In this episode, Stephen hunkers down with you in self-isolation and discusses easy things you can do during quarantine and social distancing to help you and your family stay healthy while at home.
The transcript for this episode is below:
Welcome to Your Healthy House. I’m Stephen Collette. In this podcast, I explore your indoor environmental quality concerns and opportunities. We look at the facts and debunk the fiction. We will discuss examples you can relate to and the doable actions you can take in your own home or apartment. We will also look at the history of how our homes are the way they are and the future of healthy housing for everyone. I promise to make this fun and interesting for both of us.
Episode Number 15. Social distancing and keeping your house healthy. Hello, everyone. As everyone sits in quarantine and social distancing and self-isolation. It’s a really good time to sit back, look around your house because you’ve got a little bit of time on your hands and trying to figure out how we can make it healthy. Now. COVID-19 is a very serious issue, and it needs to be dealt with respect properly, following all the guidelines and safety standards that your public health teams are telling you. This podcast is not for the people who have immune system concerns who are compromised, who were going to suffer from serious issues with COVID-19. That’s not what this podcast about. This podcast is for the other 90% of the population whose home hunkering down, wondering what to do with their time, staring at the walls and scrolling through their Netflix queue. So what we want to talk about is now that we have some time on her hands. Now that we’re at home with the family, what can we actually do? Is there something we can do while we’re here and actually create a healthier house? Absolutely. Because we have the time to really dig down, do some deep cleaning pass some time. So let’s sit back, talk about the opportunities and have some laughs at the same time.
Okay, so, first off, what we really need to do is to think about reducing the spread of germs, germs, bacteria, viruses, all little creatures that we can’t see. We all have them in their homes pretty normal. We’d actually be dead without them. It’s when we have an excess of unusual ones or normal ones located in a spot they’re not supposed to be. That’s where we’re going to get sick. So within the home, the very first place that you should be really thinking about cleaning is the bathroom, and that’s because it’s a germ-filled place because that’s where we defecate. And that could be a germ-filled experience. So first off, we’re gonna break it down into boys and girls. Because, boys, well, we’re not the cleanest creatures in the planet, not even remotely. And one of the things we do is we urinate standing up. And if you have the opportunity to get a black light, turn all the lights off in the bathroom in the dark and turn on a black light, you’ll be pretty freaked out by the aiming accuracy of men. In fact, I don’t actually really recommend you do that. It won’t go well for anybody and being cooped up. I don’t recommend you do that because you got a lot of time trying to sort that one out. What I do recommend is we actually do need to clean around the toilet. We do splash. It’s normal, peeing into a bowl full of water is going to cause splashing. It’s just par for the course, and so we really need to clean the outside of the toilet around the base along the floor and even close to some of the walls. Yes, it’s gross. Yes, it’s a fact, Yes, So send the boys in to do it. They’re going to make the mess. They should clean it up. I think that’s fair and reasonable. I’m the guy that cleans the toilets in my house, and I’m pretty aware of it. So do that’s open water. Don’t get freaked out. I know you may have 32,000 cases of Lysol wipes in your in your basement. Sure, use some of those, but actually send those to the hospital or the food bank, someone who can actually use them. Just use regular soap and water. Give the toilet a really good scrub, clean out the bowl, clean out around the bowl along the floor and around that and really create a baseline of cleanliness. Don’t forget to get under the seat and everything else because it is a mess. Okay, one thing that I’ve come across really interestingly, while we’re on the topic of toilets is sometimes we can get an odor in the toilets, and it’s actually because of people who have power urination skills, and it actually splashes back up into the spray bar around the bowl, and sometimes that can get really dirty. And that can actually create an odour. Sounds crazy. It’s absolutely true. Seen it on a couple of jobs, so make sure you’re actually getting all the way around. The top of the bowl is well up around spray bar as it comes down, and you’ll have yourself a very clean, happy toilet and a happier family for it, especially taking one for the team to actually do the cleaning. But I do recommend it.
