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Sick House? Tips for Cleaning the Air in Your House

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 21-05-2008

There has been a lot of talk about sick houses — houses that actually make you sick because of construction materials, cleaners, paints, solvents and pesticides. It might be hard to change houses, but there are things you can do to make a house less toxic for you and your kids.

1. Get an air purifier and put new allergy rated filters on your furnace every 6 months. Whole house air filter systems work better than portable units. Ideally, use built-in or window unit air-to-air-heat exchangers in rooms where people spend the most time.

2. Get lots of plants. Experts recommend at least two tropical houseplants for every 12×12 foot area to clean up airborne toxins. Use ferns, spider plants, bamboo, and palms close to breathing zones like next to your bed, or TV chair.

3. Open the windows wide. Turn off heat or A/C and open the windows for 10 minutes each day to help rid the house of indoor pollution. Caveat: your allergist may tell you to keep all windows and doors closed during allergy season.

4. Keep new pollutants out of the house. Every new TV, appliance, or laminate/particle board-based piece of furniture is a source of new toxins into the house. Environmentalists suggest setting these items in the garage a few days to air them out before bringing them into the house.