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I love Bread. The band, not the staple. Okay, so I love the staple as well, but The Air that I Breathe is a classic Bread song. It’s also something literal, we all need the air that we breathe (and to The Mean Man “and to love you”). But a very valid question is what is in the air that we’re breathing? Y’all know we live in a house that was built almost 120 years ago. It also sat empty, shut up for several years before we bought it.
Even though we’ve thoroughly cleaned the house top to bottom, on particularly humid days we get “old house smell.” Even if your house is only a few years old, there are still musty odors that appear. This is because our homes are naturally filled with lots of particulates that can cause things from odors to illness. This is why is vitally important to be sure you’re keeping the air you breath clean as possible.
We tend to think that pollution is something that mainly happens outside in cities with lots of industry. We see the smog or haze outside, especially in summer. Truth is, the inside of our homes are actually more polluted that the outside. Think about it; our homes are mostly closed up, trapping pollutants. House dust, pet dander, and mold spores are just a few irritants. More can be brought in with carpets, mattresses, and even paint on our walls.
What can you do to help limit these irritants?
Keep it Clean
Cleaning your floors can among the most important things you can do. Your vacuum cleaner should have a HEPA filter. Make sure it’s a good quality vacuum cleaner with great suction plus the HEPA filter. You don’t want the dust and dirt to be blown back into the room in the exhaust. Dyson V7 HEPA (White)is a great choice for this at an affordable price. I love my Dyson stick. It cleans carpets and hard floors beautifully. I actually own the V6 and have had it for years and it hasn’t lost a step. Dust mites are a major allergen so be sure you have a vacuum that’s going to suck them up along with the dirt.
Equally important is to mop those hard floors. Our pet door is located in the kitchen and having four dogs traipse mud and dirt everyday leads to very dirty ceramic tile floors! I use a Shark Steam Mop to clean and sanitize these floors. This is great for bathroom floors as well. I love that it’s just steam that’s doing the cleaning, no harsh chemicals. I also love how there is no ringing out of the mop! That’s the worst.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but a door mat is more than a decor item. Help keep the dirt out by having a door mat for people to wipe their shoes before entering the house. I even have a door mat on the outside and the inside of the pet door!
Something you may not think about, but the humidity level in your home can contribute to dust mites and mold. A humidity level at around 30%-50% helps keep them out as well as other allergens. Using exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom will help with humidity. If you live in a more tropical location, you can purchase a home de-humidifier. This will actually pull the humidity out of the air. Of course, you air conditioning helps tremendously with humidity as well.
We also added a Dyson Pure Hot+Cool air purifier to our house. Controlling the air quality as much as possible was and is our aim. Plus the fan blows out so hard it’s great at cooling the room as well. Starting at such a deficit with our house being in such bad shape caused us to try lots of new things to keep the house from knocking us out!
Don’t neglect your air filters! Changing your air conditioning filters when they are dirty will help with your air quality as well as your energy cost. Your unit cannot run at peak efficiency if the filter is dirty. For us, we have to change them at least once a month or more. Buy good filters that trap the most allergens.
Finally, one thing I think we’ve forgotten from our high school biology classes is that plants are natural air purifiers. We’ve gotten so used to having artificial greenery in our decor that we don’t really even consider house plants any longer. Re-think this! House plants literally remove toxins from the air. Just be sure that the plants you choose are not toxic to your kids or pets. HGTV did a list of the best plants for cleaning indoor air.
Clean the air you breathe and you’ll breathe easier.