Have you ever stopped to consider if your home is healthy? Keeping it clean is only the beginning. There are other elements to include and strategies to employ in order to create an environment free of health and safety hazards.
Safety Comes First
It’s the law in California that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors be installed in all single-family units. The equipment should be regularly tested and batteries replaced at least once every year. It’s also a good idea to have at least one fire extinguisher on hand and to keep it readily accessible. Generally speaking, the kitchen is a prime location as most home fires occur around cooking equipment.
Are there area rugs scattered around the home? They may provide the perfect decorative touch, but loose rugs can also serve to trip if not properly secured to the floor. Double-sided carpet tape should do the trick. Meanwhile, it’s wise to minimize clutter or rearrange any awkwardly placed furniture that presents an obstacle.
Getting in and out of the average bathtub can be a slight hurdle — 18 inches in most cases — and perhaps a risk not worth taking in later years. Installing a separate walk-in shower is a smart idea, although it could prove expensive. The local, family-owned A-1 Restoration & Repair offers a fast and cost-effective alternative. They convert existing bathtubs into showers for easy access. “I just cut the front out of an existing bathtub,” owner Daniel Howard says, “and leave a couple of inches at the bottom to act as a dam.”
Be Naturally Clean
The shift toward natural cleaning solutions has been happening for a while. “Why come home to a place contaminated by different kinds of chemicals used to keep it clean?” asks Mufasa RaUkuu, owner of Shining Daily Cleaning Services. This Coachella Valley janitorial company counts premium green cleaning among its many services and predicts it is the future.
RaUkuu is continuously educating staff and customers about natural cleaning resources and methods and how to maintain a clean, holistic, and sustainable home environment. Shining Daily’s natural cleaning toolkit includes white vinegar, baking soda, borax, and citrus fruit. They might also call upon hydrogen peroxide, cornstarch, castile soap, tea tree oil, and other natural oils to get the job
The nature of the dusters, mops, and cleaning cloths used in the process factors in as well. Just ask Leslie Shockley, proprietor of Tea With Iris, a local business that fashions organic and upcycled goods aimed at reducing waste. People have responded to Shockley’s all-natural wares — items like an everyday organic scrubby (an excellent alternative to traditional kitchen sponges) or her everyday organic dry mop designed to fit a Swiffer Sweeper.
When crafting products using new materials, Shockley sources certified organic cotton that will eventually biodegrade unlike other synthetic cleaning cloths. “What you’re using around the house to clean matters,” she says. Tackling a cleaning job with lemon juice but using a mop made with petroleum-based products succeeds in winning only half the battle.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Here in the desert, throwing open the windows isn’t always an option. It’s frequently too hot or too windy, and all the sand and pollen in the air compounds many health issues. Yet keeping the windows shut can be a problem too, according to Patrick Somers, president and CEO of General Air Conditioning & Plumbing in Thousand Palms. “Indoor air quality can actually be worse because homes are built more tightly than they once were for energy efficiency. A house doesn’t breathe as it once did.”
New home materials and furnishings are capable of releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals into a home as well. All the more reason to investigate the merits of an air purifying or cleaning system to help reduce the level of indoor air pollution. Air cleaners, also known as air filters, use a filtration material to pull contaminants out of the air. Air purifiers accomplish the same task using ion particles or UV lights but go a step further by neutralizing bacteria and viruses that can infiltrate a home.
Close Out the Critters
A fear of crawly creatures is perfectly rational when you consider the germ factor. Sealing cracks and openings throughout your home will help prevent pests from entering in the first place. If need be, set traps or employ a service to do the dirty work for you.
The bottom line is your home’s health affects your health, too.
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