The next thing we want to think about ah is actually the surfaces in her kitchen. Now. The surfaces in her kitchen are going to have a lot of biology going on simply because we cut food. We’ve got meat for those carnivores. We’ve got moulds. We’ve got all different stuff going on there. Go out, wouldn’t cutting boards so we can have different things that can really weaken. Get foodstuffs and biology into the, uh, the porous surfaces and, uh, also in her dishcloth. Your dishcloth is probably one of the grossest things out there. Please don’t wipe your face with it. Please don’t wipe your kid’s face with it. Please don’t wipe the dog’s face with it. Just it’s gross. So make sure when you’re using the dishcloth to actually wipe your counters. How about running it under hot water and actually pointing a little bit of soap on the dishcloth before you wipe your counters? I know that may seem novel and surprising, but it’s actually a really good idea. Typically, we’re just gonna, you know, take the washcloth, do a quick walk, wipe around the counters and on the dining room table and stuff, but actually get it full of soapy water. Keep rinsing it and putting more soapy water on it. Wipe all your countertops off and you’re going to have a dramatic reduction in bacteria and biology on your kitchen counters. You want to do a really good job with your cutting boards, especially if there wouldn’t. And you want to make sure the oil them appropriately following the uh, directions given to you when you got a cutting board. So and the oils really helped Philip the pores and so help keep it operating properly and keeping out the gunk that you don’t want in there while you’re in the deep, clean mode in the kitchen here, something you can try out. Climb up on your countertops and have a look at the top of your kitchen cupboards. That’s right, the actual top of them. If you could do that, run a finger along the top of those cabinets and be prepared to be completely freaked out because it’s going to be very dusty, very greasy and possibly very colourful. And that’s because what happens in the kitchen is we actually get a lot of dust up there simply because we don’t clean up there once a year, maybe at best, typically every 7 to 25 years. In my experience, we’re going to get a lot of grease because we’re cooking in the kitchen. And so that grease is where we can see that with particle counters and stuff like, That’s pretty interesting. But most of us don’t have those in her kitchen, unlike nerds like me. But we get that stuff up in the year, and it actually settles out on the horizontal surfaces such as the top of your kitchen cabinets. Then now I’ve got dust. I’ve got some food. All we need is a lot of moisture. So if you’re cooking pastas and rice is and what not boiling soup scanning, preserving, we’re gonna get a lot of water up there and so we can have some growth. Typically, not a lot like I don’t really see it out of control, but it’s pretty dirty because of the grease up there that’s gonna catch everything as it settles out. So since we have time on her hands and the kids love to climb on the kitchen counters and cupboards, there’s a great job for them to get them up there, scrubbing away elbow grease. But the tunes on Let it rock through the speakers. Everybody’s having a dance party. You can make yourself some margaritas and have a good old kitchen cleaning party. Soap and water. Nothing spectacular again. Soap and water, soap and water, soap and water cleans everything. It is the safest thing to be using the most normal, accessible thing. Forget the wipes. Forget the hand sanitizer. None of them work as good as plain old soap and water. All right, now, here’s a really cool trick. Once you’re done actually cleaning the top of your kitchen cupboards and they’re all sparkly, clean lay down a layer of newspaper across all of them. Now you’re not going to see that newspaper from down on terra firma. But what you will do is in a year from now, instead of sending the kids up again, because we definitely don’t want to go through another period of social distancing and self isolation. What we can do is actually just go up there, grab all the newspapers, fold them up, put them in recycling and lay down a fresh set of newspapers so you don’t actually have to clean that ever again. So make a promise to the rest of the family. You will clean it for the rest of the life as long as they clean it. For this time, while they’re all isolated and you’ll be in great shape because they’ll fall for it and you won’t ever have to clean it again.
Your Healthy House with Stephen Collette is sponsored by the Building Biology Institute, a nonprofit educational institution dedicated to creating healthy homes, schools and workplaces free of toxic indoor air, tap water pollutants and hazards posed by electromagnetic radiation through a combination of online learning and in person seminars we offered professional certifications, including building biology, environmental consultant, electromagnetic radiation specialist and building biology. New build consultant. For more information, visit our website at www.buildingbiologyinstitute.org
When we move to the rest of the house, we want to think about cleaning and setting baselines of cleanliness. So think about this. Opportunity is a deep spring clean because it really vacuums. We’ve talked about vacuums. Really, if you’ve got carpets and you’re using vacuums, Um, what’s really important is actually to clean the vacuum that seems counter-intuitive. It’s a cleaning device, but they do have filters that require your inspection, cleaning and oftentimes replacing. You need to empty the canister or dump it can, or the bag or whatever it is the cyclone. Whatever you have, go through it, clean out your vacuum, make sure that everything’s in really good shape so that you’re not actually blasting a more particulate and dust into the house while you’re trying to actually make it cleaner and you’re going to get that burnt dusts Melody your vacuum. If you’ve got that, think about cleaning your vacuum. If it’s still not enough, we want to think about upgrading your vacuum. Yes, you can look online and check out a HEPA high efficiency particulate arrester vacuum cleaner and no, don’t order from Amazon. Instead, try to order it from a local business not a chain or anything like that, but a local business because they could really use it during this time. Also, if you’re going to go on a vacuum spree, I do recommend you also consider vacuuming your furniture. That’s something that rarely gets done But think about just getting in the nooks and crannies. Pull the pillows off the couch is get under there, collect enough change to go through the drive-through and get a drink. But give it a really good clean bang out the dust. It’s a really great thing to do. Also, consider doing your beds. Your beds are probably the next place that really could use the benefit. Wash your pillows, vacuum your bed, and if it’s a sunny day, drag your mattress right outside. Let the altar violent bleach, the dust mites getting under your bed. It’s never been vacuum. You do a terrible job under there. I know I’ve seen it. The cat crawling underneath your bed does not constitute a vacuum, so clean it all out. Get your bed, air it out. Clean the furniture in the house. Deep, deep vacuums. Hang your pillows out on the clothesline. If you don’t have a clothesline, this is a great time to go install a clothesline, so get out there and make that happen.
