Air pollution is a much bigger problem than most people think. It’s actually causing thousands of deaths all over the world. Studies have estimated 10,000 deaths occur every day because of air pollution. It’s hard to believe such a thing could happen because you can’t see air. Out of sight of mind, right? Wrong. Although you can’t see the air, the effects of air pollution are clear. If you don’t believe air pollution will affect you, think again. Outdoor air pollution isn’t the only problem. Indoor air pollution also exists, and it can have the same negative effects as outdoor air pollution.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), indoor or household air pollution is one of the leading causes of disease and premature death, especially in the developing world. Something as simple as being exposed to smoke from cooking, or the volatile organic compounds (VOC) present in your home’s paint, can cause premature deaths. Luckily, household air pollution is much easier to solve than outdoor air pollution. You can make your homes safer for your family by ensuring good indoor air quality (IAQ). Here’s how you can improve the IAQ in your homes:
1. Clean your home regularly.
It’s important to always keep your home clean; you want to eliminate as many household pollutants such as pollen, pet dander, dust, and smoke. The best way to do so is by vacuuming every week. Vacuums with HEPA filters are the best kinds, especially for people with allergies or asthma. These kinds of vacuums pick up and trap household pollutants, ensuring a cleaner and safer home for you to live and breathe in. You should also get your air ducts cleaned by a professional. Plenty of air pollutants can get stuck inside your air ducts, and it’s difficult to clean ourselves. Hire professional air duct cleaning services for your home.
And if vacuuming isn’t enough, wipe down or mop the surfaces of your homes. But take note of the cleaners or soaps that you use. Make the switch to fragrance-free cleaners, soaps, and detergent. Better yet, why not use organic or natural ingredients such as baking soda and lemons to clean your homes instead? Heavy cleaners are usually made from harmful chemicals that contribute to indoor air pollution. Aerosol sprays (hair sprays, cleaners, polish, and even air fresheners) should also be avoided. These are some main causes of indoor air pollution.
2. Ensure proper ventilation in your homes.
Having proper ventilation in your homes is a must for several reasons. First of all, it allows smoke from cooking and other air pollutants to rid itself of your homes. Second, it controls the humidity in your homes, getting rid of excess moisture, which in turn gets rid of dust mites and mold. See, dust mites and mold like to be around moisture. Having proper ventilation around your house will help you get rid of these pollutants.
The most important places in your homes to have proper ventilation are the kitchen, bathroom, and the laundry or drying area. Make sure to always crack a window open or install an exhaust fan in these areas.
3. Make your homes a no-smoking zone.
Smoking and second-hand smoking is the biggest cause of respiratory diseases, asthma, cancer, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), heart attacks, and stroke. Protect your family from these diseases and protect your home from pollution by making it a no-smoking zone. If you’re a smoker yourself, you should try to stop smoking. Cigarette smoke can still affect your family, even if you don’t smoke at home. The smoke clings to your clothes and can still contribute to household pollution.
4. Have more plants inside your homes.
A study conducted by NASA showed that having plants in your home improves IAQ. They can remove organic chemicals such as benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde. All of which can be found in the household and are cancer-causing substances. If you’re afraid that you won’t be able to take care of the plants, don’t worry. Tons of houseplants are easy to take care of. Snake plants or Mother-in-law’s Tongue are a great beginner plant. They only need to be watered once a week and can withstand being in the shade. For more beginner houseplants, read this article by CNN.
5. Pick your furnishings wisely.
Another way to improve the IAQ in your homes is by picking your furnishings wisely. Here’s a list of what to look for in furnishings:
- Make sure they are flame-retardant free
- Low VOC or no VOC
- Natural fiber cushions or soy-based foam alternatives
- Best if Greenguard certified
- Better if the manufacturers are part of the Sustainable Furniture Council
- Are made with at least 70% organic material
- Do not contain chemical dyes or other additives
Don’t take indoor air quality for granted. We want our homes to be safe for our loved ones, and we can do so by making sure that our IAQ is great. Get your home’s air quality tested to see what you can do to improve.