woman filling filtered water pitcher at kitchen sink
Photo: Matthew Benson
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7. Caulk holes and crevices so that disease-carrying mice and insects won't come looking for a free lunch.

8. Filter your drinking water. Activated carbon filters—whether a pitcher, tap-mounted, or under-sink model—can cut levels of lead, chlorine, and other contaminants. Request a copy of your municipality's annual water quality test or use an at-home test kit, such as Watersafe's City Water Test Kit ($20; discovertesting.com), to check it yourself. Shown at left: Pur's 2 Stage pitcher, whose maker says it even filters out atrazine, a weed killer (from $15; purwater.com).

9. Change fridge filters before their expiration date. If your refrigerator comes with a water dispenser, change the filter every six months, before sediment buildup starts to overwhelm it.

10. Eliminate BPA-containing plastic containers that could leach the chemical—a suspected health hazard, especially for kids—into food or drink. Toss containers that have the number 3, 6, or 7 on the bottom; go to rubbermaid.com or tupperware.com for info on their products.

11. Toss cracked cutting boards. Opt for ones made of maple or a hard plastic so that germs don't have a place to hide.

12. Clean prep surfaces regularly. Scrub those cutting boards with hot, soapy water after each use.

13. Use your range-hood fan when you cook. It'll reduce cooking-related air pollutants, including carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, and will lower humidity, which can encourage bacteria and mold. Before the gunk builds up on the filter, clean or replace it.

14. Let plates and silverware dry thoroughly to discourage bacteria—and wash your hands before putting them away.
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