Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Breathe easier in a healthy home

Warning: The contents of the following column may cause runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes. Just thinking about the dust mites, mold and toxins likely lurking in your home is enough to cause gasping and wheezing even if you don’t have asthma.

In fact, ever since I talked to healthy space designer Robin Wilson, CEO of Robin Wilson Home, I have been itching in my sleep thinking about all the dust particles and dead skin cells burrowing in my bedding.

I need to start sleeping in hazmat gear.

“They’re invisible, but they’re everywhere,” she says of the allergens in our home.

“Sounds like the opening of a Hitchcock movie,” I say, creeped out.

“Just because a house looks clean, doesn’t mean it is,” she adds.

“Anymore than going to church every Sunday makes a person honest.”

Wilson’s immaculate home conception started in childhood: “I grew up wheezing and sneezing in Austin, Texas, the pollen capital of the world,” said Wilson, also an ambassador for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Fortunately, her parents consulted a specialist who persuaded the family to get rid of all the wall-to-wall shag carpet and replace it with hardwood floors, and to go on a cleaning spree to rid the home of pet dander, pollen and dust.

“Once my environment changed, I started breathing a lot easier,” said Wilson, who applies the advice in her New York home, and makes clean living a priority for the homes she designs for clients.

“You realize,” I tell her, “by saying it’s not enough to have a beautiful space, but we also need a clean space, you are raising the bar for all of us.” I am mildly perturbed by this standard of hygiene.

“Having an ecofriendly home implies that you have a wellness lifestyle, and that you’re aware of hidden dangers from invisible toxins that come from chemicals, mold, dust mites, pets, and the outdoors.”

“Heck, I can barely get the dishes put away and the beds, now I have to worry about what I can’t see, too?

“Once you know, there’s no going back.”

Told you to read with caution. Here are household hazards on Wilson’s hit list, and how to bust their dust so you and your family can breathe easier:

  • Start with a fresh bed. Bedding is a huge allergen trap, says Wilson, who has a new line of hypoallergenic bedding available now online through Bed Bath & Beyond, and in stores this September. Cover your pillow with a pillowcase and a pillow protector for two layers of protection. Wash pillowcases once a week, protectors once a month and your pillow twice a year. When was the last time you replaced that pillow, anyway? Likewise, wash your duvet cover and mattress pad regularly (more often if you have pets, which Wilson says to keep off the bed — as if that’s going to happen). Donate old pillows and comforters to the animal shelter.
  • Clean under the bed, too. “You often see these beautiful bedrooms, with all this attention put into the bedding, but you look under the bed and yikes!” says Wilson. “You just walk in and start wheezing from all the dust.” Noted.
  • Lose the carpet. Replace wall-to-wall carpet with tile or wood floors. They are much easier to clean, and don’t trap dirt and dust like carpet. If you want a soft surface on the floor — as Wilson does since her 9-month-old is crawling — use floor carpet tiles. They have a water-resistant backing and repel moisture. Tiles can be removed and washed in the sink with mild detergent.
  • Replace vinyl shower curtains. They are mold traps. Replace them with nylon ones. They are inexpensive and breathe.
  • Vacuum and dust often. This is especially important if you have pets, or if someone in the house has allergies or asthma. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which doesn’t recirculate dust. Likewise dust with a product, like a disposable Swiffer, that collects dust and doesn’t just move it around. Don’t ignore drapes, which are significant dust magnets. Shake, clean or vacuum them, too. As for those dusty silk flower arrangements? Wilson has one word: “Ick.”
  • Leave your shoes at the door. “They track in all kinds of dirt pollen and, uhh, dog stuff,” Wilson said.
  • Practice pet control. Bathe pets often, clean their paws and try to keep them out of bedrooms.
  • Close the lid when you flush. This is especially important in a small bathroom, where tiny droplets can mist your toothbrush and face towel, says Wilson. “Oh, sick!” I say. “Seriously?” “Don’t trust me?” she says. “Put a piece of clear plastic wrap over the seat when you flush and see how wet it gets.” I’ll take her word for it.
  • Bust mold. While you’re thinking about it, drop a Clorox toilet tablet in your tank. A little bleach dispenses with each flush and helps keep the bowl mold free and cleaner. Use a bleach cleaning product in showers where mold likes to grow and anywhere it’s damp.
  • Clean with the basics. Fresh air, bleach, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide were all your grandma needed to clean house. Open windows once a week for 15 minutes, and skip costlier chemical cleaners by making your own ecofriendly ones.

