Tips to a clean and healthy home
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.