Hidden Home Hazards

Your home is your castle, but hidden allergens and germ trappers lurk within it. Learn more about some unexpected sources that may be attacking your domain.

  • The kitchen sponge: Thanks to its multipurpose use, a sponge carries E. coli, fecal bacteria, and microbes. Dip your sponge in a solution of bleach and water before wiping down surfaces. Zap it in the microwave for a minute after you’ve rinsed it clean, and let it air–dry between uses.
  • Your mattress: When you lay your weary head to rest, consider this: the average mattress is an allergen trap as it accumulates skin cells, human and pet hair, body secretions, dust, mold, and mites. Cover it with a washable outer cover; wash all bedding weekly in hot water; vacuum your mattress regularly, and air out bedding daily — simply by leaving the top covers off for an hour after you wake.
  • The air you breathe: Unless thoroughly sealed shut, your windows can let in dust and pollutants; humid or damp indoor conditions can encourage the growth of mold and fungi. Make sure your home is well ventilated. Repair leaky roofs and walls, and be sure to clean or change air and vacuum filters regularly.

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