You might be fastidious about cleaning your home interior, sweeping, mopping, scrubbing, and disinfecting, but there’s one area of the home you might be overlooking – the exterior. If you haven’t considered a thorough home exterior cleaning, you might risk your family’s health. The reason is that without regular cleaning, your home’s exterior becomes the base for various microscopic organisms that may threaten the health of those near the vicinity. Here’s what you need to know about the hidden world of your home’s exterior.
What are the Types of Microbes Found on Homes?
There are three main types of microbes that you will find growing on the exterior of your home. These include:
- Bacteria: These can be found in soil, air, water, and our skin. While some forms of bacteria are vital for life on earth, such as those responsible for decomposition, there are others like Staphylococcus aureus that lead to skin infections, chest infections, and other illnesses.
- Algae: Another microbe that could be found growing on your home exterior – particularly if you live in damp climates or a particularly forested area – is algae. You would have noticed algae growing on roofs and gutters, causing discolouration. While algae are not harmful to one’s health, they can be detrimental to your home’s exterior, destroying the paint and eventually damaging structural material.
- Fungi: The third common type of microbe you’ll find on your home exterior is fungi. While you might enjoy fungi in mushroom forms in a sauce or salad, it’s unlikely that the fungi growing on your home exterior is the type you’ll find in the grocery store. Fungi can also be used in medication, such as antibiotics, but fungi growing on your home’s exterior can be harmful to your health. It’s known to lead to infections, allergies, and a number of health complications, especially for those who are prone to respiratory challenges.
What Causes Microbe Growth?
There are several reasons that microbes are more likely to grow on the exterior of homes in certain areas than in others. Here’s a look at the main factors that contribute to the development of fungi, bacteria, and algae on home exteriors.
- Moisture: All microbes require a certain amount of moisture to grow, so the more moisture, the more chance you have of microbial growth on your home’s exterior. If you live in a rainy or humid climate, you’re more likely to find microbes.
- Nutrients: Along with sufficient water, microbes require nutrients to survive, as they are living organisms. Many building exteriors provide the required source of nutrients, such as debris and other dead plant materials necessary for microbial growth.
- Warmth: The higher the temperature, the more likely you are to experience microbial growth on your home’s exterior. If you live in a warm, subtropical climate like Brisbane, then it’s likely you’re going to experience some form of microbial growth on your home’s exterior.
- Limited sunlight: Combine warmth and moisture with increased shade, and you’re creating the ideal environment for microbes to flourish. Direct sunlight will limit the growth, whereas shaded areas stimulate this growth.
- A lack of ventilation: If you reside in an area that’s protected from through drafts, sea breezes, or other ventilation, then microbes are likely to flourish.
- Poor maintenance: Finally, add in a lack of exterior cleaning and maintenance and you’re going to experience some form of microbial growth on your home’s exterior.
What are the Potential Health Risks of Microbes?
It’s important to note that microbes are important for the environment, with many important for human health such as helping with digestion. However, certain microbes can be detrimental to the health of your family and, in some cases, even life-threatening. Here’s a look at a few of the health risks microbes pose when not addressed.
- Allergies: Some people are more prone to allergies than others, with young children particularly vulnerable. Certain forms of microbes, including pollen, dust, and mould, can create allergic reactions. These range from mild reactions such as sneezing to more severe wheezing, breathing difficulties, and skin irritations.
- Respiratory diseases: Microbes are also responsible for a number of respiratory diseases that can be incredibly harmful to the young and elderly. These include flu, pneumonia, and even tuberculosis.
- Skin infections: Bacteria, such as staph, can lead to skin infections such as ringworm, which can be incredibly uncomfortable.
- Foodborne illness: If the microbes are growing close to the kitchen, your food could be contaminated with bacteria leading to foodborne sicknesses such as Salmonella or E. coli. You could also risk them getting a virus such as norovirus.
How to Get Rid of Microbes
It’s clear that ridding the exterior of your home is not only beneficial for your family’s health, it’s also necessary for the structural and aesthetics of the building as well. So, how do you get rid of microbes? Here are some tips.
- Regular cleaning: You will need to clean the exterior of your home regularly to reduce the growth of microscopic organisms. By removing the debris, dirt, and grime, you’re eradicating the nutrient-rich organic matter that microbes need to feed off. Remember that cleaning will include intensive cleaning of the walls, roofs, gutters, solar panels, and windows to prevent the growth of microbial organisms, often using a high-pressure system.
- Chemical treatments: If you have not cleaned your home exterior in some time, then you might be contending with extensive bacteria, fungi, and algae growth on the home. This might require some chemical treatment intervention, including ammonia or bleach, to tackle the microbial organisms.
What’s the next step?
You can consider tackling your exterior home cleaning on your home, provided you have the equipment and know-how. If not, it’s best to get in cleaning specialists and, in Brisbane, that’s Kleen Genie. The team understands the importance of a clean home, from a microscopic level. In addition to making your home safer for all residents, a thorough house cleaning will increase kerbside appeal and enhance the value of your home.