We all want to feel safe in our own homes; that once we shut that front door, we are in control of what happens within that environment and that in an ideal world, nothing can hurt us. When we have others to think about, like a family, that becomes even more of a priority. Similarly, no one likes to think of themselves as unhygienic or dirty. We accept that we can’t control what happens or what we are exposed to outside; whether that be being stuck on a crowded train with complete strangers who may be ill, or the food that is served to use when we eat out. At home, we want that to be different. Additionally, if we can ensure that the place we bring up our children is safe and clean, it makes it easier to pass on good patterns of behaviour for them to take with them into adulthood.
So below are a few ways you can ensure that your home is a safe haven from germs, for yourself and those you live with.
1) Shoes and Jackets
When you come in after a long day, you just want to shed yourself of all the things that have been dragging you down; this can be uncomfortable shoes, a rain-soaked jacket, or bags which have been on the ground. In the rush to get in, it can be easy to discard things as you enter the home, dropping things everywhere (something which over-excited kids will do). Not only does this create a scenario where you’ll lose track of belongings, but you could be bringing in mud, twigs, fragments of litter, animal feces etc., with you from the outside. As well as being unhygienic, this dirt can be incredibly hard to get out of carpets once pressed in by a footprint, and may require professional stain removal services. Marks that are left behind after cleaning can also devalue your home. To stop this, keep an area by the front door for shoes, and hang up jackets on hooks, rather than drape them on the back of chairs which can be breeding ground for mold or particular insect infestations who are attracted to moisture. If you have a porch or conservatory, take advantage of them and use this as a “disinfection area” of sorts before coming into the house properly.
You can’t always account for where you pets have been or what they’ve been eating, sniffing or walking around in, so keep a tight control on them, especially when they enter the house. Cats are harder to do because they come and go as they please through the cat-flap; so keep this in mind if you’re considering buying one but like a clean home. Inspect paws of dogs as they come in from walkies. Toilet-training is a necessity and not an option when you get a new pet, though there are products which can assist this process such as special trays which won’t mean you have a home full of droppings. However, as stated, you can’t keep an eye on them every moment of the day so seriously consider this when buying a pet.
3) Washing Hands
Germs build up under fingernails, so even if hands look clean, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are. However, you don’t want your home to replicate the sterility of a hospital by having anti-bacterial stations in every room or hallway. You can take simple tips such as making a point to wash hands when you enter the property. Teach this to kids when they come in from outdoors, and especially before and after they eat. Perhaps make a game out of it; each time they do it without you asking them, they get a gold star and five gold stars gets them a chocolate bar or small treat.
Taking out bins is the scourge of any communal living space. Some will wait till they absolutely must to muster up the effort to take out over-filled bins. In fact, bins should never be over-filled or reach that level because that is when things fall out or are not disposed off properly. Pets or small kids can then pick things back out of the bin if they are teetering on top. Tidying up anything that falls out will be more troublesome. The best tip when it comes to bins is to have them in a proper bin (not just plastic or bin bags), inside a cupboard on its own. This way, any germs are isolated to one place, and you won’t have to deal with the trouble of flimsy bags which can break.
5) Open Windows
When you’re trying to get rid of bad smells, refrain from artificial sprays which only disguise smells rather than actually rid the house or room of them. You can never be quite sure what is in these sprays in terms of chemicals, and how individuals will react to them. Arguably, they may even have their own odour and can be quite “obvious”. Usually a well-ventilated area will be recommended to prevent a buildup in one room or area. Open windows instead, and allow fresh air in just to be safe.
Paul is a health and cleanliness-obsessive who has learned a lot from living in student-accommodation while at university. He also enjoys watching science shows in his spare time.