10 ways to improve indoor air qualityDecember 6, 2018
In our last article on poor indoor air quality, we looked at the main causes behind indoor air pollution and the health issues it can lead to for you and your children.
Whilst many people never consider indoor air quality to be a health risk, the shocking fact is that at least 9,000 deaths are caused every year in the UK by indoor air pollution.
Add to this the fact that people now spend 90% of their time indoors and that levels of many pollutants can be two to ten times higher indoors than outside, and it becomes clear that we all need to take a careful look at improving air quality in our homes.
For some people this is critical. Take for example the parents in a recent episode of Grand Designs, who needed to develop an allergy-free ‘healthy home’ for their allergy-afflicted sons.
But other families can benefit from healthier homes too, reducing irritants that they may not even be aware are causing health issues for them.
In this article, we look at some of the main things you can do to improve indoor air quality:
- Dust surfaces as often as possible with a damp duster to help keep pet dander, dust mites and other allergens down to a minimum.
- Use a good vacuum cleaner with a HEPA or S-class filter to ensure you suck up as many allergy triggers as possible. Make sure you vacuum beds, armchairs and sofas, which can also harbour dust mites, pet dander and other irritants.
3. Try to avoid using household, cleaning and personal care products that emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), as these can worsen the symptoms of asthma, rhinitis or sensitive skin. Allergy UK has carried out independent scientific testing on a wide range of products proven to reduce or remove allergens from the indoor environment. To find out more just click here.
4. Ventilate rooms by opening windows to bring in fresh air and help flush out indoor air pollutants and excess humidity. If you live near a busy road, open windows that are furthest away from it to ensure you aren’t dragging in outdoor air pollutants such as car fumes.
5. Minimise the risk of mould by using dehumidifiers in damp areas of your house. Also, thoroughly clean any room that gets damp regularly, such as bathrooms, kitchens and utility rooms. Make sure you clean away any obvious mould on walls or window sills, throw out any fruit and vegetables before they go rotten and keep fridge interiors extra clean.
6. Replace gas fires and cookers with electric if possible, as gas appliances can give off pollutants that can cause or exacerbate a range of lung and breathing problems.
7. If possible, wash bed linen, curtains and soft toys at a high temperature of 60 degrees Celsius to ensure that house dust mites are destroyed.
8. When buying new furniture or a new kitchen, find low-formaldehyde or formaldehyde-free replacements, as this organic compound can outgas to the air in your home causing skin, eye and nose irritation, as well as coughing and wheezing.
9. Carpets can store a lot of allergens, mites and particulates, so consider replacing these with flooring that can be thoroughly cleaned more easily, for example hardwood, floor tiles or linoleum.
10. Whilst the best approach is to minimise air pollutants in your home as much as possible, it is also a good idea to invest in a good quality air purifier that includes a HEPA filter. This will help remove pollutants such as VOCs, pet dander, house dust mites, pollen and many more household irritants and pollutants.
Other tips for improving indoor air quality
Following the above ten tips will help you improve the air quality in your home. However, there are many more things you can do to tackle this problem.
For further advice on tackling specific allergens and pollutants, just click here and bookmark our blog or click here and follow us on Twitter. Then you’ll be able to create a home environment that is truly fresh, healthy and life-enhancing.