EXCHANGE INDOOR AIR
Many modern homes are so tight there’s little new air coming in. Open the windows from time to time or run any installed exhaust fans. In cold weather, the most efficient way to exchange room air is to open the room wide – windows and doors, and let fresh air in quickly for about five minutes. The furnishings in the room, and the walls, act as ‘heat sinks’, and by exchanging air quickly, this heat is retained.
Remove clutter that collects dust, such as old newspapers and magazines. Try to initiate a ‘no-shoes-indoors’ policy. If you’re building or remodelling a home, consider a central vacuum system; this eliminates the fine dust that portable vacuum cleaners recirculate.
If you or your children suffer from dust mite allergies, keeping humidity low and vacuuming regularly can help. Dust mites tend to accumulate in bedding, so washing bed linens regularly in hot water is a good practice. You can also buy special pillowcases and mattress covers to protect you from mites.
USE CELLULOSE SPONGES
Most household sponges are made of polyester or plastic, which are slow to break down in landfills, and many are treated with triclosan, a chemical that can produce chloroform (a suspected carcinogen) when it interacts with the chlorine found in tap water.
Instead try cellulose sponges, available at natural foods stores, which are biodegradable and will soak up spills faster since they’re naturally more absorbent. For general household cleaning, try Eco-Cleaning Cloths. These cleaning cloths are non-toxic, extremely absorbent (15x paper towels), reusable, and biodegradable.
KEEP BEDROOMS CLEAN
Most time at home is spent in the bedrooms. Keep pets out of these rooms, especially if they spend time outdoors.
USE GENTLE CLEANING PRODUCTS
Of the various commercial home cleaning products, drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and oven cleaners are the most toxic. Use the formulas described above or purchase ‘green’ commercialalternatives . Avoid products containing ammonia or chlorine, or petroleum-based chemicals; these contribute to respiratory irritation, headaches and other complaints.
CLEAN FROM THE TOP DOWN
When house cleaning, save the floor or carpet for last. Clean window blinds and shelves first and then work downwards. Allow time for the dust to settle before vacuuming.
CLEAN UP AFTER PETS
Owning a pet means dealing with fur, dander, tracked-in dirt, and accidents of various sorts. Keep your pet brushed to cut down on fur balls, vacuum often, and train them to use only certain pieces of furniture. A blanket on the sofa for them to lie on is easier to clean regularly than a sofa cushion.
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