eMERGE Guelph

Improve your Homes Indoor Air Quality in 5 Simple Steps

It is common to think of air pollution as something that occurs outddownloadoors, seen in smoggy city skylines and hazy days. But the truth is, our homes and apartments can be even more polluted than the air outside! Common indoor air pollutants include mold, dust mites, radon, lead dust, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and many more.

Health Canada states that on average, Canadians spend approximately 90% of our time indoors. This means we are frequently exposed to pollutants that may cause a variety of adverse health effects, some of which may not appear until years later.

Thankfully, there are 5 simple strategies you can follow to improve your indoor air quality (and save some $$):

  1. Keep your floors clean!
    • Chemicals and allergens can accumulate in household dust for decades, so:
      • Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to reduce concentrations of lead in your home, while getting rid of allergens like dust mites, pet dander and pollen
      • Mop with plain water to catch any lingering particles
      • Remove your shoes when you come indoors to help prevent a host of dust, pesticides and other particles from spreading throughout your home
  1. Keep your humidity levels in check!
    • Moisture-rich areas in your house are a hot spot for dust mites and mold, so keep humidity around 30%-50% to keep them under control
      • You can use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture in the air, use an exhaust fan or crack open a window when cooking, running the dishwasher, or bathing, vent the clothes dryer to the outside and fix those leaky pipes
  1. No smoking!
    • Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals – need we say more?
  1. Test for Radon
    • This colorless, odorless gas significantly raises the risk of lung cancer, and it can be found in both new and old homes
    • Testing for radon is simple, cheap and only takes a few minutes
    • To learn more about how to test for radon, click here

  2. Get rid of VOCs!
    • Many common household products contain a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), some of which are considered toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (e.g. benzene, dichloromethane)
    • Avoid these toxic chemicals, stop using aerosols like air fresheners and carpet cleaners, whose synthetic fragrances are often chock full of VOCs
    • Instead, check out these 10 DIY natural air freshers to make your home smell clean and fresh (including an amazing lemon basil spray!). You can also switch to mild cleaners that don’t have artificial fragrances, and consider brightening up your home with some indoor plants, which act as living air purifiers. Finally, it’s spring! So open up the windows and let in that fresh air to prevent toxic chemical buildup
    • Check out this link to some Air Fresheners for a Healthy Home