Improving air quality doesn’t typically top a homeowner’s list of chores. However, improving air quality in your home provides many benefits, including fewer allergens, debris and toxins. Not only will this make your home feel cleaner, it also contributes to your overall health. Here are a few simple steps you can take to improve air quality and breathe easier:
1. Clean Your Floors
One of the best things you can do to keep your air clean is keep your floors clean. Chemicals and allergens can accumulate in household dust for decades. Make sure you clean your floors on a weekly basis to prevent build-up and eliminate toxins. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter can reduce concentrations of lead in your home, as well as allergens like pollen, pet dander and dust mites. A vacuum with a HEPA filter, strong suction and rotating brushes ensures that the dust and dirt won’t just get blown back into the air. After vacuuming, use a microfiber mop with water to catch any lingering dust or allergens on your hardwood or tile floors.
2. Put Out a Door Mat
A large mat in front of your door can also make a huge difference in keeping your air clean. People track in many different chemicals on their shoes – from dirt to pesticides and other pollutants. By simply setting out a mat, you can drastically reduce the amount of pollutants getting into your home – and, hopefully, cut down on the time you spend cleaning your floors.
3. Use Natural Fragrances
Synthetic fragrances in laundry products and air fresheners emit dozens of different chemicals into the air. This can include anything from conventional laundry detergents, fabric softeners and dryer sheets to air fresheners in solid, spray or oil form. In one study, researchers found a plug-in air freshener emitted 20 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including seven regulated as toxic under U.S. federal laws. To improve your air quality, look for fragrance-free or naturally-scented laundry products. Use sliced lemons and baking soda or other natural remedies to keep your home smelling fresh and clean.
4. Invest in a Few Plants
NASA research shows that indoor plants like ferns, spider plants and aloe vera act as living air purifiers. The foliage and roots absorb chemical pollutants released by synthetic materials and any other toxins you have in your air. Don’t water your plants too much – this keeps moisture levels down.
5. Keep a Healthy Level of Humidity
Keeping your humidity around 30 to 50 percent helps limit the presence of dust mites and mold that thrive in moisture. During the winter, use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture in your indoor air and control allergens. An air conditioner during the summer months is usually enough to keep moisture away. There are several other ways to maintain an appropriate level of humidity in your home, including:
- Use an exhaust fan or crack a window when cooking, running the dishwasher or bathing
- Vent your clothes dryer outside your home
- Don’t overwater houseplants
We tend to think of air pollution as an outside-of-the-home problem. However, your home can have just as many irritants inside – from pollutants you track inside to dust mites, mold and other allergens. Working to improve your air quality is essential to maintain the health of your home, as well as your own health.
Keeping a clean and healthy home not only makes you more comfortable in the short-term, it also cuts down on many home repairs when it’s time to sell. To find a trained, friendly home inspector near you, visit the WIN Home Inspection website.