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How to Improve the Air Quality in Your Home

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 26 million Americans suffer from asthma and more than 50 million suffer from some kind of allergies. In many cases, allergies and asthma are triggered and aggravated by pollutants in the air — tiny particles that irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs.

Asthma and allergies aren’t usually life-threatening, but they can make life very uncomfortable with red eyes, scratchy throats, and runny noses. Poor air quality in your home can interfere with sleep, too, making you tired and stressed. Here are a few simple things you can do to help out the air quality in your home.

Install Carpet on Bare Floors

It might seem counterintuitive, but some studies indicate that carpet is actually better for air quality than hard floors. While dust, pollen, and dander particles simply sit on top of hard floors, getting kicked up into the air every time someone walks by, carpet fibers can trap those particles and keep them out of the air you breathe.

Some hard flooring can cause irritation in and of itself. Wood floor comes with varnishes and laminates and vinyl flooring is often held down with caustic glues which outgas chemicals that are harsh on throats and lungs. New floors are especially irritating. Carpet, on the other hand, doesn’t require a bonding agent to be installed, so they don’t present the same risk of outgassing.

Vacuum Often and Carefully

Of course, you don’t want the particles that come into your home to just sit trapped in your carpet for too long — that’s what your vacuum is for! You should be vacuuming your carpet at least once a week, maybe even more often if you have kids, pets, or you’re in and out of the house a lot.

When you do vacuum, it’s tempting to just roll the vacuum up and down the carpet in the same direction and consider the job done. But carpet fibers are laid in a particular direction — you’ll want to vacuum both with the grain and across it to do the most thorough job. When you’re finished vacuuming in one direction, turn 90 degrees and do it again in the other direction.

Take Off Your Shoes

Lots of dust and pollen that comes into your home comes from the world outside. You can reduce particulate pollution in your home simply by keeping windows and doors closed, but it’ll still come in on your shoes every time you enter the home. Take shoes off and leave them on a heavy duty rug by the door, then make sure to clean that rug regularly.

Don’t Smoke Indoors

Smoking is bad for the person smoking, and it’s bad for everyone else in the house too. Smoke and tar particles can become trapped in furniture, curtains, and carpets, creating an unpleasant smell and releasing gasses and tiny specks of dust that can pose a serious irritation to asthma and allergy sufferers. If you smoke at home, try to do so outside — your home and your family’s health will thank you.

Add a Touch of Greenery

Another great way to clean up the air in your home is with plants. Plants take in particulate pollution in the air and give off nothing but pleasant smells and pure oxygen, providing a gentle cleansing effect to the atmosphere in your home.

Of course, if you have pollen allergies, you’ll want to avoid plants that give off an excessive amount of pollen. Instead, choose plants with broad leaves — they aspirate the most carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen.

Keeping your air clean is about more than just extending the life of your carpets, upholstery, and paint — though that’s an added bonus. It’s about making your home a clean, comfortable, and safe place for your family to spend their time.