Maintaining a home is a never-ending cycle. There is always something that you need to clean, repair, and replace to keep your home in tip-top shape. However, it’s not just a matter of cleanliness and avoiding repairs—proper maintenance also plays a big part in your health and safety.
Poor cleaning and maintenance habits can make your home dangerous to live in. Sometimes, they can even lead to situations that can kill you. That said, let’s take a look into what habits you need to avoid to prevent serious risks to your health and safety:
1. Not Cleaning Your Air Ducts
If you can’t remember the last time you had duct cleaning professionals clean your air ducts, it’s probably time to give them a call. Dirty air ducts can cause health issues such as sore throat, cold, allergies, and coughing. While these effects might not seem serious, keep in mind that dirty air ducts can also lead to rat infestations and mold growth, which can cause more severe health effects.
2. Forgetting to Replace Alarm Batteries
Always remember to replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to keep them functional at all times. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause death with just a few hours of exposure. On the other hand, fires can be sneaky. It might be too late to act when your smoke alarm doesn’t go off.
3. Not Cleaning Out Lint
Failing to clean out the lint from the dryer is one of the most common causes of house fires. In fact, 2,900 house fires stem from dryers every year, causing as much as $35 million in property damage. Luckily, it is easy to clean out a dryer vent, so be sure to perform this chore regularly. Better yet, pencil it in your calendar so that you won’t forget.
4. Not Cleaning the Refrigerator
Make it a habit to clean your refrigerator at least once every two weeks to prevent bacterial growth inside it. It is easy for foodborne bacteria to transfer from item to item in such an enclosed space, even when temperatures are low. And suppose you fail to clean your refrigerator regularly. In that case, you are putting yourself at risk of food poisoning, which can cause serious health effects that can put you in the hospital.
5. Ignoring Moisture Issues
Leaks, no matter how small, can contribute to mold growth in your home. The same goes for other moisture issues such as excess humidity and seepage. While hardly fatal, mold exposure can cause symptoms such as wheezing, stuffy nose, and irritated eyes. If you are allergic to mold, you can experience more intense reactions.
That said, address moisture issues as soon as possible before they lead to mold growth. Use dehumidifiers and exhaust fans to reduce the moisture in the air. Fix any leaks and seepage as quickly as possible, especially when it comes to significant pipes. If mold already exists, call a mold removal service ASAP to avoid prolonged exposure.
6. Using Harsh Cleaning Products
Many cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can cause hazardous effects to your health. With that in mind, consider using natural ingredients to clean instead, such as vinegar, vodka, and baking soda. If you must use commercial cleaning products, always wear a respirator and rubber gloves to minimize your exposure.
Furthermore, never mix any cleaning product that contains ammonia and bleach. Doing so produces toxic chloramines, which can cause coughing, nausea, and even death.
7. Handling Pet Waste Poorly
Pet waste contains harmful bacteria and parasites that can cause serious health problems in humans, such as kidney diseases and intestinal disorders. To avoid this risk, always clean pet waste thoroughly when accidents happen (or when your pet is not yet potty-trained), especially when it ends up on the carpet, furniture, and other things where waste can stick. For cats, don’t let their waste sit too long in the litter box to avoid the spread of bacteria.
8. Failing to Avoid Pests
There are many ways you can attract pests to your home, such as the following:
- Leaving food exposed
- Letting trash pile up
- Not cleaning out trash cans
- Ignoring gaps and holes in your home’s exterior
And generally being unclean. Pests can carry a myriad of diseases and multiply faster than you can get rid of them. So be sure to avoid the things that attract them from the start.
While most of these habits probably won’t cause serious harm to your health, it’s better not to risk it—especially when accidental death is also in the cards. By staying on top of your chores and maintenance tasks, you can keep your home a safe, comfortable, and healthy place to live.
Meta title: Home Maintenance Habits That Can Seriously Harm You
meta desc: If you are guilty of these bad habits, you might be inadvertently causing serious risks to your health and safety.