15 Ways Your Home is Making You Sick

15 Ways Your Home is Making You Sick


Heating and Cooling Systems

If your air conditioner is not cleaned properly and its filters aren’t changed, it could lead to the buildup of bacteria and fungi.  As cool air blows out, this bacterium becomes airborne and can lead to breathing problems. According to Alternet, “studies have shown that individuals who spend more time in air-conditioned environments have increased use of health care services.” They also explain, an analysis found more visits for complaints related to ears-nose-and throat problems, respiratory, and dermatological problems.”

The Refrigerator

It may sound crazy because the fridge is supposed to keep everything fresh, but did you know it could be making you sick? Don’t put defrosting meats on the top shelves, the juices can leak out and contaminate the food below it. Also, try to prevent overstuffing your fridge, as an overcrowded fridge can lead to the formation of bacteria.

Indoor Leaks

Leaks happen, but if you don’t catch it right away it could cause you and other members of your household to become sick. The first step is identifying where the leak is coming from, if it’s from a water pipe in your bathroom or your roof, make sure it’s repaired before mold forms. Mold can cause respiratory problems, sinus congestion, and throat irritation.



According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer,” and “is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year.”  It is an odorless, invisible gas that can seep into your home through the foundation and cracks in the basement.

Cleaning Products

Your cleaning products may actually be doing more harm than good. They may be cause breathing problems, headaches, and eye irritation. Make sure you check the labels on your products before you purchase them to make sure you are not cleaning with harsh chemicals.

Pet Dander

If you have pets, you may need to worry about dander — tiny pieces of skin that animals shed including cats, dogs, and birds. According to the American Lung Association, “these bits of skin can cause reactions in people who are specifically allergic to these triggers.” If you are someone that experiences allergies, it is common to experience upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms due to pet dander.

Kitchen Faucet

Believe it or not, there is a large amount of bacteria that spreads along your kitchen faucet, and can easily make its way into your food. Make sure you frequently clean it using natural cleaning products.

Water Pollution

Your health largely relies on water. That being said, if the water in your home is polluted it may cause serious health issues. Your water may be contaminated with bacteria and total coliforms. If you drink it you may experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and cramps. Make sure you find out how safe the water is that enters your plumbing and know your distribution system.

Tobacco Smoke

Does someone in your household smoke cigarettes?  If so, you are at risk for being exposed to tobacco smoke, as well as the smoker. This dangerous smoke puts you at risk for respiratory infections and lung problems.

Your Sheets

Yes, your sheets can actually make you sick. It’s important to wash them at least once a week. This will prevent the buildup of dead skin cells, body oils, and sweat. Also, make sure you fluff your pillows; this will help get rid of any dust and dead skin cells.


Photo Modified: Flickr / jetsandzeppelins / CC BY 4.0

When maintaining your lawn and gardens try to refrain from using chemical pesticides and make sure you’re aware of the threat pesticides pose to your household. Poisonings can also occur due to product combinations. Scitable explains, "pesticides are stored in your colon, where they slowly but surely poison the body." Try using organic pesticides instead.

The Bathroom

Photo Modified: Flickr / PortoBay Hotels & Resorts / CC BY 4.0

Bathrooms are one of the biggest threats to household sickness. Make sure you turn on your bathroom fan while you shower. The hot water causes moisture that can cause mold to form. Also, check your bathmat where mold and bacteria can form.


It is important to make sure you keep firewood outside. Bringing firewood in the house can cause a buildup of unwanted pests.


Carpets are likely to carry dirt, dust mites, pesticides and other pollutants brought in by your feet, pets, and shoes. Dust mites can trigger asthma and an allergic reaction in many individuals. Did you know: “Every time you spray for bugs or use a fogger, the chemicals settle in your carpet and remain there for years (Green and Healthy).”


Asbestos was commonly used as building and insulation material between 1920-1978. If you are living in a home that was made during that time you could be at risk for serious health problems. Asbestos fibers can get trapped in your lungs and cause inflammation which can cause difficulty breathing and mesothelioma.