Get fresher indoor air and breathe a little easier

Freshen up your indoor airQuick quiz: Which type of air has more toxins: The air outside your window, which is full of exhaust fumes and factory emissions, or the air inside your home, which smells like the vanilla candle you have lit? The answer may surprise you. It’s actually the air inside, which is around 10 times more polluted than the stuff you breathe outside. Many innocent-looking items in your house, like furniture, paint and carpeting, emit toxic gases called volatile organic compounds. Combine those with chemicals used in common cleaning products and hidden mold or dust mites and you have a not-so-fresh environment. In the summer, throwing open the windows to let the fresh, outside air in works great, but this time of year, that’s the stuff of daydreams. Instead, follow these simple steps and you’ll breathe easily all winter long.

Switch to non-toxic cleaning supplies. Many cleaning products are made with chemicals that be harmful to your skin and lungs. Switch to natural cleaners and you’ll avoid those harsh ingredients.

Take out the trash. Cans of paint, containers of pesticides and other toxic items should not be kept in the home. Even if it’s in your basement, the fumes can seep into the rest of the house. If you want to hold on to them, make sure they are in a separate garage or tool shed.

Only use low-emission paints and carpeting. New carpet and fresh paint jobs release gases that can be harmful to your health.

Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Sucking up dust and dirt with one makes sure the lead, pollen and dust mites stay firmly in the vacuum and out of your lungs.

Enact a no-shoe policy. Pollutants and chemicals can be tracked into your home on people’s shoes and stay there. If you don’t feel comfortable making guests hang out in their socks, put out a door mat and ask them to wipe their soles.

Limit faux fragrances. Candles, reed diffusers and scented sprays may smell like natural things, but they are often made with chemicals. Instead, try one of these DIY ways to get a beautifully smelling home naturally.

 

Photo credit: Lydia Brooks

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