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 year, now is the perfect time to improve your indoor air quality!
#1 Check the furnace filter.
This is one of the most overlooked maintenance items in the home. Any furnace repair person can tell you stories about filters they’ve seen caked in dust. Make sure those aren’t yours. Air passes through those filters before circulating throughout your home. Replacing a filter takes less than five minutes.
#2 Clean the drains.
Drains are a surprisingly common source of odour 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.
#3 Don't forget to dust!
Dust surfaces, beat out cushions, rugs, and throws, and vacuum furniture. Give your throw pillows and throws a good wash every 2-4 weeks depending on use.
#4 Make sure your home is not too humid.
Too much humidity can cause mould to grow. A few ways to reduce the humidity in your home include fixing leaks, make sure that water hoses and connections are leak free, and use a bathroom or kitchen exhaust fan at least 30 minutes after showing or cooking. If your windows or window sills collect condensation, open your blinds or curtains every day and wipe down the windowsill.
#5 Get rid of synthetic air fresheners!
Although they may feel like the freshen the air, these synthetic fragrance-filled spracys can do more harm than good. Even alot of the store-bought options that tout claims like "green" or "all natural" are mainly marketing tactics. Trade the store-bought single-use arisol sprays for some of these DIY's that are not only healthier for you, are also more sustainable and environmentally friendly!
DIY Baking Soda Room Spray
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- pure single note or blend essential oilof your choice (I reccomend the oils and diffuser blends at Saje Natural Wellness for this! Not only are they excellent quality and Health Canada approved, they are also commited to sustainable farming and supporting the communities they purchase their oils and raw materials from)
- water (tap or distilled)
- small dish for mixing
- re-usable spray bottle
Add your 1tbsp of baking soda to the small dish and add 2-3 drops (add a few more if you would like a stroger 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
- 1 cup of distilled or tap water
- 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 acta as a preservative so you can keep your mix for longer)
- pure single note or blend essential oil of your choice or fresh herbs
- spray bottle that can hold a minimum of 8 ounces of liquid
Add all of your ingredients to your spray bottle and shake well. For your oil mixtures, try:
- Eucalyptus Tea Tree - 6 drops eucalyptus essential oil, 4 drops tea tree essential oil, 5 drops lemon essential oil
- Lemon Basil - 5-6 leaves of of fresh basil, 5 drops lemon essential oil
- Citrus Lavender - 5 drops orange essential oil, 5 drops of tangerine, lemon, or bergamot essential oil, 5 drops lavender essential oil
- Simple & Fresh - 5 drops lemon essential oil, 5 drops lavender essential oil, 3 drops rosemary essential oil or fresh sprigs of rosemary
- Calming - 10 drops lavender essential oil, 5 drops chamomile essential oil
- Citrus Dream - 6 drops grapefruit essential oil, 6 drops bergamot essential oil
Simmer Pot Recipes
- 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 at a later date! Just store in your fridge.
There are lots of simmer pot recipes available on the internet, however here are some great mixes to try:
- Sweet Mint - 2 sliced limes, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1tsp peppermint extract
- Orange Creamsicle - 1 tbsp of vanilla extract, 1 sliced orange
- Blueberry Tea - 1 bag of Earl Grey tea, 1 sliced orange, 1 tsp almond extract
- Italian Garden - 1 sliced lemon, 1 tsp full black pepercorns, 1 handfull of fresh or dried basil
- English Morning - 1 bagof Earl Grey tea (or any black tea of your choice), tsp of vanilla extract
- 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 cirtus fruit of your choice or a collection of peels, a little fresh ginger, pine sprigs, rosemary sprigs, 1tsp vanilla extract
#6 Reduce contaminants at the source.
Make your home completely smoke-free! If you have breathing problems, consider making your home as scent free as possible.
#7 Turn on the bathroom fan.
Not only do bathroom fans remove odour, they also reduce moisture build-up. About 50% of air pollutants originate from some type of moisture. Mould is the worst of these pollutants. Professionals recommend you keep your bathroom fan on for at least 30 minutes after a shower.
#8 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.
#9 Get on a bedding change routine.
Make it a weekly task to wash your bedding in hot water and vacuum your mattress.
#10 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.
#11 Groom your pets regularly.
Animal fur and dander is a common contributor 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 (you can leave the fur outside for birds and small animals to collect for their nests!). Make sure to also clean little boxes (twice a week is the general rule) and animal bedding regularly (ideally once a week).
#12 Of course, you can always open a window.
That’s the most popular and easiest way to freshen the air, and it works. All it takes is 15 minutes to air 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!