Spring Clean Your Indoor Air

It’s time to face a hard truth. The air inside your home is far more polluted than the air you breathe outside. Lead in house dust, fumes from cleaning chemicals, formaldehydes in carpet and cleaning products and even the paint on your walls can cause many short and long-term health issues. Check out these 10 Ways to Spring Clean Your Air.

  1. Suck it up. Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter, which helps trap harmful particles such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites and tobacco smoke. Run the vacuum over high traffic areas several times and don’t forget walls, stairs and upholstered furniture. Make sure to wash out the filter regularly.
  2. Buy a plant (but not just any plant!)  Believe it or not, some plants can filter your indoor air.  Snake plants filter out formaldehyde, bamboo palms filter out benzene and trichloroethylene, and corn plants are best for removing xylene, which can be introduced by varnishes, lacquers and gasoline. Check out NASA’s list of air filtering plants!
  3. Be picky about cleaning products. To avoid potentially harmful fumes, purchase nontoxic, non aerosol, unscented cleaning products (or make your own using household products).
  4. Open windows. Opening a window is a great way of circulating fresh air around your home (especially if you’re cooking, cleaning or painting). If it’s too hot or cold to open a window, turn on the ceiling fan and don’t forget to flip on the exhaust fan when you’re cooking. Keep air moving so that vapors, grease, and smoke don’t linger.
  5. Purchase an air purifier. They can be small (for one room) or large for house-wide purifying. Look for a style featuring the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers’ (AHAM) seal of approval. You don’t have to break the bank; models are available for under $50.
  6. Regularly check and replace your filter. This simple step is one of the easiest ways to minimize contaminants in the air. The filters on your home system likely need to be changed either once a month or once every three months, depending on the type you’re using (check the label).
  7. Do some laundry. Wash not only your clothes, but also your linens, fabric shower curtains and bedding. Also, be sure to wash all new clothes and fabrics before using them because they can retain chemicals from the manufacturing process. Check out this recipe for a homemade, toxin free laundry detergent.
  8. Have a smoke-free home. We’re not just talking cigarettes. Scented candles and wood burning fireplaces can also release pollutants. Try candles of the non-toxic variety.
  9. Use a door mat. Go pick out a fun door mat to reduce the amount of dirt, pesticides, and other pollutants from getting into your home. Go a step further by leaving your shoes at the door.
  10. Reduce moisture. Keep mold and dust mites away by controlling the humidity level in your home. You can do this by making sure your home is well ventilated or by purchasing a dehumidifier.


Image credit: Liz West via Flickr

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