Breathe Easier: Improving Indoor Air Quality in Your Kitchen

 

October is National Indoor Air Quality Month. In this blog post, we’ll talk about places in your home where the air quality might affect your asthma and allergies. We will also give away three certified asthma & allergy friendly® Dyson Pure Cool™ Link air cleaners. See below for more information. We thank Dyson for sponsoring this blog post and giveaway. *This giveaway is now closed - congratulations to our winner Anna B.

Improving the air quality in your home is an important part of managing your asthma and allergies. Here are some tips for improving the air quality in the bedroom and living room. But did you know the air quality of your kitchen is important too?

Improve Your Kitchen’s Environment

If your living room and kitchen are together in one large space, the air in each area affects the other. But each area has different air quality issues to fix in order to improve the air in all rooms.

Reduce Pests and Mold

The kitchen is common place to find allergens like mold and pests. These are allergens that can affect you all year long. Mold is a fungus that releases spores through the air. Inhaling the spores can cause allergy or asthma symptoms. Mold loves produce, plants and damp areas like sinks and dishwashers.

Cockroaches love damp areas too. They love food even more. Dead or alive, their body parts, saliva and waste are all allergens. Studies show children who are allergic to cockroaches, and are exposed to them, need to go to the hospital for asthma more often than other children with asthma.1

Here are some ways you can reduce allergens and triggers in your kitchen.

  • Fix leaks from your sink, dishwasher and water line from your refrigerator as soon as possible.
  • When buying produce, wash it before you put it away. Throw out produce before it grows mold and clean the bins of your refrigerator often.
  • Mold likes to grow on refrigerator door seals. Clean them often.
  • Don’t leave sources of water and food out at night for cockroaches. Remember to put away your pet’s dishes too.
  • Store food in airtight containers and keep lids on your trash cans.
  • Clean up spills right away.
  • Don’t let dirty dishes pile up on the counter or in your sink.
  • Use roach baits instead of sprays to control cockroaches.
  • Wipe down the tops of your cabinets and vent hood often with warm, soapy water. These areas are often overlooked.
  • Wash throw rugs weekly in 130°F water.
  • If you have house plants or potted herbs, only water them when the soil is dry. Here are some other ways to prevent mold in houseplants:
    • Plant them in sterile soil
    • Give them more light
    • Use a fan to circulate air around the plant
    • Trim dead leaves often

Reduce Scents and Chemicals

Many of us store our cleaning supplies in the kitchen. We also want to our kitchen to be the cleanest room in the house. Chemicals from cleaning products can be trigger asthma symptoms. There are ways to keep your kitchen clean without using products with harsh smells.

  • Wear a mask when cleaning.
  • Use unscented cleaners or make your own cleaners. Soap and water, as well as vinegar, are effective, natural cleaners.
  • Avoid aerosols which can contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Clean up messes when they happen to reduce your need for cleaning products.
  • If you have an open living room and kitchen, get a Certified asthma & allergy friendly® air cleaner large enough for both rooms.

Better indoor air quality can make a big difference in your asthma and allergy symptoms. But controlling your indoor air needs to be part of a full treatment plan. See a board-certified allergist to help you find the plan that works best for you.

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References

1. Rabito, F., Carlson, J., He, H., Werthmann, D., & Schal, C. (2017). A single intervention for cockroach control reduces cockroach exposure and asthma morbidity in children. Retrieved 15 September 2017

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Comments (25)

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Thank you to everyone for sharing their tips to improve the indoor air quality in their kitchen!

We'd like to congratulate Anna B. as the winner of one of the certified asthma & allergy friendly® Dyson Pure Cool™ Link air cleaners.

Anna B. posted:

After having my son last year, I started reading up on the importance of air quality.We recently had a new AC unit and duct work put it (it was so old!). I was nervous about mold forming around AC vents and have taken precautions to prevent this. Purchased a humidity gauge to make sure the house doesn't get too humid. Our main goal is to prevent mold.

We live in an old house (build in 1968), so of course there are concerns that come along with that. Would LOVE to have an air purifier to keep in our nursery to make sure the air is as clean as possible for our little boy.

We have switched to all natural products (homemade cleaning products, homemade hand soap, all natural soy candles, etc). The next thing we need is an air purifier and maybe one day a water filer  

Vinegar is my most used choice of cleaning solution.  The difficulty for me is getting rid of the cooking scents especially since they don't just stay in the kitchen!  That's one of the reasons why I would love to win the Dyson Pure Cool Link air cleaner!  

I use natural cleansers, such as baking soda and vinegar, to reduce scents and chemicals. I also keep produce scraps in a freezer container until trash day to minimize mold and odor in the air. My challenge is to reduce cooking odors and smoke as I do not have a range hood that vents outside. That's where the Dyson Pure Cool Link air cleaner would be handy!

Relying on appliances makes housework so much easier - dishwasher, microwave, washer/dryer, etc. - and an air purifier is another one that feels like a relief to set and let it clean a bit for you while you take care of the rest!

I am always wiping down my kitchen counters and drying them after. Cleaning the inside of the refrigerator, I don’t keep produce out very often as well. Nothing I do seems to work. My daughter has the worst allergies she is always miserable, we have been to endless dr apts and have tried every medicine available! 

