From kitchen to bath, here are some simple ways to up your wellness level at home.
Splurge on a premium blender. It’s a great way to infuse your diet with healthful recipes, including vitamin-rich smoothies, fiber-packed whole-fruit juices, and nutritious soups.
Flush hands-free. You don’t have to be a germaphobe to appreciate a toilet you can flush without touching the handle. American Standard and Kohler have introduced “touchless toilets” that flush when you wave your hand over a sensor. Kohler offers a conversion kit for $50 that brings battery-powered no-touch flushing to any toilet.
Make your bedroom an allergen-proof zone. Encase box springs, mattresses, and pillows in covers made from woven microfiber fabrics (with a pore size no greater than 6 micrometers) designed to keep them free of dust mites and animal dander. Wash your bedsheets weekly in hot water and dry on high heat.
Particles in the air can exacerbate respiratory symptoms, bronchitis, and asthma. There’s no silver-bullet solution, but try these DIY measures:
■ Use an air conditioner (with a clean filter) or a dehumidifier to help keep things dry in the basement and other damp spaces, where mites and mold tend to thrive.
■ Open windows when weather permits and turn on exhaust fans at other times to remove indoor pollutants. You can also use portable or whole-house air purifiers that have a clean-air delivery rate of more than 350 or a minimum efficiency reporting value of more than 10.
■ Instead of ammonia and bleach, try milder cleaning substances. For instance, a 50-50 solution of water and vinegar can be used to clean windows. It can even cut through grease and mildew. Purchase items such as paint, paint strippers, and adhesive removers in small quantities so that you’re not storing partially used containers. Even closed, these products can emit gaseous volatile organic compounds, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
■ Houses built before the late 1970s might have been constructed with toxic materials such as asbestos, and homes in certain parts of the country are more likely to contain radon, a colorless, odorless gas that increases the risk of lung cancer. Testing is the only way to detect radon; check the map at www.epa.gov/radon to determine whether you’re in a high-radon area. A radon level of 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) means that you’ll need to fix the problem through a qualified radon-mitigation contractor, according to the EPA, though even lower levels carry some risk.
■ Vacuum regularly. It’s a simple way to help control airborne particulates: Vacuums suck up dust that settles on carpets, furniture, and other surfaces. Choose a top-rated one that cleans while minimizing emissions back into the air.