Clean with the least toxic product that will do the job.The powerful chemicals in many conventional cleaning products can have a toxic effect on human skin and lungs. In addition, the propellants in aerosol products can be inhaled, so it’s prudent to use pump products instead. Find out how to make nontoxic cleaners from common household ingredients (such as vinegar and baking soda) here. Or you can purchase nontoxic or less-toxic formulated cleaning products at most stores. GreenSeal, Greenguard, and Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) certify residential cleaning products that comply with their green standards.
Avoid having your clothing conventionally dry-cleaned, or air out dry-cleaned clothing before bringing it inside.Perchloroethylene (PERC), the most commonly used dry-cleaning solvent, is a potential carcinogen. In a report titled Hung Out To Dry, the Coalition for Clean Air recommends allowing cleaning solvents to offgas by removing clothes from the plastic dry-cleaning bag and placing them outside for four to five days. Alternatively, most fabrics that are labeled “dry clean only” can actually be cleaned through a PERC-free “wet cleaning” process that is increasingly being offered by professional dry-cleaning shops, or some can even be cleaned at home using a mild soap. For more information on alternatives to toxic dry cleaning, read these articles from Green America and Consumer Reports’ GreenerChoices.
Dispose of unused paint, solvents, pesticides, and other household chemicals promptly, and tightly close the containers of products still in use.These products can emit harmful gases that pollute the air and may cause health problems. Minimize the use of hazardous products as much as possible. For essential household chemicals, buy them in smaller sizes that you can use right away. Earth 911 offers an easy-to-use national directory of safe disposal sites for toxic household wastes. If you need to store any hazardous chemicals, keep them in a ventilated and locked outdoor shed away from children, pets, and flame sources.
In temperate climates, use natural ventilation to cool your home.A natural ventilation strategy relies on the buoyancy of hot air (the stack effect) and wind (cross ventilation) to increase the amount of outdoor air coming into your home. Natural ventilation can reduce total energy consumed by 10 to 30 percent compared with a home using a forced-air cooling system.
While natural ventilation is best incorporated into a home’s overall design (e.g., proper window placement when designing the home), there are simple ways to apply natural ventilation in any home: open both the top and bottom sashes of double-hung windows, and open windows on opposite sides of the same room for cross-ventilation. Opening windows at night during the summer will bring cool, fresh air inside and the thermal mass of the house will help the interior stay cool for part of the next day. The greater difference in temperature between inside and outside air at night also will cause more rapid air exchanges and vent air pollution from inside more thoroughly. In addition, outside air may be cleaner at night due to fewer cars on the road.
Use the exhaust fan over your stove to remove gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, and fans in your bathrooms to remove water vapor.Make sure your gas range has a hood fan that exhausts to the outside—some exhaust systems are ductless hoods that exhaust air pulled from the stove right back into the home. Bathroom fans are also important since poor moisture management in a home can allow molds to grow. Also, if your home’s walls, doors, and windows are tightly sealed and energy efficient, you may need to open a window slightly when running an exhaust fan or when you’re using a fireplace, to avoid creating negative pressure. Without another way for outside air to replace the air leaving through the exhaust fan or chimney, air may be drawn through the exhaust pipes for your furnace or hot water heater.
Employ other simple moisture management measures to keep your home’s interior dry.Be sure to fix any leaks and clean up any household spills as quickly as possible. Standing water and moist materials provide a habitat for mold and microbial growth (and can also attract pests).
Replace the air filter in your furnace and air conditioner at the start of the heating or cooling season, or as recommended by the manufacturer.Filters actually become more effective in capturing and removing particulate air contaminants as they get dirtier and build up a “dust cake.” This increased effectiveness comes with a cost, however, as the pressure drop increases and less air gets through. It is a good idea to change the filter for the furnace at the start of the heating season, as the dust cake from the previous year has been sitting in the cold, dark basement throughout the summer and may have started to grow molds.
Room-size air cleaners can be effective tools for removing pollutants in one or more rooms.If you are concerned about pollution in a particular room and it’s not possible to remove the pollution source, consider buying a room-size air cleaner. Sources like Consumer Reports and the American Lung Association recommend air cleaners for improving air quality in one or several rooms, but not for the whole house. See the EPA’s Guide To Air Cleaners in the Home for information on the various types of air cleaners.
Don’t allow smoking inside your home or around your home (near your windows or doors).This one may seem obvious, but lest anyone forget, tobacco smoke is a pollutant.
By Willem Maas
Reposted by: Superior Choice 100% Organic Dry Carpet Cleaning
Dry-Rugs.com (Serving Philadelphia & Surrounding Areas)