I am a stickler for cleanliness. Though I don’t have a Monica-esque (from the American sitcom FRIENDS) reaction to dirt and dust, I am still somewhere close by. My house gets dusted, swept and cleaned every day. I use disinfectants for cleaning the floor and liquid sprays to clean the furniture. Of course, the maid does the maximum cleaning, but I still keep a dust cloth in my hand and wipe the surfaces after she cleans them. And on days she doesn’t turn up, I get an opportunity to go about the house cleaning even the nooks and corners. I clean all the cupboards every 3 months and stuff them with naphthalene balls and desiccants. So just imagine my shock when I learnt that the air inside my home may be more polluted than outside. And contributing to it is my beloved cleaning products.
According to WHO, 4.3 million people a year die from the exposure to household air pollution. More than 50% of premature deaths due to pneumonia among children under 5 are caused by the particulate matter (soot) inhaled from household air pollution.
Agreed that most of us are fortunate to have gas pipelines in our homes, and so our families are not breathing smoke and soot from coal and wood stoves. But, what about the pollutants from cleaning and aerosol products, pet hair and dander and poor ventilation. We are not safe from that, are we? It’s a rhetorical question. No, we are not safe. Our families and children are not safe. They inhale this toxic air day in and day out. No wonder, many kids suffer from cold and cough or some sort of allergies all year round.
As educated, smart and responsible mothers, we need to take the matters in our hand. It’s not difficult to get rid of these toxic pollutants and purify our home.
Here are 6 simple ways to improve the air quality at home:
Clean your home regularly: Diwali cleaning is obligatory, but Diwali comes just once a year, while your home is piling up dirt every single moment. So, it needs frequent cleaning. Engage a maid or a cleaning agency or clean it yourself.
- Remove the shoes before entering the home. Because it can bring in the dirt from outside and with it the numerous pollutants.
- Use a damp cloth to clean the hard wooden or tile/marble surfaces. They are better at capturing micro particles.
- Remove the dirt from ceiling fans, tube lights, behind and top of the cupboards and refrigerator and under the sofas/beds (that’s where maximum dirt gets trapped).
- Use a vacuum cleaner weekly to clean your sofas, chairs and tapestry. Remember to change the filters regularly.
- Remove carpeting if possible.
- Wash/dry clean your curtains every 2-3 months.
Do not smoke at home: If you or a family member have a habit of smoking indoors, it needs to stop immediately. Tobacco releases a lot of chemicals into the air that can cause cancer.
Put those aerosols away: Minimize your use of aerosols (that means your deodorant sprays and perfumes), room fresheners, harsh household cleaners, candles and nail polish removers. They release VOCs that can cause headaches and nausea. If you love candles, try using beeswax candles instead of paraffin wax candles. Paraffin wax candles being a petroleum by product releases toxins, while beeswax is clean.
Use air purifying plants: Certain plants absorb air pollutants (benzene, VOCs, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide) making them ideal to be installed at home to improve the air quality. Get indoor plants like aloe vera, boston fern, rubber plants, goldon pothos, etc. and breathe cleaner air.
Increase ventilation: The circulation of air inside the house is very important. Hence, make it a point to open the windows every morning and let the sunlight and air come in. While you may hate the cold breeze in the winter or the hot winds in the summer, ventilation can control indoor humidity (that can lead to breeding mold that produces mold spores which when inhaled can be dangerous to humans) and airborne contaminants.
Use air purifiers: Installing an air purifier must be the easiest way to get rid of pesky indoor pollutants. Air purifiers can absorb harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, allergens, pollens, microbes, etc. They clean the air and make it cleaner and less toxic. There are many good brands in the market and installing one would be a wise choice, especially if you are expecting and don’t want your newborn to inhale unhealthy air, or your children are suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems.
When it comes to the health of our family and children, there can be no compromise. Installing an air purifier is not only easy, but is also safe and tested. Choose a trusted brand and see the air quality of your home improving. Even if you are like me who walks around with a dust cloth in her hand, cleaning is just not enough, you need a more powerful tool to beat the air pollution inside your home.