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You’ve been cleaning the house all wrong… and it’s giving you a stuffy nose, a nasty cough AND a dodgy tummy

Feeling unwell?

Former How Clean Is Your House star Aggie MacKenzie reveals what nasties could be lurking in your home

Empty Hoovers regularly to prevent nasty cough

If you are in the same space as an old vacuum cleaner it’s likely that you will be breathing in harmful particles.

New vacuum cleaners usually come with HEPA filters which suck in all the air and are much better for people who have allergies.

But old ones won’t have these filters on and they’ll be blowing dust all over the place.

This could cause a cough, an irritation or an infection.

Give the shower curtain a spin to prevent infections

People have shower curtains and you look down at the hem and it’s disgusting – totally black

There’ll be plenty of mould spores there.

The mould can cause aspergillosis, which is an infection of the respiratory system, resulting in wheezing, cough, high temperature and weight loss.

Whip the shower curtain off every few weeks and stick it in the washing machine.

Change bedsheets weekly to unblock nose

Bedsheets are a hotbed for dust mites.

Dust is formed from the skin cells that fall off our bodies and dust mites feed on those cells.

The mites’ faeces disrupts our airways and contains enzymes that can trigger asthma attacks.

I change my sheets once a fortnight but if you’ve got a lot of traffic between the sheets, so to speak, I’d say it’s better to change them once a week to keep things fresher.

Ditch cleaning spray for healthier lungs

A study in Norway found that regular use of cleaning sprays badly affects lung health.

If you’re using lots of these sprays, it’s a bit like smoking 20 cigarettes a day.

We’re all slightly addicted to these sprays and the fragrance they give off.

But in most cases you don’t need to use products if you use microfibre cloths.

There are millions of plastic fibres in these clothes which agitate the dirt and lift it.

Wash bath mats weekly to stop germ spread

If you think about it, you’re standing naked over your bathmat every day.

It’s not only bits of skin cells that could be dropping down but also some faecal matter.

If you don’t wash them pretty regularly – I’d say once a week – they can get manky.

If you’re sharing a bath mat make sure anyone you’re living with hasn’t got verrucas or athlete’s foot as they are easily transferred between people.

Keep pet hair short to reduce allergies

Pet dander is very allergenic because it’s full of germs and dust – it’s made up of dead skin.

Dust mites will absolutely love that.

Short of getting rid of your pets, you’ll have to be brushing them a lot – possibly wearing a mask while you’re brushing.

If you have your nose and mouth covered by a mask then it creates a barrier between the air and your throat.

I’d advise you to keep your pet’s hair short and groomed.

Fill kettle with fresh water each time to reduce carcinogens

When you first boil your kettle of water for a cup of tea, any germs or bacteria present will usually be killed.

But if you reboil the same water, the dissolved gasses and minerals become more toxic.

They can contain things like nitrates, arsenic and fluoride, which you don’t want to drink.

Nitrates in the water turn into nasty nitrosamines, which can become carcinogenic.

Clean fridge weekly to ward off Listeria

The thing about germs is that they are invisible

What you can’t see, you don’t know is there, which is why you need to be alert.

I remember on How Clean Is Your House there was a family whose fridge was a bit grubby and it had listeria that came from cheese that hadn’t been wrapped properly.

If you’re keeping raw chicken in your fridge it needs to be in Tupperware to prevent any juices running out.

Leave shoes at door to avoid diarrhea

When you come into the house, there will be residue left on your shoes from wherever you have been – which could be where dogs have gone to the toilet.

This residue could contain e-coli, which can make you very ill.

You might bring them into the house – think about toddlers crawling around on the floor.

Suddenly there’s diarrhoea and vomiting going round and no one knows where it came from

Keep towels dry to dodge a bad stomach

I would advise you to never share towels.

Think about herpes. Horrible!

But also, if a towel is wet or damp then the bacteria will love that atmosphere and grow exponentially.

Coliform bacteria, which are present in our digestive tracts and can often be found on towels, can cause a stomach upset

Wash towels after every few uses to prevent this.

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