If your house is anything like mine, there’s a constant debate on whether we want the curtains open or closed.
While I prefer not to live like a vampire, my husband, bless his heart, thinks dark rooms are cozy and relaxing.
Finally, science has given me some ammunition to win the great curtain debate.
Not that I didn’t already know I was right, but, being married to a geologist, science goes a long way!
A new study out of the University of Oregon found that sunlight, even filtered through glass, kills a significant amount of the germs found in household dust.
This means leaving your curtains open on a sunny day could improve air quality in your home, which leads to less chance for infections and respiratory disease to take old (this is a double bonus for those of us who have kids dragging every germ known to man home from school every day).
The findings were published in Microbiome and noted that rooms exposed to sunlight had around half the bacteria of rooms left dark over a 90-day period – a difference of 12.8% of bacteria still alive in darkness and 6% in the sun.
In fact, a sunny rooms killed off as much bacteria as ultraviolet light, which is a known disinfectant.
Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg, the study’s co-author and co-director of the Biology and the Built Environment Center at the University of Oregon, explained…
“Six percent of millions of cells [the difference in bacteria levels after 90 days] is still a lot of microbes.
Until now, daylighting has been about visual comfort or broad health.
But now we can say daylighting influences air quality.”
Aside from the killing of germs, light and sun do have other health benefits – like boosting Vitamin D, which can lead to lower inflammation and blood pressure, stronger muscles, and better brain functionality.
Those of us that suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) also know that sunlight is linked to happiness and better sleep quality.
The study also found that sunlight kills bacteria associated with human skin flakes, which is a significant cause of dust in a household and is associated with respiratory disease.
Of course, there is plenty of research out there that says exposing children to germs and dirt is good for kids (my kid is going to be the healthiest kid ever, y’all), but with the millions of microbes running around even after constant exposure to sunlight, I think they’re probably still getting enough in their little immune systems.