Outdoor air quality is a big concern for most people, with smog from cars and factories polluting the air, but as most Americans spend the majority of their time indoors, we have to be just as aware of the factors contributing to poor air quality in our homes. Some of the major culprits of poor indoor air quality include allergens such as pollen, dust, bacteria, chemical cleaners, air fresheners, and beauty products.
These pollutants can cause also cause allergic reactions, such as headaches, coughing, sneezing, and irritation of the nose and eyes. You may have experienced some of these symptoms yourself, but thankfully there are a number of simple ways one can improve the air quality in our homes.
Use Safe Cleaning Products
The first tip is to use alternative cleaning products. Many cleaners contain volatile organic compounds, such as bleach and ammonia; all of which are known irritants. Even when not in use, the vapors of these chemicals may continue to leach into the air if not properly sealed. Instead, try using simpler and inexpensive alternatives such as soap and warm water, or simple compounds such as vinegar and baking soda. Many of these alternatives have multiple applications around the home, including cleaning and deodorizing. It is worth noting that “green” products are not necessarily safer than traditional cleaning chemicals. Fortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency has a list of safe cleaning products, which can help you in making a more informed decision.
Keep Your House Clean
Image via Flickr by Elaine_Smith
Routine cleaning is a simple, obvious way to keep your air quality under control. Allergens, such as dust, pollen, and bacteria, enter your home from the outside and get trapped in your carpet, upholstery, and window coverings and can be prevented by practicing good hygiene by regularly vacuuming and dusting. A good tip is to dust and vacuum from the top down. If you have pets, you may need to clean more regularly as their hair and dander may need to be removed more often. This simple task will improve your overall air quality and diminish symptoms in those suffering from allergies. Routine cleaning also gives you an opportunity to inspect the home for other irritants, such as mold.
Steam Clean Your Carpet Professionally
Although vacuuming your carpet is something you can do on your own, it is not enough to completely get rid of all allergens. A regular vacuum cleaner simply cannot get rid of the large amount of debris that is trapped deep in the threads and pores of the carpet. As such, consider having a professional company thoroughly clean your carpet twice a year.
Monitor Your HVAC Air Filters
Last, but certainly not least, you should consider checking and replacing your HVAC air filters. Filters trap all of the aforementioned allergens and become clogged over time and lose their functionality, resulting in poor quality air being recirculated around the house. Changing your air filter every three months will ensure that you are breathing clean air.
Living indoors can pose a threat to one’s health if the air you’re breathing is not pure. Practice these simple ways of maintaining your indoor air quality, and you will prevent, and diminish, allergic reactions for you and your loved ones.