10 Tips for Breathing Cleaner Air Indoors
If your allergies are a problem outdoors, then your home should be a safe haven from the itchy eyes and sneezing. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case. Many things can lead to poor indoor air quality, so we’ve gathered 10 helpful tips, beyond just vacuuming, for keeping the air clean in your home.
1. Keep Clutter to a Minimum
While it looks nice to have a collection of books on your coffee table, these items are really just providing more surface area and hiding places for dust. You especially want to keep your bedside table clear of clutter, so you aren’t breathing in the extra dust collecting there while sleeping. This tip not only helps you breathe better, but also makes dusting surfaces easier as there is less in the way.
2. Brush Your Pets Regularly
Pet dander is a major allergen for many people, so the less of it collecting in your home the better. You can reduce pet dander by brushing your pet on a regular basis (preferably outdoors). If your dog or cat sheds, then this will also cut down on the amount of hair you find in your home in addition to allergy issues.
3. Don’t Allow Smoking Indoors
Secondhand smoke is known to cause numerous health issues, respiratory problems and can even lead to death. The smell of smoke is absorbed by furniture, carpet and the walls in your home, so even after the cigarette is gone, the smell lingers, causing people to sneeze and eyes to water. Ask smokers to smoke outside of your home to protect you and your family.
4. Fix Leaks / Run a Dehumidifier
A leak in your roof or foundation, or just high humidity, can lead to mold and mildew growing in your home, which amplifies asthma symptoms, causes coughing and wheezing, and, in some cases, can even be toxic. Have a professional check your home for leaks and fix any issues as quickly as possible. If you still have issues with high humidity, then run a dehumidifier in the humid space to get rid of the dampness.
5. Replace A/C Air Filters
When to replace an air filter will vary from home to home. If you have pets, then you’ll probably want to replace your filter more often than most. Inspect your air filter monthly and when it’s dirty enough, change it. After doing this for a year, you should have a good idea of how often your filter needs changing. A clean and efficient filter will help keep a lot of allergens out of the air you breathe.
6. Open a Window
Believe it or not, many experts say the air outside is cleaner than the air in your home. Dust, pet dander and other allergens are caught in your home and the same air is continuously being moved throughout the house. Opening a window or door for a few minutes will help get rid of stale air and help you breathe more easily. (Avoid opening windows on high air pollution days or days that are really windy.)
7. Use Less Chemicals
A clean smell isn’t necessarily a good thing. Artificially scented cleaning products smell nice, but are hazardous to the lungs. Use unscented cleaning products (look for ones marked “low VOCs”) and avoid using other chemical-producing products like hairspray, paints and air fresheners in the home.
8. Remove Your Shoes
Removing your shoes at the entry way or even outside is a good way to keep dirt, dust mites, fungi and other allergens out of your home. Your carpet will quickly absorb anything you track in on your feet, so the best way to keep your home clean is to leave your shoes at the door.
9. Wash Your Sheets Frequently
Washing your bed sheets every week will keep both bed bugs and dust mites at bay. Dust mites feed on human skin and live in bedding, mattresses and pillows (as well as carpets, upholstery and even stuffed toys!). To reduce dust mites in your bedding, use bed bug-resistant covers and wash your bedding weekly in hot water.
10. Avoid Wood-Burning Fireplaces & Stoves
Fireplaces and wood or gas stoves produce harmful gases such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. Wood-burning units also give off particulate matter and soot that can get into your lungs and make it difficult to breathe. The best way to avoid these issues is to not use any wood-burning products in your home.
Following all or even just one of these suggestions should help you breathe more easily in your home.