Many people experience seasonal allergies, but even those with everyday allergies can benefit from having cleaner air to breathe, especially in their own homes. Below are five simple ways anyone can get healthier air indoors.
1. Change Air Filters Frequently
The average homeowner only replaces his/her air filters once a year, but experts recommend switching to a new filter for each air grille at least once per season. If you have one or more pets, your changing chore increases to per month. If you changing out your filter with another regular home maintenance task, you will be more likely to remember it.
2. Pay Attention to the MERV, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value on Air Filters
Look at the MERV number on the filter you buy. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “medium efficiency filters with a MERV of 5 to 13 are reasonably efficient at removing small to large airborne particles. Filters with a MERV between 7 and 13 are likely to be nearly as effective as true HEPA filters at controlling most airborne indoor particles on the filter.” Typically, pleated filters are more efficient since the pleats provide a greater surface area to trap particles.
3. Get in the Habit of Taking Off Your Shoes When You Come in the Door
This simple act can reduce dirt and dust in your house as much as 50%, not to mention leaving chemicals, oils, and other toxins at the perimeter of your home, instead of tracking them through it. In a recent guest blog on WebMD, actress Laura Dern states, “The professional cleaning industry estimates that we track 85% of the dirt in our homes in from the outside on our shoes or paws of pet.” Making leaving your shoes at the door can become a simple habit and even the start of a relaxation tradition, changing your home into more of a sanctuary.
4. Clean Exterior Screens
Ideally, this exterior cleaning window and door screens a seasonal job consisting of screen removal and cleaning with hose, dish detergent, and a soft scrubber brush. Put down a towel or cloth on a flat, horizontal surface first to protect the screen. Then lay the screen down and go to work. Take about 5 minutes per side to wash and rinse, if your screen is average size. Your view will be clearer, too!
5. Dust and Vacuum Regularly
There’s no need to be compulsive, but averaging two dustings a week with two vacuuming sessions should eliminate large allergen particles. Using microfiber cloths designed to trap dust or a damp cloth is much better than dry clothes, picking up at least 30% more dust in one swipe. And dust first, moving “top down”, in your cleaning regimen, vacuuming or cleaning the floor last. The effort in this dusting and vacuuming routine will pay off as you breathe deeply, knowing your air inside your home is cleaner and healthier.