Syndicated columnist and speaker Marni Jameson is the author of “House of Havoc” and “The House Always Wins” (Da Capo Press). Contact her through marnijameson.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

.

News

 
Goodbye LUPPU, hello LRPU

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

Past due state taxes bring arrest

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

 
Sanford trial: Prosecution, defense rest

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Woman, dog back from Oso

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
 
DA candidate to remain on ballot

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A9

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Benji and the Bickersons

By Matthew Margolis | From Page: A10

 
CPCSD seat unfilled

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

Lew Uhler backs Ranalli

By News Release | From Page: A14, 2 Comments

 
.

Opinion

Something to think about: Teach your children well

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A6

 
Retain Bill Schultz as Recorder-Clerk

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A6, 6 Comments

 
.

Letters

Evacuation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 3 Comments

 
District 4 candidate

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 4 Comments

Open meetings

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 5 Comments

 
Volunteers and homeless camps

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 9 Comments

Bicycle events and traffic control

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Jennings wins national title

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A11, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Savannah Stephens can swing the bat

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A11 | Gallery

King of the West roars into Placerville

By Gary Thomas | From Page: A11

 
First and goal: Bunt etiquette

By Mike Bush | From Page: A11

Oak Ridge suffers tough 2-1 setback

By Mike Bush | From Page: A11

 
Roundup: April 17, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

.

Prospecting

Plantastic sale this Saturday

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Spring art brightens government center

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Things to do: April 18, 2014

By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

 
Time out: A grand time at Grand China

By Earle Camembert | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Temple Kol Shalom hosts Passover Seder

By News Release | From Page: B3

 
Student art featured for Third Saturday

By News Release | From Page: B3

Promenade in high style

By Historic Old Sacramento | From Page: B4

 
Sac State Presents ‘Gypsy’

By California State Unversity, Sacramento | From Page: B4

Friday nights are engaging at the de Young

By Fine Arts | From Page: B5

 
Hats On For the Kids raises money for children

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B6

See what is inside the vault

By Center For Sacramento History | From Page: B6

 
Eggstravaganza

By Fairytale Town | From Page: B6

Gallery tips a hat to Dr. Seuss

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B7

 
Museum presents ‘Diesel Days’

By California State Railroad Museum | From Page: B7

Engagement: Adam Frega and Wednesday Bienusa

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B8

 
Duty: Air Force Airman Brian Polk

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B8

Cal Stage presents a season of challenging productions

By California Stage | From Page: B8

 
Duty: Army Pfc. Kyle W. Beasy

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B8

KVIE calls for artists

By Kvie | From Page: B9

 
A Couple of Blaguards tell tales

By Harris Center for the Arts | From Page: B9

America’s ClayFest II celebrates a rich history

By Blue Line Arts | From Page: B14

 
Fine Arts Museums feature two shows

By Fine Arts | From Page: B15

See wildflowers on train ride

By Railtown | From Page: B15

 
Easter at Northstar is family friendly

By Northstar California | From Page: B15

.

Essentials

Crime Log: March 28-30

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Roy Cluness Chaix

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Frederick Wilbur Heymann

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Arthur W. Cornell

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Frank “Bud” Kraus Jr.

By Contributor | From Page: A2

.

Real Estate

Faster sales with spring staging

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

 
Coldwell Banker outsells the competition

Press Release | From Page: HS7

Handsome Redmond suits modern families

Press Release | From Page: HS11

 
Growing your own

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS14

 
Fraud workshop scheduled

Press Release | From Page: HS21

HCD launches assistance program

Press Release | From Page: HS22, 1 Comment

 
EZ Mortgages Inc. opens Placerville office

By News Release | From Page: HS22, 2 Comments

.

Comics

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A13

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A13

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A13

 
Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A13

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A13

 
Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A13

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A13

 
Horoscope, Friday, April 18, 2104

By Contributor | From Page: A14

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A14

 
Horoscope, Sunday, April 20, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A14

Horoscope, Saturday, April 19, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A14

 
.

Home Source

Faster sales with spring staging

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

Coldwell Banker outsells the competition

Press Release | From Page: HS7

Handsome Redmond suits modern families

Press Release | From Page: HS11

Growing your own

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS14

Fraud workshop scheduled

Press Release | From Page: HS21

HCD launches assistance program

Press Release | From Page: HS22, 1 Comment

EZ Mortgages Inc. opens Placerville office

By News Release | From Page: HS22, 2 Comments