How to reduce particulate matter levels in your home?

Particulate matter, or particle pollution, refers to tiny particles suspended in the air like dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke, and ash.

Particulate matter, or particle pollution, refers to tiny particles suspended in the air like dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke, and ash. High particulate matter concentrations in homes can trigger allergies, asthma attacks, and respiratory problems, especially in sensitive individuals. Reducing particle levels in your home is important for the health, comfort and well-being of your family.

Some effective ways to lower particulate matter in your home include:

Little girl tries to capture the dust motes in the air highlighted by the light from the window

Reduce sources. Look for sources of extra particles in your home and eliminate or minimize them. Things like smoking, wood-burning stoves, unsealed fireplaces, particle-producing air purifiers or humidifiers, and uncontrolled dust/dander-producing pets can add a lot of particles to indoor air.

Improve filtration. Upgrading to a high-efficiency air filter can help remove more particles from the air circulating in your home. HEPA filters are the most effective at removing at least 99.97% of airborne particles including allergens, microbes, and pollutants. Install HEPA filters in HVAC systems, humidifiers, and standalone air purifiers.

Control humidity. Excessive moisture leads to dust and particle buildup in homes. Use an exhaust fan while cooking or bathing and vent to the outside. Run a dehumidifier if humidity is over 50% to reduce particle counts, especially in basements or other areas where particles tend to concentrate.

Encase mattresses and pillows. Dust mites and their droppings are a major source of allergy-triggering particles in bedrooms. Encase mattresses, box springs, pillows and duvet covers in dust-proof or allergen-proof covers to avoid particles spreading on and off surfaces overnight.

Vacuum frequently. Vacuuming carpets, rugs, upholstery and bare floors at least twice a week, especially in high-traffic areas, helps remove particles and potential allergens before they become airborne. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter for maximum filtration when vacuuming.

Reduce clutter. An excess of stuff means more dust-collecting, particle-gathering surfaces in homes. Go minimalist whenever possible, decluttering and simplifying spaces to minimize surface area where particles can settle. This is especially helpful in bedrooms and occasionally heated areas like attics space heaters.

Monitoring your particulate matter levels with an indoor air quality monitor can help determine how well the reduction strategies are working and if any changes need to be made. Lowering particle pollution in your home should significantly decrease allergy and respiratory symptoms over time

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