It has been a particularly oppressive winter this year and many of us found ourselves spending unprecedented periods indoors. But with that comes an unfamiliar threat: poor quality air. With the potential to inflame conditions like asthma and hay fever as well as making colds and flues all the harder to deal with, knowing how to keep your place at its peak will help you breathe easy this winter.
1. Bust that Dust
Start with the basics. Dust and dirt will always be an ongoing battle and this is definitely not the time you want to be putting general cleaning off. The logic is straightforward: extend the period of time you are in proximity to the dust and you will be affected by it more. Dusters and vacuums will do more to help than you might appreciate so make sure you are doing a weekly dust through and you will notice the difference very quickly.
2. Don’t Let Mould Get Old
With heavy and ongoing rainfall very prominent this winter mould and mildew outbreaks have proven a serious issue for many properties. Besides the obvious cosmetic and structural problems this can cause, the health risks they represent can be just as or more significant. Treating mould outbreaks as they stem is integral to managing it, and areas that receive repeated growths may be indicative of underlying issue like pipe leaks in the walls, degraded sealing or standing water, all of which can be rectified straightforwardly but become serious issues when left alone.
3. Don’t Choke on Smoke
Smoking indoors is a no-no these days for a lot of obvious health reasons but it is also a real nightmare in the cleaning world too. The ash it tends to coat surfaces in as well as ashtrays around the property mean that the quality of the air will be compromised. Besides the bad smell, the ash can cause asthma and even cause irritation for people who do not have allergies. Winter is as good a time as any to motivate yourself to quit if the alternative is smoking in the rain.
4. It’s Raining, Cats and Dogs
Asking pet owners to put their precious friends out in the rain seems a pretty popular piece of advice, but we know that very few people are willing to do that. As winter makes many breeds of pet biologically prone to thicker coats and subsequently to start shedding, maintenance of your pet and the areas they frequent becomes increasingly important as their stray hairs can cause irritation in even people without allergies. Make sure to vacuum their sleeping areas and comb any loose fur off of them as frequently as you can. Ultimately they will be happier and you will be too.
5. Place Your Waste, Consider Your Tastes
Poorly stored chemicals are a really common problem, something that many of our operators can attest to. Keeping your cleaning chemicals in your kitchen may seem convenient but it can result in the air in the room being laced with fumes that will likely produce irritating smells that can also cause some breathing irritation when you spend a lot of time around them. It is also worth considering changing your air fresheners if you are finding you sneeze more recently, as many people will be surprised to find they have a mild allergy to the scents they are otherwise fond of. Cleaning products are your friends, just remember you need to clean them up too.
6. Clear Your Filters, Clear Your Head
Whilst thorough and professional duct cleaning is typically advised if you can help it, especially if there is central heating, in general most properties could at the very least significantly improve their air flow and air quality if they periodically cleaned the vents, filters and fans throughout the property. Anything designed to help clear your air can also be a very serious cause of air contamination if the filters aren’t maintained, so make sure you keep these in mind when doing general tidy ups.
7. Be Keen for Green
Keeping small plants throughout the house can help improve the décor as well as help filter the air. Speaking to a plant nursery specialist is the best start but there are breeds that handle the isolated pot plant life well and many require very little care. If you’ve got kids then a fun activity can be potting a plant. And by fun we of course mean will require additional cleaning later.
8. Bare Down There
With modern insulation and climate conditioning becoming increasingly proficient we are seeing less need for the traditional uses of carpet and more people opting for the lower maintenance wooden floor option. Another positive upshot of no carpets is there is an associated reduction in dust mites, dust and other elements that contaminate the air. Unfortunately although useful carpets tend to act like dust sponges, and the odours they trap are the least of the worries. Whilst not always practical knocking on wood is often the better choice.
9. Winds of Change
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best and when it comes to fresh air the easiest way to get it is to bring in some fresh air. Periodically opening your windows and doors and allowing some airflow will work wonders for the quality of the air in the property and will even help remove stale or lingering odours. Obviously picking a day where it isn’t raining is probably advisable, so make use of those sporadic sunny days we get peppered with even at the worst of times.
And often it is as simple as that. Many people fail to notice just how much of an impact the air is having on them, so don’t feel obliged to wait until you feel really uncomfortable to try these tips out.