The leaves are changing, and the temperature is dropping, which means people will start spending more time indoors. Because you won’t be spending as much time breathing the fresh outdoor air, keeping your indoor air clean is a must.
According to the Harvard School of Health, 3.3 million deaths worldwide occur every year from air pollution. Poor air can cause stroke, heart disease, and lung cancer. The threat of flu season and a potential spike in coronavirus adds another layer of motivation for clean air.
But while you might associate the air you breathe outside as the culprit to air pollution, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the air you breathe in your home is more often polluted.
Indoor air can become polluted from many different sources. Building materials, furnishings, electronics, gas stoves, and household appliances are just a few. The threat of these pollutants is increased if you live in a heavily populated city or a part of town with older buildings.
Household items such as aerosol air fresheners can also have damaging effects on your air quality.
Regardless of the source of pollution, The Lancet produced a study that found the pollution resulting from these harmful chemicals cost $340 billion per year in treatment and lost productivity.
If you want to rid your home of harmful chemicals that can damage your immune system, and you want to stay healthy during the coming fall and winter, continue reading for ten tips for keeping your air clean.
- Open Your Windows
One of the most critical factors for keeping clean air is ventilation. Having a stuffy apartment with stagnant air is an easy way to get sick or breathe harmful chemicals.
But it can be challenging to leave your windows open during the fall and winter because of the cold temperatures. If you don’t work from home, an effective way around this is leaving the windows open while you’re away. It might be freezing for a short while when you return, but your lungs will thank you for giving them fresh air to breathe.
If you work from home, try only cracking your windows instead of opening them all the way.
- Decorate Your Place With Houseplants
When you use plants in your home, you kill two birds with one stone. Houseplants are pleasant decorations, and they can filter out dangerous pathogens and chemicals. English Ivy, for example, can filter out fecal matter particles and mold.
Experimental results presented to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology suggested that English Ivy could remove up to 60% of mold particles in just a few hours.
- Use an Essential Oil Diffuser
Many essential oils have antimicrobial properties, such as tea tree oil. You can easily add them to your household cleaners to remove airborne bacteria. Early research also suggests it may be effective against viruses as well.
In addition to tea tree oil, eucalyptus, clove, and rosemary have also shown the potential to eliminate dust mites, one of the main aggravating agents for people with asthma.
- Use Beeswax Candles
This tip may come as a surprise, but it is backed by research and science like the others. Harmful particles float more freely in your home than the forest or meadows because your home has more positively charged ions in the air.
Negative ions bind with positive ions to make them heavier and fall to the ground, so you don’t breathe as many. Burning beeswax releases negatively charged ions into the air, decreasing the number of harmful pollutants you breathe.
To avoid soot from burning your candles, consider buying LED candles.
- Groom Your Pets
If you own a pet, you’ll be able to find pet dander everywhere in your house. Most people mistakenly believe pet fur is what causes allergies and aggravates asthma. However, pet dander is more of a contributing factor than fur.
To reduce your pet’s dander, bathe them regularly. If you have space and the weather permits, brush them outdoors, and vacuum your floors with a HEPA filter.
- Use Nontoxic Chemicals to Clean
Most store-bought household cleaning products contain harmful agents that irritate your lungs, throat, and eyes. You don’t need to refrain from using these products, but if you use them, ensure adequate ventilation in your home.
Some more challenging cleaning jobs require these types of chemicals but try to use greener products where you can. Green products are useful for most cleaning jobs, especially if you clean regularly. Cleaning your bathroom sink, for example, shouldn’t require the use of bleach if you’re staying on top of your cleaning routine.
- Buy an Air Purifier
Air purifiers are effective risk mitigators for people with asthma. Coupled with a humidifier, they can significantly improve your in-home air quality and reduce the risk of getting sick.
- Get Rid of Mold
Ridding your living space of mold is an easy way to make your air safer and more breathable. Mold spores in the air can trigger allergic reactions and lower your immune system. It can also cause symptoms of illness, and in some cases, cause infection.
Mold grows in damp, dark places, such as basements and laundry rooms, and is more prevalent in more humid climates.
You don’t necessarily need to use bleach to remove mold, either. Some household items can also remove molds, such as vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.
- Air Out New Furniture
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) linger in the air after you buy new furniture. Because companies use paint, fabrics, and construction materials, new furniture emits VOCs in larger quantities when you first buy them.
Eventually, the amount of VOCs dwindles, but an easy way to reduce VOCs is to keep the new furniture in your garage or on your porch for a week. If your living space does not permit you to air out furniture, open your windows, and make sure you have adequate ventilation.
- Make Sure the AC/Heating Unit Has Been Expected
To ensure adequate ventilation, you should be confident that your HVAC system is fully operational. Leaves and other debris may clog the system and hinder its performance.
Checking with your landlord to make sure they have at least a semi-annual inspection is helpful to keep your peace of mind.
Breathe the Autumn Air
Ensuring you’re breathing clean air is an essential part of making your home cozy during the fall and winter. Nobody wants to be cooped up in a stuffy apartment with the sniffles.
Following these ten tips will allow you to keep your energy levels up when the days start getting shorter and boost your immune system.
For more tips on keeping your apartment clean, visit our blog on cleaning your apartment during coronavirus.
If you’re looking for a property management company that puts its residents’ interests first, look no further. Visit our residents’ page to find out what resources we provide.