36 expert tips for a healthier home

drawing of home with certain rooms highlighted

May 21, 2019 – Install smoke detectors. Choose furniture and carpets without harmful chemicals. Cook with the exhaust hood on. Limit the use of air fresheners in the bathroom. Dehumidify the basement.

These are a few of the tips offered in a new report titled “Homes for Health: 36 Expert Tips to Make Your Home a Healthier Home,” one of several reports from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Healthy Buildings program. Previous reports focused on healthy office buildings and healthy schools.

The Homes for Health report offers five tips for each room in a house—the bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom, and basement—as well as five tips each for the whole house and for the outside of the house, plus one overarching tip: Trust your senses.

In the report’s introduction, Joseph Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science and director of the Healthy Buildings program, and John Spengler, Akira Yamaguchi Professor of Health and Human Habitation, noted that people spend 65% of their lives inside their homes—and a full third of their life in one room, their bedroom. They said that the new guide is based on the best available scientific evidence on how to keep homes healthy.

Karen Feldscher