Category Archives: Indoor Air Quality

Reduce Germ Spreading Habits in your Home

Germiest spots in your bathroom

  1. Floors: your bathroom floors could be harboring more germs than any other area in the bathroom, says Gina Sloan, Ph.D., director of innovations with Microban. Why? Well, it seems that whatever is close to the toilet is going to get covered in those germy microbes every time we flush the toilet. Do you ever feel a little spritz hitting your bottom or your legs when you flush?


Okay, now I am totally grossed out. I don’t clean my bathroom floors nearly as much as I clean my toilet. That is going to change rather quickly. To reduce the amount of airborne germs when flushing, close the lid before flushing.

Toothbrush

Your toothbrush is the second biggest concern for germs in your bathroom, says Sloan.

Your toothbrush takes in bacteria not only from your mouth but wherever you lay it down on.

Gina Sloan, PhD, director of innovations with Microban

Your counter-top could be transferring germs but think about where the germs are coming from. Is your toilet close to your sink? Yukola!!

Toothbrush Holder

A study from the public health organization NSF International found 64% of toothbrush holders contained mold and yeast, compared to 27% of toilet seats. According to the study they are likely to contain staph as well.

You put in your brush, which is damp or wet, and that residual water drips down and collects in the bottom of the cup. Germs tend to like warm and moist environments. Most holders can go in the dishwasher, which will get rid of any icky residue and germs feeding on it, so toss yours in weekly or monthly.

Lisa Yakas, microbiologists

Sink Handles

According to the study, sink handles contain more than 600 times more microorganisms per square inch than your toilet handles. Wipe them down with disinfecting wipes or use a bleach solution.

Doorknobs

According to the same study, doorknobs contain more microorganisms per square inch than a toilet seat. 1st line of defense is washing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Always wipe those doorknobs during your regular cleaning routine.

Towels

Towels have been found to contain bacteria and even harbor E. coli. The germs stick to and hide in the fibers. Change the towels out regularly and wash in a hot cycle; cold water does not wash out the germs.

Loofah

Knowing everything else I have learned doing the research for this blog, I didn’t have to read the reasons why Loofahs are germ harboring items. Sloan recommends ditching the Loofahs entirely or buy new loofahs regularly.

Razor

Sloan recommends air drying your blades or keeping them in oil to resist germ growth. Don’t lay flat in a dish of water; this causes rusting and will enhance even more germ growth. Always stick to using your own razors rather than sharing razors.

Cutting Boards

University of Arizona researchers found that the average cutting board has 200 times more fecal bacteria than a toilet seat. What??? Now that is one I didn’t expect. Raw meat turns out to be the reason since fecal bacterial originate in the animals’ internal organs. When cutting raw meat on a surface, the knife leaves grooves and sets the stage for germs to sink in and make themselves at home. Washing cutting boards with hot soapy water will help reduce germs growing. If plastic, you can soak in a solution of 2 teaspoons of bleach per gallon of water. Do not soak overnight.

All Kitchens have germs

Did you know that 21% of food-borne illness cases are due to food consumed in private homes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kitchens are found to breed germs such as E. coli, salmonella, Listeria, mold and yeast.

Common Kitchen items carrying germs

  • Knife Blocks: have you ever cleaned yours?
  • Refrigerator vegetable drawers: Salmonella, Listeria, yeast, and mold are partying it up and contaminates fresh vegetables.
  • Refrigerator meat drawer: Salmonella, E. coli, yeast, and mold.
  • Blender gasket: follow manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to avoid bacteria in your food and smoothies.
  • Can openers: bacteria, yeast, and mold. Clean regularly.
  • Rubber mixing spatula: remove the rubber tip and clean the inside of it along with the handle that sits in the tip.
  • Food storage containers with rubber seals: be sure to wash those rubber seals in hot soapy water; don’t just rinse and dry.
  • Sponges: put a wet sponge in the microwave for 1 minute to help reduce germs. Wring out all water after use and place it in a drip dry container or rack.

Other household germy spots

  • Washing machines: Run washer empty with a cup of bleach once a week to kill germs
  • Mattresses: Wash mattress cover using hot water once a month.
  • Trash cans: scrub all trash cans in the house regularly, especially those in the bathroom and kitchen
  • Mop heads: rinse with water until water runs clear. Soak mop head in a bucket of 2 gallons of hot water and a cup of bleach for 10 minutes, then rinse again.

Having an air purifier added to your air conditioning and heating systems help to sanitize the air you breathe. I, myself, use one, and it has significantly helped my family from passing illnesses back and forth to each other. If you need a recommendation for an Air Conditioning and Heating company in the United States and Canada, leave a comment and I can see if we have any clients in your area that can help reduce your indoor air pollution.

As always, do the research on the things you have concerns about. I am not an expert, I share information that I come across in hopes that I will inspire healthier, happier lives.

Catherine Bares

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Room Atmosphere for Better #Sleep

Did you know that your room atmosphere can set you up for better sleep, or even sabotage it? According to an article I came across in the July/August 2018 issue of Health Magazine, you can “set yourself up for snoozing success by arranging the most restful room possible.”

Block Out Noise

“….Even if you don’t wake up, noise can disrupt your slumber and cause restlessness, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and changes in breathing patterns, explains Cralle.”These interruptions can lead to fragmented sleep, which makes it harder to reach the deeper, more restorative stages.”” 

