Your cleaning supplies and maintenance routines may harm your home’s air. Here are five worry-free alternatives to try.
You may think you’re doing your family a favor by keeping your home tidy, but if you’re not careful, some of your go-to products and routines may actually have a negative impact on your air quality. Implement these simple tweaks, and you’ll have a fresher home in no time.
According to the American Lung Association, common household cleaning products—think chlorine bleach, detergent, floor polish and oven cleaners—may contain volatile organic compounds, which can contribute to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions and headaches*. Before you reach for your go-to spray bottle the next time you scrub the toilet, check the label for phrases such as “plant-” or “bio-based,” “biodegradable” or “pH neutral”—all clues the product is less toxic. The Environmental Protection Agency’s website also boasts a list of “Safer Choice” products, or you can go the natural route with DIY cleaners made from items such as baking soda, vinegar, even vodka.
Standing for “high-efficiency particulate air,” a filter can only qualify as HEPA if it has a minimum efficiency rating of 99.97 percent for the removal of particles 0.3 micrometers or larger**. When using a HEPA vacuum, this means you’re capturing more particles than you would with a standard vacuum, which may actually send dust back into the air.
Sure, paper towels are convenient, but their single use isn’t doing the environment any favors. Try switching to microfiber cloths, such as the Scotch-Brite® 3-in-1 Microfiber Cloth, which do a better job of trapping dust. Plus, they’re reusable, so you’ll save money. Sounds like a win-win-win.
You may naturally select cleaning products “flavored” by your favorite fragrances, but along with that citrus or pine scent, you could also breathe in synthetic and harmful chemicals. Instead, opt for items labeled fragrance-free or naturally scented. If you’re having a hard time ditching your beloved scents, try infusing homemade cleaning products with a couple drops of 100 percent pure therapeutic-grade essential oils.
You probably already know you’re supposed to change your HVAC filter at least every three months, but what if your filter had an app that could educate you about the air you’re breathing? Enter the Filtrete™ Smart Air Filter. Using sensor technology, the filter connects to the Filtrete™ Smart App so you can monitor air flow, usage and outdoor air quality, and even get tips for improving your indoor air.
*American Lung Association
**Environmental Protection Agency