Bad indoor air quality culprits go beyond dust and dander—these common sources could also be polluting your indoor air.
When it comes to taking care of your air, it’s important to be aware of pollutants beyond the usual suspects—especially in the winter, when our houses are more closed up than usual. Pet dander, dust, candles, cooking fumes, mold and mildew can reduce your air quality, but common household items you might not expect can also contribute to indoor air pollution.
Just like some household cleaning products contain harsh chemicals, the paints, glues and sprays you use for DIY projects can emit fumes and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Think items like ink, oil paint, paint stripper, varnish and super glue. Carefully read the instructions on the packaging for information on safe use and storage.
It’s always a good idea to use these products in a well-ventilated area like an open garage or on a porch to reduce the amount of pollution being released inside. If it’s too cold or you don’t have the space to work outside your house, try using them in an area with an exhaust fan like the kitchen to increase ventilation.
Believe it or not, this bathroom staple can release ultrafine iron, copper and carbon particles, all of which can reduce your air quality.¹ Only use your hair dryer in the bathroom and make sure the exhaust fan is on and the bathroom door is shut while it’s on. If you’re using your hair dryer on a pet after a bath, try to dry him inside the bathtub. If your pet is too big for the bathroom, lay down towels in a different room and use it there instead — don’t forget to crack a window to encourage fresh airflow!
Aerosol products are designed to spray liquids in a uniform mist, but this misting technique can cause particles to become more easily suspended in the air, which reduces your air quality. Plus, many aerosol products emit the same harmful VOCs you’d find in harsh cleaning fluids, smog and vehicle exhaust.² These days, common aerosol products like furniture polish, hairspray, deodorant and air fresheners usually have non-aerosol alternatives that come in solid form or spray bottles. These options can help you phase aerosols out of your home—and your indoor air.
Just like you use ventilation and air filtration techniques to reduce dust and pet dander in your indoor air, you can do the same to get rid of the sneakier particles. Open windows when weather permits, run exhaust fans while cooking or using the bathroom, and make sure to replace your HVAC filter according to the instructions on the packaging—usually every 3 months. If you need reminders, the Filtrete™ Smart App connects via Bluetooth® to Filtrete™ Smart Filters, so you can keep tabs on your filter life in real time.
1. pubs.ACS.org: Ultrafine Particles Emitted through Routine Operation of a Hairdryer
2. York.AC.uk: Household aerosols now release more harmful smog chemicals than all vehicles in the country