Especially with basically the whole world on lockdown, it is essential that with a virus that attacks the lungs, we maintain high-quality indoor air. Being quarantined can be tough but at this point in time, it might be the perfect opportunity for you to reassess and improve your indoor air quality.
Whether you constantly wake up with a congested nose or not, it is always a good idea to improve your indoor air quality. It is such a simple and inexpensive thing to do that can greatly decrease your exposure to lung cancer, asthma, and other lung affecting diseases/illnesses.
Before we get too far, it is always a good idea to check out the EPA’s website regarding indoor air quality control and what you can do to better your air.
Test Your Air Quality
The easiest way to really test your air quality is to test it for Radon.
Radon is a radioactive gas that is odorless and colorless. It is found in fundamentally all types of soil. It seeps into your house through cracks and wholes your foundation. Being expose to radon greatly increases your risk of lung cancer. In fact, it is the second leading cause of lung cancer according to the EPA.
Radon is found in trace amounts in the atmosphere and when outdoors, it disintegrates quickly. However, when trapped indoors, the amount of radon exposure can build up quickly which can really be bad news for your health.
Testing for radon can be inexpensive and easy. For example, these costs as little as $15, like this inexpensive one from Amazon.
How To Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
Best FREE Ways:
- Open your windows as often as possible to increase airflow. This ventilation can help release any toxins stuck in the house and also brings fresh oxygen into your home.
- Clean regularly. This is incredible important since pollutants can often stick to surfaces until cleaned properly. This includes dusting and sanitizing surfaces. The most important areas to clean include:
- Floors. Shoes track in feces, allergens, pesticides and all other sorts of pollutants that then stick to the floor. For any hardwood floors, mopping on a weekly basis should be part of your routine. Rugs and carpets need to be vacuumed weekly as well and using a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter vacuum and increase the number of allergens you pick up tenfold.
- Clothes & Sheets. When you’re out and about, allergens stick to your clothes. It is important to wash your clothes regularly especially if they were exposed to an area with extra high pollutants in the air. Additionally, it is important to wash your sheets and pillowcases on a weekly basis. Dust and dead skin build up quickly on these surfaces without you even knowing so it is important to keep up with cleaning them.
- Furniture. Avoid any wood furniture treated with formaldehyde. Wash and polish any wood furniture. Wipe clean and or vacuum any clothe based furniture. For example, I vacuum my couch on a weekly basis.
- Leaves shoes at the door. A simple shoe rack kept at your point of entry can greatly help reduce any pollutants being tracked in the house by shoes worn outside. Have a pair of slippers waiting next to the shoe tray so you can put them on once inside.
- No smoking. It is well-known that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer but even if you don’t smoke, living someplace where someone else does smoke inside exposes you to a higher risk of lung cancer. Keep your family safe by not allowing any smoking to occur indoors.
- Avoid aerosols and harmful chemicals. Try to buy eco-friendly cleaning products with no harsh chemicals. These chemicals are incredibly irritating to those with allergies and the lungs. This means fragrance free as well since fragrances are often made up of terrible chemicals.
Best Low-Cost Ways:
- House plants. While some house plants can greatly increase the production of oxygen indoors while ridding the air of toxins, it is important to note that you still must clean and dust these plants as they can collect dust on their leaves. That said, here are some of the best house plants for increasing oxygen production and decreasing air pollutants:
- Peace Lily: This easy to care for plant helps remove VOCs like formaldehyde.
- Florist’s Chrysanthemum: Helps reduce chemicals in the air like ammonia. However, be careful if you have pets since this can be toxic to them if consumed.
- Devil’s Ivy: A very easy-to-please plant that cleans the air of pollutants. Again, this is toxic to pets.
- Red-Edged Dracaena: Low maintenance plant, removes formaldehyde and other VOCs. This plant is also toxic to pets when consumed.
- Snake Plant: Absorbs airborne toxins quickly and a good start plant due to the easy maintenance of it. Again, toxic to pets if ingested.
- Lady Palm: Cleans the air of ammonia and formaldehyde while also being low maintenance.
- Flamingo Lily: Tremendously effective at removing airborne toxins like ammonia, formaldehyde, and xylene. Not very easy to maintain, unfortunately. Poisonous to both humans and animals if ingested.
- English Ivy: Cleans airborne toxins from the air. It also can help reduce mold in your home. An easy to care for plant that can be invasive so it is perfect for indoors.
- Barberton Daisy: Helps clean the air of formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene.
- Weeping Fig: Rids the air of airborne toxins. This is a low-maintenance plant. This plant is poisonous to animals if ingested.
- Use paint that is zero or low VOC (volatile organic compounds). VOCs are substances that can become dangerous gases to breathe in.
- Humidity. Buy a humidifier or dehumidifier based on the humidity levels in your place. A good level of humidity is 30-50%.
- Use beeswax candles. Normal candles are made with paraffin which is a petroleum-based compound that negatively affects your air quality. Beeswax candles do not contain this and also emit no smoke which is much better to breathe in.
- Get rid of any mold and or mildew. By fixing any leaky plumbing and either hiring professionals or buying the right materials to get rid of mold/mildew yourself can greatly help increase your air quality.
- Ventilation. Whether it is exhaust fans in your kitchen or bathroom or using a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter to catch smaller particles in the air, it is important to always ventilate. Of course, the free option is opening windows but if you’re really looking to up the ante, then purchasing some good ventilation systems will really help increase your air quality indoors.
Keep you and your family as safe as possible during these questionable times. Increase your indoor air quality with these easy tips and you will feel a difference immediately. Let us know what other tips you know about bettering your indoor air quality!
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