It’s a general misconception that air pollution exists only outside our homes, with exhaust fumes, smog, haze, allergens being some of the common culprits. Unknown to many, however, the indoor air quality too is prone to being polluted. Aside from dust and dust mites, there can be build-up of formaldehyde and VOCs from cleaning fluids, fragrances and sprays to think about too. Even radon from granite slabs can be found indoors.
Here’s a look at some of the common indoor pollutants and ways to improve the air quality within your apartment:
1.Kitchen Exhaust – Believe it or not, each time you switch on the gas stove, harmful contaminants such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide are released into the air. These are easily absorbed into your bloodstream, which is why an open window, a chimney hob or an exhaust fan are very useful in the kitchen.
2. Carpet and rugs – These are a magnet for dust, dirt, dander and mites. Carpets and rugs need regular deep cleaning to get rid of tiny particles that get embedded in their fibers. You could also take them out for airing and beating out allergens such as animal dander and other dust particles that can collect in them.
3. Healthy humidity levels – Maintaining indoor humidity to around 30-50% will keep moisture loving mold, dust mites and various allergens under control. Dehumidifiers or air-conditioners can also be used to control indoor moisture levels and allergens. Ensure you hang the washing outdoors for drying and fix leaky plumbing in time too, to prevent collection of moisture and mold growth.
4. Aerosol sprays – Daily-use cleaning fluids for various surfaces and even body sprays contain harmful chemicals known as formaldehyde and VOCs (Volatile organic Compounds) which are poisonous when inhaled over a period of time. Go for unperfumed and non-spray cleaning products to reduce indoor pollutants.
5. Clean all vents – Regular cleaning of air ducts and filters ensures clean filtered air. Ensure that your bathroom and kitchen vents aren’t clogged, and if needed replace them. While certain indoor plants are natural purifiers, they cant filter all the indoor air. Instead consider investing in an air purifier that also gets rid of harmful germs.