Having a pet is a little like having a toddler. They always need your attention, they idolize you, and you’re constantly cleaning up after them! Not only are you constantly cleaning up after your pets, but having a pet has a huge impact on the air quality in your home. Even people without allergies can be sensitive to dust, dander, and toxins in the air of your home. To improve the air quality of your home, follow these top ten tips.
Invest in an Air Purifier
An air purifier for pets is the most effective way to clean the indoor air in your home. It may seem a little expensive, but it’s definitely well-worth the price, as long as you keep the filters changed. Choose a high-efficiency particulate air filter, or HEPA filter, which can help you remove 99% of particles in the air, both toxic and dust. That makes it perfect for pet dander, especially if you’ve got an allergy sufferer in the house.
Clean up after Your Pets
As diligent as you are about cleaning up after your furry housemates, it’s easy to miss things. Keeping your pet well-groomed and on a regular bathing schedule is one way to avoid dander and shedding in the house. Strict rules about Fido and the furniture may not be practical all the time. Choose furniture that’s easy to wipe down, like leather and vinyl, rather than upholstery. A pet-friendly mud room with tile or laminate flooring can also help, especially on bad weather days. It gives you a chance to give your pet a good brush-down, before tracking more allergens through the house.
Cut Down on Carpeting
The upholstery collects dust and toxins in the air, but it’s nothing compared to the carpets. No matter how often you vacuum, carpets are full of everything from pet dander, to pollen, even human skin flakes! Yuck! And while they’re busy holding onto all that, carpet fibers shed, and release fibers full of all of this debris into the air. Cut down on the pollution in your home by cutting down on carpeting. Hardwood is pricey, but healthier, and laminate flooring and tiles are an even cheaper option. This goes for large area rugs, too. Regularly cleaning, either with a steam cleaner, or in a commercial washer can help remove some of the mess that can become airborne with just the vacuum.
Keep Kitchen and Bathrooms Well-Ventilated
Your kitchen and bathroom, and especially laundry rooms should be the most well-vented rooms in your home. But in a tiny apartment, you’re lucky to have a window in these spaces. Airing out won’t exactly cut it. Installing a ceiling fan in your kitchen can help with air circulation, and an air purifier can keep things clean. Open windows and doors to encourage air flow, especially while you’re cleaning or cooking.
Ban Smoking Indoors
One of the most common toxic elements in your home is the residue from cigarette smoke. No amount of second-hand smoke is safe, and smoking under a fan or in front of a vent does not help. 85% of the particles released through smoking are both invisible and odorless. If you must smoke, do it outside, every time. Preferably a foot away from the house, in the yard or street.
Clean Using the Top-Down Method
Obviously, the best way to combat dust in your home, is to keep it thoroughly clean. But all the dusting in the world won’t keep your home free of everything. Especially if it’s just resettling elsewhere. Expert house cleaners use the top-down method. Start at the highest point of your furniture or shelving, and dust downward. That way, you won’t miss the dust that is in the air. Eventually, you can vacuum or sweep the remaining dust right out the door!
Use Natural Cleaners
Unbelievably, some of the toxins in your home may be caused by the cleaners you use. Airborne bleaches and other harsh cleaners can irritate allergens, and even cause asthma attacks. Stick to natural and green cleansers. Or, make your own, using white vinegar, citrus sprays, and natural whiteners like baking soda.
Clean Air Filters and Air Ducts
An air purifier is a great idea, but only if you can take care of it. As your filter becomes clogged, it is more likely to circulate dust bunnies and smoke particles than to remove them. Keep your filters clean. Ideally, you should replace your air filters every 30 to 60 days, depending on the number of pets you have, and if there are any allergy or asthma sufferers living in the house. Air ducts should be cleaned every three to five years.
Run Your Laundry Less
Between the fibers in your clothes, and the potentially harsh chemicals in your laundry detergent, running the washer and dryer less often can improve the quality of air in your home. Laundry rooms are most often in the basement, and can be poorly ventilated. With all the extra fibers floating around, a separate air filter in your laundry room might be a good idea. Failing that, visit a laundromat instead, or just run your washer and dryer less often. As a bonus, it’ll save you money, and help save water too!
Keep Plants Indoors
To keep your home feeling fresh, you can go green in more ways than one. Use some potted plants to clear the air. Indoor plants can absorb all kinds of gases, including carbon dioxide, formaldehyde and benzine. Bamboo is even better. It can remove twice the average pollutants from your home as the average fern. Bonus: keeping a herb garden or tomato plant indoors is also a cheap and easy way to save money in the kitchen!
There are lots of things that impact the air quality in your home. Pets are just part of the problem. Smoking indoors, harsh cleaning chemicals, and even the carpets and rugs in your home can be a huge problem if your home is not properly ventilated, your home could have more air pollutants inside than outside! Follow these tips to keep your house, and your family healthy.