Improving indoor air quality in your home

November Blog #1

1. Start at the source of the problem

Wherever possible eliminate the source of the problem. You could be compromising the quality of your Indoor air in various ways:  
  • Combustion – ventilate where possible when cooking; know the impact of combusting candles, wood and gas in fireplaces and make an informed decision
  • Materials and chemicals used in soft furnishings, fabrics, decoration and cleaning, carpets can breed allergens, dust and bacteria ~ choose materials and products wisely!
  • Scented products: they come at a price, they emit volatile compounds; think carefully about personal grooming products too perfume, deodorants, nail polish and hairspray and ventilate, ventilate, ventilate!

2. Awareness breeds change

Ventilate! especially when cooking, cleaning and vacuuming, and even when sleeping (we emit CO2!); let the fresh air in (although caution if you live in heavily polluted area (how to find out??) then balance letting in fresh air with care about time of day (heavy traffic times, rush hour, probably not wise)
  • Use exhaust fans where you have them and where possible
  • Vaccum often, get rid of pathogens, dust, microbes etc; look into vaccums with HEPA filter or whether a microfiltration bag can be installed in your vaccum. 
  • Try out wet dusting instead of dry; better at picking up and not redistributing dust and particles.  Clean high-touch surfaces often.
  • Look into making your own cleaning products from less harmful ingredients; real growth in health-friendly cleaning product ‘recipes’ (eg bicarbonate soda, vinegar, etc…)
  • Leave your shoes at the door; use a wipe mat to eliminate bringing in nasties on your shoes; clean “external wear” often
  • With the help of your landlord, conduct mold inspections – water leaks, plumbing issues, condensation prone areas can lead to build up of mold and mildew, releasing harmful micro-organisms and bacteria into your air; high humidity levels can encourage their growth (again, ventilation is your friend!)

3. Get proactive, measure and clean your air!

Domestic sensors to check on your humidity and CO2 levels are inexpensive and hep you get an idea of levels within the home; there are even some portable air cleaners that can assist in removing the pollutants from your air (they don’t add fresh air but they can clean the air that’s there already!); and a low-tech far more pleasant way to clean your air involves the trusty household plant! The powers of which should not be underestimated for cleaning up nasties in your indoor air. Look into the following species which are fairly low maintenance to tend and look after: 
a.      Garden Mum (chrysanthemum morifolium)
b.      Spider plant (Chlorophytum Comosum “Vittatum”)c.      Dracaena (Dracaena spp.)d.      Ficus/Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)e.      Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum sp.)f.       Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata v. Bostoniensis)g.      Snake plant/mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria Trifasciata)h.      Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifritzii)i.        Aloe Vera (Aloe Vera or A. barbadensis)

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