5 Easy Actions to Make Your Indoor Air Quality Even Better – One You Can Do Right Now!
It’s fair to say our home has been a bit of a germ zone lately!
Between myself, husband and 2 kids we’ve had a succession of sniffles, coughs, colds, sore throats…
Undoubtedly there’s always lots of bugs going round at this time of year, and with young children it’s inevitable that they’ll pick things up from their school friends and then ‘kindly’ share them with mum and dad!
But lately I also got to thinking – could our health be being compromised by the air we’re breathing in, particularly indoors?
Now, I’m no medical expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I figured it can’t be a bad thing to improve your indoor air quality, right?!
To that end, here’s my top 5 tips for healthy indoor air quality:
1. Open Your Windows – The One You Can Do Now!
I love the invigorating sensation a blast of cold, fresh air brings. I can almost picture all the stale, fusty air that has been building up inside my home being sucked away!
Of course, in the winter I might only leave my windows open for a few minutes or so at a time! But long enough to feel that I’ve got a good dose of new air circulating round.
Ventilating your home regularly by opening your windows helps to replace carbon dioxide with oxygen, and also helps to mitigate against a build-up of moisture, which in turn can lead to mold.
2. Reduce Humidity Levels
On the subject of mold, we’ve been blighted in the past with lots of colonies of yukky mold cropping up on our window frames upstairs.
I now realise the root cause of this problem has been the lack of an extractor fan in our upstairs bathroom.
Until we get one fitted I’ve started to use a dehumidifier – it’s startling actually how much moisture it draws out the air in our house!
You can help to prevent dampness, mold and mildew in your own home by using an extractor fan in your bathroom when bathing or showering, and one in your kitchen when cooking.
Indoor clothes drying
When it comes to reducing indoor humidity you could also maybe limit the amount of clothes you dry indoors. If not done properly this can also encourage dampness and mold to thrive.
Remember that if you use a dryer for your clothes vent it outside, use a neat little condenser box, or even better use a condenser type dryer which captures the water removed from the wet clothes and stores it safely in a container inside the machine. Check out this great article on the science of clothes drying which is packed with more information to help you dry your clothes efficiently.
3. Clever Cleaning
I will be the first to admit that cleaning is neither my passion nor my forte! With 2 young children, it can seem like a futile/never-ending task! 😉
However, I’ve learned a couple of little tricks that can make it a bit easier and which might also help improve your indoor air quality.
When selecting a vacuum cleaner, consider one with a HEPA filter if your budget allows.
A HEPA filter is superior to a regular filter in capturing those microscopic particles such as mold spores, dust and pet dander.
That’s because in order to be HEPA-certified the filter must be capable of capturing 99.97% particles down to 0.3 microns in size – i.e. the ultra-tiny ones. Definitely something to consider if you share your home with pets, smokers, or if you’re prone to certain allergies.
Another great product I use all the time is my ‘E-cloth‘.
This is a brand in the country I live in, but if you can’t find the same one, essentially what you’re looking for is a microfibre cloth which cleans effectively without the use of any cleaning products. Microfibres mops are available to buy too.
Microfibre cloths capture more dirt and dust than traditional fibres – I use mine all the time to clean my mirrored wardrobe doors, shower screens and all the windows in my house and they come up a treat. And as I don’t need to use any cleaning liquids or polishes with them it also saves me money!
4. Go Natural
On the subject of cleaning products, think about making a switch to natural ones which aren’t packed full of synthetic chemicals.
Some cleaning products contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which aren’t particularly great for the environment, and which may also aggravate pre-existing medical conditions such as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).
I especially like the brand ‘Method‘ but there’s a pretty good choice out there, as more and more consumers are ditching old-school bleaches and potent potions in favour of more natural options.
I guess in some respects it’s like going back to the things our grandmothers used back in days of old, utilising everyday items like vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda. Take a look at the article I’ve written which has a collection of recipes for different homemade natural cleaning products and their many uses!
It’s not just cleaning products which can contain contaminants which may pollute your indoor air, but lots of things which contain synthetic fragrances such as air fresheners, laundry detergents, and personal care items like soaps, shampoos, hair sprays and perfumes.
It undoubtedly involves a lot of effort to completely eradicate items with synthetic compounds from our everyday lives, but even just making a few small changes can help to make a difference.
You might also want to consider investing in an air purifier to help improve your indoor air quality by drawing out many different contaminants.
There’s a great choice out there now for all budgets. My most important piece of advice would be to make sure you buy one that’s suitable for the size of room you’ll be using it in. Don’t be tempted to go for something which is recommended for a smaller space – it won’t work as well and will just be a waste of your money!
And secondly, if budget allows, go for one with a HEPA filter, for the reasons mentioned earlier.
5. Keep Appliance Maintenance Up To Date
My final top tip for healthy indoor air quality is to make sure any gas appliances you use are safe, properly maintained and regularly checked.
We pay a monthly fee to our energy company and in addition to covering the cost of any repairs if our boiler breaks down we also benefit from an annual boiler check to make sure everything is in good and safe working order.
Also be sure to replace the batteries regularly on your carbon monoxide detector.
So there you have it – my top 5 suggestions for cleaner, healthier air in your home. None of them rocket science but instead relatively straightforward things you can do without too much effort or expense,