In my previous post, I shared the importance of knowing our indoor air quality (IAQ). Here, I would love to share with you some of the important things I have learned, and try to practice, to improve the IAQ in my own home.
How to improve your IAQ?
Some of the contributors to poor IAQ are unavoidable, like the air we exhale and the skin we wear.
So what can we control?
The choices we make about what we bring into our homes and how we maintain our dwellings can have a great effect on our IAQ. From the cleaners we use to the home furnishing we buy, every choice matters.
- The best thing you can do, and the easiest, is to open your windows. Next, turn off the A/C or heat, kick on the fans, and let nature take out the old air and bring in the new.
Too hot? Too cold? I get it. This might not be possible year round. There are many other things we can do.
2. Be mindful of the products you use in your home. There are many ways to clean without using harmful chemicals. Aim to clean your home weekly if possible; a little every day goes a long way. Dusting and vacuuming are essential to minimize the buildup of contaminants. Try to do at least these two things weekly.
3. Change the filters to your heating and air conditioning system regularly. Be sure to vacuum the filter cover every time you change it out, if not more often. The best filters are ones that are HEPA certified because they catch the most particles. I know these can be expensive when compared to the cheap, generic alternatives, but do what you can, when you can. In the long run, it’s less expensive than a chronic respiratory illness.
4. If you have pets, groom them regularly and do so outdoors or in the garage. When you do, less airborne particles from brushing, trimming and bathing your pets will infiltrate your airspace.
5. Buy second hand when you can. Clothing and furnishings are not made like they used to be. Sadly, we live in a world with a throw away mentality. It is possible to find quality furniture and second hand clothing that have already released any harmful toxic chemicals that may have existed.
6. When buying new, do your research, and search for companies that use eco-friendly practices in their products. If your new items can be machine washed, do so twice before wearing them or storing them in the home. Don’t forget to set your washing machine to the hottest hot possible. By doing this, dust mites will be eliminated.
7. Contain the contaminants. Buy allergen covers pillows and mattresses and wash them as often as you wash the sheets.
8. Ditch those air fresheners and grab a diffuser with some essential oils. If you are not ready to invest in a diffuser, put out a jar of white distilled vinegar to absorb any unwanted scents in the air. If you don’t like the smell of the vinegar, put in a few drops of an essential oil you like.
9. Get some house plants, or at least one, just to start. If you lack a green thumb, keep them in a bathroom that has a window. This will allow them to absorb the excess moisture in the air – staying alive longer and cleaning the air before mold can set in. Plants serve as nature’s filter by cleaning our air and providing fresh oxygen. In addition to this, they add beauty, too.
In summary, our health is directly affected by the air we breathe, and it is wise to be mindful of the things that surround us in our home.
Try this: Each morning, enjoy your morning cup of coffee near an open window before the sun hits high in the sky. In the winter, try the same, but later in the day.
Don’t forget, our indoor air quality is important. Enjoy the fresh air.
The Selective Sage