Healthy Homes and Indoor Air Quality

Aldiss.com – Norfolk’s largest range of home furnishings

This week’s guest blog is from Glyn Charnock, Owner of Chameleon Cleaning.  Glyn is also a Director of the National Carpet Cleaners Association.

We all like to think our homes are healthy because we keep them clean and tidy, but do we really know how clean our homes are and is there more we could or should be doing to protect ourselves and the ones we love?

The best measure of how healthy a home is, is the quality of air inside the building.

We spend up to half our time inside our homes, so the air inside the building is what we are breathing day and night. Dust, hair, pet dander, gasses, bacteria, mould spores and anything else in the air we breathe can affect our health. The number of people, especially children, who suffer from asthma, hay fever and other allergies, has been growing for many years.

Businesses spend a huge amount of money ensuring that their employees have a healthy indoor environment in which to work. They install air conditioning with filters to remove particles and bacteria and control the temperature and humidity. They put in place regular maintenance cleaning processes and periodic deep cleaning. But in our homes this isn’t always practical, or is it?

How can we possibly make sure our homes are as healthy as they can be? Well there are few easy things we can do.

Prevent Soil Entering the Home

One of the biggest sources of soil particles (“dirt”) in the home is foot traffic. The best way of preventing this from entering the home is through the use of entrance mats.

Mats should be large enough for people to place both feet on twice before reaching carpets or hard flooring. Is your door mat this big? Not many are, so can you increase the size of your door mat?

The most effective mats are Coir or artificial barrier mats. These mats soak up more soil than, for example, an extra piece of carpet. They should be cleaned or changed at least every 6 months.

Filter Soil from the Air

Carpets are great filters for the air in our homes. They are really good at trapping and holding on to all sorts of soil.

It used to be thought that removing carpets from homes where there were people with asthma or respiratory disease was helpful, but this has now been disproved. Hard floors allow dust and allergens to remain circulating in the air in a home, where carpets will trap and hold on to these harmful pollutants keeping them out of your lungs. Carpets also absorb traffic fumes, soot and bacteria from the air.

Regular Cleaning

Regular vacuum cleaning helps to keep carpets working as air filters, but they fill up with soil eventually. Regular professional deep cleaning of carpets is the best thing you can do to keep the air in your home clean and healthy.

Vacuum cleaning should be done at least weekly. If you can see dust on hard surfaces, the same dust will have settled on the carpets so they should be vacuum cleaned.

It may seem obvious, but spills should be cleaned straight away. See the Hints and Tips page on our website for how to deal with most common spills.

Deep Cleaning

Depending on the type of carpet you have, the manufacturers will recommend professional cleaning every 12 to 18 month. If you don’t follow these recommendations, your warranty may not be valid, but most importantly, the carpets in your home will not be operating as effectively as they should in filtering the air in your home. You may also need to clean carpets more often than this is you have lots of pets, smoke, or live in an area of high air pollution such as towns or cities, or close to busy roads.

Other Fabrics

Other fabrics, such as curtains and upholstery, will also trap and hold pollution from the air in your home, so these items should be vacuum cleaned and deep cleaned as often as the carpets to help maintain indoor air quality and protect your health.

This photo is the dry soil vacuumed from a single cushion on a 3 piece suite which didn’t appear to be very dirty. We captured the soil in a filter just to see how much there was. Used Vacuum Filter

How to Clean

In last months’ blog we looked at whether to use a professional cleaner or to go the DIY route, so take a look at how best to deep clean your carpets and upholstery.

Just to remind you, you can find genuine professional cleaners at the National Carpet Cleaners Association.

For handy hints and tips, see our website . You may find our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page helpful.

You can also tweet us @DirtDetectives

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