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As our homes become increasingly well sealed, it may seem like indoor air quality would be improved. But the opposite actually tends to be true. Outdoor air pollutants can be less likely to escape after infiltrating your home while indoor humidity levels and temperatures can turn your home into a breeding ground for some types of mold, germs, and bacteria.
By understanding indoor air pollution sources, taking proactive measures to improve indoor air quality can be simple. Many of these suggestions can be easily incorporated into your everyday cleaning routines and have a potentially dramatic effect on the indoor air quality in your home.
One of the best ways to control your indoor air quality is to keep pollutants out. Properly sealing doors and windows can help prevent microscopic particles like allergens from infiltrating your living space in the first place.
Dirt and allergens can also hitchhike on your clothing and shoes. Simply having a doormat and wiping your feet before entering your home can be immensely beneficial.
This may sound counterintuitive while also recommending that your home be properly sealed, but allowing fresh air to flow throughout your home can help remove some types of pollutants. This is especially true of areas where combustion particles may be emitted, like in kitchens, near wood burning stoves and some types of space heaters.
Along with opening windows to create airflow while cooking, one of the best ways to improve indoor air quality in your kitchen is to install a range hood. Range hoods can not only help cool down your kitchen while you are working over a hot stove, but they can help remove smoke, odors and other contaminants with the flip of a switch.
Candles, air sprays, and incense may smell wonderful, but they can release volatile pollutants into the air. The same is true for cleaning and self care products which can be loaded with potentially harmful chemicals and fragrances. Read labels and avoid artificially scented products or look for natural alternatives whenever possible.
While it may be possible to reduce the amount of pollutants that enter your home in the first place using some of the techniques we have already discussed, one the best things you can do to remove existing pollutants and improve your indoor air quality is to deep clean regularly. Here are three things to focus on as you clean your home to improve indoor air quality in addition to the use of air purifiers:
One of the few easily visible signs of indoor air pollution is the dust that accumulates throughout your home. Dust is typically a nauseating collection of skin cells, hair, pet dander, bug feces and pollutants from household products. Dust can be disturbed by everyday activities like simply walking around your home and recirculated through the air, so removing it as completely as possible and as often as possible is ideal.
Vacuuming can help remove visible dust and potentially hidden allergens and irritants scattered throughout your home. Use a vacuum that can drive bristles deep into carpeting to remove ground-in dirt. A good selection of tools can help to gently remove accumulated dust from hard-to-reach places like above cabinetry, on ceiling fan blades and along window trim.
Dyson vacuum cleaners feature whole-machine filtration that can trap up to 99.99% of dust and bacteria as small as 0.3 microns in boost/max mode, expelling cleaner air than the air you breathe and come with an array of attachments to help make cleaning more efficient.
Beds, couches, drapes and other upholstered furniture and accents can be breeding grounds for a nearly invisible pest. These common household items collect a staggering amount of shed human skin which becomes food for dust mites. By regularly washing bedding, curtains and using an upholstery tool to deep clean mattresses and cushions, you can help to remove the mite's source of nutrition.
Heating and cooling systems are responsible for circulating conditioned air throughout our homes and workplaces. If these systems become contaminated with allergens or other pollutants, then it is likely that the problem is going to affect all the other areas of your home.
Because full duct cleanings are expensive and laborious, it is recommended that you only do a deep clean if it is absolutely necessary - like when you have seen insects or rodents or you have noticed excessive mold growing on surfaces throughout your home. A simpler step towards ensuring your vents are clean is to regularly replace filters.
As the Surgeon General puts it, "quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health." The same is true for those around you. Environmental tobacco smoke, more commonly known as secondhand smoke, is classified by the EPA as a Group A carcinogen and is linked to an extensive series of health effects including heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and many more.
Of the 4,000 compounds present in tobacco smoke, over 40 are known to cause cancer. Increasing airflow in spaces where tobacco products are burned does not significantly limit the exposure of secondhand smoke, so quitting is the best way to prevent exposure for yourself and those nearby.
Temperature and humidity alone may not introduce new pollutants and allergens, but certain conditions can help existing molds, allergens and pests multiply. By controlling the temperature using your thermostat and the humidity with a humidifier like the Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool that purifies and humidifies the air simultaneously, you can help create conditions that are less ideal for some pollutants to thrive.
You might think that testing for pollutants would be the first step towards improving indoor air quality. But the truth is that the list of indoor air pollution sources is lengthy and most of these pollutants are completely imperceptible by sight or smell.
While it is absolutely recommended that you test your home for especially harmful pollutants like radon and carbon monoxide, taking some of the simple steps we have mentioned above can go a long way towards limiting your exposure to less hazardous pollutants like dust, dust mites, common allergens, combustion particles, and more.
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