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Indoor Air Quality: 5 Easy Ways to Reduce Allergens in Your Home

‘Tis the season — the season for sniffling, sneezing, runny noses and itchy eyes! That’s right. It’s allergy season.

While some indoor allergens, like dust, exist in your vents and around your home year-round, diminishing your home’s indoor air quality, others – like leaves and pollen – get worse during springtime. Changing your HVAC system’s filters and cleaning your vents each spring improves indoor air quality and can alleviate your family’s allergies.

Here are 5 tips to improve indoor air quality in your home this season:

1. Mop, Vacuum and Dust Once or Twice a Week.

Families with pets or young children may vacuum even more frequently than this, time permitted. You simply can’t leave those cookie crumbs on the rug for seven days! But in an average household, vacuuming at least once or twice a week picks up the allergens we drag in on our shoes.

If you use a bagless vacuum, be sure to clean the filter each time you vacuum for better suction and to remove the allergens entirely from your home.

Mopping will capture any additional allergens your vacuum or broom leaves behind. No harsh chemicals are needed — a clean microfiber mop does the job with just warm water.

When you dust, go from the top of the room to the bottom, using a damp microfiber cloth to catch dust particles without spreading them.

2. Choose Natural Products.

It’s not just allergens like pollen and pet dander that contribute to poor indoor air quality. Toxins that exist in cleaning products and air fresheners can reduce the air quality in your home and can be especially dangerous to infants, children with asthma, and the elderly.

You’d be surprised how well cleaning products made from everyday items vinegar, baking soda, and lemon work to get surfaces clean. When you can’t choose natural cleaning products, select those that are fragrance-free.

Similarly, instead of using a pricey plug-in air freshener, simmer water on the stove, then pour the water into a mason jar or or your favorite bowl over sliced oranges, lemons, and/or sprigs of mint for an amazing fresh scent.

3. Display Live Plants in your Home.

NASA researchers discovered that certain types of house plants purify the air and remove common household toxins for better indoor air quality. Choose one 12” plant for every 100 square feet of space in your home. If you have children or pets, make sure the plants you choose aren’t toxic if eaten.

4. Run the Air Conditioner to Reduce Humidity & Improve Indoor Air Quality.

Mold and mildew thrive in humid air. Aim for 40 to 60 percent humidity in your home, even on the hottest days of summer, by running the air conditioner. Because the air conditioner takes in old air, runs it through the filter and brings in clean air from the outside, running the AC also naturally reduces indoor allergens.

5. Hire a Professional to Spring Clean your Home’s HVAC Systems.

Old air conditioner filters reduce the positive effects of running the AC to reduce humidity and purify your home’s air. Cleaning or changing the filters every two months helps prevent dust and pollen build up. When your air conditioning filters are clogged with dust and pollen, it just shows they were doing their job in catching all those contaminants. By calling a professional to change those filters and provide a full AC tune-up to start the season, you’ll improve indoor air quality and prolong the life of your AC unit, too.