A clean home is not only pleasant, but it also improves indoor air quality and thus helps keep the homeowner’s lungs healthy. Cleaning a home properly reduces the number of irritants inside the home such as mold, pet dander, room fresheners, and cleaning solutions. Such irritants can cause breathing problems by stimulating increased mucus production or causing spasms in the airway. Here are four ways to clean your home in a manner that protects your lungs.

Control the Humidity

Keeping the humidity below 50 percent will reduce both mold and pests like dust mites, which thrive in humid conditions. One way to control the humidity in a home is to use the exhaust vent in the bathroom when showering or bathing – assuming that the vent actually sends the humid air outside and doesn’t just recirculate it indoors. You may want to have a vent and/or dehumidifier installed in the bathroom if you don’t already have one. This will keep moisture from building up and causing mold growth. However, also keep in mind that a certain degree of humidity is good for you, so find ways to use that moisture when you need it.

Control Dust and Dust Mites

Dust and dust mites can both trigger allergies. Dust mites also love carpets, pillows, and bedsheets. You should, therefore, wash your bedsheets in hot water at least once every two weeks. If you sweat a lot or have dust mite allergies, you should wash them once a week. If you develop a contagious illness, you should wash your sheets as soon as you’re all better. Pillows should be washed every six months, for the pillowcase doesn’t really protect them from dust, skin cells, or sweat. Replace pillows every couple of years. Avoid having carpets wherever possible. If you do have a carpet, use a vacuum cleaner with an air filter every day.

Choose Household Cleaners Wisely

Some household cleaners release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other dangerous chemicals. Such products can cause health problems including headaches, allergic reactions, and respiratory problems. Examples of household products containing such chemicals include air fresheners, oven cleaners, laundry detergent, and dishwashing liquid. When buying household products, check the label and avoid anything that contains VOCs, fragrances, and anything flammable. Alternatively, using baking soda, soap and water, or vinegar and water to clean things.

Change Your Air Filters Regularly

Filters, like those used with air conditioners, help keep the air clean and the system running smoothly. How often they need to be changed depends on such factors as the size of the home and whether the homeowner has pets or respiratory problems. Generally speaking, a fiberglass filter should be changed every month, while a pleated air filter may last for up to six months. Air conditioning services can supply air filters and change them for you.

While the human body does have its own ways of protecting the lungs, environmental pollutants like those found in many homes can weaken those defenses. It is thus imperative to choose the right products and methods for cleaning your home and keeping your lungs healthy.

By Lizzie Weakley

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.

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