How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Time: 1-2 days

May 1-5 is Air Quality Awareness Week, and the Environmental Protection Agency wants you to spend some time thinking about the air you breathe. This year's theme is "Be Air Aware," so why not give your home a clean-air makeover?

From pollution to pollen, there are many things that can make the air in your home an irritant. Here's how to keep things clean and healthy so you can breathe deeply when you relax at home.

What's in it for you?

  • Reduced allergies
  • More efficient heating and cooling
  • Improved health and wellbeing

How to Improve the Air Quality in Your Home:

  1. Tackle Spring Cleaning Chores. Dust, pollen, and mildew can all build up over time, especially when your house is shut up during the winter. Use a microfiber cloth to dust all surfaces, including shelves, cabinets, baseboards and window sills. Use a specialized mildew remover to get bathtubs and showers sparkling as well.

  2. Deep Clean Your Floors. Much of the particulate matter that can pollute your air comes into your home on your shoes, so cleaning the floors will get rid of a good deal of harmful allergens. Mop hard floors and thoroughly vacuum carpets and area rugs. A vacuum with a HEPA filter will do the best job.

  3. Add Floor Mats to Each Entrance: Help keep your floors clean by encouraging everyone to wipe their feet before entering. Add an absorbent floor mat to every door to your home, and ask guests to remove their shoes to keep out the bad stuff.

  4. Check the Humidity: To keep mold and mildew at bay, your indoor humidity levels should be between 30 and 50 percent. Use an inexpensive humidity meter to check your levels, turn on the A/C to help remove moisture or use a humidifier when it's too dry.

  5. Clean Your Filters: There are many filters in your home, and they should be thoroughly cleaned -- if possible-- or replaced to make sure they continue to do their job of removing harmful matter. Check the furnace, air conditioners, exhaust fans, humidifiers and vacuum cleaner to make sure filters are at their best.

  6. Add Houseplants to Your Decor: Houseplants naturally help clean toxins out of the air you breathe, and they look great doing it. Try adding ferns, ivy or a lily to upgrade your decor and purify your air.

Pro Tip: If you smoke, quit! Tobacco smoke is a major source of indoor air pollution, so you'll be doing yourself a big favor by declaring your home a smoke-free zone.

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