By: Joanne Cavis, UGA Cooperative Extension
Did you know that most people spend about 90% of their time indoors? This is definitely believable when it is so hot. So, you should be concerned about the quality of the air inside your home. You could be living in an environment filled with pollutants such as dust, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mold, bugs and tobacco smoke.
A good way to get started on the path to a cleaner and healthier environment is to reduce your clutter. Dust and bugs collect in areas where there are stacks of papers, magazines, clothes and boxes. Sort through your stacks of stuff and eliminate at least 75 percent of each pile. More would even be better!
Now that you have removed some of the clutter, start cleaning your home more often and use fewer household chemicals. When you select cleaning products, look for those that emit low levels of VOCs. Dust and vacuum your home regularly. Wash your bedding every week in hot water and dry in hot dryer. If someone in your house suffers from severe allergies, consider replacing carpet with wood, vinyl or tile flooring.
Have you ever wondered what is in the products you buy? Well, the United States National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine Specialized Informational Services created a database filled with useful information on a multitude of household products, including cleaners, home maintenance products and pesticides. Users can search for information by (1) type of product, (2) by ingredient and (3) by health effect. Check it out at http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/.
Not allowing anyone to smoke inside your home will eliminate exposure to tobacco smoke. Reducing the relative humidity level inside your home will help minimize molds, mildew, bacteria and insects. It also helps reduce dust mites because they grow in warm, moist environments. The recommended relative humidity level for inside your home is 30 to 50 percent in winter and less than 60 percent in summer.
Make time to create a regular cleaning plan to maintain a healthy home. You and your family will feel better. You can also reduce health care costs by living in a healthy environment.
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