Keeping the house clean is a relatively straightforward task, but not necessarily the easiest one to do. Maintaining cleanliness in the house comprises a multitude of other chores, both big and small, that all take time, energy, and money to accomplish. However, there is also some housework that can put you in danger as well—as non-hazardous as they may seem.
To keep your house clean without the risk to your health and safety, here are some potentially dangerous chores that you should be more careful when doing:
1. Cleaning the gutters
Of course, anything that involves a ladder can be potentially dangerous. A fall from a short height can be enough to cause injuries or something much worse, in some scenarios. This is especially true when cleaning your gutters, where you have no choice but to climb up a ladder to access the side of the roof.
That said, always be extra careful when cleaning your gutters. Make it a two-person job: one to get up the roof, and one to hold the ladder steady. Don’t reach too far from your position as well; when you’re done with one section, move the ladder and then climb up again. Moreover, installing high-quality gutter guards can make it easier and safer to clean your gutters of debris.
2. Changing the cat litter
If you have a cat and are pregnant, do not change the cat litter without putting a mask on and a pair of sturdy gloves. Better yet, have someone else do it. Cat feces and litter can contain a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which can cause toxoplasmosis, an infection that can be extremely dangerous to pregnant mothers and their unborn children.
3. Cleaning the toilet
There are two things that make cleaning the toilet potentially hazardous. First, you risk exposure to microdroplets of toilet water, which contains all sorts of disease-causing bacteria. If toilet water ends up anywhere near your face (especially your mouth and nose), you could develop a disease. Second, using commercial cleaning products to clean your toilet can have you inhaling volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can cause eyes, nose, and throat irritation; headaches; fatigue; nausea, and other negative health effects—especially with prolonged exposure.
To avoid these potential problems, always wear a pair of gloves when cleaning your toilet. It is also advisable to adorn a mask, especially if you are using harsh chemicals to clean your toilet (but it’s better to use natural ingredients instead, e.g. baking soda and vinegar). Furthermore, never mix two cleaning products together, especially the ones that contain bleach and ammonia.
4. Cleaning the oven
Most commercial oven cleaners contain lye, which is great at dissolving food particles but bad for your health. Severe health effects rarely occur upon short exposure to lye, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Always wear protective gear when cleaning your oven with a lye-containing oven cleaner, and open up the kitchen windows to ensure proper ventilation in the room.
5. Tackling mold yourself
Exposure to mold can cause a variety of health effects from nasal stuffiness to skin irritation. The effects range from mild to severe, with the severity increasing along with the length of exposure.
If you find mold in your home, it is best to get rid of it right away. However, if the mold growth is large, hire a professional mold remover instead of tackling the clean-up yourself. Even if you wear protective gear, improper mold removal may not get rid of the problem entirely and worse—cause negative effects to your health.
6. Hanging wet laundry indoors
Although it may be uncommon practice in the country, you may find yourself having to hang up wet laundry indoors when your dryer is broken and the sun is nowhere to be found. However, keep in mind that hanging wet laundry indoors increases the moisture in the air, which can promote the growth of mold and the release of spores.
When left unaddressed, mold and fungal spores can trigger respiratory problems, especially for people who have asthma. So, if you must hang wet laundry, do it outside or leave it in the dryer until the day is sunny. Furthermore, run the load a few times in the spinner to squeeze out as much moisture as you can before hanging it up.
A lot of seemingly inconspicuous things in your home can be dangerous to your health—some can even kill you if you’re not careful. That said, keep these potentially dangerous tasks in mind the next time you clean your home and always be careful when dealing with both obvious and not-so-obvious hazards.