Is Your House Making You Sick? Here’s What You Need to Do

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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It’s hard to imagine that the place we lay our heads every night could be making us sick. However, there are plenty of dangerous substances inside our homes, both natural and man-made, that negatively affect our physical and mental health. Symptoms like irritation, breathing issues, and confusion may indicate the presence of toxins in your home that require immediate attention.

Use Air Purifiers and Remove Air Fresheners

A preference for fresh smelling air is natural, but the chemicals in air fresheners are anything but. Plug-in air fresheners aren’t the only culprit of chemical ridden-air, as oil diffusers, scented candles, and sprays may also contain phthalates that interfere with your hormones. To help improve air quality in your home, use air purifiers, flowers, or open the window.

Establish a Weekly Dusting Ritual

Dust is made up of multiple organic by-products such as clothing fibers, skin cells, bacteria, dead bugs, dust mites, pollen, soil, and plastic. Breathing in dust for a prolonged amount of time can irritate your sinuses, eyes, and lungs. Be sure to dust at least once per week and target hard-to-reach places like above doors, ceiling fans, or floor trims as they’re often missed.

Replace BPA Plastic Containers with Glass

BPA isn’t FDA-approved in the United States, but it can be found in older Tupperware and overseas. Even new plastic storage containers may contain trace amounts of BPA, a cancer-causing hormone that can leach into your food when heated up. It’s better to avoid plastic containers altogether and opt for stainless steel water bottles and glass storage.

Stop Using Bleach on Grout

Bleach is a versatile cleaner that removes tough stains. However, using bleach on grout can eat away at the material and make tiny holes. Dirt and mold could fester in those holes, making them nearly impossible to remove without pulling apart the tiles and drywall. Mold can grow anywhere that water has infiltrated, so keep humidity low in the bathroom, kitchen, and basement.

Remove Old Furniture and Appliances

Every item in your home has an expiration date, even your couch, and cookware. For example, wooden spoons will start to splinter, and pots will burn through their protective coating and break off into your food. Furniture that has TB117 contains carcinogenic flame retardant materials. If the manufactured item includes “2013” on the label, your furniture is considered safe.

Avoid Eating Canned Foods if Possible

Canned foods aren’t all bad, but some cans are lined with BPA to prevent acidic or hot packaged foods from warping the container. Always research companies beforehand to ensure that your canned product isn’t poisonous. You could also start buying more frozen fruits, vegetables, tomato sauces, or beans because they last just as long and use a safer means of storage.

Find a Machine Washable Shower Curtain Instead of Plastic

Plastic is all-around bad for you, but there’s no worse offender than the vinyl shower curtain. Plastic shower curtains often contain VOCs, which can damage your liver, kidneys, and central nervous system through prolonged exposure. Swap your vinyl shower curtain to polyester immediately and close your curtain after showering to let it dry out completely.

Change Your HEPA Filter Often

The HEPA air filters improve air quality by preventing outdoor allergens or materials from entering into your home. HEPA filters remove up to 99.97% of airborne particles, but they can only work if they aren’t clogged, old, or ripped. If you know how to change them yourself, buy a pack of filters from a hardware store or call an HVAC professional to swap one out during an inspection.

Start Using a Water Filter

63 million Americans are exposed to unsafe drinking water, which accounts for nearly a fifth of the country. Hundreds of industrial chemicals have been measured in drinking water across the country, but most filtered systems, including filtered water jugs, can solve your water woes. Using a water filter can instantly improve your health, mood, and energy levels.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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