Whether large or small, the kitchen is often called the heart of the home. It’s where we gather to share good food and family memories. But thanks to common irritants like grease, smoke, gas, and cleaner residue, the health of that heart could be compromised. Indoor air quality (IAQ) is often worse in the kitchen due to these pollutants, which can aggravate allergies and asthma symptoms.
Clear the air and breathe easier with our tips below.
Identifying Kitchen Culprits
We all want to breathe the cleanest air possible, and the kitchen is an excellent place to start, especially with how much traffic it sees. This is particularly true if you have an open concept home where the kitchen leads into dining and living spaces since the air in each area affects the others.
In addition to smoke and grease, the kitchen is a prime spot for mold to develop since it loves fresh produce and damp areas like sinks, sponges, and dishwashers. Mold releases spores into the air that can cause allergy and asthma symptoms year-round.
The good news is the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has identified the biggest culprits, so you know where to start to quickly improve your kitchen’s IAQ and keep it clean from now on.
Food & Flora
Let’s begin with the kitchen’s primary function – food! Wash all produce before you put it away, and throw older items out before they grow mold. Regularly clean refrigerator bins as well to avoid mold spores from hanging around. Airtight containers are also your friend for keeping your food fresh and your air clean.
If you grow herbs or have other house plants in your kitchen, you may not realize they are potential sources for mold as well. The AAFA suggests that you:
- Plant in sterile soil and only water your plants when the soil is dry.
- Give plants extra light.
- Trim dead leaves often.
- Use a fan to circulate air around the plants.
Nooks & Crannies
Cleaning up spills right away and not letting dirty dishes pile up will keep your kitchen’s air fresh. Smaller cleaning jobs can also significantly affect IAQ, but they are often overlooked. For example, the AAFA recommends cleaning refrigerator door seals regularly since mold likes to grow on them. They also suggest wiping down the tops of your cabinets and vent hood often with warm, soapy water to stay on top of dust buildup. Consistently washing any throw rugs or curtains is another way to eliminate smoke and grease that would otherwise hang around the air.
Cleaners & Trash
The products you use to wipe your counters and clean your floors go directly into the air and can be a major trigger for asthma or allergies. Heavy chemicals, while effective at eliminating food-related messes, are some of the worst offenders. It’s best to avoid these and other aerosol cleaning products that can contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Instead, opt for unscented or homemade cleaners with natural ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, or even soap and water. These alternatives are often just as effective as chemical-laden solutions.
If you’re still committed to heavier-duty cleaners, the AAFA recommends wearing a mask, opening windows, and running fans when using them. And don’t forget to keep lids on your trash, recycling, and compost bins to avoid attracting unwanted pests like roaches.
Cook Up Cleaner Air With Air Experts
Reducing dangerous triggers in the kitchen using these tips can make a big difference for asthma and allergy sufferers. Air Experts can improve your indoor air quality even further with professional solutions like fresh air intakes, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers – all of which are designed to keep your air healthy, comfortable, and safe. Call 919-480-2727 or contact Air Experts online today to learn more about how we can help keep the air fresh in your kitchen and throughout your home.