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Let’s Clear the Air: How Your Home Can Make You Sick & What You Can Do About It by Guest Blogger DIYMama Erin Reynolds

Bed, Sheet, Sleep, Relax, Plant, Room, House

We all want a clean living space, but did you realize that even when your home is clean, indoor air pollutants can still be hanging around? Indoor air pollution is often worse than the pollution we’re exposed to outdoors and living with poor indoor air quality can lead to immediate and long-term sickness. To improve indoor air and live better, check your home for these common causes of pollution and take steps to eliminate them.

 

Seek Out the Source

You can’t get rid of indoor pollution without knowing where it’s coming from. Some of these causes are obvious, while others are less well-known and often harder to find.

 

  • Tobacco smoke – Smoke from tobacco contains thousands of chemicals, which are trapped in your home when anyone smokes inside. In addition to being released into the air, the chemicals in tobacco settle into furniture, rugs and just about any other surface in your home. According to The American Lung Association, secondhand smoke can cause respiratory infections, asthma, cancer and even heart attacks.

  • Household chemicals Chemicals come into our homes in many ways you wouldn’t expect. They can be present in your home’s building materials and paint, as well as in furniture, carpet and cabinetry. Many people also unwittingly add harmful chemicals to their home by using chemical cleaning products, air fresheners and personal care products.

  • Pets – Many people have allergic reactions to pet dander, which can be can be mild to severe and often include asthma, sinus problems and respiratory infections.

  • Mildew and mold – According to Bob Vila, mold can grow about anywhere there is excess moisture. If you aren’t sure if mildew and mold are a problem in your home, track your home’s humidity and search for any water leaks.

  • Harmful gases – Radon is a gas that is naturally occurring, but exposure to it has been linked to cancer, so it’s very important to have your home checked to determine if radon is present. Carbon monoxide is another deadly gas that could leak into your home from gas appliances such as gas stoves and hot-water heaters. Installing a carbon monoxide detector is an easy way to keep your family safe.

Simple Steps to Clear the Air

Even though indoor pollutants and allergens are rampant, you can make simple swaps and do some easy, environmentally friendly DIY repairs to eliminate problems.

  • Choose greener cleaning products – Look for cleaning products that are free of petrochemicals, artificial fragrances and other toxic ingredients. Natural alternatives are easy to find and they are much healthier because they don’t release toxic substances into the air.

  • Avoid toxic building materials – One of the biggest culprits of harmful off-gassing comes from Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in paint. Fortunately, low or no-VOC paints are easy to find and repainting your home with environmentally friendly paint is a simple DIY project. When replacing cabinets, look for ones that are made from solid wood and use only non-toxic finishes. You can also find environmentally friendly materials for all kinds of home projects such as glue, caulking and insulation.

  • Purify the air in your home – You can’t avoid all pollutants entirely, but an air purifier can clean the pollutants out of the air in your home that can cause allergies and asthma.

  • Take advantage of nature – Outdoor air is purified naturally through trees, but you can get the same effect at home with houseplants that remove chemicals from the air. And along with all of these other steps, one of the simplest things you can do is open windows regularly to let fresh air in.

It sounds a little scary to think of all the dangers lurking in our homes, but the good news is that you can easily eliminate many of them. Making these simple swaps is better for your health and the environment, so it’s a win-win. When you make these changes, you will likely notice a difference right away, and you can rest easier knowing you’re protecting your long-term health too.

 

Photo credit: Pixabay

Check out our Guest blogger Erin Reynolds at http://diymama.net/

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2018 in Health

 

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