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The bathroom is usually the worst room in your home for hidden chemicals, allergens, toxins, molds, viruses, bacteria, and pests. Here are 10 tips for making your bathroom a healthier place.

Is your family plagued by colds that just won't go away or allergies that linger long after allergy season? Or does some member of your family have a problem with acne that resists ordinary skin care products or maybe athlete's foot, frequent headaches, or chronic fatigue.

Sick people often live in sick houses, and it is impossible to make your house a healthy place if you don't have a healthy bathroom. Here are ten essential tips to keep your bathroom from making you sick, especially if you live in an older home.

Clean the faucet every time you rinse the wash basin.

Most of us do a pretty good job of rinsing the wash basin after shaving, washing, or brushing teeth. Most of us don't do a very good job of cleaning the faucet in the wash basin so it does not become a reservoir for germs that spread from person to person. Keeping faucet clean is especially important for preventing the spread of stomach flu. Kill the noroviruses that can cause stomach upset with aerosol spray or throw-away antiviral wipes.

Avoid bathing in chlorine.

In the United States, nearly everyone's water is purified with chlorine. Water treatment was a tremendous public health innovation in the early twentieth century, but with chlorine it is possible to get too much of a good thing. Chlorine gas is released from hot water as it passes out of the shower head, sometimes in concentrations high enough to cause irritation of the eyes and nose, shortness of breath, redness of the face and scalp, and general feelings of queasiness.

How do you keep excess chlorine out of the water in which you bathe? Attach a filter to your shower head, such as an Aquasana Shower Head Filter system.

Use kinder, gentler cleansers to keep bathroom tiles clean.

Many spray-on tile cleaners emit fumes that can cause irritation of the eyes, ears, nose, and throat. You don't have to use these toxins to keep your bathroom clean. Get the grunge off your grout with a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, left on the grout for 30 minutes before wiping them clean.

Swap out vinyl shower curtains for washable nylon or polyester.

Vinyl plastics are made with phthalates, which leach out of the plastic when it is exposed to hot water and strong soaps. Phthalates are linked to a variety of chronic health problems ranging from premature puberty in children to breast cancer in women who have passed menopause. Nylon and polyester shower curtains are made without phthalates and are safer for daily use.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fatal exposure to methylene chloride among bathtub refinishers - United States, 2000-2011. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2012 Feb 24. 61(7):119-22.
  • [No authors listed] [Bronchial asthma--mildew as a cause to be identified]. Pneumologie. 2007 Sep. 61(9):560. German.
  • Photo courtesy of Jaybird by Flickr : www.flickr.com/photos/jstar/195805847/
  • Photo courtesy of Matt Fields by Flickr : www.flickr.com/photos/emfieldsphotography/1471268812/

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