Other deep cleaning things you can think about is actually cleaning your washing machine as well. One of those things that doesn’t really see any love or attention until it fails. If you’ve got a front load washer, there’s typically a filter, and some of the newer top load washers also have a filter downstream, so have a look at that. Open up the cover, pull out the filter, clean up the dog hair, the cat hair, the long hair, whatever you’ve got, um, really good thing to do. And also make sure your hoses air in really good shape at the same time. Look for cracks. Where’s splitting in your hoses If they’re not stainless on the back and the rubber, they do have an expiry date. They’re only good for so long, and you’re actually supposed to replace them. So it’s great to check if they’re drying out and cracked. You want to replace those before they fail, and there is a great time to do those small tasks. Your dryer also requires maintenance. Followed the filter. Look down in that sleeve. You’re gonna find lint. You’re gonna find a lot of lint. If you pull the dryer out, pull off the dryer vent at the back and look in there with a flashlight. You’re going to see a lot of lint in the dryer itself. Get your vacuum hose in there and clean it out. That’s going to reduce fire. Hazard. Yes, fire hazard, because lint is highly flammable and you put it on high heat. And for those of you with gas dryers, this is incredibly important to keep that duct work and the dryer clean and free of lint. It is exquisitely dangerous if you have a gas dryer, so something you can d’oh another task to check off the box.
Finally, I just think ventilation is really important. We’re all home. We’re all stuck at home. We’re all looking at each other here, the house out. So I do recommend you open the windows Yeah, it’s still March May depending on whenever you’re listening to this and how long this pandemic goes. But air of the house Open all the windows in the house. Walk around, open every single window, and as soon as you finish opening every single window to a second loop around the house and close all the windows, it’s enough time to get a full air exchange will make a huge difference. For many people, opening windows is not something they do. There’s nothing wrong with opening windows. It’s a great idea. You’re not gonna catch anything from your neighbours, I promise. But opening windows will flush the house out, give you fresh air, and that’s really, really important. And something that I do encourage to remember. Time spent indoors doesn’t always have to be on digital devices, either. The WiFi does broadcasts at high frequencies, and it definitely creates a stronger sense of isolation. So unplug for a while. Go outside with your family, go for a walk, go check on your elderly neighbours and family. They could use some support, they can’t get out. They’re really concerned, and they have more concerns than you do. Rightfully so. So Bake some pies, make some cookies. Check mail. Get some groceries for your neighbours, get outside and be social. It’s good for you. It’s good for your family. It’s good for your kids. Remember, also your mental well being is important. And how you reflect on all of this chaos with your family members, especially younger ones around is really important because they’re looking to you for support. So don’t forget, be positive. You know, it’s not like we’re going to war or anything. We’re all just hanging out. So do the best. You can try to clean the house, set some baselines of cleanliness. Do that deep, thorough spring clean this time of year. We’ve got the time. Let’s do it So we have some healthy, healthy air quality moving forward so you can enjoy your healthy house even when you’re under quarantine. Good Day. Take care
If you enjoy the show. Please leave a review and subscribe to the podcast, and you will be doing your part to help others create their own healthy homes. If you would like to learn more about me, Stephen Colette and what I do, please check out my Web site at www.yourhealthyhouse.ca music for the podcast is by Brian Pickett of Voodoo Highway Music Audio. Technical support is by Mike Pickett. Editorial support is by Eric Rosen I’m your host, Stephen Colette. Thanks for listening and enjoy your day. Cheers.