By virtue of the fact that Los Angeles has been and still is known for its pollution, many of us tend to concern ourselves with the air quality that’s outside—the kind that’s visibly sitting on the horizon. Nevertheless, we ought to also make it our business to explore the air quality inside our homes.
In-home air quality is threatened by allergens, dust, dirt, chemicals and more lurking in what we consider to be our safe space. Since many modern homes are airtight, it’s difficult for these indoor pollutants to escape and, because we’re spending more time inside than out, people are increasing their exposure to these harmful pollutants.
Assessing In-Home Air Quality
The best way to know if the air quality in your home is good or bad is to test it. One can purchase air quality testing kits online, which range from $100 – $200. But, even prior to testing, you can assess your home’s construction and your own day-to-day habits to begin optimizing your home’s air. The following are potential threats to in-home air quality.
- Dust and mold
- Cleaning chemicals
- Imbalanced humidity levels
- Smoking indoors
- Paints, sealants, and wood floors installed before 1970
The most common cause of bad air quality occurs when dirt and dust is built up. These cause allergens, which in the long run can negatively impact your lungs. Beyond dust and dirt, cleaning products can diminish good in-home air quality, as can overwatering your plants (because it creates an unhealthy level of humidity). Additionally, pet dander and even some of the finishes in your home, such as granite, can compromise your air. Even a new mattress or a fresh coat of paint can be loaded with potential pollutants.
Even if you feel fairly positive about where you stand regarding these potential threats, testing your home will give peace of mind that unassuming chemicals aren’t hanging around.
Optimizing Air Quality
Improving your in-home air quality is much less of a daunting task than it may seem—it simply requires a bit of mindfulness. Doing the following can greatly improve your air quality and, ultimately, your quality of life:
- Vacuum your home with a HEPA filter. This helps reduce dirt, dust, lead concentration, pollen, dust mites, pet dander and more.
- Mop weekly. Keep floors clean with just water and a microfiber mop. This picks up where vacuuming might leave off.
- Open your windows once per week.
- Put floor mats in front of every door. This allows potential allergens like pesticides, dirt, chemicals and more to be caught on their way in and often stops them before they infiltrate your home.
- Maintain healthy levels of humidity. Don’t overwater plants, keep windows cracked when cooking or running the dishwasher or bathing, repair bad plumbing to prevent mold growth and direct dryer filters outdoors.
- Make your home a no-smoking zone as more than 4,000 chemicals can be released from cigarette smoke.
- Test for radon, a colorless and odorless radioactive gas that can be present in materials like granite. This can come in through small holes or cracks or be emitted from soil.
- Clean your home with natural products like baking soda and lemons. Also, discontinue air-fresheners and bring plants like ferns, aloe vera and spider plants inside. These are natural air purifiers.
Take the time to assess and optimize in-home air quality and reap the health benefits, making your daily retreat even more of a healthy, happy place.