Breathe Easier: Improving Indoor Air Quality in Your Living Room

 

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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We've already done some of these things we have hardwood floors in most of the house. Years ago I talked my Mom into not having carpets anymore when they needed to be replaced. She wasn't too sure about doing it but once she got used to it she loved how easy it was to clean and not having to drag a vacuum cleaner around. We have blinds not too many curtains. The only thing have a do have fabric chairs and couches but No pets.

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 

eff537d827c2b30b9fdd867e34fc84718a399eae

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 

eff537d827c2b30b9fdd867e34fc84718a399eae

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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!

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