Take A Whiff

“Create a bedtime ritual…….30 minutes before sacking out is a simple effective way to cue the body to rest, says Sara Panton, essential – oil expert and co-founder of Vitruvi. Not only are there certain scents that encourage drowsiness, but the very act of setting up a routine helps signal to your brain that it’s time to start shutting off.”

Blend of Essential oil Scents that Panton suggests: “7 drops of lavender, 4 drops of frankincense, 4 drops of cedar wood, 2 drops of bergamot.”

There are many different types of products you can buy that emit scents.  I am a big fan of natural sources such as plants and flowers.  This article suggest diffusing essential oils.  I am not making any recommendations on what to use. You do the research and choose a source that best suits you. If you have pets in the home make sure you do the research on essential oils.  I am not an expert on the matter but, I have come across some concerns online.  Whether there is any truth to it, I do not know.    However, I do not recommend any chemicals such as air fresheners, candles, etc.  Visit the American Lung Associations website to further educate yourself on common household products that contribute to indoor air pollution. 

Stay Slightly Chilled

“Body temperature regularly fluctuates throughout the day-it’s usually at its highest in the afternoon and lowest in the early a.m.  So if your room is hot, your body will work all night to cool down-and if your’re sweating, you’re more likely to wake up.  The sweet spot: 65 degrees, according to the National Sleep Foundation.”

Improve Ventilation

“Room Stuffiness can hike nasal congestion and hinder your ability to breathe while you doze.  Per a study in the journal Indoor Air, people who kept their window open overnight felt more alert the next morning than they did when it had been kept closed.  If you live in a city and opening your window exposes you to noise, crack it open for 15 minutes during the day instead.  No windows? No problem.  Invest in a plant like a peace lily, which naturally purifies air. ” 

Dim The Lights Early

“Not only does light send “stay awake” alerts to the brain, it also has an effect on circadian rhythm” (read my blog on When to eat, when not to eat to better understand the circadian rhythm) “which controls your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, explains Lawrence Epstein, MD, assistant medical director of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  Brightness also stops the production of melatonin (the tired hormone), suppressing your sleep signal.  While you actually kill the lights when you get in bed, you actually need to dim them much sooner.  Switch from overhead lights to lamps around dinnertime to help your body wind down.” Facebooklinkedinyoutubeinstagramby feather
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#Got Allergies?

#Got Allergies?

#Got Allergies?

This time of year can be tough on those who suffer from allergies.  I pulled the following tips for reducing allergens in your home off of Allegra.com

  • Try cleaning frequently and keeping clutter to a minimum.
  • Plastic covers for pillows and mattresses help keep dust and other allergens from moving in. Removing extra items, like throw pillows, from the bed also helps.
  • Washing your bedding in hot water every 7 to 14 days can help ease allergy symptoms.
  • Keeping air ducts clean can reduce dust in your home
  • Using an air purifier in your home helps reduce allergens, too. Consider a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter or an electrostatic precipitator. They can help clean pollen and mold from the air.
  • If possible, avoid outdoor activities in the morning, when pollen count is highest.
  • Upon returning home, shower and wash your clothing in hot water to prevent bringing allergens in.

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Indoor Air Quality Sources

Reduce sources to reduce triggered allergies

Who in your home has allergies?  It is quite common these days for someone within a family to suffer from allergies.  Rather than treat the symptoms of the ailment, why not investigate what triggers allergies and be proactive in reducing the exposure?

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

Information from www.airadvice.com

“There are many factors that can cause indoor air pollution:”

  • The typical home generates approximately 40 pounds of dust a year per every 1500 square feet.
  • There are over 4,000 compounds in tobacco smoke, many of which are strong irritants.
  • Just one ounce of dust contains about 40,000 dust mites, which aggravate allergies.
  • Carpets, furniture, bathrooms, damp basements, and other seemingly benign household items can contribute to indoor air pollution.
  • Tobacco smoke and wood smoke are a common cause of indoor air pollution.
  • Flowers and trees are both sources of pollen, but surprisingly trees affect allergy sufferers more. Trees like alder, pine and birch do not rely on insects to distribute pollen. They rely on wind, and this means their pollen can regularly enter your home.
  • Common activities such as cooking, cleaning, and remodeling cause the spread of indoor contaminants.
  • Perfume, paint, air fresheners and hairspray cause indoor air pollution.

“What is causing indoor air pollution in your home? Get an indoor air pollution test to find out. The results could be surprising. Significantly lowering indoor air pollution is normally not that difficult, but you have to know what you are dealing with.”

Indoor Air Pollutants and Health

Poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to the development of infections, lung cancer and chronic lung diseases such as asthma. People who already have lung disease are at greater risk. Find out what makes indoor air unhealthy and how pollution can hurt your body.
Asbestos
Bacteria and viruses
Building and paint products
Carbon monoxide
Carpets
Cleaning supplies and household chemicals
Cockroaches
Dust mites and dust
Floods and water damage
Formaldehyde
Lead
Mold and dampness
Nitrogen dioxide
Pet dander
Radon
Residential wood burning
Secondhand smoke
Volatile Organic Compounds

www.lung.org

Who do I call to perform the test?

I am heavily ingrained in the Air Conditioning and Heating Industry.  There are many companies out there that can provide you with an indoor air quality test.  The results can give you a course of action to improve the indoor air quality within your home.

Catherine Bares

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