Did you know that October is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Awareness Month? Most people are aware of the importance of good IAQ but are uncertain about how to achieve it. Will purchasing an air purifier do the trick?

What many people don’t know is that there are a number of simple steps you can take to improve indoor air quality by preventing pollutants from entering the air rather than trying to purify the air once the pollutants are there.  Here are ten tips for improving IAQ in your home:

  1. Vacuum floors, carpets, and (yes) mattresses often using a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter to remove dust mites and other allergens.
  2. Keep pets out of the bedroom to reduce allergen exposure while you sleep.
  3. Don’t burn candles or wood fires, both of which can release soot and smoke into the air, compromising air quality.
  4. No smoking – for your health and the health of those around you!
  5. Upgrade the filter in your HVAC system to one that removes more particulate from the air.
  6. Store cleaning chemicals, paints, glues, solvents and pesticides away from occupants, preferably outside the house, or in a well-ventilated or exhausted area to avoid release of VOCs into indoor air.
  7. Open windows or use exhaust fans to vent kitchen, bath and laundry areas outside to prevent the moisture, chemicals and particles associated with cooking, bathing and cleaning from remaining in the home.
  8. Switch to natural or certified low-emitting cleaning products or natural non-toxic cleaners like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice and baking soda. This will greatly reduce the introduction of toxic chemicals into the air.
  9. Use allergy-proof mattress covers on all mattresses and wash bedding in hot water every week to reduce allergens.
  10. Electronics – everything from the TV to your cell phone to the toaster – can generate toxic chemicals when they heat up and adhesives and plastics. Realizing that technology is not going away, it’s a good ideas to open your windows occasionally to rid your house of chemical-laden air.

A few easy steps can help you significantly improve the indoor air quality in your home or office. For more information about IAQ, visit http://newscience.ul.com/indoorairquality.