Spring cleaning starts at home, and these three tasks can remove pollutants and help you breathe better at home. Here’s how.
Enforce A “No Shoes Inside” Policy
Taking off your shoes when entering your house can be a tough habit to adopt, but there’s a quick way to convert: Your shoes are filthy, and tracking in millions of bacteria. According to Jonathan Sexton, a research assistant at the University of Arizona’s College of Public Health, toilet seats generally have about 1,000 bacteria or less, while the soles of shoes typically play host to millions. But that’s not all. Bacteria can live longer on your shoes because there is a continuous build up of new bacteria on them. And furthermore, a University of Houston study found that coliforms, which are universally present in feces, are found on 96% of shoe soles.
So the science is in: Take off your shoes upon entering the house. In warmer climates, this is an easier change to make, but if you live in a climate with winter, or don’t have ample outdoor space, it can get a little trickier. Here’s a few tips to make it work:
- Establish a shoe area just inside or outside your entryway.
- Keep slippers or “house shoes” in that area.
- Show visitors to your home the above University of Houston study.
Fill Your Home with Plants
Admit it, you’ve always wanted a boho vibe in your home, and now you have an excuse for it! Not only do plants boost mood and help lower stress, they also remove harmful impurities from the air. If you’re new to plant parent life, a few easy-to-care-for options include the Snake Plant, Corn Plant and English Ivy.
Snake Plant: The Snake Plant is a common houseplant that grows upright and requires little water to survive. What’s really remarkable about this plant is that it’s one of the few plants that can convert carbon dioxide into oxygen at night. It also removes pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and more. And finally, by adding moisture and oxygen, the Snake Plant can lessen the impact of airborne allergens like dust and dander.
Corn Plant: The Corn Plant is a great way to add color to your home AND purify the air by getting rid of toxins and purifying the air. It can survive in dimly lit areas and is effective in the removal of formaldehyde from indoor air.
English Ivy: English Ivy is one of NASA’s top 10 air-purifying plants. English Ivy may also help you breathe easier, if you have allergies, according to research. English Ivy may also help pull fecal, mold spores and other air pollutants from the air.
Open Your Windows and Shades
Believe it or not, indoor air pollution is often worse than outdoor air pollution, according to the E.P.A. While not completely energy efficient in the winter, opening your windows even for five minutes a day should be enough to decrease the concentration of indoor air pollutants. The top pollutants to look out for include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen dioxide, flame retardants and phthalates. “You don’t want to be stuck in a house with no ventilation all day,” says Dr Paul Young of Lancaster University. Fresh air is not the enemy, but take caution if fire is burning in the area or you live in a high-traffic area.
Next week, check back for how to spring clean/declutter your mind!