When you think about air pollution you probably picture car exhaust, factory smokestacks, or cigarette smoke. Yet, the air in your home is likely two to five more times contaminated than outdoor air.
Babies are most susceptible to indoor irritants because their little lungs still need to grow and develop. Here are some tips for cleaning the air you breathe at home.
The air in your home contains dust, dirt, pollen, and sometimes pet dander. The HVAC air filter keeps most of those allergens out of the air, but only when it's clean. Change your air filter monthly to make sure dust and other pollutants don't build up.
Vacuum at least twice a week, preferably using a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove irritants from the carpet and rugs. Damp mop your floors frequently, too. Use a moistened cloth to clean air registers and ceiling fans. And, don't forget to wipe down exhaust fans in both the kitchen and bathroom.
Finally, rinse your outdoor HVAC unit with a garden hose to clean out pollen, grass, and other debris. No power washers, though, as that much pressure damages parts in the HVAC unit.
Opening windows and running fans help air flow remove particles from the air, but they also contribute to indoor pollutants. A better option, especially for babies, are air purifiers. If you cannot afford a whole house system, get a portable air purifier, and use in whatever room the baby is in. These machines run quietly and look like just another piece of furniture.
Make sure the purifier uses a HEPA filter, which captures 99.9 percent of irritants in the air. If radon or carbon monoxide gas causes concern, get a unit with both HEPA and activated carbon filters. The carbon filters remove smoke, smells, and chemical fumes. Avoid ozone generator purifiers as they are dangerous for babies.
Beware of VOCs
Organic compounds, or VOCs, cause cancer and other health issues, yet everyday products contain these toxins. Many cleaning products, candles, air fresheners, detergents, even shampoos use VOCs. If you must use these products, make sure the area is well-ventilated and keep these products far away from your baby.
Try using natural products to clean your home like water with lemon juice or vinegar to clean dirt and grime. Essential oils are a safe alternative to air fresheners, just use a couple of drops in a water diffuser.
Even where you store products with VOCs makes a difference. Be sure to keep them as far away from the living areas as possible. And always, make sure you store these toxins at the proper temperature.
Babies and young children are very susceptible to harmful pollution because their bodies are still developing. As a parent, you want to protect your child and create a healthy environment for them to grow up in. Plus, removing indoor toxins helps reduce the chance of chronic diseases, like cancer, from developing. Breathe easier knowing the air at home is clean and healthy for you and your baby.