With social distancing, remote work and digital learning the new reality, there’s no question that time spent at home has significantly increased. Keeping spaces clean and healthy is a top priority particularly as we take on the winter months. Creating a healthy home is easier than you think – consider these five simple steps:
Step 1: Change air filters regularly
Your home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system typically includes an air filter that pulls dust, contaminants and microscopic allergens out of the air. If you can’t remember the last time you changed the air filter, it’s time to add it to your list. These filters should be replaced at least once a season to help maintain a healthier home. During seasons that your system is more in use, such as daily heating during cold months, you may want to change it out more often.
Step 2: Use products with better ingredients
Some cleaners contain harsh chemical ingredients that can do more harm than good. Look for products that effectively clean with naturally occurring ingredients like hydrogen peroxide. Use an antibacterial surface cleaner which kills 99.9% of household germs like influenza A, rhinovirus and E. coli through the power of hydrogen peroxide.
Step 3: Kick off your shoes
Wearing shoes inside the home can track in unwanted dirt and germs. Place a shoe mat or basket at often-used entryways to keep organised and to encourage visitors to remove their shoes. Additionally, a door mat, both inside and outside of the doorway, can keep mud and impurities off floors. As an added touch, snag some comfy house slippers so visitors have no excuse to go shoeless.
Step 4: Refresh and remodel with green materials
With extra time at home, more people are tackling home improvement projects. Whether you are refreshing a space or embarking on a major remodel, look for eco-friendly options such as paint, flooring and other materials with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which will ensure healthier air quality. Consider renovating rather than replacing cabinets, floors or furniture. These areas of the home can easily be freshened up with a stain or finish and it prevents these materials from ending up in landfill.
Step 5: Add plants
Greenery not only improves the appearance of a house, but the right plants can also help clean the air. The NASA Clean Air Study tested plants’ ability to remove indoor air pollutants. Peace lily, lady palm and snake plant (also called mother-in-law’s tongue) are a few indoor plants that had a positive impact on indoor air quality. Place these in high use spaces, such as the living room and bedroom, to add to the health and aesthetic of the space.
Changes you can make at home
Wash clothes in cold water
Up to 90% of the energy used by a washing machine goes toward heating water. So, skip the heating and just use your washing machine on the cold water setting. This way, you reduce carbon dioxide emission but you also keep your clothes in top condition for longer, as hot water can deteriorate the fabric and make your colorful clothes less vibrant. Skip using the dryer.
Use LED bulbs
Investing in the right energy-efficient light bulbs makes a huge difference. You will not only use less electricity but you will also make your home more environmentally-friendly. No matter how tempting incandescent bulbs are, LED bulbs are the better alternative – they last longer, are eco-friendly, and they help you save money in the long run.
Recycle glass bottles, jars, paper, and other items that should be recycled. Have a compost bin to get rid of leftovers and kitchen waste – it will give you free fertiliser which you can use for your plants at home. If you don’t have plants, start planting herbs in small pots and use the fertiliser for these.
Switch off lights and appliances when not in use. Also, use less of your toaster, coffee-maker and microwave oven and for energy saving alternatives like your stove. Don’t keep your television on as a habit when you are not interested in a programme. Avoid frequently opening the doors of your refrigerator or oven to avoid loss of energy.
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