The words “sick” and “home” shouldn’t have to be spoken in the same breath! Your home is your safe haven, after all. The thought that your beloved bedroom is giving you the sniffles or a sore throat may seem treacherous, especially given the fact that you put so much trust into your abode. Can a dirty house make you sick?
While most people are likely to associate door handles and public restrooms with germs and bacteria, many are liable to overlook other diseases caused by unclean surroundings, particularly those that comes from the potential their homes have for causing sicknesses. Fortunately, all it may take is a few soapy suds and spritz of your favorite disinfectant to restore the harmony and healthiness in your home.
If you’re wondering, “Can a dirty house make you sick,” you may find yourself surprised to know homes are notorious for housing hidden germs and troubled areas that may put your health at risk in more ways than one.
Common Culprits to Be on the Lookout for
There’s nothing quite like coming home after a long day at work and falling into the comforts of your bed. Or maybe, you prefer the comfort of preparing a delicious meal in your kitchen.
Whether you feel at home in your kitchen, your master bedroom or any other room in your house, make sure that your rooms are clean to ensure you can properly unwind while reducing your risk for adverse health effects, too.
If you feel sick after cleaning the house or something else seems off in your home, it may be more than just a hunch. From mold to dander, unwanted dirtiness in your house can create a myriad of potentially hazardous effects. Be where do these dangers lurk? Below, we’ll outline five common culprits of dirtiness in your home that may make a difference in your family’s health.
Your Furry Friends
Pets are a part of the family — whether they purr, bark or squeak. But while your animal friends may bring you a sense of companionship and emotional comfort, they may also be causing a flare-up in your allergies or lung irritation, too.
Animal fur contains danger which can stimulate a reaction in people with allergies to these tiny skill cells. These allergens have the potential to build up and create a myriad of side effects, including skin rashes, sneezing, and eye irritation. To better control pet danger, be sure to make your vacuum your new best friend. Regularly clean your upholstery while making a point to keep your pets off of your furniture, too.
You’ll be the first to admit that you drop things on your carpet only to pick them up weeks later. You may even go a few months before you decide to pick up your vacuum. But while you may not see much use in keeping your carpets clean, there’s plenty of reasons why you should.
Carpets are susceptible to collecting high levels of dust, danger, chemicals and soil — especially since they receive constant contact with our feet and shoes throughout the day. Each year, this equates to several pounds of dirt, which leaves you with the question — “Can a dirty house really make you sick?”
Because dangerous germs may try to ingrain themselves within your carpet, be sure to keep these surfaces clean through regular vacuuming and shampooing. Not only will doing these simple actions elongate the life of your carpet, but they’ll also minimize your chances of contracting an unwanted illness, too.
Yep, you read that right. While you’d expect your cleaning products to reduce your risk of getting sick, they also have the potential to stimulate a myriad of different health problems, too.
The fragrance in traditional cleaners coupled with potentially toxic chemicals can increase your chances of contracting an unwanted illness. From cancer-causing carcinogens to irritating chemicals, your household cleaning products may be doing more than just disinfecting.
Consider swapping out your chemical-laden cleaning products for more natural and safer alternatives instead. A bucket of lemon juice rather than a bowl full of bleach may make a world of difference in your home.
Not only is mold bad to look at, but it also can produce many health-related issues for you and your family members in your home, too. When these hazardous spores enter your body through inhalation or skin contact, your eyes, nose and lungs begin to take a toll.
You probably don’t even want to know what health problems are caused by mold. The list is actually pretty scary! Just another testament to the harmful effects of unclean surroundings. But you’ll never have to know as long as you take care of your home.
Be sure to check familiar places in your home for mold, including under your kitchen sink, in your heating vents and anywhere where humidity can get trapped and foster the ideal conditions for mold to grow. Scrub any areas where mold becomes evident while also promoting open ventilation in your home, too.
Unchanged Sheets or a Dirty Mattress
You may think that there’s nothing wrong with a messy bed. If you don’t often have company over and you’re the only one who has to look at your bed, what’s the point in making sure that it’s tidy and clean?
But when you also consider the fact that you spend nearly one-third of your life sleeping and on the same one surface, you may begin to change your mind. Dust mites and other microscopic organisms living on the surface of your bed can threaten your immune system while also provoking skin irritation and allergy-like symptoms. Wash your sheets at least once per week while cleaning your mattress regularly, too.
Old, Moldy Pillows
Like your mattress, the pillow you rest your weary head upon can trap dust, mites and other allergens. These can clog sinuses, making getting a full nights’ sleep difficult.
Oils from your skin remain trapped in pillow fibers, and repeated exposure can clog pores and cause acne. Pillows can also harbor bacteria, causing repeated infections. Hair can leave an oily residue on pillows, and failing to wash the cases on a weekly basis may result in dry, flyaway hair and dandruff.
Your Scented Candle Addiction
Candles add an elegant touch to any decor, turn everyday meals into celebrations and set the mood for romantic interludes. However, some candles — especially scented ones — contain toxic chemicals that release into the air every time you light the wick.
According to a study by South Carolina State University, many candles contain benzene and toluene, both of which possess carcinogenic qualities. Additionally, ash from burning candles adds to the particulate level of indoor air, which many researchers consider a likely cause of frequent upper respiratory infections. If you must burn real candles and not use the artificial variety, open windows whenever the weather permits to improve indoor air quality and reduce the risk of asthma and other respiratory ailments.
Dirty, Dirty Ducts
Most people know to change the filters in their air conditioning and heating vents regularly, but even the best anti-allergenic filters still allow some particulate matter to flow into your homes’ ducts. Many experts recommend having your ducts commercially cleaned every three to five years, but feel free to do so more often if you live in an area of high pollution, have smokers in the home or suffer from respiratory ailments such as asthma.
Filthy Food Leftovers
Although your refrigerator keeps food cool, reduced temperatures fail to kill all microbes. After all, researchers recently discovered bacteria thriving half a mile beneath the surface of a lake in Antarctica. Strive to give your fridge a basic cleanout and wipe down every week to prevent the spread of harmful germs and protect fresh food from contamination.
Speaking of contamination, anyone who has ever watched an episode of “Bar Rescue” knows food handling requires special care. Defrost meats on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator to avoid bacteria from contaminating fruits and vegetables. Store eggs toward the back of the fridge, where temps run cooler, instead of in the door to keep them fresher longer. At least once per year, pull all food out of the icebox and give it a thorough cleaning.
Clutter, Clutter Everywhere
Falls make up the majority of unexpected deaths in the home, as well as cause significant injuries. Additionally, many practitioners of Feng Shui believe leaving objects scattered hither and yon interrupts the flow of chi, or vital life energy, leading to unnecessary household strife.
Whether or not you embrace ancient decorating ideals, too much clutter damages both physical and psychological health. Stacks of old newspapers and bills provide the perfect breeding grounds for disease-bearing household pests like cockroaches and even mice, which may carry Hantavirus. Coming home each day to a cluttered home can overwhelm even the most mentally healthy among us, as messes grown out of control make many throw up their hands. If stacks and stacks of possessions prove difficult or even impossible to deal with, consider hiring a professional organizing service to help return your home to order.
So, Can a Dirty House Make You Sick?
Can a dirty house make you sick? The answer to this question seems to be as simple as this — only if you let it.
If being in your house has also become synonymous with wheezing, nasal congestion and a sore throat, it’s time to whip out the mop and disinfectant and give your home a good cleaning. Once you remove the bacteria and dirt commonly found in your abode, you can comfortably begin to enjoy the happiness and healthiness promoted by your home fully.