Sunday, September 20, 2009

Autumn tips to keep your indoor air quality at it's best

With autumn rolling in, there’s no better time to cleanse away the summertime pollen, dust bunnies and pet hair that are damaging the indoor air quality of your home. Yet these are only a few of the potential foes, as the greater hazards lie in the very cleaning products that manufacturers sell for helping with those “smelly” chores around the house, such as wall washing and floor stripping. Many commercial cleaning products contain dangerous chemicals known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that have been known to cause skin irritation and lead to cancer under regular exposure. As you prepare your home for the fall and winter ahead, consider these green tips to refresh your surroundings without compromising your indoor air quality.

Grime and waxy residue can build up over time on household floors, leading to discoloration and pollutants in the air. When stripping a floor, always make sure the area has been thoroughly swept and washed with a mild, all-natural cleaning solution, such as The Cleaning Coach’s Green Scrub, to remove as much dirt as possible before applying a green-based floor stripper free of methylene chloride. Howard’s Restor-A-Finish is also a great product for hardwood floors. Use it in just one step to remove scratches, water marks and other blemishes, giving wood its original luster and shine.

Wall washings should always start from the bottom up. Use a paint roller on an extension pole for washing ceilings. Vinegar is a powerful and all-natural resource for killing mold. Add a drop of lemon oil for scent. Tea Tree oil also works wonders on killing mold and spores, and leaves a pleasant aroma after use. When giving your walls a new coat of paint, use a non-toxic formula that is free of benzene and other VOCs.

Improving your home’s indoor air quality can also be achieved through these great tips for freshening up and airing out the rooms of your house:


Baking soda mixed with boiling hot water can reduce the presence of odors in kitchen drains and garbage disposals. Pour down ½ cup of baking soda per 16 ounces of water to disinfect and remove food-smelling odors.

Use baking soda with lemon juice to clean and soak smelly toilet bowls and bathtubs that contain a ring of scum or rust on the interior from use and high levels of iron concentrate found in running water.

Always use a fan unit in a bathroom after a shower or bath. You need to run the fan for 20 minutes after the last mist of steam seems to be gone from the air. Steam from hot water can lead to odor-causing mold that forms on walls and ceilings.

Use a dehumidifier in your basement or playroom to remove moisture that attracts mildew and musty smells.

For basements with dry wall or plaster walls and floors, Fresh Wave is a safe and natural product for removing odors.

Invest in an air purifier, such as Summit Storm Air Purifier, to help filter out pollutants such as dust, mites and pet dander, and help you and your loved ones and pets breathe cleaner, more refreshing indoor air.

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