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8 ways to improve air quality at home

Improve air quality at home
Improve air quality at home
www.flickr.com/Mauricio Alejo

Did you know that the air inside your home could be more polluted than the air outside your home? This is a frightening reality for many Americans who suffer from asthma, indoor/outdoor allergies or other respiratory issues. There are things you can do to improve air quality at home, though. Here are eight smart steps to get you started.

Clean the air ducts – Over time air ducts can become full of dirt, pollen, dust, rodent droppings, insects, mold and mildew. A professional can clean the air ducts in your home, which can provide a healthier environment for all, but especially for allergy-prone individuals or anyone with respiratory issues.

Maintain a clean air filter – A clean air filter will not only help reduce the amount of allergens in the air like dust, dander, mildew, and mold spores, but it will help your HVAC system run more efficiently, as well. Disposable air filters should be replaced once a month.

Invest in a good vacuum - Improve the air quality in your home by investing in a high quality vacuum, and use it often. Outdoor elements get carried into the home on shoes, pet paws, children's toys, and when windows and doors are opened. Vacuuming thoroughly, and doing so often, is really the best defense in removing the debris.

Wrap mattresses - Keep dust mites and allergens out of bedding by washing them in HOT water. Go one step further and cover mattresses with protective plastic bags. Mattress bags are inexpensive, easy to use and do a great job of keeping the mattress dust-free.

Buy a HEPA air filter – Many doctor offices and hospitals use a HEPA air filter to keep indoor air clean and purified, so, of course, they are great option for home use too. Doctors recommend them to help alleviate allergy and asthma symptoms, as well.

Wash draperies – Have you ever taken your curtains outside and shook them out? Chances are you found they were filled with dust and hair. While it’s a great idea to take them outside and shake them once in a while, they should also be washed at least twice a year. This is especially true if you own pets.

Freeze stuffed animals – There isn’t any way to launder children’s stuffed animals without ruining their shape or risk damaging them. Instead, spritz them with Febreeze and seal them tightly in a sealed Ziploc bag and put them in the freezer for a full 48 hours. The Febreeze will help remove odors, while the cold temperature will kill dust mites.

Go green – Houseplants are a great way to help purify and improve the air quality at home. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, there are houseplants out there that are easy to take care. The Bob Vila website has a substantial list of houseplants that are virtually kill-proof andcan help make the air you breathe at home healthier.

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