Many of us tend to think of air pollution as being outdoors only, but it’s not. It is also indoors in the very air we breath. In fact, the air inside our homes, businesses, and places of work can be more polluted than the air outside! This becomes even more of a concern during the winter months when we spend less time outside. If your indoor air isn’t clean, you and your family can possibly develop respiratory issues such as frequent sneezing and coughing, headaches, congestion, and irritated nose, throat or eyes. Long term reactions can even include allergies and asthma. So what exactly can you do to help improve your indoor air quality?
1. Clean on a Regular Basis
While cleaning regularly is one of the best ways to reduce allergens and irritants, how you clean also makes a big difference. Some things to remember include: making sure to dust with a damp cloth rather than a feather duster so the dust does not just get pushed back into the air. It’s also important to remember to dust those hard-to-reach areas such as the top of cabinets, ceiling fans, and the top of the refrigerator. In addition, avoid using cleaners that contain toxins and other harsh chemicals. Unscented, non-toxic cleaning products are your best bet. And since carpets are a notorious for hiding a number of pollutants within their fibers, be sure to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter for best results.
2. Groom Your Pets
During the winter our pets also spend more time indoors. As a result, an increased amount of pet fur and dander are floating around your home. Make sure to bathe and groom your pets regularly, wash their bedding frequently in hot water, and keep them out of bedrooms if possible.
3. Improve Ventilation
Another great way to improve your indoor air quality is by exchanging the clean air outside your home with the dirty air inside. Do this by opening your doors and windows to let in fresh air for a few minutes even when it is cool outside. If it is just too cold, run ceiling fans to keep the air circulating. Do this especially when cooking, cleaning or painting. And always remember to flip on the exhaust fan when you cook to remove noxious odors, vapors, grease and smoke.
4. Consider Purchasing an Air Purifier
Investing in an air purifier can do a lot to help improve your indoor air quality. You can find affordable models ranging from small units to extensive house-wide systems. Make sure the unit you select is appropriate for your room sizes, and that it has a HEPA filter.
5. Regularly Change Your Air Filter
Regularly checking and replacing the filters in your heating/cooling system will greatly minimize the amount of contaminants in the air. This should be done on a regular basis, usually once every season. You can also consider installing an electrostatic filter, which uses an electric charge to catch more airborne particles than standard filters.
6. Keep Indoor Plants
Plants not only add color and life to your rooms, the also work to filter out pollutants from the air we breath. In fact, plants can also absorb air toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene! A few of the most popular varieties of indoor plants include English Ivy, Spider Plant, Mother In Law’s Tongue and Peace Lily. Just remember to check on whether or not the plants you choose can be dangerous to young children or pets.
What are some of the things you do to help improve your indoor air quality?