You know that there is pollution when you go outside, particularly in heavily populated areas where there are a lot of cars on the road or industrial places where toxins are used. You might be surprised to find that there is also pollution lurking inside. Most people don’t realise that they are being exposed to dangerous chemicals, irritants and pollutants on a daily basis without taking measures to protect themselves. In fact, one estimate states that indoor pollution kills at least 40,000 people in the UK each year.
Indoor air pollution comes from a variety of sources including, gas cookers, fumes from new furniture and carpet, air fresheners, cleaning products, cigarette smoke, faulty heating systems, dust mites, mould and pet dander. All of these pollutants can have detrimental effects on your health, including exacerbating allergies and respiratory conditions. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to keep the air in your home clean and fresh.
Buy an Air Purifier
One of the easiest ways to clean up your home’s air is to buy an air purifier. There are a huge range of options on the market, making it easy to find just what you need. An air purifier works by pulling in air, trapping dust, dander, mould, pollen and other contaminants, then releasing clean, fresh air back into the room. Some air purifiers also kill bacteria, germs and viruses, helping prevent illness. If you choose not to go with an air purifier, there are plenty of other things you can do to remove air pollution from your home.
Vacuum Your Floors Often
Many indoor pollutants settle in carpet fibres, so it makes sense that vacuuming regularly is a good idea. Use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter, which does a much better job of sucking up all the toxins in your home and keeping them from entering your airways. Be sure you do a thorough job all through the house. You might also want to vacuum your furniture and mattresses every so often as well.
Quit Smoking Inside
Whether you’re a smoker or you live with one, the best step you can take toward cleaning the air inside your home is to move the cigarettes outside. There are several chemicals in cigarettes that make them a bad choice for your health, particularly if you are breathing the second-hand smoke. By requiring your family members, roommates and guests to smoke outside, you keep the air inside healthy and fresh.
Change Air Filters Regularly
Changing the air filters in your heating and cooling systems, you ensure that the units are doing their best to remove indoor pollution from the air. When the filters become too clogged up, they aren’t able to trap contaminants as easily, which means they are hanging out in your home and you’re breathing them in. Proper maintenance of your heating and cooling systems is a really easy way to keep your air quality up.
Don’t Use Candles Inside
Scented candles smell great and offer your home a touch of uniqueness, but the truth is that the chemicals used to give the candles their scent are harmful to your health. The same goes for air fresheners and wood fires. They’ll all release pollutants into the air that can interfere with breathing and raise the risk of certain health problems, cancer included. Essential oils are a good alternative.
Use Your Exhaust Fans
Your home likely has exhaust fans in the bathroom, but you may want to install them in the kitchen and utility room as well. When turned on, these fans suck cooking pollutants, scents and chemicals from cleaning products and dust and dander from your home. It’s fairly easy to install such fans and you’ll be so glad you did.
Store Chemicals Properly
If you keep pesticides, strong cleaning products, glue or solvents in your home, make sure they are kept in a well-ventilated space that is away from where you spend most of your time. That way you aren’t breathing them in all the time. Store such products in the garage, utility room or shed and then wear a breathing mask when you go into those spaces. That way, you have what you need, but it isn’t harming the air quality in your home.
Instead of simply covering up bad smells in your home, seek them out so you can get rid of them. Maybe you have a rotting piece of food behind the rubbish can or your children aren’t always hitting the toilet when they use the bathroom. By getting rid of the cause of the odour, you are cleaning up the air, thereby getting rid of the smell.
Just like vacuuming removes pollutants from the fibres in your home’s carpet and furniture, dusting helps eliminate mites and dander from the rest of your home. Use a good quality duster at least once a week to keep air fresh and clean. Avoid strong dusting products, such as furniture spray, as it releases harmful chemicals into the air.
Control Animal Activity
If you have a pet, using a HEPA filter on your vacuum and washing your animal’s bedding once a week can really cut down on the dander in your home. You also want to keep outside critters out so be sure your home is sealed up to prevent them getting in. Keep food in the pantry or fridge to cut down on the temptation for mice, rats, ants and other animals to get in.
It might seem a bit overwhelming, but keeping your air clean will become a habit in time and that will make it much easier to take steps to clean it up. An air purifier is a great choice for bedrooms, kitchens and living rooms and should be used in conjunction with the other tips on this list for the best results. If you continue having health problems or breathing difficulties, be sure to see your doctor to rule out a bigger problem.