Poor indoor air quality is a reality many of us are facing as countries adopt widespread at-home quarantine measures. Low air quality can negatively affect your mood and health, leading to fatigue, asthma and even lung and heart disease. So how do you improve your home’s air quality to stay safe and healthy in these difficult times?
Keep your floors clean
Start by regularly vacuuming your floors. Even if you don’t have carpet, dust and other allergens can still quickly accumulate on the floor. Use a vacuum with rotating brushes and strong suction to suck up as much dust as possible. Your vacuum will be more effective if it has a HEPA filter that uses a fine mesh to trap nasties like pollen and pet dander.
After vacuuming, mop your floors as well. You only need to use water to get any dust missed by the vacuum.
Keep all fabrics clean
Make it a routine to clean all fabrics in your home when you vacuum. Dust mites and other indoor air pollutants like to settle in rugs, upholstery, curtains, cushions, sheets and blankets.
When cleaning these fabrics, use a low-allergen soap so you don’t accidentally exacerbate the problem.
Keep the humidity just right
Mould and dust mites like a damp environment. If you live in a humid climate, invest in a dehumidifier. You want to try and keep your home’s humidity between 30% and 50%.
Remember to use exhaust fans or open a window when you’re cooking, showering or using the dryer to prevent the humidity from rising.
Regularly clean filters and vents in your heating and cooling systems
Air conditioners and other heating and cooling systems can improve your home’s air quality by trapping pollutants. However, if you neglect cleaning the vents and filters of these systems, they can become overwhelmed quickly.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to regularly clean the vents and filters of your heating and cooling systems. Remember to clean them thoroughly before use if you haven’t needed them for a while as allergens can quickly build up.
Regularly service heating and cooling systems
In addition to regularly cleaning filters and vents, it’s important to schedule regular heating and air conditioning maintenance. Every six months to a year is a good time frame. Servicing helps keep these systems in good shape so they can heat or cool your home effectively and efficiently without contaminating the air.
Avoid chemical deodorisers
Synthetic fragrances are common in air fresheners and laundry cleaners and they can emit harmful chemicals. Where possible, avoid detergents, fabric softeners and air fresheners that list ‘fragrance’ as an ingredient.
Instead, use fragrance-free or naturally scented options. Your home’s air quality will also improve if you minimise the use of aerosols, like deodorants and hair spray.
If you want to add a little perfume to your home, try using essential oils, beeswax candles or plants. A drop or two of an essential oil can add a pleasant and natural smell to any room. Beeswax candles smell great and also act as air purifiers. And crushing a little lavender is a cheap and easy way to release a relaxing aroma.
Let in fresh air
Let fresh air circulate through your home so allergens and contaminants don’t build up. Even in winter it’s a good idea to open a window whenever possible to help purify the air.
If you live in the city or near a busy road, try to open your windows when there is minimal activity outside, like during the evening. This minimises how much pollution can get in. Try and keep windows shut when traffic is heavy though.
Use houseplants as natural air purifiers
House plants are great at naturally purifying the air. Some of the best air cleaning plants include ferns, spider plants, aloe vera, gerberas, English ivy and rubber plants. Their leaves and roots absorb pollutants and the plants release oxygen in turn.
Do your research and ensure you don’t choose any houseplants that release allergens or pollen or encourage the growth of mould. Read this 5 things before buying an Air Conditioner
Improving the air quality of your home is really about maintaining cleanliness. Regularly cleaning floors and avoiding using nasty chemicals are the best places to start. And don’t forget to make use of natural air purifiers like simply opening a window or getting a few houseplants.