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It’s no secret that children thrive in a safe and healthy environment. Unfortunately, allergies, asthma, and various respiratory ailments can make life miserable for some children. For most of those children airborne contaminants only make things worse. This means parents will need to work a little harder to maintain that ideal environment.
We all know what it takes to keep a home clean. But, what about the air itself? Every parent wants their child to breathe clean air, but few actually know what makes air “dirty” or how to turn things around when they notice a problem. Luckily, with a little know how and the right approach, you can improve your home’s indoor air quality. Here are six simple ways to improve the air your children breathe each and every day.
Regular dusting, sweeping, and cleaning is the most effective way to ensure a healthy environment. Especially, when you have a toddler or two running amok. Add a cat or dog to the mix, and things get even more challenging. Fur and dander set up camp in every crack and crevice, just waiting for the opportunity to take to the air. However, regular cleaning makes a massive impact on the air in your home. Just be sure to take the time to clean up dust, dander and pollutants before they take flight.
Carpets are warm and nice to walk on, but they provide a wonderful home to dirt, pollen and dust mites. If wall to wall carpeting covers the floor of your child’s room, or the rest of your house, you have two options. Option one, invest in a heavy duty vacuum and clear your calendar. Or option two, consider switching to hardwood or similar flooring materials, like tile or laminate. Bottom line, solid floors trump carpeting when it comes to indoor air quality.
Lose the chemical heavy cleaning products. In many cases you can make your own cleaning products from common ingredients like vinegar. Also make sure the items in your home don’t give off copious amounts of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Not only are these things bad for your long term health, they’re surefire ways to trigger acute respiratory problems. It’s difficult to avoid VOCs all together, but buying higher quality furnishings and building materials will typically be your best bet.
If odor is an issue, skip the sprays and odor masking candles. Air fresheners in particular often introduce nasty chemicals into your home’s air. Deodorizing your home is important but there are many natural products you can use: vinegar, baking soda, orange peel candles or cinnamon sticks just to name a few. You can also pair those with an air purifier that uses activated carbon to trap odor before it becomes a problem.
Air purifying plants make a wonderful addition to your home. They look great, produce oxygen, and according to a study by NASA, they are capable of absorbing small amounts of toxins; from formaldehyde to benzene to carbon monoxide. Just don’t forget to water them.
Ventilation is a pivotal factor to combating allergies and unclean air. Many modern structures are sealed very, very well. This makes manual ventilation critical to indoor air quality. Some states require that homes are equipped with fresh air exchanging HVAC systems. However, the easiest thing to do is open your windows and welcome fresh air into your home (yes, even in the winter). In some seasons this might bring pollen or other pollutants into your home, so plan accordingly.
Investing in a home air purifier is a great way to help improve indoor air quality. They are great at removing any airborne pollutants previous recommendations might miss or simply do not address. An air purifier can help fight asthma, allergies, and even eczema. Buy a quality machine with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter. And, to keep odor and chemicals under control, make sure it has activated carbon.
Angela Lewonczyk lives and works in Paris, France where her focus falls on teaching, writing and traveling the globe. She is currently a writer and product researcher for PureAirSupply.com, and in her free time blogs about travel.