Author and playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe considered health to be one of the main prerequisites of a contended living. There could not be many to refute this claim. We all grow up learning that “health is wealth”. Many of the modern health concerns are direct resultants of the fast deteriorating environmental condition we find ourselves in. However, it is a general impression that the environment outside our own homes is mostly responsible for this. We see big cities choking with fumes and smog. In many places of the world, getting clean water suitable for drinking and cooking food is difficult.
However, it is not always the environment outside our main door which is responsible for various ailments of the body and mind. The atmosphere within our houses is equally guilty of creating a great many health distress like chronic congestion, asthma and some allergic reactions. So it is very important that we maintain a clean, safe and healthy home for the well being of our family members and ourselves.
This simple guide will get you started in this. If possible, get everyone of your home involved in this and delegate some of your responsibilities. This way you will ensure that maintaining a healthy home does not become too burdensome for one person.
Our houses have become virtual dust havens. Keeping it scrupulously clean is quite difficult. The following changes when introduced in the routine would help your cleaning process to be more efficient.
- Use electrostatic cloth or microfiber for dusting. They attract dust like a magnet and prove to be a better option than an old piece of cloth.
- Damp microfiber cloth can be used to clean up the mirror and other shiny surfaces.
- Choose a vacuum cleaner with high efficiency particulate air filter to clean the room as well as the rugs, sofa, cushioned chairs and curtains.
- Keep your closet well organised and tidy.
- Keep soft toys, stuffed animals, shoes etc in plastic bags or bins.
- Clean up the clogged dust filters of your air conditioning machine at regular intervals.
Lead, even when present as a micro element, can cause severe brain damage, anaemia, kidney and liver ailments. Older houses used to have lead based paints. If you own a house like this, it is quite possible that it has residual lead stored on the surfaces. The soil around the house could also have lead contamination. You can have your building and surrounding garden checked for any possible lead contamination. As a precaution,
- You can remove old paintworks from the walls, doors and windows and replace it with fresh coat of lead free paint.
- Buy crockery or decorative ceramic objects that are lead free.
- Cover bare soil until tested.
- Buy only high quality lead free costume jewelleries and toys.
- Wash your hands frequently and teach your children to do the same.
This house planned by Bau-Fritz GMBH & CO. KG is designed to promote a healthy environment within itself and outside.
If you have a beautiful garden or a variety of indoor plants you will need fertilisers to nourish them and use pesticides for disease control. But stay miles away from toxic chemicals and pesticides. They create enormous harm to the environment and the damage is not limited to your home. Many of the life threatening diseases are due to toxic pesticide contamination of soil and water.
- If you are an avid gardener, you will easily pick up many simple tricks of organic farming that could easily be replicated in your garden.
- Remove debris from the indoor landscape and outdoor garden.
- Regularly pluck out weeds and infected plants.
- Use mulch, seaweed spray etc as a natural fertilizer.
- Plant red peppers, garlic and ferula. These will help to keep your garden free of pests.
Foam is used extensively for insulation, creating mattresses, cushions, toys etc. It is covered with fire retardants that may contain toxic materials especially if bought earlier than 2005.
- Regularly, upgrading them ensures you are protected from exposure to these hazardous substances and also buying items that are tested for toxicity.
- Use natural fibres and insulations to avoid such threats.
- Mineral wool, cotton denim etc have effective insulating capabilities.
- Cotton is also good for stuffing pillows and causes no allergy at all.
Use of toxic chemical based cleaners can entirely be avoided in a home if you just master some of the basic recipes of preparing efficient cleaning compounds. They will also be much affordable than your off the shelf products.
- Baking soda mixed with lukewarm water is a powerful cleanser.
- Lime, tamarind pulp etc when mixed with water can remove stains and foul odour. Do not use these to clean brass items.
- White vinegar is another excellent item you can make use of.
- Toothpaste and toothpowder both have capabilities of removing difficult stains from kitchen shelves, refrigerator, worktops etc.
- Cornstarch can be used to polish window panes.
- Baby shampoos can be a good rug cleanser.
While shopping for readymade products read the labels to find out about the presence of any potentially toxic ingredient. See if it has gone through necessary toxicity tests.
Keep your kitchen and dining parlour squeaky clean. Due to the presence of oil, smoke and titbits of scattered food this area quickly becomes a den for cockroaches, spiders and other suchlike insects. Maintain good hygiene.
- Invest in a quality chimney that quickly removes evaporated oil and smoke from the environment.
- Clean the stove tops and counters at the end of the day every day.
- Use lime water to clean this space. It creates a refreshing ambience.
- Keep naturally insect repellent potted plants like lavender, citronella, basil and peppermint in this area.
- Use filtered water for drinking and preparing the food.
- Try to utilise microwave safe glass containers instead of their plastic counterparts.
As you can see most these are like daily rituals which once in process would not take much time to complete.