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Improving Air Quality During the Winter Season

During the winter months, windows and doors generally remain shut and indoor air is mostly recycled during the winter season. Consequently, germs from either indoors or outdoors can take root in the home during winter. Mildew and mold can also form indoors due to increased indoor temperatures and the use of humidifiers.

Check out the helpful tips below on how you can improve the air quality in your home this winter season:

Change your furnace filter

Sifton Properties replaces the furnace filter in your home when we test your smoke alarms. This takes place in the Fall season. However, if you would like to replace the filter more frequently during the winter, please pick up a free furnace filter from The Berkshire Club.

Use an Air Purifier

If members of your household are highly vulnerable to pet dander, pollens and other airborne germs, consider purchasing an air purifier for your home. Much like a humidifier, an air purifier works through the ducts of your HVAC system and purifies the air that re-circulates indoors throughout the winter. If you cook a lot and have guests over during the winter months, an air purifier can help ensure the good health of everyone who visits.

Place Plants in your Home

It's long been known that while humans and other species inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, plants absorb the latter and distribute the former. Therefore, flora and fauna create a healthy air balance between one another. As such, houseplants can aid in the freshness and purity of indoor air.

Dust Your Furnishings

It's important to make sure the tiny particles from your furnishings don't get swept into the air and contaminate the air you breathe. Therefore, you should consider making wiping and vacuuming your furnishings on a regular basis a priority. Run a damp cloth over your tables, shelves, wooden chairs, window panes, picture frames, televisions, appliances and lamp shades every few weeks to prevent dust from accumulating and infecting the air.

Vacuum and Steam-Clean Your Carpets Regularly

Dirt and dust can also accumulate in rugs and carpets, which should be vacuumed on a regular basis — preferably once per week, minimum — all year long. Each time you vacuum, everything from dirt walked in from the outside to pet dander unleashed by cats and dogs gets eliminated from the air in your home. It's best to vacuum after you've dusted your furnishings, because this will capture stray dust that your damp cloth fails to collect.

Change Your Bedding

One furnishing that can quickly collect germs is the bed, which is where you spend up to a third of your time overall. As you lie in bed, the particles that land in your hair throughout the day are rubbed off onto your pillow cases, while airborne particles that stick to your skin get passed onto the sheets.

Clean Your Bathroom Regularly

One of the most germ-laden areas of the home is the bathroom, which not only collects human germs, but can also breed mold via moisture. For obvious reasons, you should disinfect the toilet seat and bowl several times per week and the bathroom floor should be mopped at least once per week. However, you might be overlooking additional spots that can also serve as breeding grounds for germs, such as the toothbrush container and cabinets, which you should clean at least once per month. Other things to pay attention to in the bathroom are the shower curtain and floor mat. The shower curtain should be washed once per month and replaced every two years or so to prevent the buildup of mold from shower water. The floor mat should also be washed on a regular basis — preferably each time you mop the bathroom floor.

Use Natural Organic Cleaning Products

The use of chemical cleaners should be reduced. Even though cleaners of this sort are known to clear germs and stains away within seconds, chemical products can also leave unhealthy toxins in the air that are often hard to clear from your home — especially during months when it's best to keep your windows sealed. Therefore, the healthier option is to go with organic and natural cleaners when you clean and disinfect the floors and fixtures in your kitchen and bathroom. Granted, natural products such as vinegar and baking soda are not always capable of removing some of the more stubborn stains, but it's best to use these products instead of bleach, alcohol and ammonia as much as possible.

Clean Your Kitchen Daily

Just as with the bathroom, it's important to keep your kitchen clean and well-ventilated throughout the year. After all, a majority of germs that circulate within a kitchen originate there, be it from water, mold or spoiled food remnants. When food goes bad, the odor may cause air contamination that can lead to winter-long air problems as the germs are recirculated throughout the house. Kitchen countertops should be cleaned once or twice per day — preferably once all the dishes have been cleaned and returned to their cabinets. The floor should be mopped or steam-cleaned once per week and the refrigerator and range should be cleaned weekly to combat dirt and gunk buildup. Some of the more overlooked areas, such as the refrigerator under-tray, should be cleaned twice annually to prevent the development of mold spores. Also, be sure to wipe stray water from behind the faucet during every use of the kitchen sink, as this can lead to mold buildup along the wall if not handled properly.