I try to put produce and certain foods prone to mold inside ziploc bags before throwing in the trash.  I try to keep the kitchen dry, counters wiped down, stove free of food and debris.  It is tough because my son has moved back in and is making it difficult to maintain my housekeeping standards.

I manage the air quality in my home by staying on top of cleaning. The best I can at least. Despite my best efforts, I go into full allergy suffering weekly. I keep reading articles to better improve air quality. I need to. Especially for my child that has Autism and suffers from allergies too. This would help all of us in our home!

We don’t have any carpet except in the basement. We plan on getting rid of it! We thankfully have linoleum floors in the kitchen. Hardwood floors throughout the house. I dust and vacuum each week. When I clean I wear gloves and a mask and ventilate well during the whole time I am cleaning. I take my used fabric softener sheets from the dryer and wipe them across the counters and shelves.  The desk from coming back longer!

This is a great article. It's easy to become lax and less vigilant as time goes by. I am happy to say that my asthma is under control because of my daily controller medicine. I also am attentive about no aerosols being used in the house. 

Thank you for the continued information and great reminders!!

In regards to @OCHEERIO54 washing carpets.  I find it amazing how much carpets retain unwanted stuff (dust, etc).  I am just finishing some work in my house where we removed carpet to install hard wood floors (I know not everyone can do this $$$).  When I pulled up the carpets which were about 25 years old (yes I had a mask on!) there was an unbelievable amount of this stuff in and under the carpets, even under the padding.  This is down deep where cleaners can't get them.  Areas with heavy traffic are the worst.  I just don't think it is possible to really clean carpets.   You can get a lot of this stuff out, but nowhere near what is really in there.  For people who are really sensitive this is like trying to get away from your shadow.

I make sure that I vacuum weekly and wash my carpets once a month to avoid dust and anything else that might be hiding in my living room carpets. I also open windows to let some fresh air in also. 

In my kitchen I use natural products to clean.  I have wood floors so it's easy to clean.   I steam clean the wood floor too!   I try to keep the kitchen clean as much as I can but especially dishes and garbage because I have a keen sense of smell and it bothers me and my allergies.  I dust weekly.  Put leftovers or snacks in sealed containers.  Can't really use sponges in the kitchen because the smell of them bother me and they can get moldy.   

I’m terrified with the information about roaches I have a dog and two cats and their food stays out from time to time I found German roaches and kept calling the exterminator but he said it was a lost  battle with the little ones. My asthma is not under control I think between the roaches and the pets I have I’ll be dead soon ����

We've been working on our house to remove carpets and replace with hard wood floors.  Looks are much better, it is much easier to clean, and removes a lot of irritants from the house.  I know some people don't like hardwood floors, particularly in the winter as they feel cold, but I have to wear footwear all the time due to foot problems.  So I generally wear crocs around the house if I don't have my outdoor footwear on (shoes or sneakers).

After having my son last year, I started reading up on the importance of air quality.We recently had a new AC unit and duct work put it (it was so old!). I was nervous about mold forming around AC vents and have taken precautions to prevent this. Purchased a humidity gauge to make sure the house doesn't get too humid. Our main goal is to prevent mold.

We live in an old house (build in 1968), so of course there are concerns that come along with that. Would LOVE to have an air purifier to keep in our nursery to make sure the air is as clean as possible for our little boy.

We have switched to all natural products (homemade cleaning products, homemade hand soap, all natural soy candles, etc). The next thing we need is an air purifier and maybe one day a water filer  

I would love to win a dyson filter because I have cat allergies and my cat is a service animal for my son with Austism so its more important to keep him than my allergies but this filter would really help.  I vacuum my bedroom to try to keep it under control now.

I use Seventh generation cleaning sprays, hand soap, and dish soaps. A lot of fragrances, soaps, and bleachy cleaning products bother my skin and asthma. I use vinegar, lemon juice, and tea tree oil as well. My biggest struggle currently is the smell from cooking certain things... I may just need to clean the inside of my oven more, but I just finished baking potatoes and the smell really got to me. I tried my best to air out but I don't have  a hood fan, so I just vacuumed and blew my desk fan and kicked up my a/c. An air cleaner would definitely come in handy!!!

Having allergies and asthma are very new to me and to my son.  Our current situation we are limited so right now we have just a fan and a salt lamp.  This would really help my son and I.

Baking soda is also an excellent cleaning agent as well as natural odor eliminator (takes mold as well as urine smell out of clothes or grout around  toilets).  Please use a face mask when doing this, and outer clothing covering.   (I have bad mold allergies from a previous job where black mold was unknowingly present) Take a teaspoon of baking soda and 2 cups of water put in a spray bottle.  Spray on mold, wipe down and rinse, then re-apply area with baking soda mixture or vinegar and allow to air dry to kill all the mold spores. 

You can also use baking soda and vinegar to clear your drain pipe.  A good place to clean is under and behind the kitchen sink, around the drain pipes, the fridge seals (the inside door side and the outer side.  Don't forget the bottom of the door or the top).  

When done cleaning the moldy area, take the outer layer of your clothes off somewhere other than inside your house so you don't spread the mold spores. 

If there is any mold near me now, I can't breathe, I get a bad headache and can't think straight.  

Oh, you can use tea tree oil to stop mildew from growing.  It is a little more expensive, but you don't get the chemical Sicky lung fealing from cleaning using it.  

I hope this info helps.  ☺️

 

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