5 Indoor Air Contaminants to Eliminate
You want the air you breathe in your home as clean as possible. However, some items you use can contaminant the air and you don't even realize it. This poor indoor air quality can lead to issues with allergies, asthma attacks, and other respiratory problems. When you're trying to keep the air in your home clean, make sure you eliminate the following indoor air contaminants.
Pollen is particularly troublesome for those who have seasonal allergies. While it's impossible to remove all pollen from your home, you can cut down on the amount that gets tracked inside. Start by wiping your shoes on a mat and removing them and your jacket as soon as you get inside. You should also keep the windows and doors closed on high pollen days. Additionally, wash your hair before you go to bed at night. Your hair is a magnet for pollen, and sleeping on pillows covered in pollen can seriously aggravate your allergies.
The products you use to clean and polish furniture around the house can contain harmful ingredients that are toxic or irritating if inhaled. Numerous furniture polishes, cleaning solvents, and air fresheners contain volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These can cause headaches, throat irritation, damage to the central nervous system, and more. Other toxins in cleaning products include sodium hydroxide, ammonia, and triclosan. To avoid these chemicals, use natural cleaning products such as vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and lemons.
While mostly known as a chemical used in the embalming process, formaldehyde is also released from items in our homes, such as furniture, cabinetry, carpet, foam insulation, and fabrics. It causes irritation of the nose, eyes, throat, and skin, and high levels can cause some types of cancers. You can minimize your exposure to formaldehyde by staying away from economy-grade furniture, varnishes, adhesives, and paints.
The secondhand smoke from a cigarette contains over 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which are known to cause cancer. Secondhand smoke can also cause lung cancer and heart disease in people who have never smoked and ear infections in children. There is no safe level of secondhand smoke. The best way to keep cigarette smoke outside of your home is to ask anyone who smokes to do so outside. Additionally, you can consider an in-home air filtration system that can remove pollutants from the indoor air.
While pesticides can protect you by killing animals, plants, and germs that could hurt you, they're also harmful air contaminants. If you need to get rid of pests, try nonchemical methods first, such as removing food and water sources. Certain natural oils also work just as effectively. For example, ants don't like the smell of citrus oil and cayenne pepper; and flies, wasps, and bees don't like the smell of eucalyptus oil. Biologically based pesticides are also an option, and they're often safer than traditional pesticides.
You can help you and your family breathe a little easier by eliminating these five harmful indoor air contaminants from your home.