Breathe Easier: Improving Indoor Air Quality in Your Living Room

 

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 NadyaL.

Your indoor air can actually be worse than outdoor air. This is because your indoor air is made up of the outdoor air that comes in your home, plus allergens, scents and chemicals in the home. 

After you’ve improved the air quality in your bedroom and kitchen, the next room to work on is your living room.

Improve Your Living Room’s Environment

The living room is the center of activity in your home. That means it’s also a central location for many things that affect indoor air quality.

Reduce Fabric to Reduce Allergens

Dust mites and pet dander love living rooms. Our living rooms usually have plenty of fabric and furniture for them to cling to and hide under. By reducing the amount of fabric in your living room, you can better control some of the allergens:

  • Choose leather or vinyl furniture over fabric pieces.
  • Throw out the throw pillows. They are usually hard to clean, so they can easily collect dust mites and dander.
  • Instead of curtains, hang blinds you can dust often. If you choose fabric curtains, choose ones you can wash in 130°F hot water regularly.
  • Wash throw blankets weekly in 130°F hot water.
  • Clear the clutter. Dust and pet hair like to collect on and under clutter.
  • Replace carpet with solid surface flooring with low VOCs and washable rugs.
  • If you can’t remove the carpet, have the carpet cleaned by Certified asthma & allergy friendly® carpet cleaning service.
  • Dust and vacuum daily with a Certified asthma & allergy friendly® vacuum, if possible.
  • 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

No Smoking

Smoke is a common asthma trigger. There are two sources of smoke to watch out for in the living room: fireplaces and tobacco products.

Smoke from wood-burning fireplaces, wood stoves, pellets and “clean burning” stoves can pollute your indoor air. The smoke can contain fine particles that irritate your airways. It also contains nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. These are odorless gasses known to cause swelling in the airways in sensitive groups, like those with asthma. It’s best to avoid using the fireplace to heat your living room.

Gas and kerosene space heaters release nitrogen dioxide too. If they are not vented, these will pollute your air too. In fact, children who were around gas heaters as babies are more likely to develop asthma.1

Tobacco smoke is a major asthma trigger and a health hazard for you and those around you. Secondhand and thirdhand smoke causes serious health issues (including asthma) in children and adults.

Reduce Scents and Chemicals

We all want our living rooms to smell nice. But when you have asthma, strong scents can trigger symptoms. Remove candles, wax warmers, diffusers, plug-ins and potpourri to clear the air in your living room and throughout the house.

Think About Open Living Spaces

Many homes now are built with open living spaces. Living rooms open to kitchens. Vaulted ceilings connect the bottom floor with the top floor. The air quality in your living room affects all the other rooms in your home, and vice versa. Here are some other things to think about when improving the air in your living room:

  • Jackets and shoes can also bring pollen and outdoor mold into your home. Have your guests and family members remove them at the door to reduce the amount that comes into your living room.
  • Think about the air quality of your kitchen if you have an open floor plans. Allergens and pollutants in your kitchen will affect your living room.
  • Use a Certified asthma & allergy friendly® air cleaner. Make sure you get one large enough to clean the air in your living room. If you have an open floor plan, count the square footage of your kitchen too.

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References
1. Belanger, K., & Triche, E. W. (2008, August). Indoor Combustion and Asthma. Retrieved September 15, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2760246/

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Renee T, what a lovely photo you have of your living room! I really wish I could keep my living space as beautiful and attractive as yours -- my goal in life is exactly that spare and clean look! 

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

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

NadyaL posted:

I try to vacuum every few days with a deep carpet cleaner, leave windows and patio doors open as much as I can and change air filters as recommended!

Renee T posted:

The living room is a tough place because it is high-traffic.  I shop on the Asthma and Allergy friendly certified website to find products that are certified to help I was just looking at humidifiers the other day.  I have 1 humidifier in my living room, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and have discarded fluffy dust catching items such as throw pillows, blankets etc and launder any blankets we do use a couple times a month.  My daughter has a toy basket, and we replaced the wicker with a plastic bin so that it didn't collect the dust.   I have eliminated a lot of decor items that collect dust (knick knacks, etc) and the ones I have kept are easy to wipe down.  My advice to anyone would be to do all of the above - this all ties in with the minimal-living movement.  Clean, sanitary services -- asthmatics are perfect candidates for minimal lifestyle living and DECLUTTERING!  Attaching example.   Clean living along with running a purifier is what I do - also making sure to use green/ natural cleaning products to keep the germs down in the space also 

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LOL

The living room is a tough place because it is high-traffic.  I shop on the Asthma and Allergy friendly certified website to find products that are certified to help I was just looking at humidifiers the other day.  I have 1 humidifier in my living room, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and have discarded fluffy dust catching items such as throw pillows, blankets etc and launder any blankets we do use a couple times a month.  My daughter has a toy basket, and we replaced the wicker with a plastic bin so that it didn't collect the dust.   I have eliminated a lot of decor items that collect dust (knick knacks, etc) and the ones I have kept are easy to wipe down.  My advice to anyone would be to do all of the above - this all ties in with the minimal-living movement.  Clean, sanitary services -- asthmatics are perfect candidates for minimal lifestyle living and DECLUTTERING!  Attaching example.   Clean living along with running a purifier is what I do - also making sure to use green/ natural cleaning products to keep the germs down in the space also 

