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Ask Angi: Six ways to breathe cleaner in your home
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Ask Angi: Six ways to breathe cleaner in your home

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The old-fashioned method of rug beating is actually an effective tool for reducing indoor pollen and dust. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Whether your concerns are about pollen and allergens, overall indoor air quality or just breathing a little cleaner, consider these six tips to clear the air.

1Install HVAC upgrades

Ultraviolet lights, humidifiers, dehumidifiers and filters offer different ways to strip allergens and impurities from the air. These come at a premium cost, so talk to an HVAC expert about what’s best for you. If you have an older HVAC system, you can improve air quality by upgrading your equipment to a current energy-efficient model. (If your system is older than 12 years, you’ll probably need to replace it soon anyway.)

2Change your habits

You can sharply cut down dust and allergens with a few simple changes. For instance, get in the habit of taking off your shoes when you come into the house. Around 85% of the dirt that enters your home is tracked in on shoes. Vacuum your carpet frequently. Clean your sheets and pillows once a week to get rid of dead skin you shed at night.

3Add houseplants

Any kind of plant naturally scrubs the air as it exchanges oxygen for carbon dioxide. Many plants have particularly useful features. English ivy absorbs formaldehyde, and peace lily removes that and two other common volatile organic compounds, or VOCs: benzene and trichloroethylene. (Be cautious with peace lily; it is poisonous to pets.) Spider plants, aloe and rubber plants are all relatively low maintenance and absorb many impurities from the air. Snake plants and bamboo palms are also excellent natural filters.

4Keep your closet clean

Clothing and towels are constantly shedding tiny fibers that accumulate on the floor and then spread throughout the house. Vacuum and clean your closet once a week to keep dust from building up.

5Clean rugs the old-fashioned way

Vacuums can remove most of the dust in a rug, but they don’t get everything. So, from time to time, use a proven old-timey method: Take your rugs outside and hang them on a clotheslines, fence or other sturdy object. Then, use a stick, broom or even a tennis racket to give the rugs a thorough beating. You’ll be amazed by how much dust you kick into the air — and out of your house.

6Curb the use of artificial air fresheners, cleaning products

Synthetic chemicals can get into your home’s air and linger. You can’t eliminate these elements from your daily life, but try to replace them with natural alternatives when you can. A professional cleaning service can advise you on nontoxic and natural cleaning products.

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