Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Five Easy Ways to Keep Pollutants Out of Your Home

Ninety percent of indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air according to the EPA. This may be one reason why guests at our vacation rentals often ask what they can do to make the indoor air quality as healthy at home as it was at while they were on vacation.

The map above from the American Lung Association shows spots in your home that can make you sick.

I suggest these five easy ways to keep your air healthy:

1. Furnace Filters.FChange the filter on your H/AC at least once every 30 days and use pleated filters with a MERV rating of 10 or higher.

2. Tobacco. Do not allow smoking inside or outside of your home. Second hand smoke is the largest source of indoor air pollution. Nearly one million children with asthma have their condition aggravated by second hand smoke. Even if guests smoke outside, the smoke can get trapped in cushions of outdoor furniture and it blows in open doors and windows.

3. Clean sheets. Wash linens once a week in water over 130 degrees Fahrenheit to eliminate dust mites. Use dust covers on mattresses and pillows that are free of stain guards, bleaches, and other chemicals used to produce fabric products. We use organic or chemical free dust covers in both vacation rentals.

4. No Fragrances. Stop using scented products with the ingredient "fragrance." Manufacturers can use synthetic fragrances in "natural" and "organic" products. Calling a product natural or organic does not mean it is free of chemicals. Air fresheners, incense, essential oils, scented candles, pesticides, and chemical or scented cleaners may contain harmful ingredients to keep the fragrance from fading. Carcinogenic at worst and respiratory irritants at best, there is no healthy reason to use products with these additives.

sells truly natural essential oils and if you know of others, please post a comment. While some incense may also be free of chemicals, it still creates smoke and should be avoided except for ceremonial purposes.

5. Let in the fresh air for 45 minutes a day, unless your area is under an ozone or pollution alert.

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