Throw Open the Windows!

With spring finally in full force in most areas around the country, many people are tackling, or finishing up, their deep cleaning to welcome summer.

Something you may not have considered cleaning, however, is the air in your home.  Did you know that most homes have much higher percentages of air pollution than anything you would find outdoors?  Scary, but true!

So, what can you do to help clear the air?  Well, there are a few simple steps you can take to help your family breathe easier.

-Open the windows and let the fresh air in!
In our efforts to seal every nook and cranny in the summer and winter months so as to not let in (or out) any hot air, making our homes more efficient, we often don’t consider that we are trapping in the pollutants along with the temperature.  A nice cross-breeze can not only simply regulate the temperature of your home in these warming days, but also help rid your home of congested, poor quality air.

Ditch the conventional cleaners! As I have discussed before in prior posts, what you use to clean your home can usher in a plethora of harmful chemicals, causing toxic fumes!  Try switching to greener cleaners, the best of course being the ones you make yourself!  Check out this post for some great green-cleaning recipes and ideas.

Choose your candles wisely! Paraffin candles do about as much good for the air quality in your home as hooking the exhaust pipe of a semi-truck up to your duct work!  Look for brands that use soy or beeswax and essential oils for scent.  Illume and Beanpod are a couple of yummy, green examples.

Avoid chemical air fresheners! Whether they come in a spray, a fan or a little plug-in motion-sensor activated device, they are all chemically based, and while possibly improving the scent of your home for a short time, they lead to the long-time pollution of your air.  Instead, why not try some of the non-paraffin candles mentioned above or a natural essential oil diffuser (such as a lamp ring)?  Opening the windows can also bring in the clean, natural scent of the outdoors- what can be better than that?!

Be careful of the big stuff! Whether you are buying a new couch or new carpet, be sure they are properly aired out before bringing them inside.  Carefully investigate your purchases because many brands of furniture don’t even undergo the curing process until they are in your home- not cool!  Try to look for brands that use natural, non-toxic materials, and if you are not able to buy those then just remember, if you can smell it then it is still off-gassing, so don’t let it in until the smell is gone!

Obviously, these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things you can do to green-up your indoor air, but at least they are a start!  Do what you can to make a difference, even for just five minutes, and work your way up from there!

Happy breathing!

An original 5 Minutes for Going Green post. Follow the rest of MacKenzie’s musings on being a birth and postpartum doula while pregnant, totschooling her son, and still finding time to knit, at Mama Kenz Studio.

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4 Responses to Throw Open the Windows!
  1. Hyla
    April 17, 2009 | 4:05 pm

    Fantastic post!

  2. Marj
    April 17, 2009 | 5:10 pm

    I love to breath the fresh air of spring. This is a great post.

  3. Robin
    April 17, 2009 | 6:15 pm

    I’m pretty good about airing my house out, and come spring I have carpets cleaned and aired. I also have been buying soy candles for some years now. But I still have a bad habit of using store bought cleaning agents such as Lysol. I think this weekend I shall try your cleaning recipes. Thank you….

  4. Carpet Cleaning NY
    February 1, 2010 | 11:42 am

    I agree with the blogger. I’ve cleaned carpet and upholstery professionally for over 9 years now and I must admit the odors from the fumes. If the chemicals are affecting my breathing and irritating my skin to the level that it has, than I must have done a lot of damage to my body over the last 9 years. This year 2010 will be dedicated to using only green cleaning, people friendly products. I would offer this as a service to all of my customers but I think that I’m at the point where it’s time to make the permanent switch for the sake of my health.

    Thanks for the great articles. I’ll try to follow up regularly.