How to Fight Allergens and Take Your Home Back!
In order to live a clean, healthy life, we need to make sure that air quality in our homes, offices, and so on are free of pollutants. This includes dust; the extracts from the combustion of fuel in cars, heating, and cooking; carbon monoxide; and other harmful particles. If you’re worried about indoor air pollution, the good news is that there are a few simple things you can do to make your home healthier.
What is Indoor Air Quality?
It is important that homeowners take the right steps to ensure that these pollutants don’t make their way inside the house and cause harm. “Air quality” refers to a measure of those indoor air pollutants. Tools used to measure indoor air quality include radon sensors, carbon monoxide detectors, and VOC (volatile organic compound) detectors.
Why Does Indoor Air Quality Matter?
Most homeowners are carefree when it comes to the indoor air quality of their homes. They always assume that their homes are clean and the air quality is much better than outside. However, though your indoor space may be free of car exhaust, pollen, and carbon monoxide, that doesn’t mean the air is completely pure.
There are a number of household items that give off particles that can be hazardous in high enough concentrations. The indoor air quality matters because continued exposure to these particles can cause a number of health problems. If someone has allergies, they may start to act up, and even those without allergies may develop breathing problems.
Seven Tips to Improve Your Home’s Air Quality
Ventilate the Space
This may seem like an obvious tip, but most people don’t properly ventilate their homes. Ventilating helps get rid of toxic chemicals as well as carbon dioxide. A lot of people think that by opening windows, you let outdoor pollutants in, but you usually find more pollutants indoors than outdoors. Nature has its own way of regulating environmental toxins.
The level of indoor pollutants usually peaks when you bring in new furniture in or paint the walls. Even if those aren’t the case, you should ventilate your home every day. It’s fairly simple to do: just open your windows for about 10 minutes daily. This allows pollutants to leave your home and bring in fresh air to improve the indoor air quality.
Dust and Vacuum Regularly
It is hard to ensure that your home stays dust-free. Dust isn’t just dirt from outside; it also consist of our own shed skin cells. Rather than looking for a way to barricade yourself inside, it is easier for you to clean regularly to make sure the dust doesn’t stay around. You don’t have to be a neat freak, but make an attempt to dust, vacuum, and mop your home at least once a week. This way, the dust doesn’t settle or build up for a long period of time.
Keep a Smoke-Free Home
Cigarettes are not just hazardous to the smoker, but those around them, too. That is why most states have started to ban indoor smoking in public places. Cigarettes have thousands of different chemicals that impact both the smoker and those around them.
The best way to combat this is by making your home smoke-free. If anyone wants to smoke while they are at your house, ask them to go outside. This will keep you and others in your home free from the chemicals and smoke from cigarettes.
Keep Your Air Conditioner Clean
The AC vents should be cleaned to make sure that the air coming through them is not polluted. To ensure the AC is clean, you’ll need to check the filter and the vents.
Check the AC the air filter every month and replace it every 3-4 months. When you feel that the filter has caught too much dust and dirt, you change it immediately. If not, then you can just clean it out and put it back in.
The vents also need to be cleaned properly, so take the vent covers off and, using a vacuum with a long hose, vacuum inside the vent to pick up dust and dirt.
Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
The products you use for cleaning can help you trap and dispose of many air pollutants. However, you’ll want to make sure that the products themselves aren’t releasing anything into the air that could be harmful to your health.
- Many companies produce eco-friendly cleaners and sprays that are pollutant-free.
- Buy a HEPA filter for your vacuum so it traps most of the air pollution, rather than simply circulating it. Be sure to vacuum once a week.
- If you mop, buy a microfiber mop; this will allow you to reach and pick up dirt from places the vacuum can’t reach.
Keep a Healthy Humidity Level
Dust mites and mold need moisture to grow and develop into a problem. Mold is not only hazardous for the foundation of your home, but it also produces mycotoxin and allergens that can have an impact on your health. It is important to monitor the humidity level of your home so both mold and dust mites don’t get the moisture they need to grow.
Aim for an indoor humidity level between 30-50%. To do this, you can:
- Buy a dehumidifier that fights allergens and helps control moisture.
- While cooking or showering, open a window.
- Open windows as the clothes dryer vents
Use Plants as Air Filters
Houseplants play a vital role in improving home air quality and fighting toxins such as trichloroethylene and benzene. However, you can’t rely too heavily on plants to remove all toxins and pollutants as they don’t have the capacity to capture everything. The plants that we recommend for your home include:
- Variegated Snake Plant or English Ivy: These work to filter out benzenes, xylene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.
- Florist’s Chrysanthemum or Peace Lily: These filter out all the toxins that the above while also eliminating ammonia.
If you follow all these tips but are still concerned about indoor pollutants, simple air quality testing can identify an unhealthy particles. From there, you can work with a trusted HVAC specialist to ensure that you’re eliminating those pollutants before they become a problem.