You may think that just because you regularly vacuum and dust that you're keeping your home clean, but the truth of the matter is that you can't clean dirty air with regular housekeeping alone. Considering the majority of Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors—65 percent of which is at their residence—it's important that the air is hygienic. There are a lot of pollutants that can be found at home, including pet dander (a major contributor), mold, bacteria, chemicals from cleaning solvents, cosmetics, plastics, and more.
It's important to address air quality to prevent your children from getting a respiratory disorder such as bronchitis, asthma, bronchiolitis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Symptoms to keep an eye on include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and excessive mucus. Cleaner air also helps your organs function properly by providing more oxygen absorption in the brain, which results in greater energy and increased concentration. While you may have to invest a little money to improve the conditions in your home, you'll eventually wind up saving cash because you won't be spending money on doctor visits and medication. Here's how to improve the air quality in your home so that you and your family can stay healthy.
The easiest place to start is to reduce allergens. Make sure your pets are groomed often, and (if possible) keep them off the furniture and carpets. In fact, it's not a bad idea to forgo carpeting all together. Implement a non-smoking rule and make sure any puffing is done outside the home, not just just out the window. Check that the humidity level is less than 50 percent to prevent dust mites and mold, but change your sheets at least once a week regardless as both dust and mold can harbor in bedding.
Install an Electrostatic Air Filter
A proper filter for your heating and cooling distribution systems can help control dust, but an electrostatic model has the power to remove pollen, dust mites, mold, and bacteria, too. An electrostatic filter connected to your ductwork can be pricey (around $1,000 for a professional installation), but it can be worth it if your kids have allergies because it's a magnet for dust. The less expensive route would be to spend around $100 annually for disposable filters.
Use a HEPA Filter in Your Vacuum
You should be vacuuming at least once a week—more if you have a pet—so place a HEPA filter in your vacuum to maximize its efficiency. You'll trap 99.97 percent of particles that are .3 microns and larger, meaning more allergens will be removed than with a standard model.
Avoid Line-Drying Your Clothes
You may think fresh air and sunshine are good for your clothes, but it's actually better to throw them in the dryer to prevent bringing airborne allergens into your home.
Plants are like Mother Nature's air purifier, and some varieties have the power to filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs) derived from chemical-based cleaners. Opt for aloe and spider plants if you don't have a green thumb.
Invest In a Professional Deep Cleaning
Daily and weekly maintenance on your part is important, but invest in a professional deep cleaning every three months or so, including steam cleaning the carpets. Not only will hiring a pro save you a lot of time, but these experts are more knowledgeable when it comes to washing walls, safely moving a refrigerator to clean underneath, removing the gunk in the grout between tiles, and much more.
While the air quality in your home is very important, you'll also want to get your family plenty of fresh air and engage in some fun activities outdoors such as backyard camping, flying a kite, gardening, bird watching, or going on a bike ride. Not to mention, bone-building vitamin D will give everyone a mood boost. Come wintertime, don't let the cold weather deter you from this ritual. Bundle up and hit the ice-skating rink or have a good old-fashioned snowball fight.
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