Many people fall into the trap of thinking that air quality is something outside of their homes. However, indoor air quality is just as important, if not more important than outdoor air quality. Some homes and offices may contain air more polluted than the air outside.
Pollutants can be carried into your home on furniture, such as chairs and mattresses. You can also pollute your home by using cleaners with harsh chemicals. Many pollutants may also be left over from a previous owner. There could be toxic chemicals in the paint on your walls or lingering in the carpet. None of this includes molds, dust mites and pet dander that may be present in your home.
Also, because homes are now more air tight than they used to be, the allergens cannot as easily escape. This coupled with the fact that people spend more and more time indoors, makes the quality of air inside the home important for health.
Here are five steps that will help you improve your home’s air quality:
Vacuuming can suck up allergens that have built up in your home for years. Vacuuming can also help rid your home of residues such as pollen, pet dander and dust mites. Make sure that you get a vacuum with a strong suction so that allergens are not blown back into the air. Be sure to vacuum the carpet edges, ceiling and upholstered furniture. Vacuuming a minimum of two times a week will help remove toxins from your home.
Mopping picks up the dust that vacuums miss. All you need is water to pick up the remaining dust so you don’t need to worry about the chemicals in soaps and cleaners.
Try to keep your house around 30-50% humidity. Dust mites and mold dislike dry air and dehumidifiers and air conditioning can keep them under control. Reducing the moisture in the air controls allergens and decreases the amount of pollen in your home.
The single greatest cause of indoor air pollution is secondhand smoke. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals and can cause asthma, allergies, cancer and breathing problems just to name a few. The cigarette smoke gets caught in fabrics such as curtains and carpets and pollutes your home, even after the smoke is gone. The best course of action is to quit, but if you cannot, you should smoke outside.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. It is a radioactive gas that is colorless and odorless. Uranium decay causes radon gas and can be found in all kinds of soil. Cracks in your foundation will allow gas from the soil to rise into your home. Granite countertops have also been linked to radon, but experts are unsure if the levels of radon from the countertops could cause cancer. Getting a radon test is inexpensive and takes only a few minutes. You can buy the test at your local home improvement store.
Synthetic fragrances that you may associate with cleanliness, often release harmful chemicals into the air. Companies are not required to list the chemicals that make up their fragrances because it is considered a “trade secret” so you will not know what chemicals you are spraying in your house. Laundry detergent, air fresheners, dryer sheets and oils are all examples of objects that could pollute the air in your home. Look for fragrance free products and mild cleaners that do not include artificial fragrances. Using lemon and baking soda to get your clean smell and decorating your home with plants will help cleanse the toxins from your home.