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It probably goes without saying, but it’s always a good idea to keep the inside of your home clean. If not for health and sanitation purposes, then...
It probably goes without saying, but it’s always a good idea to keep the inside of your home clean. If not for health and sanitation purposes, then definitely for the visual appeal of a neat and tidy home, especially if you’re expecting visitors! However, while you may do a great job of cleaning up the mess you can see, it’s the invisible sources of uncleanliness that are often the most insidious.
In this case, they could be in your indoor air.
It’s easy to keep track of the visible forms of air pollution commonly found in the city, like smoke, smog, or haze. Coming from factories, generators, cars, and more, these tend to be expected so we do our best to keep them outside by shutting our windows and doors tightly.
While this does keep these pollutants outside for the most part, unfortunately, it also keeps what already might be indoors trapped inside. Even worse, it’s easy to lose track of them amidst all the obligations modern living demands.
To help you out and make things simple, here are two easy categories to remember to keep your indoor air clean and healthy: Out with the Bad, and In with the Good!
This section will focus on the things you can ideally remove from your home setting to improve the quality of your air.
This is the most apparent step and one that you probably already take care of, but it’s still good to discuss just in case.
Particulate matter like dust and allergens can naturally build up at home over time, and there’s not much you can do about it (save holing yourself up in a hermetically-sealed bubble!) so it’s good to clean your home regularly. Vacuuming the house with a vacuum cleaner that has strong suction, rotating brushes, and a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter makes sure that the worst of the dirt is cleared up. Be mindful to not only tackle the floors but the walls, carpets, and furniture where dust is bound to accumulate as well, and wash out the filter regularly to maximize its efficiency.
What can’t be sucked up can be mopped up, and those stubborn pieces of dirt that just won’t let themselves be vacuumed don’t stand a chance against a wet mop. A mop doused in water should be enough, and mops that use microfibers for their heads are reputed to do a better job than those with traditional fiber heads.
For everything else that can’t afford to get wet or can’t be reached by your vacuum cleaner, nothing beats the old, reliable broom, dustpan, and feather duster.
A lot of dirt and dust from who knows where can get into your home if you bring them in on the bottoms of your footwear! Leave a floor mat just outside your door for you and your guests to wipe your shoes on so none of you track that filth all over your nicely-cleaned floor. Even better, you could install a shoe rack or a designated area just outside the threshold of your door for shoes to make absolutely certain that no shoe-borne dirt gets past your doorway.
Now this is a bit of tricky one, since you either need to reduce the humidity of the room if it’s too humid or increase it if the air is too dry (which might be more appropriate for the next section), but let’s just keep it here, since in the tropical Philippines, it’s bound to be humid more often than not.
t’s important to keep the humidity levels at around 30-50% because moist nooks and crannies are the perfect places for mold, mildew, and dust mites to collect. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to address this by adding a dehumidifier to your home or using an air conditioner (some of which have built-in dehumidifiers), the latter of which is a staple of any Filipino home or business.
While they can smell sweet, aerosols aren’t just bad for the environment; they can also degrade the quality of your air. The synthetic fragrances in air fresheners, laundry products, deodorants, hair sprays, furniture polish, and more mask the chemicals that can damage your lungs when breathed in frequently.
A classic cause of poor indoor air quality, cigarette smoking is already widely-known to be bad for the smoker’s lungs and even worse for the lungs of those who breathe in the secondhand smoke. With more than 4,000 chemicals contained within the smoke and multiple smoking-related diseases like asthma, emphysema, cancer, children’s respiratory infection, sudden infant death syndrome, and heart attacks, smoking is generally a bad idea when it comes to keeping your air fresh and healthy.
This section will focus on the things you can add to your home to improve the quality of your air.
Get an influx of fresh air by opening your windows from time to time. The fresh air that flows throughout your house definitely makes a fine replacement for the stagnant air that lingers in long-enclosed spaces. If your home situation doesn’t allow for it—like if you live in particularly air-polluted city—or you suffer from seasonal allergies due to allergens that can waft in with the fresh air, you can opt to use an air conditioner or air purifier instead. If possible, you could crack open the window at times when outdoor air is relatively less polluted (like after some hard rain), in order to air out your home.
Aside from adding an attractive piece of décor to your home, an indoor house plant can naturally filter the air. Placing more of them throughout your home (real ones; fake plants don’t count!) can give you the best possible air purification benefits, but be sure to only put as many as you can take care of.
Another way to keep the air around your house circulating is to get a good fan! It fulfills the dual purpose of keeping you cool without the higher energy cost of an air conditioner while making sure the air doesn’t stay stagnant. In combination with fresh air from outdoors (smoky city air not included), it could even replace your air conditioner altogether!
As opposed to using aerosols and sprays to freshen up your home, why not try some natural cleaning methods instead? For example, activated charcoal air filters can absorb toxins in the air and filter out unpleasant smells without exuding any odor of their own. Another example could be using white vinegar or baking soda to clean up grime on your bathroom tiles or marble countertops to forego the potentially harmful chemicals of many commercial cleaning products that you might inhale.
Certain essential oils can purify the air and infuse the house with a relaxing, delightful fragrance at the same time. Some of them like peppermint oil or eucalyptus oil are said to combat the effects of sinusitis or congestion, which is great for those with perpetually stuffy noses.
When it comes to improving your quality of life at home, you can’t go wrong with improving the quality of your air. Luckily, you can decide how you want to go about it, either by taking out more of the bad or letting in more of the good.
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