6 Tips For A Cleaner, Healthier Home

I know, your home is supposed to be your sanctuary — the place where you go to finally be away from the all the germs and grossness that is the rest of the world. And usually, thankfully, that is the case. But sometimes, your apartment can be a breeding ground for bacteria and other sneaky pollutants that can wind up making you sick.

Of course it sucks a lot more when it's your very own home, but this is the case for any indoor space. When we close ourselves inside, we're subject to all the scary fumes, pollutants, and gases that get trapped inside with us. I mean, think about that chemical cloud that formed above the bathroom sink the last time you cleaned. You may have gotten everything all sparkly, but did you think about what happened to the fumes?

Turns out, pollutants like this build up and can lead to a bunch of scary health problems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency website, "Some health effects may show up shortly after a single exposure or repeated exposures to a pollutant. These include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue."

When this happens, the usual course of action is leaving the house, and letting it air out. Or, cleaning up the source of the problem. But sometimes things can get become a little more serious, so it's important to be aware of how your house can make you sick. Here are a few sneaky ways germs and pollutants can build up, and what you can do about it.

1. You Use Too Many Cleaning Products

We all associate a clean house with the smell of bleach and lemony sprays. But this "clean" smell can actually be pretty harmful. According to an article on Women's Health, "Many cleaning products, detergents, and air 'fresheners' contain toxic ingredients. For example: phthalates, a chemical found in many products, can cause skin reactions, and can even affect reproductive development." Scary.

Instead of these toxic sprays and fresheners, use some homemade natural cleaners like baking soda and vinegar. And scent your house with things that don't have a long list of chemical ingredients, such as natural soy candles or some nice smelling herbs.

2. Vacuuming Is Making Dust Worse

If you're like me, then you love vacuuming and seeing those perfect lines of cleanliness. For some reason, it's so very satisfying. But unfortunately, the very act of cleaning your place can end up making it dirtier. That's because some vacuums send dust flying into the air, which essentially makes a cloud of allergies.

Luckily, it's easily preventable. All you have to do is look for a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which stands for "high efficiency particulate air," according to an article on These filters keep 99 percent of that gross particulate out of the air, so we can keep up vacuuming hobby, worry-free.

3. Your Welcome Mat Is Gross And Germy

A welcome mat does a pretty good job of keeping junk out of your apartment, but it can get really germy in the process. As noted on Women's Health, almost 96 percent of shoes contain traces of coliform, which is bacteria found in fecal matter. While it's good that nasty germ isn't tracked across your house, it's still possible to come into contact with your mat. So remember to wash it once a week, and always take off your shoes at the door.

4. There's Carbon Monoxide Hanging Out In The Air

Fireplaces, generators, appliances, and furnaces that run on gas all have the potential to leak carbon monoxide, which is a colorless and odorless gas that can cause all sorts of health problems, noted Laura Barnhardt Cech on the Washington Post. This is scary stuff, because a CO leak can cause dizziness, nausea, headaches, and even death. To prevent such a tragedy, make sure you have a CO detector (that works) in several rooms of your home.

5. Your Kitchen Sink Is Dirtier Than You Think

If you wash your dishes by hand, then you know the multiple levels of grime that can build up in your sink. I mean, you are sticking your hand in there, and dealing with all the grease and leftover food scraps. So it's probably not really surprising that things can get a little germy.

This is especially the case for the little screen that stops the bigger food chunks from swirling down the drain. "That little metal screen on your faucet is a breeding ground for bacteria, which thrive in moist areas. Eventually, the bacteria could break off and get into your dishes or food," noted on Women's Health. To prevent this nastiness, dip the screen in a cleaning solution at least once a week.

6. Your Bathroom Is Wet And Moldy

These darn bath mats... causing all sorts of problems. But this time, mold is the issue. That's because you step out of the shower, get the bath mat wet, and then it sits around all day festering. So if you want to keep scary, illness-inducing mold at bay, suggested toweling off in the tub before getting out, and cleaning your mat regularly.

Don't let your apartment turn into a biohazard. With a few simple precautions, you can keep your home germ and pollutant-free.

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