How To Improve Indoor Air Quality
A lot of us are concerned about air pollution especially the air we breathe outside of our homes. This is because we tend to think of smog, haze, ozone or smoke when we hear the word ‘air pollution.’ However, research shows that the air inside your house or apartment may actually be more harmful than the air outside. The air inside your home may be polluted by lead from dust, formaldehyde and other chemicals mostly coming from household cleaning products and fragrances. Not only that, your furniture and paint may also contribute to a compromised indoor air quality.
While children and the elderly are the most vulnerable to these allergens and pollutants, indoor air quality is a highly serious matter. Repeated exposure may pose harmful effects on your health in the future. The need to address this problem arises because today, we are spending more time indoors; and because modern-built homes are airtight, indoor irritants cannot escape easily. Therefore, we are now more exposed to these bad guys now than we were many decades ago.
Here are some simple steps to improve indoor air quality:
- Start by identifying the main sources of indoor air pollution. They include the following:
- Cigarette and tobacco smoke
- Household products such as cleaners and pesticides
- Radon and carbon monoxide
- Building materials such as lead, formaldehyde and asbestos
- Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. Many toxins including flame retardants pile up in dust bunnies and brooms are not as effective in removing dust as vacuum cleaners can. Be sure to use a vacuum cleaner that has strong suction, rotating brushes and a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestance) filter. Focus on walls, the edges of your carpets and upholstered furniture because these are the areas where dust accumulates the most. It is recommended that you vacuum two times a week or more and regularly wash your filter.
- Doing so enables you to pick up the dust that vacuuming leaves behind. You don’t even have to use soaps and other cleaners to clean the dust out. Water is enough. For best results, use microfiber mops and dust cloths.
- Floor mats are important. In order to keep the dust out of your home, place a large floor mat by each door of your home. This way, the amount of dust, dirt and other pollutants entering your home is reduced. A big mat allows even those who don’t wipe their shoes to leave most of the external pollutants on the map and not on your floor.
- Lead is one of the most harmful pollutants out there – exposure to lead for young children can cause serious problems such as brain, central nervous system and kidney damage. They are the ones most vulnerable to lead toxicity because they tend to get dust on their hands and then put their hands inside their mouths. One way to protect your family from this is to have people remove their footwear when entering your home.
- Maintain a healthy humidity level. Moisture attracts dust mites and mold. Keep your humidity at 30%-50% to keep allergens under control. To control humidity especially during warmer months, use a dehumidifier and/or an air conditioner. An exhaust fan or an open window during cooking, washing the dishes or bathing can also reduce your home’s humidity.
- Keep your home smoke-free. Secondhand smoke is very harmful to everyone. Smoke emitted by a cigarette contains more than 4000 chemicals which contribute to ear and respiratory infections, cancer and other major health problems. If you have a smoker in your home, encourage them to quit and support them.
- Keep your home fresh. Having indoor plants at your home is an inexpensive and a more efficient way to improve indoor air quality because plants absorb toxins and aid in producing clean oxygen. It is recommended to have one plant per 100 square feet of your indoor space.
How about you, what are your tips in improving air quality? Share them with us in the comments section below!