We do a lot to make sure our homes are safe. We lock our windows and doors, we put up fences, and install security systems. But did you know that keeping your house clean is just as important to the safety of your home?
It’s true! You see, because most people don’t have time to clean the whole house every day, over time, bacteria, dust, allergens, and other nasty things start to build up. This can turn your “safe place” into a toxic environment. And with more people working from home these days, your abode needs to be in tip top shape.
So, how do you know if you’re living in a toxic environment? Here are 6 signs to look for and expert hacks on how to keep your house clean and healthy.
1. It’s Always Allergy Season in Your Home
Allergy season typically runs from February to May, but if you’re living in a toxic environment, it might always feel like allergy season. Year-round coughing and sneezing, itchy eyes, itchy nose, and an itchy throat are all signs that your home isn’t properly filtering out harmful allergens.
There are two good ways to fix this. First, you need your air ducts cleaned. Clean air ducts remove pollutants while dirty ones trap them inside. It’s suggested that you replace your air vent filters every 6-12 months and have your air ducts cleaned every 5-8 years. This is an often-overlooked part of keeping a house clean.
Another reason it might always feel like allergy season in your home is your carpet. Having a clean carpet at home is like having an expensive air filter. This is because having a clean carpet at home prevents allergens and pollutants from ascending into the air.
The only way to remove all those unwanted pollutants trapped deep within the carpet fibers is to have a professional carpet cleaner thoroughly wash and extract with powerful cleaning solutions.
You can also invest in an air purifier, but if you want a really good one, you’re going to have to spend big bucks.
2. There’s a Lingering, Unpleasant Smell
We’ve all experienced opening the refrigerator and being attacked by a foul odor. The first thing we do is search for the culprit and immediately throw out or clean whatever it is. The same thing should be done if there’s an unpleasant odor in your home.
This isn’t always easy, since it’s common to become nose-blind to long-standing odors. But when you recognize it, you need to deal with it as it’s not only embarrassing, it’s unsanitary. It could be something as simple as old food that’s fallen behind the stove or under the couch (especially if you have little ones).
Or it could be something that requires more work, like having old and dirty carpets, upholstery, or smelly pets. If pets are the source of the smell, you need to develop a more effective regimen to clean the house and invest in a good disinfectant spray to neutralize the odor and keep your house clean and fresh.
If the smell is coming from your carpets, you’ll need to decide if you want to remove them and replace it with tile, hardwood or laminate or hire a professional cleaning company. Keeping a clean carpet at home will go a long way in ridding your home of lingering odors.
If it’s your upholstery, like the carpet, you’ll likely need to hire a professional upholstery cleaner to get rid of the source of the smell and return your couch or sofa to its former glory.
3. The Creepy Crawlers Are Creeping Inside
There’s nothing worse than insects making your home their home. It makes you want to clean the whole house, but having creepy crawlers isn’t necessarily a sign that you aren’t keeping your house clean. Living in a humid climate or in a wooded area can contribute to this despite your best cleaning efforts. In these cases, you need to invest in a pest control service.
If you didn’t have a bug issue before and are starting to see them everywhere, that could be a sign that you’re living in a toxic environment. So, how do you get the creepy crawlers out of your home? First you need to find out what kind of bugs are infesting your home and what they’re attracted to.
Most bugs are attracted to organic matter (food), and moist environments. So, when you start to clean the house or your apartment, be on the lookout for those things. Once you’ve dealt with the issue, you’ll need a professional pest control service (or pest control sprays) to keep them from returning.
Lastly, be knowledgeable about when bugs are most active in your area. Ants love coming inside in the spring. Cockroaches, slugs, and centipedes love warm, moist areas, and flies are always looking for someplace cool when it’s hot outside.
4. You and Your Family Are Always Sick
From the flu to stomach viruses, does it seem like your family is battling some illness every other week? If you said yes, it could be a sign that you’re living in a toxic environment. The problem can be bad circulation in your home, ineffective disinfection methods, or a combination of the two.
You have a few options when it comes to improving the air quality in your home. You can clean the whole house (giving it a nice, deep clean), and then invest in an air purifier. A good purifier can be upwards of $500. If you don’t want to shell out big bucks, a simple hack is to leave your windows open for about 10-15 minutes a day. This helps circulate out harmful bacteria that lives in the air.
To enact a more thorough disinfection method, you need to purchase a good disinfectant and read the directions carefully? This is because most disinfectant sprays only work if you allow them to sit on a surface for a few minutes. This is known as contact time, and you’ll see it listed in the directions on the back of the bottle.
Last but not least, we mentioned above that carpets act as an air purifier when they’re clean. Keeping your carpet clean helps keep the air in your home clean.
When you’re ready to clean the house, be sure to tackle high touch areas like doorknobs, light switches, refrigerator/microwave handles, cabinet doors, etc.
Maintaining the cleanliness of your home is a huge task, and this task only increases if you have a big family. So, don’t feel guilty if your home fits any of the descriptions on this list. It’s best to address the issues quickly though before it becomes a bigger issue than it already is.
Start off by tackling one room at a time or set aside the day for you and your family to give the house a deep clean. If you’re too busy or if the thought of that overwhelms you, hire a professional cleaner, especially if you’re constantly getting sick.
Having a safe home means having a clean home, so get started today!