The stuff we use to keep critters outdoors isn’t always great for indoor air quality. Here’s how you can protect your home while keeping bad air at bay.
Winter is on its way out, which means it’s time for a spring clean that keeps uninvited creepy crawlers out of your home. If you’re considering using pest poison or heavy-duty insect repellents, it’s important to understand their effect on indoor air quality. Here’s what you should know before you start spraying.
Traditional pesticides are chemicals used to kill or control pests including insects, rodents and small organisms like fungi and bacteria.¹ Though these products are effective at getting rid of pests, they can contaminate indoor air quality when residue is left on household surfaces, containers are stored indoors, or tracked inside via dirt on the bottoms of our shoes. Because pesticides are inherently toxic, they can release large amounts of volatile organic compounds into our indoor and outdoor air.¹
Because pesticides can be dangerous for our indoor air quality, some people choose not to use them at all. However, you can use them effectively without making your indoor air quality plummet.
Take, for instance, the Environmental Protection Agency’s integrated pest management (IPM) approach, which considers both the desire to control your household pests, while using the safest possible method to protect indoor air quality.¹, ³ This means looking for and using the least toxic form of pest removal in every situation.
Using the IPM approach, you might first attempt to remove the pest in a way that doesn’t require the use of pesticides. That could mean removing the pest’s source of food, water or shelter.³ If mice are getting in through a hole in your cabinet, for example, you might seal the hole and move everything in that cabinet somewhere else.
If you’ve decided that using pesticides is needed, only use the recommended amount on the product packaging. Do any necessary mixing of chemicals away from the home and apply pesticides to areas of your house people and pets don’t touch frequently.¹
It’s also important to think about whether the pest needs to be removed at all— sometimes it’s better to leave a harmless pest alone rather than expose your home to chemicals that worsen your indoor air quality.³
To protect your indoor air quality and limit your exposure to pesticide residue, remember to ventilate your home after applying a pesticide inside.² Opening doors and windows, as well as running fans can push polluted air outdoors more quickly. On the other hand, if your pesticide of choice is applied outside of your home, make sure to close doors and windows to prevent any harmful residue from drifting indoors.
Whether or not you use pesticides during your spring cleaning ritual, your HVAC system plays a big role in filtering unwanted pollutants and particles out of your indoor air. Before using harsh pesticides, it’s a good idea to replace your filter so it more effectively filters pollutants out of your air.
If you want to add even more air cleaning tools to your home, Filtrete™ Smart Air Purifiers connect to the Filtrete™ Smart App, so you can monitor and clean your air with the touch of a finger. Its True HEPA filter captures 99.97% of airborne particles, including dust, pet dander, bacteria and viruses.*
*As small as 0.3 microns from the air passing through the filter media. Initial efficiency value.
1. EPA.gov: Pesticides' Impact on Indoor Air Quality
2. EPA.gov: Citizen's Guide to Pest Control