How to create a Healthier Home

Top 20 tips for improving your home and health

Your home is meant to be the place where you can relax — a place where you can tuck yourself away and recuperate from a hard day at work. But sometimes coming home may not be the best thing for you at all — particularly if your house is an unhealthy environment of dirt, dust and clutter!

So, what can you do to improve your home environment? Well, here realbuzz.com look at the four main rooms found in most homes — the living room, the bedroom, the bathroom and the kitchen — and give you essential tips on how to make these areas better for your health!

The living room

* Most of us are probably guilty of watching too much TV, and the ‘couch potato’ stereotype has certainly not emerged in recent years without good reason. But how can you prevent yourself from watching TV every day after work, when it’s so easy to do so when you’re tired? Well, why not store away your TV set and see if you can live without it for a while? The time you would usually spend watching TV could then be spent on spending quality time with your family, socialising with your friends, or even playing a sport — all of which can help to maintain or improve your general health in the long term.

* Research has suggested that hanging up some soothing pictures — such as beautiful landscape paintings or photos of some happy occasions — around the room can positively affect a person’s mood. For example, looking at nature in a painting or photograph has been found to reduce stress and anxiety. So, improve your mood by hanging a few things on those bare walls!

* Lighting in the home is one of the areas where people frequently get things very wrong. Direct lighting can trigger headaches, for example, and so it may be wise to go for a more subtle approach. Try swapping the light switches in your living room — and even in other rooms if possible — for dimmer switches, so that you can vary the brightness instead of having to suffer shock to your eyes when you instantly put on a very bright light.

* A nice shag-pile carpet might feel comfortable under your feet, but it can also be a welcoming home to all manner of mites and other microscopic creatures that can cause allergies. Think about replacing the carpet in your living room with natural flooring such as wood or tiling — both of which can be easily cleaned. If you really want to keep your carpet, though, then regular vacuuming is a must.

* While you may love to feel like you are disappearing into the comfy folds of your armchair, sitting on it may not actually be the best thing for you! The synthetic materials used in many armchairs and sofas can trap various allergens — so a good tip is to go for leather upholstery instead, which won’t trap things like dust and pollen and will be easier to wipe clean.

The bedroom

* The bedroom is quite possibly the area where you spend the majority of your time — at least a third of your whole day will be spent sleeping! — and yet often it does not get the attention that somewhere like the living room gets when it comes to cleaning. To make sure you have a good environment in which to sleep, aim to vacuum clean the room regularly, and clean those hard-to-reach spots in the room where dust and other allergens gather.

* Obviously, bedrooms are intended for sleep — and it’s always better if the body gets used to this idea and begins to associate the room with sleep rather than other activities such as watching TV or using a computer. Doing too many activities in your room may mean that your mind will be restless, which may sometimes prevent you from actually getting to sleep. So, try to keep the majority of the activities you do out of the bedroom.

* Bright colours — particularly brilliant whites — will only add to any problems you may have with sleeping. Not only that, they will reflect light — and that glare can sometimes be responsible for headaches. Instead of enduring this, try decorating your bedroom with darker colours to create a more comfortable and relaxing sleeping environment. You should also go for more relaxing colours, such as shades of blue, rather than energetic ones such as red or orange.

* Once the sun has risen and comes into your bedroom, then that naturally starts to ‘wake’ the body, and so if you keep waking up too early then it may be due to a failure to block out light effectively. Some thick ‘black out’ curtains should ensure the room remains dark and that you get a proper night’s sleep. Alternatively, simply add some lining to your existing curtains.

* Regularly washing your bedding will help to prevent a build-up of nasty dust mites. Also, natural fabrics tend to absorb sweat better than synthetic materials — thereby reducing the risk of rashes — and so it’s a good idea to go for these when buying your bed sheets. Also, putting a few lavender oil drops on your pillow before you go to bed has also been known to ease sleep problems.

The bathroom

* The bathroom is somewhere that will frequently get damp due to condensation — and damp areas can be breeding grounds for all sorts of mold and bacteria, which can contribute to headaches, asthma, and other problems. An extractor fan of some description can minimise this risk, as well as opening a window every time you have a hot bath or shower.

* Bathrooms frequently house a toilet, and it is important to maintain a good cleaning regime to stay on top of your toilet’s cleanliness. Remember that it’s not just inside the toilet that needs careful attention: you’ll need to clean the outside and around it too, as we all know that some people fail to miss the spot!

* The bathtub or shower can be the cause of many an accident in the home. A non-slip mat of some description for stepping into the shower and out of it may appear to be an obvious tip, but it’s one that is frequently ignored. Occasionally, trying to step out of the bath can end in a trip to hospital — so make sure you have a mat!

* In the morning, we frequently walk in an almost zombie-like state from our bedroom into the bathroom because our internal clock hasn’t yet been awoken by daylight. If you tend to do this, then make sure you step into a bright bathroom in the morning by leaving the blinds open overnight so that the sunlight will hit you and awaken your body. You don’t need to worry about protecting your modesty — just get some frosted glass for the windows!

* One of the most common mistakes that people make is to keep medicines in a cabinet in the bathroom. Unfortunately, the bathroom is quite possibly the worst place to keep medicines, as the heat and dampness can cause deterioration in their effectiveness. The best place to keep any medication is in a dark, cool, dry place.

The kitchen

* The kitchen is perhaps the most important room to stay on top of in terms of your cleaning regime, because dirty floors and work surfaces, food dropped down hard-to-reach places, and filthy cookers are all breeding grounds for things which could very likely make us ill — particularly as we prepare and cook food in the same area.

* Chopping boards can be a real hazard if not used wisely. Keep at least one separate chopping board for meat and one for your vegetables — and never use the same knife when chopping both! If any of your chopping boards have deep grooves from repeated use of a knife, then it’s is best to throw them away as these are places where unwelcome bacteria will breed.

* Researchers have suggested that keeping your kitchen well lit can help to prevent overeating, whereas dim lighting is said to make people feel less self-aware, which promotes binge eating. It’s therefore a good idea to make sure the room is always brightly lit — particularly at the dinner table. Healthier eating can also be encouraged by placing a bowl of fruit in plain sight, as then you’re more likely to eat it when you’re hungry rather than go for junk food.

* Many of us are guilty of using a towel to lift things out of an oven or off the stove. However, this is an absolute no-no! Dangling edges of cloth can easily ignite when they make contact with flames, and so using them will increase the potential of a fire occurring. Use extra-long mitts instead, as these are less likely to dangle and can more adequately protect your hands and forearms if you accidentally spill boiling water on them or make contact with hot pans.

* Non-stick pans are known to release a gas called perfluorooctanoic acid when they get too hot, and this can cause flu-like symptoms. While there is some dispute about how hot is ‘too hot’, it is best to err on the side of caution and only heat non-stick pans to a medium flame. Of course, when you do this you should still remember to heat your food thoroughly!

A healthier home …

By following some of realbuzz.com’s 20 tips concerning house cleaning and organising, you can ensure that your home is a healthier and safer environment for both you and your family. You’ll hopefully be sleeping soundly at night and be at less risk of both illness and injury in your own home!

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