Hardwood floors, especially in entry areas, help to reduce the spread of dirt and dust. (Photo: Design Recipes/TNS).

For so many, the desire is for home to feel like a haven, a place where you feel warm, cozy and safe. Health is also top of mind, creating a clean and healthy environment. As you look for ways to beautify your environment, why not include ways to ensure clean design?

Here are some Design Recipes tips.
• Remove shoes upon entry into your home to prevent tracking outdoor pollutants indoors.
• Wash and/or launder your clothing as much as possible to help keep your environment clean and fresh.
• If possible, switch from carpet to hardwood, especially in key areas such as entry ways. Carpeting traps odors and dust mites.
• Consider making your own cleaners. Lemon juice and water is a fantastic cleaner, as is baking soda and vinegar.
• In bathrooms, consider using a nylon shower curtain instead of vinyl. Nylon is not only a greener choice, but in many cases feels like fabric and is washable.
• In bathrooms, be sure to close the toilet seat. Microparticles are released into the air during the flushing process.
• For kitchen and bathroom surfaces, whenever possible select materials that are nonporous. Nonporous surfaces such as quartz and porcelain are the easiest to clean and maintain.
• Wash sponges or replace frequently. Place sponges in the dishwasher to clean, or replace them. This will help reduce the spread of germs.
• Deep clean. Deep cleaning on a regular and consistent basis will help maintain a healthy environment.
• Open the windows. There are so many benefits for allowing fresh, clean air to help ventilate your home from time to time.

By Cathy Hobbs, Tribune News Service. Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. E-mail [email protected] or visit her website at cathyhobbs.com.