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I have been "baby-proofing" my home now that we have a baby boy, and are now considering these tips as "lung-proofing" our home as well. It's amazing all the health hazards that we get used to and even introduce to our homes when we are decorating or lapse in our cleaning practices. When I look at it from the perspective of a baby to protect or clean lungs to keep healthy, it's adds a new layer of motivation. 

I enjoy cleaning my vents because I know it had a major impact on my families life. Dust, mold, mildew, dust mites, and etc build up in the vents and over time affects us dramatically. I use allergy friendly vent filters to purify the air. I vacuum regularly and replaced my floors with tile. I always recommend dehumidifiers for anyone suffering from allergies, Asthma, or sinus issues. Washing sheets in hot water and maintaining a healthy living environment is the key to an overall well being.

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5 Kids,  a hypoallergenic dog, and myself  ALL suffer year round allergies, and a few of us have asthma. We have gone through the tips to make our house "allergy friendly" and clean/vacuum regularly. Yet, we still suffer. About to start immunotherapy for us all. It seems like an endless battle. 

Im highly allergic to dust mites. so I have to vacuum the floor and couches, wipe down dusty surfaces all the time. though that just seems to just put a dent in them. it sucks I don't think you can ever get them all. I heard I should put the couch cushions outside when its freezing to kill them. ill have to try that this winter.

NadyaL posted:

I try to vacuum every few days with a deep carpet cleaner, leave windows and patio doors open as much as I can and change air filters as recommended!

Air filters help my asthma as well!

NadyaL posted:

I try to vacuum every few days with a deep carpet cleaner, leave windows and patio doors open as much as I can and change air filters as recommended!

This is great, but difficult to keep up with!

I use all-natural household cleaners, change our furnace filter frequently and do not use candles and synthetic air fresheners. We have three children. In our home with allergies. 

MissyK17 posted:

I had terrible allergies as a child, and through immunotherapy thought I had kicked it! A few years ago i discovered that wasn't the case. I had minor symptoms when we only had 2 dogs, but nothing major. When we added two more pups to our family all of that changed and I started getting constant sinus/ear infections. Through visits to my family doc and ENT we determined I was still highly allergic to dogs and many other environmental allergens. I take 2 pills and 2 sprays to keep it in check now along with trying my best to keep my home clean and keep the dander down. I love my pups too much to ever consider giving them up, so that means vacuuming almost daily and dusting, using the best HVAC filters and changing them often, bathing the dogs often, and using the small room filter I have in the living room. It helps, but is really too small for all of the dander it has to deal with. The Dyson Pure Cool Air Cleaner sounds like it would be amazing, and I would love the chance to try it out and tell all of my friends how great it works!

My crew!

I'm not sure when you did immunotherapy, but it doesn't usually last forever.  If it worked for many years, you can go through the process again.  A pain in the butt, I know.

I had terrible allergies as a child, and through immunotherapy thought I had kicked it! A few years ago i discovered that wasn't the case. I had minor symptoms when we only had 2 dogs, but nothing major. When we added two more pups to our family all of that changed and I started getting constant sinus/ear infections. Through visits to my family doc and ENT we determined I was still highly allergic to dogs and many other environmental allergens. I take 2 pills and 2 sprays to keep it in check now along with trying my best to keep my home clean and keep the dander down. I love my pups too much to ever consider giving them up, so that means vacuuming almost daily and dusting, using the best HVAC filters and changing them often, bathing the dogs often, and using the small room filter I have in the living room. It helps, but is really too small for all of the dander it has to deal with. The Dyson Pure Cool Air Cleaner sounds like it would be amazing, and I would love the chance to try it out and tell all of my friends how great it works!

My crew!

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We tried everything to manage my sons' allergies and asthma: wash stuffed animals, bedding, and curtains regularly; pillow case and mattress covers; vacuum w/a hepa filter; air purifier in their room; use a HEPA air filter in the furnace, etc..

We saw the biggest difference when we finally removed all the carpets and area rugs in the house and switched to hardwood floors and easy to dust window treatments. It was a huge project and we needed to move out for awhile but totally worth it!

My son's asthma improved but sometimes we can still see a little bit of an asthma/eczema flare when we go too long w/o vacuuming, when the air filter needs to be cleaned, etc.. It's like an ongoing battle! We recently experienced very bad air quality due to nearby fires we couldn't open our windows and doors for fresh air for days, and suddenly we became more aware about the need to have more air purifiers in our home. I would love to win a Dyson!

