The comforts of a contemporary home are many, you have temperature-controlled rooms to keep you cool during the summer and warm in winter and windows that are engineered to cocoon you from noisy neighbors and inconsiderate drafts.
According to Alan Barlis (a green architect, based in New York City), recent constructions are more airtight than old ones. If you think about it, there’s a catch to this.
A modern home can phase out the outside world and also seal in substances that could be potentially harmful, such as dirt, dust, and cold. Additionally, you also have to fight with microscopic fragments that come out when you light a candle or when you cook. These volatile organic compounds are also released by certain paints and detergents and some materials in furniture.
As time goes by, these things can irritate the eyes, skin, and airways. Some researchers also think that volatile organic compounds are a high contributing factor in causing cancer. Luckily, taking out these allergens is easier than it sounds. All you have to do is perform these tasks on a daily, weekly and seasonal basis, you won’t break you back doing this, I promise.
Put Your Air Purifier On
If for example, you have seasonal allergies investing in a portable air purifier may be worth it for you, especially if letting in some natural air is problematic. This device is installed into a central-air system and can catch up to 99% of large particles like dander and pollen. Always look for rated MERV-13 or higher and you won’t go wrong. MERV stands for “minimum-efficiency reporting value,” which is a measure of filtering efficiency.
If you don’t have a central air system, a free-standing HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filtration unit will do the same job very well within a room but not over the entire house. Just place one where you spend most of your time like in your living room or bedroom and you’ll see the difference.
Keep the Windows Open
The best way to improve the circulation of natural air in your home is to open the windows and let some air in from the outside. This is particularly important when you need to air-dry your laundry, take a shower, cook, or clean. It’s even useful to do this even in the kitchen and bathrooms with built-in ventilation systems. If for instance, your ventilation system has recirculating fans, be sure to filter and degrease them every six months to make sure they continue to function optimally.
Dust the Dust Away
Although modern houses are built away from busy streets, grime can build up pretty fast in older buildings or structures with poor ventilation. These homes demand frequent wipe downs, to do this it’s important to clean your rag because dust and water molecules can conveniently cling onto each other.
For wood surfaces and antiques, you can simply use a microfibre cloth. Not forgetting windowsills, shower rungs, and shelves.
Word of advice, start high and finish low to get to every single speck. Another tip is to create a clutter-free minimalist look where surfaces are faster to clean and tidy up.
Give the Towels and Mats a Wash
If you like, you can air-dry them after every use because when they are wet they can breed mold. Throw them in the washing machine every three days or so and do the same to your mats as well. With your mats avoid those rubber backings, rather buy a lightweight machine-friendly towel mat.
Use a Mop
According to Derrick A. Denis (vice president of indoor environmental quality at Clark Seif Clark), the best way to clean the air around your living area is to clean the floor. This is because gravity can pull particles down which then enables particles to swirl back up with the smallest crosscurrent.
Brooms collect crumbs to catch the teeny-ting particles that irritate your respiratory system, so grab a mop and mop the floor at least once a week.
To allow yourself to reach tight spots without too much effort, buy a mop with an articulate, telescoping handle as well as a removable machine washable top.
Vacuum with Determination
For upholstery and rugs, use a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filters, this makes sure that what you suck up close to, 99.97% dirt does not go back into the air. Place suitable attachments to target furniture and use a small brush to clean the bookshelf tops.
Then next you target the floors. Thick carpets trap more dust and need many passes with the vacuum machine. Lighter weaves or bare floors make the job a lot easier.
Wash Your Linens
Linens trap skin cells while you sleep, they attract dust and mites that feed on them. These pests then create by-products that cause allergies. To get rid of them you need to wash the sheets and pillowcases at extremely hot temperature settings.
Stick to buying machine washable bedding and keep additional pillows in a closet and reduce decorative ones. The reason why dust mites enjoy beds and bedrooms is that they tend to be very warm and humid. So using a dehumidifier during the summer or turning on your air conditioner is really helpful in this regard.
Give Your Pillows a Wash
Dust and dust mites love pillows too. Luckily you can get rid of them in your washer, read the care label carefully. Do two per load to keep it balanced, wash it once with detergent then again without, use water to rinse it off. After that, you need to tumble dry it on high heat. Use tennis balls to keep the pillows puffed up. To reduce the chore protect your pillows with anti-dust mite encasings.
Give your Window Dressings Some Air
Drapes and curtains are big dirt collectors, so it’s important to cleanse them often, with a guide of care instructions. Custom treatments in particular for those with elaborate details like pleats can only be dry-cleaned, even if it’s crafted from a resilient material like cotton, so vacuum them instead.
For a quicker cleanup, opt for blinds that are made with smooth textures that trap less dust. Simply use a wet cloth and they will be as good as new.