Your home is your castle. You feel most comfortable and safe in your home.
Did you know that indoor air quality can be 2 to 5 times worse than outdoor air, according to the EPA?
When we use air fresheners, perfume or hair spray inside, they release particles that stay in the air. Other materials in our homes can let off harmful gases for years. Things such as carpets, shower curtains, paints, fabric, particle board, cabinets, and mattresses. Dust also contains harmful particles such as lead which can be inhaled. Newer homes are being built more airtight to reduce energy costs. However, without proper ventilation, these gases are trapped inside.
Even if you just have a normal build up of household dust, it can cause problems. Poor indoor air quality has been linked to symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. With more of us spending more time indoors, it is especially important to improve our indoor air quality.
Reduce The Sources
The best way to improve your indoor air is to reduce what comes into your home.
- Don't use air fresheners or other synthetic fragrances.
- Remove your shoes at the door to keep out a whole host of chemicals along with the dirt.
- Switch to non-toxic cleaners.
- Do not smoke in your home.
Remove What is Already Here
There are other steps to remove what may already be here.
- Vacuum often to eliminate allergens like pollen, pet dander, dust mites and dust. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter is very helpful. Don't forget vacuum those corners and under the sofa and beds.
- Wipe down baseboards and walls to remove dust.
- Take area rugs and sofa cushions outside to air out. Beat them to release extra dust.
- Open the windows and doors, daily if possible, to let new air in.
- NASA discovered that having plenty of plants can reduce up to 85% of the toxins. Palms, Boston fern, English Ivy, Peace Lily and Spider plants are good choices as they absorb the common toxins. Plants should be spread throughout your home, roughly 1 plant per 100 sq feet of space is recommended.
- Change your furnace/AC filter according to manufacturer's recommendations.
Recently I started having allergy-like symptoms, especially at night sitting on my sofa. I don't have allergies. After just one day of opening the windows, vacuuming every nook and cranny, and airing out area rugs and my sofa cushions, I feel much better.
Have any other suggestions? Please share them.
This post was in response to Reduce Footprints Change the World Wednesday Challenge regarding indoor air quality.