The Common Cure for the Sick Home

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Your home is probably making you sick.

That doesn’t mean you’re sick of looking at the same decor in the kitchen. It literally means that the air inside your home is so full of pollutants and other toxins that it is making you ill, causing headaches, nausea, or even more severe problems such as asthma or chronic fatigue. We spend nearly 90 percent of our time indoors, which means we are breathing in lots of toxins and allergens. Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) can affect everyone in the house, and its symptoms include irritation of the eyes and nose and throat, headaches, dizziness and more.

While there isn’t a simple solution, there are some ways to combat SBS in your own home. A lot of it involves making better choices in what to clean, how to clean it, and what types of building and decorative items you should allow through your door.

How to Tell if You Have a Sick House

There isn’t one single indicator to indicate if your house is sick. Instead, look for things like old water damage, which can cause mold to grow. If you don’t dust your furniture frequently, allergens and dust mites can build up. If you have pets, their dander can be left behind on carpets and rugs. Unclean air ducts in your HVAC system can also spread allergens and other indoor pollutants. Therefore, the best way to tell if your house is sick is most likely how you feel when you’re inside it. If you always feel like you have a slight head cold at home and nowhere else, chances are you’re living in a sick house.

If you want to cure your sick house, follow these suggestions. They all have one thing in common: cleaning, everything from your furniture and carpet to the very air you breathe!

1. Invest in an Air Purifier

One way to make sure you have clean air in your home is to purchase an air purifier. An air purifier removes allergens from your home, which can be helpful for those who suffer from health problems such as asthma. There are even specific models that target smoke and mold.

2. Clean, Clean, Clean

Regular household cleaning not only makes the interior of your house look good, but it also provides a vital health function by removing the allergens and pollutants directly from the air itself. If you normally use household cleaners you’ve purchased at the store, keep in mind that they, too, can also increase the toxins in your home’s air. Instead, use products that have natural ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, and citric oils.

3. Fix and Dry the Damp Places

Mold is a problem in many houses. It grows anywhere there is dampness. To prevent it from growing, fix any leaks that you find. If you see it growing on walls or on floor joists in the basement, treat it with full-strength vinegar or hydrogen peroxide mixed with water. As mentioned earlier, you don’t want to introduce any more toxins in your home’s air. Using natural cleaners can prevent that from happening. Rent or purchase large fans to dry out the areas after you apply the cleaner.

4. Be Cautious of Toxic Building Materials

A lot of building and renovation materials - especially carpet - bring some kind of toxins into your home, and that also includes varnishes, paints, and stains, engineered wood products, pressure-treated wood, and more. If you want to avoid using products with toxins, shop around for sustainable, non toxic building products. 

5. Install an air exchanger.

Also known as residential fresh air systems, these units can help clean and freshen the air in your home to make it more comfortable and remove toxins. An air exchanger operates intermittently and can be controlled by the homeowner. As an added bonus, these systems can help maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the home, reduce humidity, and save on energy costs.

Your life in large part depends on the air you breathe, and it doesn’t help if it is unhealthy. But you can make your sick house start to feel better when you start using air purifiers, cleaning regularly with non-toxic materials, drying and fixing the damp places in your house and being choosy about the types of construction materials you use.


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