It’s cold. It’s dry. It’s wintertime.
During the winter months, you’re likely to run your heating system to stay warm and keep out the brutally cold temperatures, and you’ll want to stay inside, cozied up as much as possible. The constant heat, especially with windows and doors shut, can leave the air in your home feeling stale and dry.
It’s great to keep in the heat, but without a window or door open, the air quality worsens in your home, and the same air often recirculates. Combat this problem — while staying warm and comfortable — with these tips on maintaining healthy air quality at home throughout winter.
Clean Your Home
It’s time to bring spring cleaning to the beginning of winter. Of course, you want to keep a clean home at all times, but it’s even more essential to vacuum and dust during the winter months. Because there is little airflow, dust can pile up, and odours tend to linger longer.
Get into a habit of vacuuming every few days, or even daily if you have pets in your household. It’s best to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, as it picks up the dust and dander more effectively. Also, remember to dust rarely seen areas of your home, like under your bed or desk.
If you or someone in your home has allergies, winter can be one of the worst seasons. Regularly clean, dust and disinfect your home to keep allergies and sickness at bay.
With dry heat comes dry air. To manage your air quality and to make it less dry, plug in a humidifier. A humidifier adds moisture to the atmosphere and can make the air in your home feel warmer. If you don’t own a humidifier and don’t wish to invest in one, try these easy tricks for adding humidity:
- Leave the door open when you shower.
- Hang up your clothes inside to dry.
- Boil water on the stove and set out bowls of the water throughout your home.
- Allow your dishes to air dry.
Each of these will allow the water you use for them to evaporate, which adds moisture to your air. Adding humidity allows your family and guests in your home to breathe easier, reduces the risk of dry throats and minimizes your chances of getting dust mites and mould.
Use An Air Purifier
Because the air in your home gets stagnant in the winter, you’re likely breathing in the same air day after day. These conditions result in a perfect breeding habitat for germs, bacteria and dust mites.
Whether it is portable or large enough for your entire home, an air purifier helps circulate and sanitize the air. Purifiers remove and sanitize pollutant particles, and they can help reduce allergic reactions.
Get Out Your Green Thumb
Just as forests play a role in controlling the climate outside, plants in your home can help manage the environment inside and maintain healthy air quality. Plants produce oxygen, and some varieties can help reduce the toxins in the air.
Besides improving your indoor air quality, plants have other benefits like boosting your mood and increasing your productivity. Plants can be dust collectors, though, so if you decide to furnish your home with houseplants, remember to wipe off the leaves with a damp cloth once a week to eliminate dust.
Take Advantage Of Warmer Days
Though they’re rare in the wintertime, sometimes there are a few unseasonably warm days where the sun shines and the temperatures increase enough to encourage you to emerge from your long winter’s nap. On those days, open a window or two. Just that little bit of airflow will help to maintain the healthy air quality in your home.
Additionally, on days where the sun is shining, pull back the curtains and open the blinds. Natural sunlight can help kill germs in your home.
Maintain A Cozy And Healthy Home
By following these tips, you won’t have to choose between a warm home and a healthy one — you can have both. Bundle up knowing the air quality in your home doesn’t have to suffer during the cold winter months.
Emily is a freelance writer, covering conservation and sustainability. You can read her blog, Conservation Folks, for more of her work.