Make Your Home Healthier
Here, we provide practical advice for creating a personal space that's healthy as well as pleasing to the eye
After being battered by pollution, potholes and people sneezing in your face you're back home. But although your home appears spotless, picture perfect and trendy don't be lulled into false sense of complacency. All may be not well within your four walls from accidents to allergies, from fungus to fires. A healthy home is one which is comfortable and fulfills your essential requirements. Here are some tips to make your home a healthier place to live.
The Air You Breathe
The best way to fight indoor pollution is to maintain a flow of air. Poor air quality triggers air borne diseases, respiratory dysfunction and rashes. So you need a well ventilated and properly sun lit environment.
Signs of poor ventilation are damp windows and walls, ACs that smell funny-peculiar when you turn them on; things, books, clothes that look musty, a bathroom that smells.
For starters open the windows and the doors between the rooms. Set out your furniture so that it provides optimum space and the correct amount of light and air to flow freely. De-clutter every room methodically.
Let There Be Light
There are three kinds of lighting:
· Natural lighting which occurs in the day, and when the interior is arranged to allow maximum sunlight.
· Working light, which is called proper, white or warm white light.
· Ambience lighting for social purposes by way of spot lights, foot lights, LED strips, yellow lights.
Use switches made from bacteria free plastic or polymers which shrug away dirt. Clean ACs regularly. Fungus lingers in the filters and permeates into the room through the vents. Use vacuum cleaners with filtration mechanisms or steam sanitisers to generate heat which cooks germs to death. Do not hide wires under carpets.
Dress Up Your Walls
Protect your walls from the inside out. Wall care putty has water resistance properties to prevent flaking even if the wall is damp; resists fungi and doesn't need a primer, which makes it a better base than acrylic putty and plaster of Paris putting. What's more is that it reduces paint consumption by 20 to 30 per cent.
Use paint that is carbon free, ozone free and smell free to prevent allergies and breathing disorders. You can choose from a mind boggling array of velvet and lustre finish for living rooms and bedrooms, plastic and acrylic for the rest of the house. A final levelling with POP keeps the walls cool.
You can also use wall papers as they are durable, washable and inexpensive, and the newest products are made of polymers. Do remember that textured finishers are dust trappers. Watch out for mould on ceiling fans.
Think bacteria free, anti skid flooring in marble, granite, mosaic, ceramic wood.
Carpets are dust collectors, specially in air conditioned rooms. Scatter rugs are more hygienic, but avoid if you have old people in the household, who may trip on them. Change rugs every 3 to 4 years as dirt accumulation can breed germs, negative infections and allergens.
Let your furniture suit your space, ventilation, lighting and personality. Air out your rooms frequently. Eco-friendly wood made out of synthetic rubber and medium density fibreboard (MDF) is easy on everyone's budget.
Cane besides attracting dust provides cozy crevices for bed bugs to thrive. Rexine or faux leather is easier to clean and maintain.
Use curtains that are tightly woven or made of polyester to reduce dust accumulation and prevent the UV rays of the sun sneaking into your home. Venetian blinds are a sensible option. Go for pillows and cushions that are non-allergenic and get rid of them when they lose shape or get lumpy.
Customise your kitchen by consulting a state of the art company or do-it-yourself. Granite, tiles and glass are eco-friendly and easy to clean. But remember cooking is the second largest source of domestic pollution (after smoking). Gas stoves emit dangerous carbon monoxide and other gases. To squelch them use an exhaust fan or range hood, which also reduces mould producing dirt. Fit into a wall which has access to the outside air, with free flowing air from the opposite side. Put in a ceiling fan if there is no outside air. Let there be air circulation in the cabinets to prevent dampness.
A build in microwave and glass-topped induction cooking range makes your life easier and safer. But don't position a cooking range oven or microwave under a window as the heat may shatter the glass. Don't set a fridge next to cooking range as it may affect the former's efficiency.
Make sure that there's a 40-cm wide work surface on at least one side of the cooking area. Let the height suit yours, so that you don't have to bend or reach up too much.
Raise the sink so that you don't have to bend too much to reach its bottom; stainless steel models are easy to maintain.
Sterilise dusters, clothes, sponges weekly by boiling in hot soapy water. Dry in sunlight. Separate wet and dry garbage. Keep bin area clean and wash out the bins regularly. Use herbal gels to control pests.
The Smallest Room
Your bathroom is a hot bed for toxic chemicals, lethal germs, moulds which are responsible for allergies and ailments aplenty. Use UPVC (Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride) piping, which is non corrosive, chemically resistant, long lasting and cost effective. Brass and stainless steel fittings are easy to clean and durable. Dry frequently. Exhaust fans get rid of damp air. Open doors and windows to encourage circulation. Scrub shower curtains, which become scummy (and bacteria laden) on a daily basis. Never use portable appliances with wet feet or hands to avoid electric shocks. Check that geysers are not power guzzlers and will not blow up in your face. Use fluorescent lighting. Wash every surface with liquid disinfectant daily.
Although house plants reduce pollution to some extent, the over watered soil can promote the growth of fungi, allergens and provide breeding grounds for malaria and dengue spreading mosquitoes. Change water on a daily basis. Keep your plants in balconies with plates underneath. Ensure that there is a proper drainage system to prevent seepage into the floor.