From Tubiolo and Consumer Reports experts, including chief scientific officer James Dickerson, here are six ways to address indoor air quality trouble spots.
House dust can be loaded with allergens, as well as chemicals such as PFAS and phthalates, which are associated with health problems. So dust and vacuum once a week or so, using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter — which will help trap pollutants instead of spreading them around. Clean bedding regularly, and place impermeable covers on your pillows and mattress to block dust mite allergens.
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2. Be careful with fireplaces
A toasty fire feels nice, but exposure to burning wood can lead to serious respiratory problems and increase cancer risk. So try to use the fireplace sparingly. Keep it and your chimney clean, and open the damper during use. You could also install an Environmental Protection Agency certified fireplace insert, which can help you heat your home more efficiently.
Mold can cause allergy and asthma flare-ups year round, so clean bathrooms, basements and kitchens regularly to deter its growth. Damp basement? Place a dehumidifier there. Clean small areas of visible mold using a mix of water and detergent or a solution of 5 percent bleach and water. (Never mix bleach with other chemicals.) Consider hiring a professional for areas larger than 10 square feet.
Gas stoves can release pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, which are linked to respiratory problems. Use your range hood or exhaust fan, or open windows, to disperse pollutants while cooking. Due for a new cooktop? Consider an induction burner, which uses electricity, not gas.
Keep your bedroom — where you spend hours each night during sleep — smoke-free. Ban pets from the bedroom, and if it’s near the kitchen, close the door while preparing food to avoid cooking fumes.
6. Consider using an air purifier
A model with a HEPA filter may cut in half the amount of tiny airborne particles from substances such as dust and smoke.
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