Welcome back to our fifth installment of Expert Tips for a Healthier Home!
Up til now, we've talked about how to cultivate a healthier
And now, it's time to mosey on down to the bathroom.
We'd be remiss to talk about a healthier bathroom without mentioning the number one public health recommendation: washing your hands. But that shouldn't be the end of your efforts to make your bathroom healthier.
Tip #1: Control the Moisture
Fair warning: most of these tips are going to involve water, with this first one involving the small water droplets that get distributed around your bathroom by your shower. If not exhausted to the attic or outdoors, this moisture builds up and remains on surfaces long after your shower, creating the perfect conditions for mold growth and water damage. To prevent mold, run your bathroom fan or open a window while using the shower and right after.
Pro-tip: A ventilating skylight can replace your noisy bathroom fan, providing you with natural light, privacy, and the ability to quietly whisk steamy air outside as cool, fresh air replenishes your space.
Tip #2: Limit Air Freshener Use
We get it, the bathroom doesn't always have the best smells coming from it. But make sure what you're using to get rid of those smells isn't actually making the air quality worse. Plug and play air fresheners, for example, deliver a constant stream of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) into the air, which you don't want. A small spray bottle-type air freshener limited to times when it's really needed is a better option for those strong smells. Even better than that would be flipping on the fan for a bit.
Pro-tip: Of course, even better than that would be that venting skylight we talked about earlier, wink wink.
Tip #3: Detoxify Your Cleaners
Many surface cleaners can introduce toxic VOCs into the air in your bathroom. To keep things clean and safe, look for effective green cleaners labeled as certified safer by a third-party organization like EPA Safer Choice, Green Seal, or ECOLOGO. Only use bleach or other harsh disinfectants when absolutely necessary, and avoid aerosol sprays (see Tip #2).
Pro-tip: Take your bathroom detox a step further and scan the ingredients on your personal care products. The fewer ingredients listed, the better - especially if they're ones you can pronounce. Avoid phthalates (sometimes listed as "fragrance") and parabens in ingredient lists.
Tip #4: Skip the Antimicrobials
Out among the sea of bathroom products are some that contain antimicrobials and are marketed with a health claim about killing microorganisms. As a side effect though, certain antimicrobial chemicals (triclosan, triclocarban) mimic your body's hormones and can be harmful to your health. They may also contribute to antimicrobial drug resistance, so feel safe skipping the antimicrobials.
Tip #5: Utilize Handrails & Non-slip Mats
Bathroom falls remain one of the leading causes of household injury, particularly for the young and old. To help your grip, install non-slip mats in your shower and the area where you step out of the tub. And be sure your shower curtain prevents water from escaping and creating pools of water on the floor. For added help with balance, consider installing handrails in your shower and tub.