7 Methods for Cleaning Indoor Air

The windows in the house are seeing little action these days. The rain is beating down, and humidity is over 90%.

Perhaps your heating system is being well used. Your pets may be spending more time indoors, and the children, too. The house seems to be sweating from inside. A film of dust reveals itself when the light hits the furniture and the mantel just so but, then again...not much light is coming in these days.

man at windowIn March, people often say that they feel as though they were fighting off virus after virus, and all that nonsense stopped when they started purifying their indoor air.

Let's assume you have already removed any harmful indoor pollutants (e.g., cigarette smoke), you've installed a carbon monoxide detector if necessary, and you've had your home tested for radon gas. In addition, no fuel-burning engines idle in your garage. (Bravo for thinking of that one on your own!)

You use low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints in your home. VOCs are highly toxic with both formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.

You have already fixed all leaks to keep dampness and mold from encroaching into your home. Even without mold, dampness itself can cause respiratory issues.

If all of that has been taken care of, let's talk about air purification.

1. The most obvious way is to simply open your windows. The air is fantastic, and it helps control humidity in the house: not only our bodies but also our daily activities, release water vapour into the air. Open windows daily, particularly in bathrooms after showers and kitchens after cooking and, if possible, turn on exhaust fans. When you close the windows, however, most of the same allergens remain.

2. Your next step is to clean your HVAC, if it hasn't been done already. EarthcareClean do HVACs. Call us! It's guaranteed that asthma sufferers will suffer less. Also clean and empty dehumidifiers. Standing water is not a healthy thing to have in the house as it encourages mold growth.

3. If you dust with a chemical spray, it adds more toxins to your already toxic dust. Purchase a spray bottle and use a mixture of water and vinegar (2 cups water to 2 tablespoons vinegar) with a splash of lemon grass essential oil (if you can't live without the lemon scent!) or an essential oil that kills dust mites: peppermint, eucalyptus, or wintergreen. Vinegar itself is also known to kill dust mites. Want to skip the spray bottle? Mix your ingredients in a bowl, dip in your rag (microfiber is best), and squeeze as much water out of the rag as possible. Dry rags just don't work.

Bonus? This recipe repels dust as well as the next chemical slurry. Another bonus? We have a lot to say about dust, but that will just have to wait for another post.

single candle

4. Clean carpets, area rugs, and furniture, and do this more often if you have pets. Carpets and furniture trap all sorts of "unsavories" from your pets: saliva, urine, fecal particles, and dead skin cells (which feed dust mites, who then also leave their highly allergenic fecal matter in your furniture and carpets—whole ecosystems exist in the fibers!). Carpet, rug, and furniture cleaning also extinguish dust mite populations.

5. Don't mask the air quality; improve it! Plug-in and spray air fresheners are toxic. They do the opposite of purifying air. Try natural air freshers. Some people swear by enzyme-based air freshers. Others claim that activated charcoal is the way to go. Plants can do wonders for indoor air quality, as they convert carbon dioxide (which humans and pets breathe out) and convert it to oxygen for us! Really, the service that plants do for us has to be one of the wonders of the world!

6. Only burn beeswax candles. They are nonscented (scents are usually chemical synthetics), and their wicks don't contain heavy metals. Other candles' wicks, when burned, release toxins into the air. Beeswax candles emit negative ions when burned, which neutralize the nasty positive ions associated with other airborne toxins.

7. Salt lamps are really made of salt, and they operate in a similar way as beeswax candles. Plus they are safer, and you can leave them on all night.

It's no big secret: Clean indoor air reduces your risk of illness! We suggest started with one or two, and adding more if you don't see any noticeable improvements. Spring is known for "spring cleaning," and that is ancient wisdom!

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