I  have environmental allergies. We have hardwood floors which is nice. Linoleum floors in our kitchen. I Dust & vacuum every week and wash the bedding in our bedroom in warm water. I also wash our curtains at least once a month.  When I clean I wear a mask and gloves. I keep a few plants in there as well to help purify the air. I have hypoallergenic pillows and Claritin allergy pillow cases. We have no carpet in the house. Only have a throw rug which I clean weekly. 

BeachButterfly posted:

I vacuum regularly with an allergen vacuum. Have a family member dust as often as I can get them too. Now reading this I will start to find more hypo pillows or covers for them, I love my pillows.  I also don't allow my pets on the furniture, they have their own beds with removable covers for easy washing. I work from home so I am always home and could use the relief from a filter.

I got allergy pillows for my son and I - they are horrible.  They don't have enough "give" when you lie on them and they force our necks (especially my son, since he's a young child still) at awkward angles.  I prefer allergen covers on regular pillows.

I vacuum regularly with an allergen vacuum. Have a family member dust as often as I can get them too. Now reading this I will start to find more hypo pillows or covers for them, I love my pillows.  I also don't allow my pets on the furniture, they have their own beds with removable covers for easy washing. I work from home so I am always home and could use the relief from a filter.

Hardwood Floors, leather furniture, Hepa seal tight vacuum for area rug and hard wood floors.  Put throw pillows in dryer weekly.  Been sick with bronchitis going on 2 weeks due to COPD and allergies.  Could really use an air filter for living room area!

We try our best but I have to say, that allergies and asthma get in our way. When our 6 year son has asthma episodes, our only option is to retreat to our friendly abode. He's not to run, and it is hard to make it fun. Asthma is hard for everyone. His room is set, he has an air filter there,  but thats not enough to clean the entire house's air. If we were to win the "Dyson Pure cool", maybe our son would have less asthma and miss less school. ☺

For my living room, I have beautiful wood floors.   I sweep the wood floor and I vacuum the couches to perk them up and clean up dust, hair and debris/crumbs from them.   I don't have a lot of items in the living room so less clutter to hold dust!   I have a microfiber broom and duster that I use to clean the living room with too that I love, they really work great!   I use a HEPA filter in my furnace too for better air too.

We live in a house built in 1924. We can't open our windows because the weights in the windows are gone and the windows drop without warning. In addition, the previous owners had large dogs and we can't get our ducts cleaned because the duct work has encased asbestos tape and the HVAC people won't cut through it. So we can't clean the dog hair out of the vents.

We live in a co-op building that requires rugs or carpet over 80% of the space, so I can't use washable area rugs or have exposed hard floors.  I don't allow smoking in our home, but we get cigarette and other smoke smells in our apartment anyway from the neighbors.  And who has time to dust and vacuum DAILY?  I do have curtains - I change them seasonally and at that point they get washed.  And I don't use scented products or candles.  

I have Alpha- 1 disease , asthma and allergies and a non working fan in the kitchen of my home, i do what i can to keep allergens out, no shoes, vacume and dust a lot, no air freshners .... ive learned the hard way to be carefull when cooking things that may smoke or induce strong fumes ( anything with vinegar) they can cause a asthma attack, there are so many allergens all around, it can be difficult to stay on top of them.

Thankfully, I find keeping the living room allergen free is a bit more simple than other rooms in the home.  Our living room is covered with hardwood, which is easy to vacuum, Swiffer and mop with a steamer.  I've used the Unscented Bona Hardwood Cleaner to work well on any spills - and find that effective.  I purchased faux wood blinds, rather than fabric curtains to cover the window, which eliminates a dust trap. Our couch is velvet (not completely ideal for allergens), although I vacuum it weekly with a Handheld/Cordless Dyson Vacuum!  While we have a fireplace in our living room, it's not to be used and more for a decorative component - same with unscented candles on display!   After reading this blog, I realize I should take more precautions with the few houseplants we have in the living area because of my mold allergy, so I will follow the advise above! I'd love to add the Dyson air purifier to my living room to combat any of the dust and allergens that settle on the end tables!

We manage our indoor air quality through ensuring the home we just purchased has less than 10% carpet/fiber floor covering, removing all scented products (from fabric softener to candles and air fresheners), by using Norwex cloths vs dusting sprays, several Himalayan salt lamps placed throughout the house, a personal air purifying system in our son's bedroom with the door remaining closed, using Asthma & Allergy Foundation rated vacuum, removing all shoes prior to entering the main living space, adhering to a strict cleaning schedule that includes natural products (vinegar, lemon, etc), and by prohibiting any e-cig or tobacco products on our property (Sorry folks, if you are smoking, then you should be on fire!) The Dyson air cleaner would be placed in the central location of the living space to further the regiment we have in place. Thanks!

To keep our living room free of allergens, we have leather couches, blinds without curtains, no throw pillows and wood floors without area rugs. We would love to add a beautiful Dyson Pure Cool air cleaner! 

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