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Poor indoor air quality causes sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, a dry mouth and/or throat and coughing. It also wastes energy and prevents proper circulation of filtered air. To improve indoor air quality, use these tips.

Pick The Right Houseplants

The right foliage in a home lends itself to better indoor air quality, according to a study by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. To purify the indoor air, homeowners should consider potting the following houseplants:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Azalea
  • Bamboo Plant
  • Boston Fern
  • Bromeliad
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Elephant Ear
  • English Ivy
  • Garden Mum
  • Gerbera Janet Craig
  • Golden Pothos
  • Heart-Leaf Philodendron
  • Peace Lily
  • Red-Edged or Warneck Dracaena
  • Spider Plant or Weeping Fig

Don’t overwater any of these houseplants to maintain the right level of moisture in the air per plant.

Dehumidify

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A store-bought dehumidifier attracts biological contaminants, if homeowners don’t keep up with its regular maintenance. To save time and money, an open window has the same effect.

Stop Smoking

Secondhand cigarette smoke is “the single most important aspect of indoor air pollution,” said Philip Landrigan, a pediatrician and the director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

Instead take it outside for better indoor air quality. This action also decreases the chances of developing ear and respiratory infections, asthma and cancer, especially in children.

Keep The Floor Clear

Allergens and pathogens accumulate in small particles, like dust and mold spores, that end up on the floor. At least twice per week, homeowners should use a vacuum with strong suction, rotating brushes, and a High Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) filter. Vacuuming gets rid of those small contaminants, like pollen and pet dander.

After vacuuming, homeowners should use a microfiber mop and a non-harsh cleaning solution on hardwood and tile floors to pick up excess dust.

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Purchase Indoor Air Quality Products

Specifically products that have been GREENGUARD Certified for low chemical emissions, including air cleaners and air filters.

GREENGUARD Certification helps manufacturers create–and helps buyers identify–interior products and materials that have low chemical emissions, improving the quality of the air in which the products are used,” according to its website.

Don’t Use Chemical Fragrances

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Many homeowners associate the smell of pine or lemon with cleanliness, but artificial scents contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are occasionally regulated as “toxic” or “hazardous” under U.S. federal laws.

Most whole-home air fresheners like Lysol and Febreze, laundry products, and off-the-shelf cleaning supplies are derived from petroleum products and contain phthalates, a group of chemicals that disrupts hormones. Instead look for organic, fragrance-free laundry products.

To continue naturally improving indoor air quality, don’t use aerosols like hairspray, deodorant, and carpet cleaner.

Avoid Combustion Pollutants

Avoid pollutants such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, which come from burning materials or improperly vented fuel-burning appliances. Appliances to avoid include space heaters, wood stoves, gas stoves, water heaters, dryers, and fireplaces.