Biological pollutants may be present in the complex makeup of your indoor air—and they’re often small enough to be inhaled by you and your family. Here, we identify a few of the top biological culprits and offer tips for minimizing their impact.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America describes spores as the “seeds” of mold that travel through the air. Molds live nearly everywhere, and when a mold source is upset, spores can wind up in your air and may be ingested, potentially leading to an allergic reaction or asthma**.
Tip: Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and in the kitchen.
Although the proteins in pet dander (aka dead skin cells) are harmless, they’re still not doing your indoor air quality any favors if you or a family member has a sensitive immune system***. Dander can’t be eliminated completely, but it can be significantly reduced through regular cleaning, according to the Environmental Protection Agency*.
Tip: Brush your pet outdoors to help remove dander.
If you suffer watery eyes, a runny nose and fits of sneezing when pollen gets into the air, you’re not alone. Millions of people react this way to airborne pollen in the spring, summer and fall****. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory explains that the allergens can find their way indoors through open windows and doors, and can hitch rides on clothing*****.
Tip: Keep windows closed and opt for air conditioning when pollen counts are high.
According to the EPA, some of the most powerful biological allergens come from household dust mites***. They are too small to see with the naked eye, but look like white bugs with eight legs under a microscope. They thrive in warm, humid weather, so keeping indoor humidity under control is key to managing dust mites in your home******.
Tip: Wash bedding weekly in 130°F water*.
People, animals and debris from soil and plants carry and transport bacteria, which are frequently associated with standing water, wet surfaces and water-damaged materials.
Tip: Make an effort to fully clean and dry water-damaged areas within 24 hours. Because it’s tough to completely remove biological contaminants from damaged materials, removing and replacing might be a healthier option*.
While each contaminant above requires its own special attention, some home care measures can help stunt the growth of several biological contaminants.
One such tactic: the EPA recommends keeping the relative humidity in a home between 30 and 60 percent*.
You can also install a Filtrete™ Healthy Living Air Filter, which uses exclusive Filtrete™ Brand 3-in-1 technology from 3M to pull in and trap unwanted air particles, including mold spores, pollen, pet dander, dust, lint, bacteria, viruses, as well as cough and sneeze debris.