It’s a fact of life that indoor air pollutants, such as dust, pet hair and mould, can create havoc with wellbeing.
And that’s without factoring in the influence of household chemicals when skin irritations, hypersensitivity and neurotoxic symptoms begin to surface.
The CSIRO estimates that poor air quality inside our homes is a costly burden (as much as $12 billion annually) on family health and livelihood, the economy and the environment.
But there are many ways you can protect yourself and your family, especially when we tend to spend so much time indoors.
Keeping your home clean helps to reduce the accumulation of dust, mould, hair/animal dander and other irritants. Ensuring that you vacuum regularly, including curtains, wash bed linen and drapes frequently, and declutter weekly is essential.
To control sources of indoor pollution, experts such as Vornado Australia recommend:
Reduce toxins and irritants released into the air
The first step is to reduce or eliminate the use of cleaners and solvents indoors, and replacing them with natural alternatives. Also, ensure your heaters and stoves are serviced regularly to reduce their emissions.
Ventilate your home properly to move fresh air
Inadequate ventilation — meaning little air is circulated — is the largest contributing factor to indoor air pollution.
In basic terms, this means smoke, dust, heat, metals, humidity and carbon dioxide builds up in tightly sealed spaces.
Where possible, create cross-ventilation by opening windows at either end of your home.
Coupled with using effective exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms, also consider deploying an air circulator and air purifier to eliminate allergens and pollutants from the air.
It’s important to change air filters in forced-air heating systems to remove dust and other airborne irritants. You should also have the ducts cleaned regularly to help maintain a fresh air flow.
Maintain a healthy level of humidity
Moisture problems can lead to indoor mould growth, which is a common problem in new homes.
Dust mites and mould thrive on moisture.
Indoors, a humidity level of between 30 per cent and 50 per cent is ideal to keep mites, mould and allergens under control.
Using a dehumidifier in damp areas to offset mould also helps to maintain the healthiest air quality in your home.