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Indoor air pollution is a common concern for all Columbia, Maryland homeowners, but this problem looms particularly large for those with allergy or asthma sufferers in the family. If you’re not careful, your cleaning methods could actually contribute to the problem by adding a slew of new pollutants to the air. Try these cleaning strategies that don’t rely on harsh chemicals or complicated ingredients instead.

1. Make Your Own Cleaning Products

Chemical-laden cleaning products are a major source of indoor air pollution. If you’re not careful about what you’re using to clean your home, you may cause health problems with the very products you rely on to keep your family safe from germs and bacteria. Fortunately, you don’t need harsh chemicals to keep your family safe. Baking soda can kill viruses, vinegar is a natural disinfectant, and tea tree oil has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial qualities. Try olive oil as a furniture polish and castile soap or lemon juice to cut through grease.

A quick online search will yield numerous recipes for DIY cleaning products, ranging from a simple spray bottle of equal parts vinegar and water to a more powerful blend of vinegar, seltzer, tea tree oil, and hydrogen peroxide for multi-purpose cleaning solutions.

2. Change Your Air Filters

Changing your air filters is an important home maintenance task that you should complete once a month, particularly if you have family members who suffer from allergies or asthma. This job takes just seconds if you keep a supply of air filters on hand. Mark your calendar or set a reminder in your phone so you don’t fall behind. A clean air filter will improve the efficiency of your HVAC system as well as your indoor air quality.

3. Upgrade Your Bedding

Dust-mite-proof covers on your mattresses and pillows can help reduce asthma and allergy symptoms. These covers are typically made from plastic or vinyl and may have a soft nylon exterior for added comfort. The cover must zip closed completely for effectiveness. You can further increase protection by placing duct tape over the zipper.

The best time to cover pillows and mattresses is when they’re new, but you can get relief even with an older product, as the cover will trap allergens inside where they can no longer irritate you. WebMD reports that one study proved these covers so effective that some children were able to reduce their asthma medication after covering their mattresses and pillows with them.

4. Invest in Indoor Plants

Indoor plants are natural air cleaners that will remove many pollutants from the air. Paint, carpet, and new furniture can off-gas dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde for years, but well-placed plants can keep the air cleaner. English Ivy, lady palm, and spider plants are particularly effective choices.

5. Use HEPA Filters

HEPA filters are extremely effective at cleaning the air and trapping pollen, dust mites, and pet dander. HEPA filters are most commonly found in air purifiers. Consider upgrading to a vacuum that uses an HEPA filter as well. This will throw off less dirt and dust as you clean.

Some HVAC systems are equipped to work with HEPA filters, but these are usually reserved for hospitals and other clinical settings. Don’t install an HEPA filter in your HVAC system unless it is specifically designed to handle it. A standard system isn’t powerful enough to suck air through an HEPA filter, and using one could cause permanent damage.

6. Schedule HVAC Maintenance

One of the many tasks included with an HVAC tune-up is a thorough cleaning of your system. You should schedule maintenance visits in early fall before you turn on your heater for the first time and in spring before you switch back to air conditioning. A clean system will give you cleaner air throughout the home.

If it’s time to schedule your HVAC maintenance or consider a newer, more efficient system to keep your home’s air clean and breathable, contact Griffith Energy Services at (888) 474-3391. We have the equipment, knowledge, and services you need to create a comfortable and healthy home for everyone living in it.

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