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The second in our series of posts about how we can all make a few easy changes to our Waterloo Region homes and our habits to make them a healthier place to hang out. If you missed part 1, take a moment to check it out here.
Creating a Healthier Bathroom
Bathrooms are, as you might expect, quite the germ magnets. There is plenty you can do to make them safer, healthier and more pleasant though.
The biggest key to a healthy bathroom is adequate ventilation. Most people think of bathroom ventilation in terms of odor control, which is of course quite important, but it is about a lot more than that.
Without adequate bathroom ventilation all the moisture in the room has very few places to go and mold, mildew and an “all over” damp can quickly become a real problem. If you are currently relying on opening a window after a shower to air the place out it’s time to call in professional help to have a proper ventilation system installed.
A good tradesman will be able to advise you about just what kind of system will be right for your home. The traditional exhaust fan in the ceiling is slowly being replaced in many homes with a ducted systems that removes all the moisture form the air and sends it outside through a roof canal or wall vent as they are far more efficient and will not send moisture into your roof in the way that an exhaust fan will, potentially doing permanent damage to the timbers.
Another way to keep the air quality in your bathroom good even when your fan is not running is by adding a pot plant or two into your décor scheme. According to no less than the US space agency NASA the best air cleaning plants are snake plants, rubber plants and English ivy.
Your bathroom accessories may be causing problems as well. Shower curtains tend to develop mold you do not always see over time so should be washed on a regular basis or periodically replaced if you prefer the PVC kind. You should also regularly wash or replace bathroom rugs and all the towels the family uses as well.
Creating a Healthier Kitchen
We would all like to think because it is the place where we prepare things that we will actually put in our mouths and eat that our kitchens are the healthiest room in the house. However even if you clean every day that is not always the case.
For instance, when was the last time you looked behind the fridge? Not only may there be all kinds of junk back there but there is probably also an awful lot of rather nasty dirt and dust and not only is that probably making you sneeze it is also reducing the efficiency of the appliance itself. Because the coils in a fridge attract dust like a magnet you should get into the habit of vacuuming them, and the back of your fridge in general at once every couple of weeks.
Garbage disposals can get pretty nasty and stinky as well. One tried and tested method that is safe and cheap (no nasty chemicals) is to drop a few lemon peels right into it once a week and then run it, you;ll be surprised by just how well this one simple little trick works, it actually usually gives the whole kitchen a nice lemony fresh for an hour or so too.
Is you are planning a kitchen renovation project you may be wondering if certain materials for flooring, cupboards and work benches are “healthier” than others. The answer is not really, as long as you make sure that any new cupboards or counters are finished with low VOC glues and varnishes, with the exception of the floor.
There are many experts who feel that a cork floor is the best flooring for the kitchen for a whole host of reasons. The first is that it is actually easier on your back and feet as cork has a spongy give that makes standing slaving away over a hot stove for an hour a little easier. The second is that cork has natural anti bacterial, anti fungal and even anti insect properties that remain once it is crafted into floor tiles, all great things if you really want to create a healthier kitchen!