Your home is a safe place for you to relax at the end of a long day. It’s where you can finally be protected from the uncertainties of the world and feel completely at ease. However, unbeknownst to homeowners lies a myriad of hidden risks that can turn your haven into a health hazard. Particularly for homes containing children or pets, even the slightest risk can mean considerable danger. Luckily, with a bit of research and preparation, you can quickly detect and eliminate potential threats.
Unsure if your home is a hazard-free sanctuary? Here are six hidden health risks every homeowner should consider.
Rodents, bugs, and other pests can introduce bacteria into even the cleanest of homes. If you start to suspect an infestation, look for telltale signs like droppings or nests. Household pests also inflict physical damage to your home, so make sure to keep an eye out for gnaw marks.
As soon as you begin to suspect pests living in your home, don’t wait to take action. Start by sealing doors and windows to ensure no additional critters make their way inside. You should also thoroughly clean drains, trashcans, and any other area pests gravitate toward. Most importantly, contact a trusted pest control service like this to eliminate a pest infestation.
Otherwise, household pests like mosquitos, roaches, and rats (oh my!) can leave behind air-contaminating fecal droppings and expose high-risk homeowners to allergens which can exacerbate existing medical conditions. Cockroaches, in particular, can carry life-threatening bacteria like salmonella and E.coli, whereas mosquitoes are an infamous host of dengue fever.
For those homeowners ready to install a pest-repelling forcefield, turn to the professionals. Your lungs and digestive system will thank you.
Candles or incense
While burning a fragrant product provides a pleasing ambiance, it also pollutes your home’s air quality. Candles with wicks containing lead pose an even greater health risk and can raise your home’s air lead concentration above EPA-recommended levels. For homeowners with preexisting respiratory conditions, like asthma, lit flames can even trigger attacks resulting in permanent damage.
Sponges are truly the hidden villain in the kitchen and contain the most significant amount of active bacteria in the entire house. The combination of food remnants and constant moisture creates the perfect breeding ground for germs. For these reasons, you may be spreading more bacteria onto surfaces each time you clean with a sponge. To avoid potential illness, swap out the sponge for paper towels when wiping countertops and toss each sponge out after a week of use.
Plants might add a sense of nature to indoor spaces, but some varieties are more harmful than you’d think. The well-known vining plant, pothos, is toxic to both pets and humans when eaten. Popular blooms like Easter lilies are hazardous for pets, particularly cats. Even the beautiful daffodil can result in high blood pressure, stomach problems, and death if consumed.
Running your kitchen utensils through a dishwasher doesn’t mean they’re free of harmful bacteria. Different materials can host a variety of contaminants that require thorough scrubbing to eliminate.
Take a rubber spatula, for example. Its elastic material is prone to harboring yeast, mold, and E. coli if not adequately cleaned. Hard-to-wash utensils like pizza cutters and can openers should also be washed by hand to ensure there are no lingering germs.
Homeowners with young children should be particularly careful with batteries. The item is toxic when swallowed and, even when removed, causes long-term health problems. Button batteries, like those found in toys, greeting cards, and electronic devices, are easily consumed by young children and should be kept out of reach. As a precaution, always inspect toys for button batteries and refrain from giving young children talking greeting cards.
By recognizing and eliminating hidden health hazards in your home, you can rest easy knowing you are in a safe space.