Did you know Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors? That’s roughly 7,884 hours a year! While we could all benefit from getting outside more often, a large portion of our lives — from work to school and even social activities — takes place within four walls. What you may not realize, however, is that the air you’re breathing might not be as clean as you think. That’s why we should all take steps to improve the quality of our indoor air, especially at home.
Clearing the Air: How to Improve the Air Quality in Your Home
- Let in fresh air: Open the windows regularly, set up exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen, and, if you can afford it, install a whole-house ventilation system.
- Keep moisture in check: Controlling moisture is the key to controlling mold. If you have mold in your home, fix the water problem and clean up the mold right away.
- Add plants: Household plants help rid the air of pollutants through absorption and photosynthesis. Try a spider plant, English ivy, or Chinese evergreen, as they’re easy to care for and are super-effective at removing formaldehyde, mold, and other contaminants.
- Bathe pets often: In addition to dander, pets track in pollen, mold, dirt, and other allergens through their fur. Bathing them often can help mitigate this.
- Vacuum and dust regularly: If pet fur can harbor allergens, so can rugs and carpets. Clean dust-prone areas often to keep the “achoos” at bay.
- Go green: Choose nontoxic cleaning products and air fresheners instead of traditional commercial cleaners, which contain harsh chemicals that are harmful to our health.
- Say no to VOCs: VOCs are gases that are emitted from household products such as paints, varnishes, and building materials. Choose low-VOC items whenever possible.
- Have air ducts cleaned: A good idea if there’s visible mold, excess dust, or pests in your air ducts. Learn more about the pros and cons at EPA.gov.
- Purchase an air purifier: Opt for one with a true HEPA filter, which can remove even the tiniest of particles (99.97% of them, to be exact).