7 Tips for Cleaner Indoor Air

From pets to vacuums, learn how to improve indoor air quality

You can’t change the air quality of the world outside, but you can clear the air in your own home.

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You probably spend up to 90 percent of your time indoors, says Sumita Khatri, MD, a pulmonologist in Cleveland Clinic’s Respiratory Institute. A few small, simple changes can improve your health and breathing in big ways.

“If you don’t know what you can change, you won’t know how much better you can actually feel,” Dr. Khatri says. Start with these seven tips to reduce asthma, allergies and other respiratory issues.

1. Enforce your own smoking ban

Chemicals and carcinogens in tobacco smoke aren’t just long-term threats to your health; they also irritate your lungs, nose and throat. Keep smoking out of the house.

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2. Restrict furry friends to certain parts of the house

If you or your family members are allergic to pet dander, keep dogs and cats off furniture and out of the bedroom.

3. Clear the clutter from your bedroom

The less furniture — and junk — you have, the fewer places there are for dust to hide. This will make your cleaning routine easier, too.

4. Keep your house dry

Fix damp areas such as basements, and if you spot mold, take measures to clean it and prevent future growth.

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5. Forgo air fresheners and scented candles

They may smell nice, but certain air fresheners, strong-smelling candles and incense can irritate your respiratory system.

6. Use HEPA filters

High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in vacuum cleaners and central air systems help remove harmful particles from the air.

7. Minimize your dry cleaning

The chemicals used in dry cleaning can be irritants. Air out dry-cleaned clothes before bringing them indoors, and dispose of the packaging as quickly as possible.

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