Saturday, August 14, 2010

5 cheap steps to cleaner air in our homes

From the cluttered mind of Going Green Mama...

It's a sad statement that clean air and water has become an industry. In our desire to return to a safer lifestyle, we've put at a premium gadgets galore to remove chemicals from everything we put into our bodies.

So here's the scoop. It's probably little surprise that we don't have an air purifier or filters beyond what's in our furnace. We haven't bought disposable filters for our faucets or extra containers for our water. We haven't invested in bottles upon bottles of natural cleaning products, chucking our old chemical-laden ones.

Instead, our steps to cleaner water and air in our home are fairly rudimentary. And they're simple solutions, that no matter where you are in your financial situation, you can take on for your own. Here are five easy ways to get started today:

(1) Our furnace filter is cleaned regularly, but it's a reusable one. While the initial cost was higher and we did need to trim it to fit, we have saved in the long run, and never need to make an unplanned trip to the home improvement store for a new filter.

(2) We kick our shoes off at the door (at least 90 percent of the time), which limits the dust and chemicals from the outdoors from getting tracked throughout our carpets and home.

(3) Rather than invest in chemical cleaners, we rely heavily on vinegar and baking soda, not to mention a little elbow grease. It's a no-brainer, really, as we can buy a year's worth of baking soda for less than the cost of a bottle of one commercial cleaner. And we don't have to worry about fumes, chemicals mixing and causing toxic fumes, or the children getting into the cleaning products.

(4) Clean your air naturally. Invest in a few houseplants, which clean up the carbon dioxide in your home. And don't forget to take advantage of the weather to open the windows and let fresh air back inside.

(5) Watch for mold. Keep on eye on any place where mold might be a concern - in a door seal, by a leaky faucet or window, in your bathroom, in your humidifier in the winter. And be sure to watch your humidity levels, no matter what time of year. (The American Lung Association recommends keeping it under 50 percent). I know keeping your a/c on may seem not that green, but we use it (albeit at a somewhat higher temperature on with a fan) to cut humidity when levels are excessive outdoors and reduce the likelihood of mold.

My solutions may be cheap, but it's not for nothing. The cost of not having clean air to breathe is far too high.

This post is part of the August Healthy Child Healthy World carnival on Clean Water and Air Solutions. You can find a wrapup of these articles online on Aug. 24.

5 comments:

Rebecca said...

I'm pining for my houseplants. I just couldn't keep the cats out of them, so they had to go.

BTW - I'm wondering how anybody can stand the taste of unfiltered tap water. I can't even stand the smell of it let alone drink it!

Anonymous said...

We live on a six lane major road. I do everything possible inside to keep the air and the house clean, but I can't get the cars and trucks to stop running. If I open my windows for fresh air all I get is diesel fumes.

Robbie said...

Rebecca, I hear you. In the town we used to live in, our water was WHITE. Not clear, white.

Anon, I feel your pain because I have been there!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

I love tips for going green on the cheap! I really need to work on the houseplants tip. I read that for clean air, you should have 1 plant per 100 square feet. I've got 3 for 1200 square feet, and one of them is half dead. :(

Jessica Anne said...

Great tips! I'm going to have to look into the reusable furnace filter.

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