Improving Indoor Air Quality
Some simple steps for improving your indoor air quality are provided below:
- Increase air ventilation by opening a few windows every day for five to ten minutes, preferably on both sides of the house.
- Get houseplants! NASA has found that houseplants remarkably improve the air in your home.
- Take off your shoes and leave them by the door as soon as you enter the house, to prevent tracking toxic particles from room-to-room.
- Discourage tobacco smoking in or around your home.
- Use non-toxic cleaning products, such as baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and vinegar.
- Don’t immediately hang dry-cleaned clothing in your closet. Instead, hang them outside for a day or two. Better yet, see if there’s an eco-friendly dry cleaner in your city that uses some of the newer dry-cleaning technologies, such as liquid CO2.
- Use safer personal-care products. Avoid aerosols and look for VOC-free cleaners.
- Avoid commercial air fresheners and scented candles, which can release literally thousands of different chemicals into your breathing space.
- Vacuum and shampoo/mop carpets, rugs, and floors regularly. Every time a person walks across the floor, a whirlwind of irritants is stirred up.
- Upgrade your furnace filters. Modern filters are better at efficiently trapping particulates. Additionally, have your furnace and air conditioning ductwork and chimney cleaned regularly.
- Avoid storing paints, adhesives, solvents, and other harsh chemicals in your house or in an attached garage.
- Avoid using non-stick cookware. Ceramic cookware is a good alternative.
- Ensure your combustion appliances are properly vented.
- Opt for safer and more eco-friendly materials, such as VOC-friendly paints, when building or remodeling.
- Opt for sustainable hardwood flooring instead of carpet. Carpet traps a multitude of particles such as pet dander, heavy metals, and all sorts of allergens. If you choose to install carpet, look for one labeled “VOC-free” to avoid toxic outgassing.
- Make sure your house has proper drainage and a sealed foundation.
- Control pests by sealing cracks, crevices, and leaks. Properly store food and avoid leaving it out for any length of time.