Autumn home clean
Don’t suffer a winter of bugs and mould
AUTUMN approaches . . . as sunny days come to an end and temperatures creep down, we’ll be turning on the central heating and hunkering down indoors. Before you hibernate, however, it might be an idea to give your home an autumn clean.
Central heating and closed windows reduce ventilation, creating ideal conditions for dust mites, bacteria and mould, which can lead to health problems.
Mould and condensation occurs when moisture builds up, often a result of drying washing indoors, boiling kettles, cooking and simply from breathing out moist air as we spend more time indoors. High indoor humidity encourages bacteria, dust mites and fungi to grow, which can lead to respiratory infections. People who are allergic to dust mites’ faecal matter can be at increased risk of asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis.
So, the message is, open a few windows to let in some air, even if it’s cold outside. Airing rooms and bedding will help to get rid of dust mites, which love warm environments but can’t tolerate cold. Low humidity caused by central heating can also be a problem as it dries the nasal lining and eyes, increasing susceptibility to cold viruses.
You can measure humidity with a hygrometer. It should be 30%-50%. Use a dehumidifier to remove moisture. If levels are below 30%, a humidifier will add moisture.
The best place for drying clothes is always outdoors, but in winter that’s not always possible. So, open windows or use a dehumidifier when drying laundry. Keep furniture away from walls to enable air to circulate.
Your carpets might look clean but they can still contain a huge amount of dirt and other nasties. Central heating and lack of fresh air provide the right conditions for bacteria, moulds, mites and yeasts to flourish in carpets. So vacuuming doesn’t just mean getting the cleaner into every nook and cranny. Unless you empty the bag and clean the machine’s filters, brushes and attachments regularly to ensure it’s working efficiently, you’re wasting your time.
DE-BUG YOUR DUVET
An astonishing 45% of people in the UK have never washed their duvets. This means they could contain up to 20,000 live house dust mites, plus bacteria and fungal spores. Duvets should be washed or dry-cleaned every few months and replaced every five years. Vacuum your mattress weekly using an upholstery brush attachment, and wash your mattress cover every month at 60°C at least.
What are you sharing your bed with . . . ?