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10 Keys to a Cleaner Home and Indoor Air

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 07 January 2015 08:27

If you're like most people, you probably don't look forward to cleaning your house. You put it off and then when it comes time to clean, you rush through it as fast as possible. But let's face it, it's something we all have to do. So why not try to think about it differently and find the positives? For instance, a clean home  isn't just nice for appearance, but it can help reduce your chances of developing or agitating certain health problems.

The quality of air in your home can greatly affect you and your family's health. You may be surprised, but indoor air quality in a home can easily be worse than the air quality outside. There are lots of pollutants that can affect the air quality, but the level of moisture and the right air circulation have a big impact on it as well.

Improving Air Quality in the Home

1. Ensuring that furnaces, fridges, dehumidifiers and other appliances have clean, effective filters and fans are the first step to improving indoor air quality. They'll help reduce moisture and decrease the amount of particulate pollution.

2. Make sure any air vents that are between the indoors and out stay clean and clear. Don't let dirt, debris, leaves, snow or anything else start to build up in them or around them.

Pull out that fridge and vacuum the grill on the back from time time and make sure drip trays are cleaned out so you don't end up with a mess of mold. Speaking of mold, make sure any and all plumbing problems are dealt with fast and effectively. The tiniest drip could lead to the perfect environment for mold to grow.

4. You know you should be cleaning out the lint in your dryer, but every once in a while you should get down and dirty and do a complete, thorough cleaning. This will take a little bit of time, but it's worth it. Here's a great step by step guide for doing so.

5. This is something that no one really thinks about... your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are favorite little spots for dust and spider webs to gather. This can reduce their effectiveness. So next time you're dusting, make sure to remember to dust them out too. Speaking of dusting... use a moist cloth or special dusters that trap the dust to prevent it from escaping into the air.

6. Air circulation is normally a good thing, but if you have a garage attached to the house you want to do everything possible to ensure that air is not getting circulated into the house. Garages genearlly have a lot of pollutants that can affect your health. Any connecting doors should seal completely and weather stripping should be checked from time to time to make sure it's in good shape.

7. Get yourself a good quality, filtered vacuum. Your everyday vacuum will only filter particles that range from 30 to 50 microns, which means the rest is being disbursed right back into the air. The first type of vacuum you can look into is one with ULPA, which is a specification that measures its filtering efficiency. It'll be marked with its ULPA certification number to indicate how effective it is. You can also get one with a HEPA filter. Both do a very good job at trapping particles and sealing them in.

8. If you have pets, you almost certainly have pet dander in your home. Frequently wash linens and bedding in water at least 130 degrees to help kill off mites and their eggs. If possible, get some mite-proof bedding.

Skip the toxic cleaners full of potential pollutants. Instead, mix even parts of vinegar and water then drop in enough drops of your favorite essential oil to get the aroma that you want (and as strong as you want it). Put it in a spray bottle and you have completely natural cleaner that works on pretty much anything. Caution: Don't use on granite countertops.

Go greener, literally. Plants have the natural ability to clean the air. Aloe vera is a great choice and will thrive in a sunny kitchen window. Plus, you have it on hand for wounds and burns. Win, win. Another one is the “spider plant” (Chlorophytum comosum). This one's a good choice if you have pets. Plus it's extremely resilient and can't be killed very easily, so good if you don't particularly have a green thumb. It can help the air fight against carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, benzene and xylene (commonly used in rubber, leather and printing industries).

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