Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Cleaning and Indoor Air Quality

Spring has officially arrived! It’s finally time to put away those well-worn snow coats, boots and gloves until next winter. The birds are singing, the trees are filling out with greenery and the fragrance of spring flowers is beginning to fill the air. Life is good!

Spring Time Also Means Spring Cleaning

The arrival of spring also brings about the annual ritual of spring cleaning. For many people, spring cleaning means a trip to the store to reload their arsenal of heavy-duty disinfectants, bleach, aerosol spray fragrances, potpourri, scented candles and mothballs.

Keep in mind that the artificial smell of a clean home does not mean that a home is either clean or healthy. Don’t pollute your home with chemical fragrances that compromise your indoor air quality and your family’s health. Try these healthy tips for a spring cleaning regimen that will spare the air and your health:

·         Fragrance-Free Supplies: Forget those artificial scents that scream CLEAN! The fragrant suggestions of alpine meadows, spring flowers or crisp linen are actually petroleum-based chemicals. These chemicals are often responsible for a host of respiratory ailments that can trigger asthma attacks and allergic reactions. 

·         Read the Labels: The easiest way to avoid chemical cleaners is to look for products with “eco-friendly” labels. The companies that produce environmentally sensitive cleaning supplies list exactly what is contained in the product. Most of these products are scented, but the fragrances are naturally derived and easier on your health. We all like that fresh and clean smell, but spare your health by avoiding exposure to an overload of chemicals. Breathe easier and go with “eco-friendly” products.

·         Homemade Cleaners: Another alternative to chemically-laden cleaning supplies is to return to Grandma’s tried and true DIY cleaners. These simple cleaners are the nuts and bolts of home cleaning supplies: white vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and lemon juice. These old school supplies are reliable and the added bonus is that they are highly affordable. If you still miss the whiff of alpine meadows, you can add a few drops of essential oils to the cleaning mix.

·         Filter It Out: Filters do an important job in the fight for good indoor air quality. Be sure to add filters to your spring cleaning check list. Replace filters on your furnace, air conditioner, kitchen range hood and bathroom exhaust fan. You might want to consider adding a quality air purifier to your home. And while you are it, acquire a houseplant that has strong air filtration capabilities such as an Aloe Vera, Dracaena or Snake plant.

·         Sucking It Up: Never underestimate the value of a vacuum cleaner with a good HEPA filter. A vacuum will remove microscopic particles such as animal dander, pollen and dust mite feces, but it’s only effective with a high quality HEPA filter. Without this important filter, your vacuum will only recirculate microscopic particles around your home which can actually trigger asthma attacks and worsen allergy symptoms.