How to improve indoor air

Even if the weather outside isn’t frightful, you might still be dealing with dry and dirty indoor air, especially when you keep windows and doors closed in winter. Consumer Reports says adding humidifiers and air purifiers can help, but they require some care.

A humidifier can help keep the air inside of your home at a comfortable level. But one that isn’t cleaned properly can produce mold spores.

Some mold can cause flu-like symptoms along with skin rashes, and eye and lung irritation. To keep your humidifier fresh, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which typically include daily and weekly maintenance.

Here are some general guidelines from CR:

Every day, rinse, then towel-dry the tank and fill it with clean water.

Every week, give your humidifier a deep cleaning with vinegar. Also, be sure to replace the filter according to your owner’s manual.

And while newer, more tightly sealed home construction improves energy efficiency, it also keeps fresh air out. And Consumer Reports says that can be potentially problematic with indoor air concerns like carbon monoxide.

Where do indoor air pollutants come from? Gas stoves and volatile organic compounds emitted from cleaning agents, pesticides, and aerosols, all of which can irritate your throat, nose, and eyes and even damage internal organs.

In addition to humidifiers, you can also use an air purifier to reduce allergens and indoor air pollutants. It’s a good idea to keep it well maintained.

Consumer Reports says you can also improve indoor air quality by vacuuming regularly and limiting indoor smoke from wood fires, candles, and incense.

Another tip from Consumer Reports is to think about ventilation and use your range hood while cooking. And when it’s not too chilly, open windows to let the cleaner outside air inside your house.

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