The one thing you should clean – but aren’t

It’s a given that wiping down surfaces, vacuuming and giving the bathroom a good scrub are all part and parcel of a good home clean.

But, have you ever thought about cleaning the air in your humble abode?

According to a survey conducted by Dyson, 58 per cent of Aussies don’t think about, or clean, the air in their homes and over a third aren’t aware of what indoor air pollution means.

“While Australia is lucky to have relatively good air quality, we do have a lot of pollens and potential for mould due to the humidity,” explains Professor John Bell, Head of Science and Engineering at Queensland University of Technology and an indoor environment and buildings specialist.

Because it’s not visible, polluted air in the home is difficult to spot but Professor Bell says there are dust, pollen and chemical particles floating around everywhere. He explains we need to try and nip it in the bud before you notice visible or pungent changes in the air.

What causes indoor air pollution?

Apart from anything that blows through the window from the outside environment, there are many other causes of indoor air pollution.

Professor Bell reveals that things like cleaning fluids, pet hair, new furniture, carpets, new clothes and dry cleaning all emit particles that can irritate our senses.

“We’re bringing these things into the home, not realising the effect on the air,” he explains. “It’s not bad to have these things and we often need them, but it’s good to be aware that if something triggers a response from your immune system you can become sensitive to many other things, too.”

Indoor air pollution an also be caused by the usual suspects such as mould and dust mites that are prevalent in many homes.

How does it affect our health?

Although our nose is a great in-built filter, if it gets irritated from working overtime to block pesky particles it becomes inflamed from trying to defend the body.

When this happens, Professor Bell says your body uses a lot of energy on the inflammation response meaning you’ll be more susceptible to catching colds and poor sleep.

“Indoor air pollution can exacerbate the way in which your body works and how you operate,” he explains. “So, we need to try to make sure we’re not getting an excess of foreign material in the air that might cause problems for your general health and productivity.”

How to clean your indoor air

For a simple starter, Professor Bell suggests opening up the doors and windows to help circulate the air around and out. Remember with this method you’re bringing the outdoors in, so it’s only recommended if you have great quality air in your surrounds – if you live near a busy road or under a flight path, this probably isn’t for you.

He adds that if you have an air conditioner with a good quality filter, it will help strip away any foreign particles, too

But, all in all using an air filter or purifier is the only way to fill your home with clean air.

“Fundamentally you have to get rid of the particles by using a filtration or purification process,” he explains.

So, whether you’re sick of sneezing up a storm or just want to make sure you’re not breathing in nasty foreign particles, taking a look at cleaning the air inside your home could be the answer.

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