3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Air Quality This Winter
Wintertime air pollution is a real problem in the United States, even though the air is generally considered to be cleaner now than a decade ago. As one study at the University of Washington uncovered, air particles follow different and more complex pathways in the winter, meaning that even changing emissions will not immediately improve our air quality during the winter months.
While you can’t change the air quality outdoors, however, you can improve the air quality situation inside your own home. Because you’ll be spending more time inside than outdoors in winter, it’s doubly important to keep your air quality up at this chilly time of the year. By keeping your home sparkling clean and implementing a few small household changes, you may be able to reduce the total number of harmful pollutants and particles indoors.
Tip #1: Keep an eye on the temperature and humidity.
Temperature and humidity both play a significant role in determining your indoor air quality. When you don’t regularly replace your HVAC filters, cranking up the hot air can circulate pet dander, dust mites, and pathogens throughout your house. Additionally, warm air invites more moisture, which means that some areas will see higher levels of mold growth, especially when there’s no fresh air from open windows.
To avoid these issues, the researchers at Harvard Health recommend investing in an air purifier, which can filter out any lingering dust and dirt from heated air. Check for a rating of MERV-13 or higher before installing one in your central heating system, and for those without central air, try a stand-alone HEPA air purifier instead. Dehumidifiers also go a long way towards airing out dark and damp spots in your home, and when paired with regular cleaning, they may prevent mold.
Some other ways to combat temperature-related air quality issues:
- Keep the windows open every once in a while, even just for a few minutes at a time.
- Purchase a few extra blankets to use when the central heating is turned off.
- Use lotion rather than a humidifier to combat the effects of winter dryness on your skin.
- If you do decide to use an air humidifier during the winter, make sure to check the surrounding areas for signs of mold and keep them clean.
Tip #2: Vacuum and mop often.
There’s no way around it: Carpets attract more airborne dust, dirt, and bacteria than most other spots in your house. Short of getting your carpets cleaned regularly, the best way to reduce allergens and indoor air pollution is to vacuum with a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner. By adding a 15-minute vacuuming ritual to your daily winter cleaning schedule, you may find your air quality improving faster than it would otherwise!
The same principle goes for hardwood floors, since gravity will drag food particles, hair, and other effluvia onto the ground, only to be kicked up again by pets and people. Take a mop to your kitchen and bathroom floors at least once a week and start breathing a little easier again.
Tip #3: Launder linens weekly.
Because many linens come into close contact with your body, they tend to collect dead skin cells and dust mites, releasing them back into the air whenever they’re disturbed. To improve winter air quality, consider laundering all of your cloth items at the hottest washer cycle setting on a weekly basis.
Cleaning these linens regularly can help to improve your air quality:
- Bath mats
- Hand towels
- Bath towels
- Kitchen mats
Breathe Easy Again with Merry Maids®
By following these three simple steps, you may be able to improve your air quality through winter and beyond. Of course, you may not always have time to give these items a proper clean, let alone clean the rest of your house.
To ensure that you have a healthy, sparkling clean home, let our experienced cleaning professionals at Merry Maids® offer the regular cleaning assistance you need! Trusted for over 40 years, our cleaning team can provide a deep and detailed clean that frees you to focus on other things -- and get back to enjoying your cozy winter indoors.
Find your local Merry Maids and request an estimate today!