By Shana Aborn for Life & Beauty Weekly


You already know that to stay well, you need to eat healthy foods, exercise and get plenty of sleep. But you need to keep your home healthy too! Your house’s air quality and the products you use every day can all have an effect on your health and that of your family. Here’s how to make your home a safer and healthier place to live:

  • Get rid of mould. “Although some people are more at risk from exposure to mould, anyone can be affected, especially when there is a lot of it,” says Chris Haromy, respiratory therapist at The Lung Association, which produces, a website about indoor pollutants. The black yucky stuff can make allergy symptoms worse and even contribute to breathing problems. To keep mould at bay, inspect your home for leaks and condensation and keep rooms as dry as possible. If you have a small amount of mould, Haromy recommends using the bathroom fan more often during or after a shower, buying a dehumidifier or using mild dish soap and warm water to remove it. If the problem is widespread, call Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation at 1-800-668-2642.
  • Consider natural cleaning solutions. Some commercial household cleaners contain ingredients that can be harmful or even fatal if inhaled or swallowed (e.g., bleach or petrochemicals). For many cleaning jobs, though, you can use products with plant-based ingredients. Or you can do your DIY cleaning with baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar, which are all natural cleaners and disinfectants.
  • Use reusable microfibre rags and mops. Reusable dust rags save you money and help the environment. And reusable mops use less water and, says Haromy, “you can remove and switch the head of the mop so when you go from room to room, you can reduce the chance of spreading infection.”
  • Take your shoes off in the house. Dirt, germs and chemicals — particularly lawn pesticides — cling to the soles of your shoes and get tracked through your home. Making a no-shoes rule will keep dirt and germs at bay while also reducing the frequency with which you need to clean.
  • Test your home for radon. Radon, an odourless gas, is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada. “To test your home, buy a radon test kit from a hardware store or look online for companies that sell them,” says Haromy. “Make sure you buy a long-term test kit which tests the minimum recommended three-month period.”
  • Clean your shower curtain regularly. The combination of constant moisture, dirt and soap scum makes your shower curtain a haven for bacteria. Machine-wash it along with a cup of vinegar, and then hang it up to dry.
  • Put the lid down every time. If your kids often forget to put the toilet lid down before they flush, remind them of this simple (and gross!) fact: When you flush with the lid open, the whole bathroom can get covered with a fine spray of faecal bacteria. Not something you want near your toothbrush!
  • Stay on top of dust. Dust doesn’t just aggravate allergies; it also contains the household chemicals that linger in your home. Dust regularly with reusable cloths. Also consider removing any wall-to-wall carpets, which tend to collect dust and dirt.

Shana Aborn
is the managing editor of 
Life & Beauty Weekly
. Formerly the deputy editor of
MAMM and a senior editor at
Ladies’ Home Journal, she has also written for
, Parents, Family Circle, Woman’s Day and other publications.

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