Indoor Air Quality

Every day we are faced with many types of pollutants. It can come from buses, autos, smoking, factories, detergents, pesticides and more.

Although it seems as though the safest place to be at times is your home, you may not be entirely right. Many indoor pollutants can trigger a LOT of different health issues. Asthma, allergies and carbon monoxide are just a few of the issues your home many have.

Luckily there are a few things you can do to make sure the IAQ (indoor air quality) in your house is up to par.

In the Bedroom:

  • Washing bed linens in warm water weekly and keeping a low humidity (30-50%) will keep dust mite levels low
  • Dust mites also hide out in other places so wash stuffed toys, dust often, and vacuum regularly

In the Bathroom:

  • Mold is the allergen here and can easily be remidied by proper ventilation. Open a window or install a fan
  • Wash floor mats often

In the Basement:

  • Use a dehumidifier to aid with mold control
  • Make sure furnaces/appliances, etc. are functioning properly and there are no leaks for gas or chemicals
  • Make sure any chemicals stored there are sealed properly (paints, thinners, cleaning products) as many of these contain toxic fumes

In the Kitchen:

  • I love using gas to cook, but it does have the tendency to let off a bit of carbon monoxide. This is easy remedied by opening windows while you cook, or, if this is not an option, having a hood in place
  • Don’t leave food out so you don’t attract pests. This will cut down on pesticide use. If you MUST use a pesticide, please make sure your house is properly ventilated

In the Living Room:

  • Make sure pets have designated sleep areas. Pet dander is a SERIOUS allergen. I love my doggy, so I know it’s hard, but try to keep the pet/couch contact to a minimum
  • Vacuum often to rid living room of dust, mites, dander and so much more pollution you may not even want to know about
  • If you have a fireplace, make sure flue is functional
  • Make sure you try to get natural candles. Many release very toxic fumes

These and many more little things will ensure that your house is low in airborne pollutants. There are also many other things you can do. There are always tons of tips online for how to improve your IAQ.

Contact a radon professional for help with this naturally occurring gas.

You can find out more at the EPA website.

An original 5 Minutes for Going Green post. Keep up with Marizela and her love of all things science-related (with occasional pictures of her doggy) at her personal site, Potspoon!

8 Responses to Indoor Air Quality
  1. Yanic A.
    May 18, 2009 | 8:05 am

    Great article! Lots of very useful facts. Not sure I could stop sleeping with my cats though. LOL! After all these years, I think I would suffer more from it than they would!

    If I can add something : Another in-home danger are VOCs (Volatile organic compounds) and a great way to help deal with them is to add plants to your living areas. Here is an article I wrote a few weeks back : Purifying your home with plants – Volatile organic compounds and how plants can help!

    Hope you’ll give it a read and tell me what you think!

    Again, great blog. Yanic

  2. wendy
    May 18, 2009 | 9:01 pm

    Lots of good info here. We also have a carbon monoxide meter (or whatever it’s called) to warn us if there is any carbon monoxide in the basement. It’s a simple device (o.k. thingy) that you just plug into the wall. And forget about. Well, hubby checks it. I don’t.
    Just wanted to let you know they are available and inexpensive.

  3. Jen @OilsForWellness
    May 21, 2009 | 1:07 am

    I use therapeutic essential oils to improve indoor air quality in my home, office, vehicle, air travel, hotels,etc. Diffused oils alter the structure of molecules that create odors, rather than just masking them. They also increase oxygen availability, produce negative ions, and release natural ozone. Many essential oils such as lemongrass,lemon,cinnamon,etc are highly antibacterial and are extremely effective for eliminating and destroying airborne bacteria, fungus, mold, and unpleasant odors.

    Research shows that cold air diffusing certain oils may also:

    · Relax the body, relieve tension, and clear the mind.
    · Help with weight management.
    · Improve circulation, alertness, and mental clarity.
    · Stimulate neurotransmitters and secretion of endorphins.
    · Stimulate growth hormone production and receptivity.
    · Improve digestive function and hormone balance.
    · Relieve headaches.

    A cold air diffuser is designed to atomize a microfine mist of EOs into the air, where they can remain suspended for up to several hours. Heating essential oils by using candle diffusers or light bulb rings can render the oil therapeutically less beneficial and even create toxic compounds. Also EOs are highly flammable and should be kept away from open flames.

  4. Checking In With The Sisters
    May 21, 2009 | 3:06 pm

    […] and tackle those Spring projects around the house, this is a prefect time to take a look at your Indoor Air Quality! Did you know that indoor pollutants can actually trigger a lot of different health issues? […]

  5. Mary @ Parenthood
    May 22, 2009 | 12:32 pm

    Wiping down your shower and/or bathtub after every use prevents water spots and lowers the humidity (a bonus is that tiles around this area don’t need to be scrubbed as often).

    Washing your shower curtain regularly helps too – we have a white 100% polyester one that we bleach from time to time to ensure no mold.

  6. Marizela (Potspoon!)
    June 9, 2009 | 3:33 pm

    I’m with you on this tip! I am super allergic to mold and have a squeegee in the shower. It is amazing how much less I have to clean the shower as well. Getting rid of the water in a few second now saves time later and cuts back on cleaning and anti-mold agents I have to use down the line.

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