What is dust? Turns out, it’s a mixture of fungal spores, pollen, insect waste, cooking smoke, dead skin, decomposed plants and animals, chemicals such as fertilizers and atmospheric pollution like lead and arsenic
Harmful chemicals come from inside and outside of homes. Indoor chemicals come from furniture, electronics, and fabrics, while outdoor pollutants enter homes through shoes, windows, and doors. Young children and pets are at a higher risk from dust as they spend most of their time on the floor.
Here is a list of simple ways to reduce indoor air pollution for a healthier home.
1.Out with the bad, in with the new:
Ventilation is key. Opening a window is an easy way to encourage a good exchange of indoor and outdoor air. Be sure to have a screen on the window to prevent more dust from coming inside.
2Bathe your pets:
Wash your pets and their bedding often to reduce allergy-causing dander. If you have severe allergies, it’s best to keep them out of your bedroom!
3.Turn on exhaust fans:
Turn your kitchen and bathroom fans on so it vents fumes and steam outside.
4.Use a doormat:
Buy natural-fiber doormats and leave shoes by the door before entering your home. Natural fiber doormats include those made of coir (coconut), bamboo, and jute.
It’s best to replace filters every three months. If you have pets, replace filters within 20-45 days.
Using your fireplace will release soot and smoke into the air (which is NOT what you want).
7.Don’t cover up odors:
Avoid any odor-masking fragrances as this can cause an asthma attack. Instead, try adding 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar to a 4 oz spray bottle and filling up with distilled water.
Vacuum instead of brooming, especially if you have pets, as this will just stir up any dust. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter as this will help trap smaller particles compared to regular vacuums.
9.Use a microfiber dusting cloth or wet cloth:
Microfiber cloths work well because they cling to particles better. If you don’t have one, use a wet cloth as it will grab and hold dust better than a dry one. Don’t let dust accumulate; wipe often!
Carpets trap dirt, dust, and any other pollutants. If possible, stick to FSC-certified wood or tile flooring instead. Otherwise, look for carpets made of wool or natural plant materials and avoid synthetic carpets.
Use a dehumidifier and clean the filter regularly to reduce mold caused by moisture.
12.Use fewer chemicals
Make your own cleaning solutions instead of buying store-bought cleaners that contain harmful chemicals. There are several DIY cleaners out there.
13.Use a wet mop:
To prevent dust from ending up back on your floors, use a wet mop. Mop floors using 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar with a gallon of warm water.
14.Know what you buy:
Many products, such as your electronics and furniture, now include flame retardant chemicals, which eventually settles in household dust. Before you buy something, make sure that it is PBDE, or fire retardant, free.
Second-hand smoke impairs respiratory and heart health and is responsible for lung cancer deaths in smokers and non-smokers.
Do you know what your environmental exposures are? We can help you answer those questions. Come in to get an examination, get tested, follow your uniquely designed program, and get periodic retesting done!
What’s in Household Dust? Don’t Ask
By Jeffrey Kluger Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010