If you’re a parent, you may think that wintertime sickness is just par for the course. But this season doesn’t have to be accompanied by sniffles and sneezes. Ensuring your family gets ample sleep, exercises regularly, and maintains a healthy diet (even during a time filled with holiday feasting) can certainly help to boost their immune systems. But keeping your home environment clean can also be an important step to take in staving off sickness.

While you can’t necessarily keep your kids from being exposed to germs at school, you can do your part to keep your house free of the pathogens and contaminants that might make them sick. So if you don’t want to be the subject of a citizen’s arrest and be read your Miranda Rights before being locked up for poor housekeeping, you might want to keep these tips in mind.

Choose the Right Cleaning Products

Although your car has 17,000 times more bacteria than your home has, that doesn’t mean you can afford to skip out on cleaning your domicile. However, you should pay close attention to the types of cleaning agents you use to accomplish these tasks. Many of the most popular household cleaning products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carcinogens like formaldehyde. These chemicals have been linked to several health issues, ranging from respiratory problems to cancer. One recent study even found that there may be a connection between disinfectant products and unhealthy body weight among children. When you clean your home, make sure to use products that contain natural ingredients; these may be either store-bought or homemade, but you’ll know for sure that you’ll protect your family in the process of using them.

Clean Before You Cook

Bacteria and grime can gather just about anywhere, but the kitchen tends to be one of the worst room offenders for dirty conditions. Kitchen cabinets can last for up to 50 years, so you might be concealing decades-old dirt without realizing it. Even if you wipe down surfaces regularly, there still might be hidden harms. If kitchen appliances aren’t cleaned thoroughly and regularly, bacteria and mold can build up over time. Not only can dirty ovens be a fire hazard, but the smoke produced from the buildup can be harmful to your lungs when inhaled.

And, of course, your refrigerator could be a major source of contaminants. The drawers in your fridge may well contain microorganisms like salmonella and E. coli, which can cause foodborne illness, so you should disinfect drawers and shelves at least once per month (and make sure to thoroughly wash produce before consuming). Even the fridge seal should be sanitized regularly, as one survey found that 83% of homes had mold growing on this one spot. And while it should go without saying, your family should make a habit of taking out the trash and washing dishes and cutlery to avoid pests and contamination.

Kick Out the Clutter

Whether in your living room, the front hall, a home office, or your master suite, clutter can be a real killer. Not only can clutter have negative effects on your mood, but it can also make it more likely that you’ll get sick. When a room is cluttered, it’s going to be a lot harder to clean — and to notice when conditions are dirty in the first place. And considering that the average home is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom space, multiple rooms can get cluttered quickly.

Need some extra storage space? A shed might be a good investment for the future, but make sure you’re accounting for an extra 25% of space to account for future use. Not surprisingly, dust and contaminants can build up in these conditions, which can aggravate conditions like asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems. Even in hardy concrete structures, which can last for about 100 years, harmful contaminants easily build up. Some studies have found that cluttered homes can make it more likely for occupants to overeat or eat unhealthy foods, which can have consequences for health, as well. Moreover, household clutter can lead to trips and falls (and injuries stemming from those incidents). So if you want to protect your family’s well-being, it’s time to tidy up and clear out what you truly don’t need.

Improve the Air Quality

Once you start cranking up the heat, your family will likely find that the air in your home is a lot drier. This can lead to cracked lips and skin, bloody noses, and sinus headaches. These symptoms can be made worse by extra dust and dirt that could be circulating through your air vents. It’s a good idea to clean your ducts and vents and to change your HVAC filters regularly to minimize contamination and allergenic symptoms. You might also consider using humidifiers in your home to add some moisture back into the air. Since your body needs moisture in order to trap bacteria in your mucus (which helps you to avoid getting sick), it’s generally a good idea to combat dry air in this way. However, you’ll need to be careful. If the humidity in your home gets too high, bacteria and other germs may thrive. Humidifiers can also grow bacteria and mold if they aren’t cleaned properly and on a daily basis. Make sure you follow all instructions if you use humidifiers and measure the amount of humidity in the air to ensure it’s at the optimal level.

While this is by no means a definitive list of all the areas in your home that deserve a thorough cleaning this winter, starting with these tips can help to preserve your family’s well-being throughout the season (and beyond). By focusing on getting your home ready for the holidays and minimizing potential exposure to contaminants, you’ll be able to ensure a happy and healthy 2020 for all.