Home & Garden

Improving Air Quality in the Home by Improving How it Smells

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You may not think much about how air quality in the home is affected by the constant collision of odors until you start to realize just how many different scented items can be found inside the house. Once you start taking notice of the extent of the wealth of fragrances that are contributing to the state of your home's air quality, it's a natural leap to consider which of those scented products are responsible for creating an unhealthy atmosphere that not only adversely affects air quality, but the quality of life itself.

Some household items that supply scents capable of affecting air quality are easy enough to detect. The contents of garbage can, dirty clothes in a laundry hamper, an open bag of onions, kitty litter boxes and any home to a smoker are all fairly obvious suppliers of bad smells affecting air quality in your home. But how often do you stop to think about the effect on the quality of the air you breathe made by the scents produced by makeup, detergents, deodorants, perfumes and colognes, candles, shoes, toys and even Halloween masks?

When you add in the aromatic contribution of carpeting, fabrics used in furnishings, flooring and the harsher chemical contents of paint, solvents and other cleansers, the portrait of your home's air quality as the result of a running battle between fragrance and stench becomes impossible to ignore.

The question then becomes what can be done to influence the course of that war. How can air quality possibly be improved when your house is home to so many scented products that pose the potential for a very real threat to your health by constantly polluting your indoor atmosphere?

One of the first and most effective steps you can make toward improving air quality in the home is taking an inventory of every product you use that is available in an unscented version. Keep in mind that this list may prove much longer than you suspect. The person committed to improving the quality of the air breathed inside the house should easily be able to track down equally effective yet unscented versions everything from laundry detergents to hair gel.

The effect that odors in the home have upon air quality can be lessened not only by cutting back on all unnecessary artificial scents competing for dominance, but by reducing the life cycle that all odors enjoy inside your house. The thicker the fabric of curtains, rugs & carpets and furniture coverings, the longer they will retain fragrances and the longer the smell is retained, the more stale and unpleasant it becomes. Food odors penetrate more deeply into wood countertops than other material and grease is more easily wiped clean from papered walls than painted walls in the kitchen.

Finally, artificially scented air fresheners that seem to be improving the quality of air in your home by removing unwanted odors are likely doing more harm than good. The chemicals contained with air fresheners are no friend to the atmosphere either inside or outside the home. What's worse, many air fresheners succeed less by purifying the air than by simply covering up the more obvious unpleasant odors. A much healthier and effective alternative is to open the windows to let in fresh air, buy some houseplants, start a flower garden and regularly place some cut flowers in vases around the house.

Timothy Sexton

Lauren Hill

Lauren is currently a full time freelance writer who enjoys writing about an array of topics ranging from parenting and cooking to business and home improvement.

http://www.laurenqhill.com/

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