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Reduce and Avoid Indoor Pollutants — an article on the Smart Living Network
September 21, 2010 at 12:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Reduce and Avoid Indoor Pollutants


The concept of reducing indoor pollutants sounds easy. But there are many indoor pollutants, some so tiny we tend to disregard them or even forget they exist. Take dust for instance. The majority of all household dust is actually human dander: dried skin that has flaked off of the homeowners and their pets and guests.

Where Do Indoor Pollutants Come From?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor pollutants come from a variety of areas. New studies report that because people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, we have crossed the threshold and now indoor pollutants, where we once thought we were safer, have actually become more dangerous than pollutants typically found out of doors. Unfortunately, those who are more susceptible to pollutants of any type are the very old and the very young, and also those who already suffer from a variety of respiratory illnesses such as asthma, COPD and allergies, or chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular problems, and they are the very individuals who remain indoors more often. Where does indoor pollution come from?

  • Human and pet dander
  • Dust
  • Dust mites
  • Spoiled foods
  • Mold and mildew
  • Furniture treated with stain-guard chemicals
  • Bedding: mattress, boxsprings, linens
  • Outdoor pollutants that travel indoors on our clothing and on air currents when windows and doors are opened
  • Appliances and machines that emit gases into the atmosphere
  • Building materials

When a hodge-podge of indoor pollutants is combined, the end result can pose a serious health risk to humans. But there is a ray of sunshine at the end of the tunnel. Eliminating or reducing the risk of indoor pollutants is well within the grasp of every homeowner.

Preventive Measures

When dealing with indoor pollutants, the homeowner can lower the risk of potential health issues simply by being more diligent. Maintaining a clean home is important, but it's not enough. Dedicate a 12-month calendar to maintaining a clean and healthy home by making a list of things within the home that should be maintained and periodically checked, cleaned or replaced. Mark each item on the calendar and maintain a consistent follow-up. Some items that should appear on the calendar:

  • Use green cleaning products
  • Keep the home clean and clear of dust
  • Mark special days for deep cleaning of refrigerator coils and heat registers
  • Clean out the refrigerator and pantry every week
  • Clean pet areas on a daily or weekly schedule
  • Bathe pets as needed
  • Do not use bug bombs or flea sprays indoors
  • Run a fan to keep air moving
  • Check utilities and machinery on a regular basis for gas leaks
  • Periodically run a humidifier or dehumidifier
  • Open windows periodically and ventilate hobby rooms

Some rules that should be followed at all times:

  • Do not smoke in the home
  • Do not use fabric sheets, deodorizing sprays or plug-in candles
  • Ventilate rooms with new building materials (paint, drywall, etc.)
  • Avoid use of kerosene or gas heating units
  • Avoid use of insecticides
  • Use only green cleaning supplies
  • Cover mattresses to keep dust mite populations down
  • Remove carpets and replace old furniture whenever possible
  • Maintain a good ventilation system
  • Grow houseplants (plants remove pollutants from the air)


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