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12 Tips to Quickly Improve Indoor Air Quality

12 Tips to Quickly Improve Indoor Air Quality

 

There are many reasons why the air quality in your home may not be at its best. A faulty furnace or an aged carpet are just two potential culprits. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air quality can be between 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air outdoors. Considering the amount of time we have spent in our homes over the last few years due to the pandemic and during the winter each year, spring is the perfect time to improve your indoor air quality!

 

Check the furnace filter.

This is one of the most overlooked maintenance items in the home and many do not know just how much a dirty furnace filter can impact your home’s air quality. Any furnace repair person can tell you stories about filters they’ve seen caked in dust. Your furnace filter removes debris, dirt and other contaminants before circulating air throughout your home.

Replacing a filter takes less than five minutes and should be done at least every three months. If you have lots of pets or suffer from allergies, you may consider changing your filter more frequently. 

 

Clean the drains.

Drains are a surprisingly common source of odor in the home. Most people only clean them when they’re clogged, but they should be flushed thoroughly with a good-quality cleaner at least once a season. This will remove any perishable items that may be sitting in your drains and contaminating your air. 

 

Don't forget to dust.

Dust surfaces, beat out cushions, rugs and throws, and vacuum furniture and rugs. Give your couch pillows and throw blankets a good wash every 2-4 weeks depending on use. 

If you suffer from allergies and/or have pets and kids, consider upping your dusting schedule and laundering these items once a week to improve your air quality further. 

 

Reduce the humidity.

Too much humidity can cause mold to grow. A few ways to reduce the humidity in your home includes; fixing leaks, making sure that water hoses and connections are leak free, and turning on the bathroom or kitchen exhaust fans for at least 30 minutes after showering or cooking. If your windows or window sills collect condensation, open your blinds or curtains every day and wipe down the windowsill. 

If these solutions do not lower the humidity in your home, consider purchasing a dehumidifier.  

 

Get rid of synthetic air fresheners.

Although they may feel like they freshen the air, synthetic fragrance-filled sprays can do more harm than good. Trade the store-bought single-use aerosol sprays for some of these DIY options that are not only healthier for you, but are also more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

DIY Baking Soda Room Spray 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • pure single note or blend essential oil(s) of your choice. I recommend the oils and diffuser blends at Saje Natural Wellness for this! Not only are they excellent quality and Health Canada approved, they are also committed to sustainable farming and supporting the communities they purchase their oils and raw materials from 
  • water (tap or distilled)
  • small dish for mixing
  • reusable spray bottle
  • funnel

Add your 1 tbsp of baking soda to the small dish and add 2-3 drops (add a few more if you would like a stronger scent) of your chosen essential oil(s) total. Mix well and add to your spray bottle. Top off with water and shake well.

DIY Air Freshener

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of water (distilled or tap)
  • 2 tbsp of 60+ proof vodka or isopropyl alcohol (these items allow the essential oils you will add to properly solubilize in to the water and acts as a preservative so you can keep your mix for longer)
  • pure single note or blend essential oil(s) of your choice or fresh herbs
  • spray bottle that can hold a minimum of 8 ounces of liquid
  • funnel

Add all of your ingredients to your spray bottle and shake well. For your oil mixtures, try:

  1. Eucalyptus Tea Tree - 6 drops eucalyptus essential oil, 4 drops tea tree essential oil, 5 drops lemon essential oil
  2. Lemon Basil - 5-6 leaves of of fresh basil, 5 drops lemon essential oil
  3. Citrus Lavender - 5 drops orange essential oil, 5 drops of tangerine, lemon, or bergamot essential oil, 5 drops lavender essential oil
  4. Simple & Fresh - 5 drops lemon essential oil, 5 drops lavender essential oil, 3 drops rosemary essential oil or fresh sprigs of rosemary
  5. Calming - 10 drops lavender essential oil, 5 drops chamomile essential oil
  6. Citrus Dream - 6 drops grapefruit essential oil, 6 drops bergamot essential oil

Simmer Pot Recipes

Ingredients:

  • saucepan
  • Stovetop
  • tap water
  • fresh ingredients and herbs of your choice

Add your fresh ingredients to your pot and fill 3/4 to the top and bring to a boil. Once at a rolling boil, reduce and let simmer. You can even bottle this after a few hours and re-use it at a later date! Just store it in your fridge in a sealed jar or container.

Here are some great mixes to try and there are many more combinations available online :

  1. Sweet Mint - 2 sliced limes, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp peppermint extract 
  2. Orange Creamsicle - 1 tbsp of vanilla extract, 1 sliced orange
  3. Blueberry Tea - 1 bag of Earl Grey tea, 1 sliced orange, 1 tsp almond extract
  4. Italian Garden - 1 sliced lemon, 1 tsp full black peppercorns, 1 handfull of fresh or dried basil
  5. English Morning - 1 bag of Earl Grey tea (or any black tea of your choice), tsp of vanilla extract 
  6. Christmas Time - 2 cinnamon sticks, a few cardamom pods, 3-4 whole cloves, 3-4 star anise (you can up this amount if you really like licorice scent), 2 bay leaves, 1 sliced citrus fruit of your choice or a collection of peels, a little fresh ginger, pine sprigs, rosemary sprigs, 1 tsp vanilla extract

 

 

Reduce contaminants at the source.

Make your home completely smoke-free. If you have allergies or suffer from breathing problems, consider making your home as scent free as possible by limiting fragrances in daily items like cleaning solutions, air fresheners, personal care products like makeup, styling products, body lotions, to name a few. 

 

Turn on the bathroom fan.

Not only do bathroom fans remove odor, they also reduce moisture build-up. About 50% of air pollutants originate from some type of moisture and mold is the worst of these pollutants. Professionals recommend you keep your bathroom fan on for at least 30 minutes after a shower to remove as much moisture as possible. 

The same recommendation applies to the kitchen exhaust fan; leave the fan on for 30 minutes after you are done cooking to improve your air quality. 

 

Clean your doormat.

Even if your doormat doesn’t smell, it can be a source of air pollutants. When people wipe their shoes, they transfer outside ground pollutants from their shoes to your mat.

 

Get on a bedding change routine.

Make it a weekly task to wash your bedding in hot water and vacuum your mattress. 

 

Vacuum your carpets and rugs.

Ideally, these items should be vacuumed twice a week, or daily if you have pets as the shedded hair, dander, and dirt tracked through the home by pets is a common contributor to poor indoor air quality. 

Be sure to also clean litter boxes (twice a week is the general rule) and animal bedding regularly (ideally once a week).

 

Groom your pets regularly.

Animal fur and dander are common contributors to low indoor air quality. Brush your pets coat and bathe them regularly. Most animals need a good bath once a month, depending on breed and individual needs. Ideally, brush your pet's coat outside for an easier clean up and you can leave the fur outside for birds and small animals to collect for their nests.   

 

Of course, you can always open a window.

The  most popular and easiest way to freshen the air, and it works. All it takes is 15 minutes to air the majority of houses properly. Doing this as well as leaving interior doors open will allow for better air ventilation and refresh your home’s air quality quickly. 

 

If you would like more information on indoor home air quality, check out the canada.ca page all about indoor air quality and health! You can also go straight to the accompanying page for the infograph below by clicking here.

 

To download a PDF this infograph from canada.ca, click the image!

 

These are also all excellent tips for getting your home fully ready to put up for sale! If you are thinking of buying or selling your home, give me a call!

 

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