Homes can be breeding grounds for all types of germs and bacteria...most of which we can’t see. Although many of us detox our bodies, we don’t always consider detoxing our homes—often because we don't know how to get started.
Here are five effective strategies for detoxing your home for optimal health and well-being:
1. Leave your shoes at the front door.
If you think about where you’ve walked in the last day or so, you may be surprised by how much ground (and dirt!) you’ve covered. If they’re not removed at the door, shoes carry an incredible amount of germs and bacteria into the house.
Researchers out of the University of Arizona found up to 66 million organisms of bacteria responsible for stomach, eye, and lung infections on participants' shoes. More than 90 percent of the time, these were transferred onto the carpets and tiles in their homes.
2. Tend to your sponges and dish rags.
Dishcloths can quickly collect harmful E. coli bacteria, so be sure to wash them thoroughly after each use and regularly deep clean them in the washing machine at 60 degrees. You should be replacing the cloths after a month or so to ensure that you're not accidentally spreading their lingering germs. A neat trick for keeping sponges clean is to dampen them and place them in the microwave for one to two minutes every day.
3. Disinfect the most touchable and used items.
Your house is likely full of electronics that your whole family shares, and these can accumulate a whole lot of germs when passed from person to person or used simultaneously. In a 2013 UK study, researchers swabbed 30 tablets, 30 phones, and an office toilet seat. The results revealed that the tablets had 600 units of bacteria and the phones had 140 units. The typical toilet seat had only 20 units.
In order to keep your touchables touchable, regularly use disinfectant wipes that are specifically designed for screens, keyboards, or remotes. While you're at it, wipe down the other less obvious surfaces that the whole family touches. Think: light switches, plug socket switches, door handles, and taps.
4. Create healthy air.
While snuggling up in the warmth of your home is lovely, particularly when the cooler months kick in, it's important to remember that indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air.
Crank open your windows for at least a short time each day and dot your home with detoxing houseplants to ensure high-quality indoor air. Research shows that rooms with plants have 50 to 60 percent less airborne mold spores and bacteria compared to those without.
5. Detox your fridge.
Dark, moist environments provide the perfect habitat for germs such as listeria and E. coli, and cross-contamination between raw meat and fresh produce can also spur bacteria growth.
In order to ensure your fridge is clean, take the time to regularly remove and cleanse all fruit and vegetable drawers using a clean cloth and mild detergent (you can even make one yourself!). Do the same for any compartments or shelves that hold raw meat, and always make sure this meat is stored below the fresh produce to avoid any raw-meat juice dripping down.