South Africans know that winter is no time to fool around. Yes, our country is known for its amazing springs and summers, but winters can get quite harsh depending on what region you find yourself in. So, while nobody can blame you for rushing to shut windows and doors to keep the warm air inside, you might want to consider how many harmful contaminants you’re effectively closing up in your home.
Is winter really the best time to introduce dust mites, pet dander, and mould to potentially kick-start your allergies and sickness? We think not!
That’s why we’ve already started implementing these 6 ways of keeping our homes fresh and welcoming throughout winter. Best of all is that these can be done without any professional Architect or Interior Designer by your side…
Open your windows (doors too, if it’s safe) at least twice a day (preferably once in the morning and once in the afternoon) for only about 10 minutes. This ushers in fresh outdoor air without cooling down your home’s interior temperature.
Ever heard of a humidifier? Turns out they’re not just for people with sinus problems. Switch yours on to put some moisture back into your home’s air, but don’t go higher than 50%. Dust, mites, mould and all those other things we’re trying to avoid simply love high humidity.
Winter is no time for laziness when it comes to housework. Continue to vacuum when necessary (especially if you have wall-to-wall carpeting which dust mites love), wash your sheets at least weekly in hot water to kill contaminants, don’t neglect changing your heating system’s filters (which should be done every three months), and be sure to bathe your pets regularly to minimise dander.
Capetonians are used to wet winters by now, so take a tip from them: be sure to seal up any leaks if you live in an area prone to heavy rains in the chilly season. That’ll help keep mould at bay (as long as you stop the leak and dry up the affected area in less than 48 hours).
Know what can help chase away those mouldy smells? Whatever you’ve got cooking on your stovetop, that’s what! So, simmer a creative mix of aromatics in a pot of water in your kitchen for an effective “welcome winter” vibe. We recommend lemon slices, mint and eucalyptus; or a homely combination of oranges, cloves and cinnamon.
Yes, we love taking on a design / construction project as much as the next person, but there is a time and a place for everything. Studies have shown that painting walls (or introducing new furnishings or upholstery into a home) during winter can release hazardous compounds such as formaldehyde and acetone when they're new. Thus, rather implement such types of design- and décor ideas after winter when you can comfortably leave open more windows and doors to air out any worrying particles.
Speaking of spicing up your home, let’s see How to work with an Interior Designer and a budget.