Healthy Home Hacks is a series where I show you how to create a healthier space for your family, using tech.
It’s cleaning day. You’ve got a house filled with dirt the kids tracked in, the dog’s been shedding like crazy, and you cooked up a storm (go, chef!) that left the kitchen floor sticky.
A musty bucket with a few old rags is so not going to do the job. Not only will it mean a super long day (and lots of elbow grease) for you, you also may not get things quite as clean as you’d like them.
When you think about a healthy home, you want to make sure you’re really banishing grime and germs—and that the products you’re using aren’t adding unhealthy substances (like endocrine disruptors, no thanks) back into your space.
Here are some of my top tips to fine tune your cleaning routine without feeling like Cinderella.
UPGRADE YOUR FLOOR CLEANER
Many smart vacuums now come with built-in HEPA filters, so that when you clean the carpets, they do a better job of capturing the dust and allergens instead of kicking it up into the air. That includes robot models, and if you go for a robot, you’ll likely be able to keep things even cleaner, mainly because vacuuming can happen so much more often. (Robots don’t skip vacuuming because of a particularly long day at the office.) For the kitchen and the bathroom, there are also now robot mops that can do a better job at cleaning out corners and other hard-to-reach spots like around the base of a toilet. Plus, when you mop with a bucket, doesn’t it often feel like you’re just sloshing dirty water everywhere?
CLEAN UP YOUR CLEANING PRODUCTS
Here’s some cruel irony for you: Lots of traditional cleaning products contain chemicals associated with health risks. In other words, you’re scrubbing the house while introducing harmful vapors your kids shouldn’t be breathing in. One great tool to avoid this is to use the Environmental Working Group’s healthy cleaning database when purchasing products. You can search individual brands and see how they score, or learn about which dangerous chemicals you should steer clear of and which you don’t have to worry about. There’s also Force of Nature, a device that uses electricity to turn water, salt, and vinegar into an all-purpose cleaner you can use 24-7. And I’m especially fond of Supernatural: The whole idea of mixing my own cleaning products is familiar to me— I clean a lot with vinegar and water already, so this kit takes is up a notch.
DON’T IGNORE YOUR MATTRESS
Oh hey, your bed might be ultra cozy but it’s also where dead skin cells and dust mites go to rest (and whatever your dog dragged in). I’d really rather not think about it. Opt for a powerful handheld vacuum like the Dyson V10 to suck up whatever’s on the surface when you change your sheets— even if you can’t see it. You can also use it to clean couches (including in between cushions) and to get dust and dirt from tricky places like window blinds.
DEGERM YOUR DEVICES
Part of home cleaning these days is taking care of all of the fam’s devices. And honestly, considering how dirty our hands are, you should really be hitting this task on the reg. For quick cleans, I like Spruce & Co.’s screen wipes, because they’re made with natural, healthy ingredients. I also use AM Get Clean spray with a microfiber cloth to clean larger devices like laptops. If you want to get super high-tech, you can even opt for a PhoneSoap Charger, which cleans your phone with UV light while it charges or the CleanWave Sanitizing Wand, which you can wave to kill microbes on keyboards, remotes, and non-tech surfaces like couches and countertops. No, it won’t help with dust or crumbs, but you may feel a little bit like you’re a bit of a healthy home magician.
TIDY THE AIR
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air quality can be up to 6X more polluted than outside air. Off-gasses from furniture, paint, and fumes from cooking are just some of the pollutants we overlook, not to mention allergens, dirt, and smog (we’ve got lots of that in LA). Given that we spend most of our lives inside, we need to start paying attention to the air we breathe in our homes. Dyson’s Pure Cool Purifier and fan removes 99.97% of pollutants and allergens with it’s glass HEPA filter, which doesn’t let mold and bacteria grown on it (like a paper one can), and because it has a fan, it’s moving the air around the room (and not just cleaning the air around it).
GET A SELF-CLEANING LITTER BOX
If you know me, you know that when it comes to family members, my pets are just as important as my kids (or more? Have you seen me with my new puppy?!). Still, dogs and cats can really do a number on a home’s cleanliness, and litter boxes are at the top of the “gross” list. Devices like the Litter-Robot eliminate the issue. Instead of gross smells and your cat tracking contaminated litter all over the house, your cat goes into the little pod and leaves when it’s done its business. The robot then sorts the waste from the litter for you and keeps it in a odor-containing drawer for you to empty.
Thanks to Dyson for providing the vacuum and purifier to test. All opinions are my own.