Dangerous Dust, Toxic Stuff
With record-low interest rates home remodeling continues at high levels all around the country. As a result drywall dust, sanding debris, lead paint from layers in an old home, dust and toxic particles tracked around by family, guests and workers cause an invisible threat. Home remodeling – and construction in general – demand increased cleaning to avoid potential health risks from the dust in question. We often forget that everyday, old fashioned household dust contains plenty of toxic substances such as pesticides and carcinogens. Any street, garage or driveway harbors toxic particles picked up on tires or spread by cars, including used motor oil, gasoline additives and combustion products. Toxins in dust and allergens such as dust mites aggravate allergies and asthma but can affect many more people with fatigue, lack of concentration, eye and skin irritation, dizziness and headaches.
When remodeling, seal off the work area and place doormats outside the area to avoid tracking dust from remodeled areas to other parts of the house. Keep toddlers, pregnant women and young children away from remodeling areas. Keep pets out to avoid tracking dust and debris around the home.
Other simple steps help create a healthier indoor environment, before, during and after the dust settles from remodeling construction. Thorough cleaning is crucial to maintain a healthier indoor environment. Several powerful weapons are really important:
• Doormats – one on the outside and one for the inside at every exterior door.
• A high-quality vacuum cleaner or vacuuming system.
• A hot water extraction cleaner
• An air purifier.
Believe it or not, your doormats are your first line of defense against the germ warfare we just related. They help keep large amounts of dust, toxins and allergens from being tracked into the home in the first place. You need two at every exterior door. One outside that has bristles for wiping and scrubbing and a softer highly absorbent one for the inside to clean – and dry – shoe soles. Did you know that in many countries, and yes, even in certain parts of this great US of A, that it is customary to remove ones shoes at the front door? Talk about trying to keep your home clean. Everyone knows about how the Japanese customarily remove their shoes before going indoors. Do you know which state in the US also practices this custom almost universally? If you said Hawaii you are right. As a tourist staying in a hotel you may not be exposed to this custom, but when visiting residences everyone on every island practices removing shoes before going indoors.
A vacuum also is important. Whatever gets past the doormat must be dealt with. A 10-year-old carpet on average contains up to 2 lbs. of dust. Deep dust tends to collect in older or worn carpets. As with all modern technology vacuum cleaners are more sophisticated than ever. Just as important as vacuuming carpets and bare floors is vacuuming wherever dust may settle, high and low, in the house. Use vacuum tools to remove dirt and dust form bedding, draperies, upholstered furniture, tables, shelves. Use vacuum tools to get at dust along baseboards, walls, ceilings and in corners and crevices. A ‘POWERED’ hand tool is a must for these tasks. Here are a few innovations that can help you get things cleaner:
• Use a vacuum cleaner with a dirt sensor to be sure the dust and dirt you can’t see is being removed. Why guess! The sensing technology is here.
• Twin agitators are a really important advancement. How well a vacuum cleaner picks up dirt, dust and dust mites and removes particles from floors and other horizontal surfaces is no laughing matter. To keep dirt from being scattered back onto the floor, twin spinning agitators lift dirt and dust by separating the carpet fibers and opening the carpet up to deeper cleaning. The single agitator is no longer the only game in town.
• Dual ducts that channel particles into the vacuum cleaner’s dirt container keep them from being scattered back onto the carpet as well.
Deep cleaning using hot water extraction has always been something you did using rental equipment or by hiring a professional. Times are changing. Now you can own your own hot water extraction carpet cleaning system for under $400 – and they really work. Deep cleaning washes the carpet and helps remove soot and gooey particles that stick to carpet fibers and trap harmful substances.
Indoor pollution can be five times higher than outdoor pollution, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has declared indoor air quality one of the top five most urgent environmental risks to public health. Particles smaller than 10 microns (an average household dust particle is 10 microns) are likely to be inhaled into the lungs; smaller particles may reach deeply into the lungs. One effective way to clear the air and help remove airborne irritants is with an air purifier. An air purifier is an essential part of total indoor pollutant control. There are units on the market now that will capture airborne contaminants as small as .002 microns, using electrostatic technology in combination with a special collection sheet.