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Discovering if a clean home can make you sick-min||woman cleaning table||woman cleaning window


Are Clean Homes Making Us Sick?

When it comes to cleaning our homes, over-sanitization is problematic. In fact, it’s been found to be as harmful as smoking 20 cigarettes a day. 1 A recent study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found higher asthma rates (12.3%) in women who cleaned their homes. Convention al cleaners contain chemicals which negatively impact the quality of indoor air and cause headaches , chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and even cancer. 2 Moreover, exposure to bacteria has proven to boost the immune system and without that exposure, we become sick.

woman cleaning table

Is Your Home too Clean?

Not all bacteria is harmful. Over-sanitizing your home can get rid of bacteria that are actually beneficial for the immune system — particularly for infants in the first year of life. The highest rates of asthma and allergies are found in wealthy, heavily-sanitized countries. Research also indicates children growing up on farms or with pets exposes them to various microbes and eliminates allergies and asthma almost completely. Harsh antibacterial cleaners and frequent exposure to triclosan (an antibacterial ingredient present in many cleaners) also contributes to higher asthma, allergies, and hay fever rates.

woman using dehumidifier

What About Air?

When it comes to indoor air, however, the cleaner, the better. The air inside our homes contains two to five times as many pollutants on average relative to the air outdoors. 3 VOCs (in paint, carpet, and cleaning products), lead (in house dust), radon, and formaldehyde collectively pollute indoor air — leading to numerous health issues, including, lung cancer, allergic reactions and asthma, respiratory infections, and headaches. Dehumidifiers can purify indoor air by keeping the humidity around 30-50%, which prevents dust mites, mold, and other allergens. An air conditioner also minimizes indoor pollen count. If you use an air conditioner, it’s important to regularly clean the filter. 4 Clogged filters obstruct airflow and the unit no longer works efficiently. Moreover, clogged filters also negatively impact air quality by spreading around dust and debris.

woman cleaning window

Finding Balance

Keeping a clean home is important, but a balance should be struck between hygiene and healthy living. Take care of obvious health hazards and thoroughly clean areas like the bathroom and kitchen which have higher amounts of harmful bacteria. However, you don’t have to worry too much if someone tracks soil into the house — it contains the good kind of microbes. Also, use natural cleaning products to avoid hazardous air pollutants. Nearly 35% of adults exposed to fragranced cleaning products once a week suffers from negative health effects, a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) shows. Aromatherapy with pure essential oils can also purify the air, reduce mold and allergens, strengthen the immune system, and aid in relaxation. However, it’s important not to use artificially-scented oils commonly found in cheaper diffusers — synthetic chemicals harm health and air quality. Choose a therapeutic grade essential oil to suit your needs.

Ultimately, aiming for super sterilized standards eliminates good bacteria along with the bad. Stick to a cleaning routine with natural products and purify your indoor air as much as possible. This will keep your home safe, clean, and healthy.

Photo credits: VGstockstudio/, MariiaBoiko/, Pixel-Shot/

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