According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans spend on average 86 percent of their lives indoors. Unfortunately that lack of sunshine can take its toll, particularly from indoor air pollution.
The Lowdown on Indoor Air Quality
Indoors, air quality is typically several times worse than outdoor air for a number of reasons: mold producing humidity; buildup of dust, dander, and other allergens; trapped pollutants from viruses, bacteria, and the off-gassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in building materials; and more. This can present a seriously scary setting. And the more you’re inside, the greater your frequency of exposure. Ever wonder why winter is cold and flu season? It’s not the weather – it’s all those contaminants trapped in your house! Though especially harmful to children, the elderly, and asthma sufferers, exposure is harmful to everyone and linked with allergies, respiratory, and cardiovascular issues.
How Can You Make the Best of Your Indoor Environment?
Feel the breeze.
Briefly opening windows – even cracking open a few when it’s cold – can lower concentrations of toxic chemicals and carbon dioxide (CO2) in your home. Five to 10 minutes on a daily basis is all you need. Even a bit of breeze from a fan can prevent mold growth in moisture-prone areas.
Keep your HVAC healthy.
Dirty ductwork and filters can harbor huge amounts of dust, pollen, mold, and other allergens. Filters can and should be changed by you every three months, at a minimum. In addition, annual HVAC service ensures leak-free, efficient operation, and professional cleaning when the need arises.
Get a handle on humidity.
Optimum relative humidity (RH) in your home should be in the 30-60 percent range to limit dangerous mold growth and airborne dust mite pollution. Make a healthy choice: Invest in an RH monitor and humidifiers/dehumidifiers as necessary.
Don’t let floors get filthy.
Floors are infamous for harboring pollutants. Cleaning regularly is essential:
Carpets: Vacuum once a week with a HEPA filter, and have carpets professionally cleaned once or twice a year to prevent pollutants from being redistributed through the air.
Hard floors: Mop once a week with vinegar and water. Be sure to dry wood and laminate immediately after with a towel to prevent damage. Regular, professional cleaning in those often ignored, tough-to-reach hard floor areas can also remove trapped contaminants.
Be preventive! Use a doormat and have guest and family members remove shoes before entering your home.
Make chemical cleaners contraband.
Synthetic cleaning products, from multi-purpose cleaners to air fresheners, are infamous for emitting VOCs and leaving chemical residue throughout the air and on surfaces in your home. Arm yourself with knowledge on natural cleaning methods – and use them – to save your lungs and some serious dough.
Enlist plants for protection.
NASA’s 1989 Clean Air Study uncovered the ability of house plant foliage and roots in eliminating airborne toxins including benzene, trichlorethylene and formaldehyde. Great choices include aloe, English ivy, spider plants, variegated snake plants, peace lilies, chrysanthemums, azaleas, Chinese evergreens, and bamboo palms. NOTE: Be mindful of toxicity to children and four-legged family members when making plant selections.
Opt for safer scents.
Want a great smelling home? Essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, thyme, and citrus oils not only smell great, their antibacterial, antifungal properties boost indoor air quality as well. Why not store-bought air fresheners? Many of their gases contain VOCs, and none have been tested for potential dangers caused by inhalation – only skin irritation.
Ready to feel a little better on the inside? Contact Rainbow International® today.