Spring is in the air, and so are dust, pollen and other unwanted particles that can impact health and the dusting you need to do. What's the best way to Spring Clean Your Indoor Air, and thus reduce airborne allergens, contaminants and those resettling particles that you hate spending time removing from every nook and cranny in your home?
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There are three basic principles to spring cleaning your home's air: prevention, ventilation and air purifying.
Prevention means stopping dust at the source. Generous walk-off mats (3x5 feet) are importance to place at all entrances to help prevent dust from entering via shoes, paws, etc. Just stopping dust at the door via an effective mat can reduce heavy metal contamination by more than 500%. Removing shoes at the door is another good strategy.
Vacuum cleaners that remove and contain dust are another key prevention and control strategy. Consult the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) for a list of vacuums meeting its Seal of Approval criteria for soil removal, dust capture, and carpet wear prevention. Hint: You don’t necessarily have to use a HEPA vacuum to have effective dust control, but you do need to make sure that the entire vacuuming system works properly to remove and capture particles.
Use dusting tools that capture rather than re-distribute particles. Microfiber is a good choice, but a damp cloth also works well. Swiffer-type dusters can also be effective.
Ventilation is a key strategy to reduce the buildup of air toxics in your home. Open those windows, or better yet, consult the Home Ventilating Institute (HVI) for units that both ventilate your home while preventing the loss of heating and cooling energy (these units are called Heat Recovery Ventilators or Energy Recovery Ventilators).
The final line of defense is to employ air cleaning or purifying devices in your home. These are available as whole house units or standalone portables – it's ideal to use both. Portables are easier to place where you especially need them, for example, in the bedrooms of asthmatic children. Be sure to choose units that have a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) appropriate to the size of the room, and that use a sealed HEPA filter as the primary removal medium. Ask for test results from the manufacturer to make sure the units actually remove the finest particles from the air rather than just blowing them around.
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