While you might feel as if you are managing to keep on top of dusting and cleaning the surfaces around the house, it turns out that there are a number of air pollutants in our homes that we’re not clearing away.
Pollutants can come in from the outside, plus there are a number of odours, fine particles, allergens and pollutants already inside our homes. Dealing with these pollutants and improving the air in our homes is especially important if, like many Kiwi families, you have someone who suffers from asthma, allergies or hayfever.
The air inside
When we head indoors it feels as if we are escaping the noise and pollution outside, but in fact that sense of calm and safety is a little misleading. Everytime we open the windows to air out the house we are inviting dust and other particles inside. When we cook, shower, dry clothes, or leave damp towels lying about we are creating moisture and a happy habitat for mould. Cooking generates a range of odours, fine particles, allergens and pollutants.
Our synthetic furniture and soft furnishings, paint, and even synthetic flooring can emit gaseous chemicals or substances. Cleaning products, scented candles and air fresheners may contain chemical substances that release benzene and formaldehyde into the air as they are used. Candles also release soot. Even our beloved fur babies add pet hair and dander to the mix.
Because modern homes are becoming better sealed to comply with energy efficiency requirements, pollutants can be trapped inside and circulation of airflow can become compromised.
All of this can mean that the air we live and sleep in can be even more polluted than the air outside.
Clear the air
There are several ways you can help improve the air quality in your home.
- Even though the air outside might not be perfect, it is likely pollutants, smells, and moisture inside have built up, so getting some fresh air in is a good idea.
- Take off shoes and, if you can, store them away from your main living space. This will mean particles, allergens and pollutants on your shoes are not being tracked inside.
- Try not to dry clothes inside.
- Keep on top of the mould around the windows by removing with a damp cloth.
- When dusting, use a damp cloth to catch the dust and then pop it in the washing machine.
- Groom your pets outside – this will help reduce the amount of dander and fur they are emitting.
- Use an extractor fan when cooking and think about using a cooking oil with a high smoke point. Cook with lids on whenever you can.
- If you buy new furniture, it’s possible that they will emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). If possible, store it unwrapped in a spare room or the garage for a week or so to allow it to emit the worst of its VOCs.
Clean the air
There are two main ways you can clean the air in your home. Filter cleaners collect the dust and larger particles in the air while air purifiers work to purify or sanitize the air.
Written by Robyn
Robyn creates content on Kidspot NZ. Her hobbies include buying cleaning products and wondering why things don’t then clean themselves, eating cheese scones with her friends, and taking her kids to appointments.
Favourite motto to live by: “This too will pass”