We all lead busy lives. We have dinner to make, kids to cart around and work that needs to be done. Cleaning sometimes falls to the bottom of our to-do lists. While you don’t have to have a spotless home, an overly messy house can actually be detrimental to your health.
Here are six ways a messy home can make you sick.
1. Dust Mites
Dust mites are microscopic creatures that live in warm, humid areas – like the environments our bodies provide. If you have allergies or asthma, dust mites can cause some uncomfortable or even debilitating symptoms.
Everyone has dust mites in their home, but not everyone reacts to them. Even if no one in your family reacts to dust mites, there’s a chance that a guest might.
When was the last time you washed your sheets or vacuumed your furniture? If you can’t remember, it may be time to get cleaning. To keep dust mites at bay, wash your bed linens in hot water every week and vacuum furniture on a regular basis.
2. Cleaning Products
Cleaning products are supposed to keep our homes clean, but some of these products can be detrimental to your health.
Some cleaning products can cause:
- Breathing problems
To make matters worse, most of us don’t take the proper precautions when cleaning with these products.
When using harsh chemical-laden cleaners, it’s important to wear gloves, open windows and dilute the product as recommended.
Dangerous compounds commonly found in cleaning products include:
- Alylphenol extholytes
- Pine or citrus oil
- Quaternary ammonium compounds
Looking for an alternative to harsh cleaners? A mixture of vinegar and water makes an excellent glass cleaner, and baking soda can be used as an abrasive product.
3. Foul Smells
A full garbage bag can cause stinky odors, but if rotting food or last night’s dinner isn’t causing the foul smell in your home, it could be something more serious.
There are many things that can cause foul odors in a home. Drains are often the culprit, especially ones in the basement. Floor drains that aren’t used often may eventually dry out, which can cause sewer gas to seep up into the home.
Sewer gas can be dangerous and detrimental to your health. It can cause headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea and other troubling symptoms.
Don’t try to fix the problem yourself. Call in a plumber. A sewer camera inspection can help pinpoint the problem. This is one issue you don’t want to wait to fix.
4. Hidden Mold
Mold is more common than you think in homes, and it can hide in places that you rarely see. Hidden patches of mold can pop up just about anywhere in your home, from drywall to your basement and shower head.
Mold usually grows in damp areas with poor airflow, and it can cause a variety of symptoms, including: headaches, nausea and nasal congestion. It can also aggravate asthma symptoms.
To tackle the problem, you first have to find the mold. Once found, the EPA recommends using a mixture of water and detergent to clean the mold off of hard surfaces, and improving ventilation in the room.
5. Lead Paint
How old is your home? If it was built before 1978, there’s a good chance that your home was painted with lead paint at one point.
Peeling paint and paint dust can put you and your family at risk of lead poisoning. Extensive exposure to lead can damage the kidneys, brain, nervous system and more.
Have your home tested for lead (at-home tests are available), especially if you have children. If lead is discovered in your home, you might consider hiring a professional to remove it. This is not a process you want to attempt on your own.
6. Dirty Refrigerator Drawers
Sure, you wipe down your refrigerator shelves and drawers, but do you disinfect them? Those drawers may look clean and sterile, but they may actually be hiding dangerous bacteria, like salmonella, E. coli and more.
These bacteria can cause symptoms of food poisoning, which can include vomiting and kidney failure.
Be sure to wash your produce before putting it into the refrigerator, and take the time to disinfect your refrigerator doors and shelves monthly.