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Lisa D. Jordan, Chatham County Cooperative Ext.
Have you ever thought about what you bring into your home on your shoes and clothing? You may be tracking in insect fragments, lead dust, pesticides, pollen, pet hair, fungal spores, cigarette ash, or even human skin flakes. Now think of your children playing on the carpeting you just walked across. Since they are more likely to be sitting and crawling on floors then placing their hands in their mouths, they are at the greatest risk of exposure to the contaminants found in household dust; however, anyone with asthma, allergies or a weakened immune system should make every effort to reduce household dust.
Around 30 to 40 percent of the contaminants inside your home are brought in from outdoors. As you and your pets walk across rugs and carpeted floors, the contaminants are deposited throughout your home. You can reduce contaminants in your home with only a few changes. The first thing is to add a grate-like scraper mat outside exterior doors, including the door between your garage and house. You need to be sure to scrape your feet before entering the house. Just inside the door, place a highly absorbent doormat that will trap soil and water below shoe level. Choose a doormat that has a non-slip backing and be sure to keep it clean.
To reduce contaminants even more, take the additional step of removing your shoes and leaving them at the door. Removing your shoes will leave the majority of the contaminants behind, reduce wear and tear on the carpeting, and decrease time spent vacuuming. To prevent falls, wear an indoor shoe, slipper or a sock with a non-slip sole. If you have balance issues you may want to keep a pair of hard soled shoes to wear while you are inside.
For more information on ways to reduce contaminants in your home contact your local county Cooperative Extension Office. They offer information and educational materials on a variety of topics. Free Spanish nutrition sessions are available in Chatham, Appling and Wayne counties. To learn more contact: Chatham - Carmen Martinez 912.652.7994 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Appling/Wayne - Fani Orellana 912.367.8130 or email@example.com