Green Living: 5 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

It’s easy for us to take the air in our homes for granted. It’s free, readily available and doesn’t make a fuss about being breathed in all the time.

Since we don’t think a lot about our “personal” air, sometimes we don’t realize just how bad it can get. Cleaning products and chemicals release harmful gasses, mold release spores, and dust builds up, making your air unhealthy and stale.

Don’t worry, because we’ve got five great tips on how to improve your indoor air quality.

Getting Harsh Chemicals Out
Many cleaning solutions and household chemicals contain VOCs, which evaporate into the air and become an irritant and health hazard. Unfortunately, we often keep chemicals with VOCs close at hand, like under kitchen sinks and in bathrooms.

To help improve your indoor air quality, try storing these products out of the way, preferably in a garage. While it’ll be a little inconvenient, your lungs will thank you. You could also try switching to products that don’t rely on VOCs).

Radon Check
Radon is a naturally-occurring, radioactive gas that “leaks” out of the soil. If that wasn’t bad enough, it can enter your home through cracks in your foundation and various other imperfections in the building.

Because radon can increase your chances of developing lung cancer, your home should be tested – don’t worry, testing kits are pretty cheap. This guide at the EPA explains how you should go about testing your home and what to do if you find high levels of radon.

Humidity and Mold
One way to improve your indoor air quality is to reduce the humidity of your home. This isn’t to say humidity itself is the problem (though it does make hot days miserable), but rather high humidity creates an ideal environment for mold.

Due to the spores this little guy releases, it’s terrible for your indoor air quality and can be a real pain to get rid. The best thing you can do is to be proactive in the battle against mold. Use dehumidifiers in basements and ventilation fans in bathrooms to keep humidity down.

If you already have mold in your house, make sure to read this article from the EPA on cleaning up mold.

Keeping it Clean
While less dramatic than radon and not as gross as mold, dust buildup still hurts your air quality. That combination of dander, pollen, hair, and dust can causes allergic reactions and serve as a breeding ground for dust mites.

To combat this problem, try dusting and vacuuming at least once a week. If you have pets, always pay special attention to any areas they frequent (like doggie beds). Try to keep pets off of upholstered furniture, carpets, and out of bedrooms altogether.

To keep dust mites at bay, wash your bedding every week in hot water and use an “allergen-proof mattress and pillow zipped covers.”

Letting Air In
Last but not least, a great way to improve your indoor air quality is to open your windows and let in fresh air. Keeping your windows and doors shut all the time means VOCs, dust, etc. will buildup over time. Getting fresh, natural air flow helps push all this junk out and gives you a clean slate to work with.

Thanks to the EPA for the great information! If you’re looking for more tips or have questions about improving your indoor air quality, try these useful guides: 11 Ways to Improve Your Homes Air Quality, 12 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality, and Improve Indoor Air Quality Naturally.

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