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6 Things You're Bringing Home That are Affecting Your Indoor Air Quality

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The air pollution inside of your home can be even worse than what's outside - especially in the winter. In the warmer months, you're able to open the windows and allow cross ventilation to keep your indoors fresh and free of stale, stuffy air. However, because you're cooped up inside for quite some time, the irritants will stay in your home and build up over time if you're not careful. Here are some of the most irritating particles that you're bringing indoors this winter without even realizing it.

1. New Furniture
With all of the great deals around the holidays, now might be the perfect time for you to purchase the new couch you've been wanting all year. However, before you swap out your old furniture, know that certain materials are treated with chemicals that can be irritating to people with allergies. Common substances like formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds are used in furniture cushioning and can create an uncomfortable indoor environment, which is especially difficult when you and your family are cooped up inside all winter.

2. Pets
In addition to the dander that they can stir up, pets are also known to greet you with other irritants that they bring in from outside. Mold and pollen can stick to their coats and land wherever they wind up - all over the floor, on the couch and even in your bed. Be sure to either keep your pet indoors this winter or bathe him regularly to keep your home as comfortable and irritant-free as possible.

"If visitors have pets, dander is likely on their clothes, luggage and other materials that they carry with them."

3. House Guests
You may have an extraordinary number of friends and family visiting this holiday season, and whether you realize it or not, they could be bringing irritating particles with them. If they have pets, dander is likely on their clothes, luggage and other materials that they carry with them. If you or those in your household have allergies, having visitors could make for an uncomfortable few days. Be sure to keep guests' belongings in closed rooms, and run an air purifier, like the Holmes® HEPA-Type Air Purifier Tower, for fresh air that can help reduce airborne irritants.

4. Candles and Air Fresheners
While lighting a festive candle can put everyone in the holiday spirit, it can also create an uncomfortable environment and cause throat and nasal irritation. Air fresheners can also produce irritating odors. For a festive fragrance that doesn't cause discomfort, try baking an apple pie. To make your own candle using natural ingredients, all you need is an orange. Simply cut it in half, remove the flesh from both halves and keep the stem intact - this will serve as the wick. Add a few drops of olive oil and light the stem for a natural, fresh scent. 

Boxes of old decorations can harbor dust and other allergens.

5. Holiday Decorations
The decorations you use to prepare your home for the holiday festivities every year could be affecting your indoor air quality. Chances are, you keep boxes full of holiday gear in the attic or basement, where they collect irritating dust and mold for about 10 months out of the year. Bringing them down and removing their contents simply distributes all of the irritating particles around your home. Even a real, fresh Christmas tree may trigger a person's allergies, as it can contain mold spores that develop from being outdoors. Keep all of this in mind while decorating for the holidays, and remember to keep an air purifier running throughout the season to maintain a comfortable home environment.

6. Firewood
There's nothing like a cozy fireplace to warm you up in the cold winter months. However, the firewood that you use could contain harmful mold particles. Additionally, the smoke that a fire produces - even in a fireplace - can irritate people's airways and cause discomfort. An air purifier can help remove irritating particles from the air and neutralize smoky odors.


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