We’re all busy. It’s hard to find the time to give your home a proper clean, let alone hoover mattresses, shine windows and steam tiles. But if you’re feeling under the weather and can’t quite put your finger on why, it might be your home that’s making you ill.
We spend 90% of our time indoors, according to My Health, My Home, and the air we suck into our bodies can contain over 900 chemicals, particles and biological materials – which could harm our health.
Household health threats include:
Mould is everywhere – and a key factor of poor indoor air quality and health risk. A YouGov consumer survey revealed 58% of respondents have experienced mould or condensation in their home, with 19% of those having already suffered from a respiratory or dermatological condition.
As winter approaches, windows stay closed and mould and condensation become more of a problem. Moulds release allergens, irritants and toxic substances that have been linked to immune system disorders, such as asthma and allergies.
To keep mould at bay, open windows as much as possible, clean any traces away and clean or suck up any condensation on windows and doors. You could also try a dehumidifier and/or air purifier to suck out moisture and clean the air.
Transparent and less than half a millimetre long, dust mites are invisible, but they’re everywhere. Feeding on a diet of dry skin - you shed around 50 million cells a day - dust mites love nothing more than a comfy bed or a cosy carpet and can cause asthma, eczema and sneezing.
Around 20% of the population are allergic to dust mites and though they’re impossible to get rid of completely, there are things you can do to help.
A two-year-old pillow, for example, is full of dust and will be made up of 10% dead mites and their droppings.
Refresh your bedding, replace feather pillows and duvets with synthetic ones, and use cotton sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers. Opening windows, hoovering mattresses and dusting with a damp cloth will also help.
We all do our best not to think about bed bugs when we’re snuggling up at night, and although they’re more common in summer months, bed bugs can attack at any time.
About the size of an apple pip, a bed bug will repeatedly hammer at the surface of your skin (normally while you’re sleeping) in order to dig a hole, before gorging on your blood for 10-15 minutes.
He’ll then crawl away to a hiding place for the next three or four days, while you’re left with itchy, whitish bite marks. The only way to get rid of him and all his mates is to call in the professionals.