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10 Easy ways to improve home air quality

You may not see or smell them, but a variety of air pollutants and other irritants are happily residing in your home. Lurking in household items such as cosmetics, detergents, paints and disinfectants and on your pillow, bedding and even the family pet, irritants can pollute the air you breathe and even disturb your lungs’ airways. Never fear: Here are 10 simple tips to improve the air in your home so you can breathe easier.

Woman in kitchen with houseplant

1Eliminate individual sources of pollution or reduce their emissions.

For example, adjust gas stoves to decrease the amount of emissions polluting your home. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that source control is one of the most effective ways to improve indoor air quality.

2Improve ventilation to lower the concentrations of indoor air pollutants.

Use bathroom and kitchen fans that exhaust outdoors to remove contaminants.

3Switch to natural air fresheners.

Many air fresheners release organic gases into the air along with fragrance. Follow manufacturers’ instructions and use natural products to keep the air in your home fresh and clean.

4Go VOC-free.

Use paints, solvents, adhesives and cleaning sprays that are free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Look for non-aerosol and non-toxic products and use carefully.

5Fight the mites.

Clean, vacuum and wash bedding in hot water on a regular basis to rid your home of dust mites.

6Don’t run vehicles in the garage.

Cars, lawnmowers and anything else with an engine are sources of carbon monoxide and combustion byproducts. Turn them off once they are in the garage to prevent these gases from spreading throughout the home.

7Test for radon.

Invisible, odorless and tasteless, radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas, according to the EPA. Testing for it is relatively inexpensive, and you can do it yourself: Just pick up a test at your hardware store and perform the test in minutes. If it comes back at 4 picocuries per liter or higher, hire an experienced radon contractor to fix your home.

8Keep gardening supplies outside.

The chemicals in pesticides and fertilizers may be toxic, so use natural methods when possible. Keep the bug sprays and plant food that you use outside, as well as the tools you use to mix and apply them. Also, be sure to take your shoes and gloves off before going inside to avoid bringing the chemicals with you.

9Keep the basement dry.

A damp, dark basement is a breeding ground for mold and mildew. To help keep the basement dry, install roof gutters and downspouts that do not empty too close to the foundation of your home. Apply waterproof sealants to the basement’s interior walls, and grade soil away from the home.

10Buy a houseplant.

Many common houseplants that help to clean air indoors. Scientists at NASA have studied a variety of plants that actually remove toxic gases from the air in homes. Some of the most effective air-purifying plants are: heartleaf philodendrons; elephant-ear philodendrons; English ivy; peace lilies; bamboo; and weeping figs.

More tips to improve indoor air quality

10 Ways to reduce airborne allergens at home
How to reduce irritants in your home
Expert tips to manage allergies at home

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