis­cour­age them from shar­ing yours (or your child’s). Their furry coats can har­bour germs, al­ler­gens and fleas — none of which make for good bed­fel­lows.

Even if your mat­tress looks clean, it could still be filled with pests, their fae­ces, body flu­ids and bad bac­te­ria. Vac­uum your mat­tress at least once a week and have it deep cleaned at least once a year.

4. Stop ill­ness from spread­ing

As a rule, keep per­sonal items like tooth­brushes and tow­els to one user. Colour code them, clean them reg­u­larly and store them far enough apart from one an­other (at least an inch for tooth­brushes) so that germs don’t get passed back and forth from each item.

Pay ex­tra at­ten­tion to healthy home rou­tines when any­one in your house­hold is ill. Be com­pul­sive about hand wash­ing, put your wash­ing ma­chine in over­drive, stock up on tis­sues, wipe down bath­room sur­faces more fre­quently, and re­place tooth­brushes.

5. Leave shoes by the wel­come mat

Ask fam­ily mem­bers and vis­i­tors to re­move their shoes be­fore com­ing in­side your home, es­pe­cially if you have a crawl­ing baby. With their shoes off, guests will leave the dirt (bac­te­ria and chok­ing haz­ards) at the door, not on the floors where your baby spends their days.

6. Put al­ler­gens on alert

If any­one in your house suf­fers from air­borne al­ler­gies, make your home health­ier by re­duc­ing al­ler­gens such as dust mites, mould and pet dan­der.

Con­sider buy­ing a vac­uum cleaner with a HEPA (high-ef­fi­ciency par­tic­u­late ar­rest­ing) fil­ter, which will trap dust mites and other al­ler­gens. Also in­stall high-qual­ity fil­ters on your fur­nace and air con­di­tion­ing units and re­place them fre­quently.

Talk to your al­ler­gist about the best ways to min­imise the ef­fect your pets have on you. Some­times keep­ing them out of cer­tain rooms (such as your child’s bed­room) can help.

Wash bed­ding once a week and cut back on stuffed an­i­mals. Dust mites love stuffed an­i­mals al­most as much as your child does, so keep these to a min­i­mum. To keep al­ler­gies at bay, wash those cho­sen few (with a gen­tle spin in the wash­ing ma­chine) weekly or freeze them overnight to get rid of lin­ger­ing dust mites.

If your house is damp, run a de­hu­mid­i­fier to chase the mould away. Vent steam from the kitchen, laun­dry and bath­room too by open­ing win­dows or us­ing ex­haust fans.

7. Pop­u­late with plants

Bring na­ture in­doors. Air-clean­ing plants don’t just make your rooms look pretty, they detox your home by re­mov­ing pol­lu­tants like am­mo­nia (found in clean­ing prod­ucts) and formalde­hyde (found in fur­ni­ture). Rather than scat­ter­ing sin­gle plants around, cre­ate group dis­plays in each room for max­i­mum air-clean­ing ef­fect. — Prop­erty24

Fam­ily mem­bers, vis­i­tors and ev­ery­one en­ter­ing the house should wash their hands fre­quently.

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