Polk County Health Department

Healthy Homes

Healthy Homes Principles

Keep It Dry

Damp and wet environments make it possible for dust mites, cockroaches, rodents and mold to grow and thrive.

Things you can do:

  1. Prevent water from entering your home by repairing plumbing or roof leaks as soon as you notice them.
  2. Prevent rain water from entering your home by keeping your gutters and downspouts clear of debris and in good repair.
  3. Clean and dry any areas that have been water damaged within 48 hours.

Keep It Clean

Clean homes reduce pest infestations and exposure to contaminants.

Things you can do:

  1. Create smooth, cleanable surfaces.
  2. Reduce clutter.
  3. Use a damp mop or cloth to remove dirt and dust on floors and surfaces. Always follow label directions when using cleaning products.

Keep It Ventilated

Increasing the fresh air supply in a home improves respiratory health.

Things you can do:

  1. Ventilate kitchens and bathrooms using exhaust fans vented to outside.
  2. Use whole-house ventilation for supplying fresh air to reduce the concentration of contaminates in the home.

Keep It Pest Free

All pests, whether cockroaches, other insects or mice, need food, water and shelter to live. 

Things you can do:

  1. Store all food (including pet food) in pest-proof, sealed containers.
  2. Seal all cracks and openings into your home.
  3. Fix any water leaks.
  4. Reduce the amount of clutter (hiding places) in your home.
  5. Store trash in covered container outside of the home.
  6. Use pesticides sparingly and follow manufacturer’s directions.
  7. Use sticky-traps and baits in closed containers.

Keep It Safe

Falls, burns and poisonings are common injuries in the home. Children and older adults are at a higher risk of these injuries.

Things you can do:

  1. Properly store and label all chemicals and medications.
  2. Keep all poisons and medications out of the reach of children.
  3. Secure loose rugs and other flooring.
  4. Install secure handrails on all stairways.
  5. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on all levels of the home.
  6. Keep fire extinguisher on hand, especially near the kitchen.

 

Keep It Contaminate-Free

Contaminates found in the home include lead, radon, carbon monoxide, pesticides, volatile organic compounds and environmental tobacco smoke. 

Things you can do:

  1. Test for radon and have professionally installed mitigation system if above EPA recommended level.
  2. Install Carbon Monoxide monitors on all levels of the home.
  3. Use lead safe work practices to fix deteriorating lead paint.
  4. Reduce the amount of clutter (hiding places) in your home.
  5. Store all chemicals, paints and cleaning supplies safely.
  6. Make your home a smoke free zone.

Keep It Well-Maintained

Poorly maintained homes are at risk for moisture and pest problems. Deteriorating lead paint is the major cause of lead poisoning in children. 

Things you can do:

  1.  Inspect, clean and repair your home routinely.
  2. Take care of minor repairs before they become large problems and expensive repairs.

Keep It Thermally Controlled

Homeowners and tenants are at risk for various health problems related to prolonged exposure to excessive heat or cold when their homes do not maintain adequate temperatures. 

Things you can do:

  1. Maintain efficient heating and cooling system by having the system inspected once per year.
  2. Seal all cracks and openings into your home.
  3. Install proper weatherization: insulation, weather-stripping and filling window gaps.

 Guide to a Safe and Healthy Home

 

 

 

 

 


Contact Us

Phone: (515)-286-3798
Fax: (515)-286-2033
Toll free: 866-209-1300
Email:
healthdept@polkcountyiowa.gov


Address: 1907, Carpenter Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50314