Why is a healthy home is important?
Damp, mould, dust and toxins within our homes can all have a negative impact on our health and that of our loved ones. But there are a number of improvements you can make within your home.
How to tell if you’ve got a mould problem in your home?
The first signs to look for are black mould spores in bathrooms or kitchens, on walls, around windows and doors. In older properties you might find these up corners of ceilings, particularly those on outside facing walls and behind furniture or curtains where there isn’t sufficient air flow. Other signs include peeling paint, condensation, warped wood, a musty/damp smell in the room or within cupboards/ drawers and clothes stored within them. The air in your rooms might also feel damp and clammy.
What humidity level should your home be?
In the UK in winter ideal humidity levels are between 30 and 50%. Anything above 70% is considered a problem and needs prompt attention!
How to check the humidity of your home
If you really want to keep an eye on the humidity of your home you might want to invest in an inexpensive humidity sensor. We’ve had good success with these ones and have invested in a few to put in different rooms around our home where we’ve noticed spots of mould or the room feels cold and damp. The devices are really simple to use, you simply put one in the room you want to check and leave it to assess the humidity levels. We found it best if you can leave it in one place for a few days so you get a better sense of how the humidity levels can change depending on how you are using the room. If it’s a bathroom (a common place for mould problems to occur) you’ll see the humidity levels sky rocket once you inject high levels of moisture through showering and bathing. You can then monitor how opening a window or using an extractor fan impacts the humidity levels. In your bedroom you’ll likely see the humidly levels rise when you’re asleep or if you dry washing in the room.
How to prevent mould in your home
Mould within your home can have a range of health implications that can vary in severity, from a stuffy nose to breathing problems, eye irritation and even a worsening of conditions such as asthmas. The presence of mould can also give your house a damp musty smell.
It’s unavoidable that we create moisture in our homes through our daily activities like cooking, showering, using products, drying clothes and breathing but there are steps you can take to reduce any negative impact.
Mould can occur due to insufficient ventilation and airflow, condensation on windows and doors, lack of heating and high levels of moisture.
Daily routine to move air around your house
One of the simplest methods of reducing moisture in your home is to increase airflow by opening the windows regularly. This is easy enough to do in the summer months when the weather is warmer, but during winter it’s even more important to exchange the air in your home.
On clear days try to open your windows as wide as possible for at least 5 minutes, ideally about 15, to let stale/ moist air out and fresh air in. If you can open as many windows around your house as possible you’ll help the air circulate around your home and get the job done quicker. In Germany the process of shock or impact ventilation is called Stosslüften (impact ventilation) and many families shock ventilate their homes twice a day during winter.
Consider a dehumidifier
If you’ve got a really severe case of mould in your home you could consider investing in a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier is an air conditioning device which reduces and maintains the level of humidity in the air, improving the air quality and health of your home. Dehumidifiers can vary a fair bit in cost and you will need to factor in the additional use of electricity to run the device. However, reducing the humidity of your home can actually mean you may need to heat your home less. In winter a lot of people also put dehumidifiers in rooms where they dry their washing so that the device can extract the moisture from the air without leaving any damp in the room.
These three dehumidifiers are some of the best performing devices currently in terms of noise, running cost and efficiency:
Tips on how to prevent mould in your home
- Try to avoid leaving windows open on rainy days. The humidity level outside is likely to be higher than within your home so by leaving windows open you will actually be increasing the moisture levels inside.
- Avoid drying clothes on radiators in unventilated rooms
- If you have to dry your clothes indoors, try to do it in a well ventilated room that isn’t your main living area so you aren’t breathing in damp air.
- Fit extractor fans in your bathroom and kitchen
- Try to keep the kitchen door closed when cooking and keep lids on pans when cooking rice and pasta on the hob.
- Open windows when mopping floors.
Reduce artificial chemicals in your home
Cheap candles, air fresheners and other artificially heavily fragranced household products can cause eye irritation, headaches and if you are particularly sensitive can also impact your breathing. To rid your home of smells, the best option is to open some windows and air your home but if you still want to fragrance your home without any unpleasant side effects then opt for products made from 100% pure essential oils. These products do tend to be pricier but you’re far less likely to have a negative impact on your body.
Instead of buying pricey luxury candles consider purchasing an oil burner and some essential oils. Pure essential oils cost a fraction of the price of luxury scented candles but are no less effective at creating pleasing aromas in your home. You can buy packs of assorted 100% pure essential oils and experiment creating your own scented blends.
Cut down on harmful cleaning products
Two of the best products for cleaning your home are actually more effective, less harmful for your health, more environmentally friendly and cheaper too and they are bicarbonate of soda and white distilled vinegar.
Create your own natural cleaning products
Here are a just a few of our favourites eco cleaning methods:
- Add a few sprays to a microfibre cloth to clean your windows, mirrors, your glass shower screen or glass oven doors.
- Combine vinegar with bicarb of soda to make a paste for cleaning stainless steel sinks
- Soake tarnished tarnished stainless steel cutlery in vinegar for 30 mins and then wipe over with a microfibre cloth to remove discolouration.
- The acid in vinegar can unblock your drain
- Place a ramekin of vinegar in your dishwasher during your next cycle to leave your glassware sparkling
- Spray vinegar on the underarm of clothes and leave on for 30 mins before washing to neutralize odours