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Blog/Opinion: Why Home Hygiene is Important

By HHI Staff

Looking at our world today, the importance of cleaning often goes unnoticed. Generally, people only notice when lack of cleaning affects the appearance or smell of their environment. But cleaning goes beyond appearance in importance, especially in places such as hospitals and medical facilities. Why? Simple, because proper disinfection and cleaning is essential in places where infections can spread easily between patients as well as staff.


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Yet, with all the attention given to cleaning in medical facilities, why should our homes be any different? Infection prevention is just as crucial in any place, and in some situations, cleanliness at home is even more important. That’s why the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene (IFH) is dedicated to promoting infection prevention through home hygiene based on science research. They share their research to promote awareness of the importance of home hygiene and to show ways to prevent infection.

IFH advocates one approach called “targeted hygiene.” IFH explains, “Targeted hygiene means identifying the high-risk sites and situations for transmission of pathogens in the home, and...[measuring] where and when it matters to reduce our exposure to these organisms.

Targeted hygiene starts from the principle that pathogens are introduced continually into the home, by people (who may have an infection or may be asymptomatic), contaminated food and domestic animals, and sometimes in water or via the air. Additionally, sites where stagnant water accumulate such as sinks, toilets, baths, tiled surfaces, waste pipes, damp cleaning and face cloths readily support microbial growth and can become primary reservoirs of infection; although species are mostly those which represent a risk to vulnerable groups. “

In summary, this approach minimizes infection risk by targeting specific, high-risk sources of infection as opposed to overzealously sanitizing an entire home. Sanitizing to the extreme can contribute to the development of antibiotic resistant microbes and can disrupt the balance of the human immune system and the natural environment. Thus, targeted hygiene is both a sustainable and safe approach.

After all, home hygiene isn’t about creating a sterile, lifeless home. It’s about protecting the occupants of the home. This is of growing importance as people are being sent home sooner after surgeries and procedures or undergoing outpatient services as these ones are susceptible to disease. Elderly individuals, pregnant women, and those with suppressed immune systems are at similar risk. Even if everyone in your family is in good health, infection control can prevent food borne diseases, colds, and flu’s and limit their spread to vulnerable people living outside the home, such as friends and coworkers. In addition, it paves the way for good hygienic habits that can make a difference when situations arise that require stricter infection control.

Moving forward, the staff at the Healthy House Institute will be sharing more from IFH’s Fact Sheets and Q&As pages. Here’s an example of some of the insight IFH offers in regards to infection prevention: Laundering of Household Linens - Does It Kill Enough Germs?


Overall, cleaning for health, as opposed to cleaning for appearance, is the true meaning of clean. Cleaning means removing what is not welcome in your home, which means not only unsightly dirt but infectious microbes that can adversely affect our families’ health. Therefore, next time you clean, hit those target zones - you’ll be glad you did.



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HHI is committed to accuracy of content and correcting information that is incomplete or inaccurate. With our broad scope of coverage of healthful indoor environments, and desire to rapidly publish info to benefit the community, mistakes are inevitable. HHI has established an error correction policy to welcome corrections or enhancements to our information. Please help us improve the quality of our content by contacting with corrections or suggestions for improvement. Each contact will receive a respectful reply.

The Healthy House Institute (HHI), a for-profit educational LLC, provides the information on as a free service to the public. The intent is to disseminate accurate, verified and science-based information on creating healthy home environments.


While an effort is made to ensure the quality of the content and credibility of sources listed on this site, HHI provides no warranty - expressed or implied - and assumes no legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed on or in conjunction with the site. The views and opinions of the authors or originators expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of HHI: its principals, executives, Board members, advisors or affiliates.

(Note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of The Healthy House Institute, LLC.)

Why Home Hygiene is Important:  Created on January 20th, 2012.  Last Modified on January 21st, 2012


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Information provided by The Healthy House Institute is designed to support, not to replace the relationship between patient/physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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