A Healthy Home Atmosphere
Even though you can't see it, the air in your home can affect the well being of you and your family. Now is a good time to check your home for a healthy atmosphere.
No matter how well you clean, silent, unseen polluters can build up inside a home, making you feel under the weather or even causing illness. Here are a few common polluters and simple solutions for eliminating them:
- Mold and mildew: These organisms, which can grow wherever there is excess moisture, can cause allergic reactions. The simple solution is to ventilate the kitchen when cooking, and the bathrooms during and after baths or showers. Air conditioning and dehumidifiers help control humidity in the rest of the home. If you are remodeling, add a ventilating fan to the kitchen and baths.
- Dust mites: These microscopic creatures live where the vacuum cleaner can't get them-inside mattresses and box springs, down in heating ducts-and can cause allergic reactions. To limit their effect, enclose mattresses and box springs in zippered casings, and have ducts professionally cleaned.
- Carbon monoxide: This colorless, odorless gas, which can cause fatal illness, can come from malfunctioning furnaces, gas dryers, stoves, or air seeping in from the garage. Equip your home with a carbon monoxide detector and have all appliances serviced regularly. Be sure any walls or floors between the garage and your home are airtight.
- Cleaning solutions: Spray and squirt bottles make cleaning faster and easier, but some of the chemicals in the bottles can contribute to indoor air pollution. Look for more environmentally friendly cleaners such as vinegar, baking soda and borax (remember to keep borax out of reach of children).
- The "new" smell: Carpets, furniture or cabinets made with pressed wood, and other new products can introduce fumes into the home as chemicals used in manufacturing are released. The simple solution for those sensitive to these fumes is to buy carpets with low-emission green labels or all-wood furniture. After a few months, the level of the fume emissions declines, but in the meantime, ventilate your home by opening windows frequently.
- Although you may have to spend a little extra time or money to eliminate your home's air polluters, it may be worth it for your family's health.