Air pollution is a scary thing. What’s worse – there’s no hiding from it… even in your own home! Actually, studies reveal that the air inside our home is much more polluted than the air outside.
Yes, you read that right. And there are plenty of reasons why, including heating, poor ventilation, smells from household products, and sometimes, the use of synthetic building materials such as radon, lead and asbestos.
The kitchen, where you cook, store and prepare of food tends has higher moisture levels due to higher humidity. Without proper ventilation, the smoke, grease, mist, and other particulates from the air will cause to poor indoor air quality.
Kitchen Air Pollution: Facts & Causes
Researchers from Sheffield University found that the kitchen which uses gas oven could have worse air pollution than a city center street. Gas ovens are a significant source of nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. They also release volatile organic compounds that are small enough to penetrate through the lungs.
Another thing, did you know that cooking with nonstick cookware may release toxic fumes at very high temperature (above 500 degrees to be exact)?
Consider using cast iron or stainless-steel pots and pans instead.
Another reason of air pollution in your kitchen is formaldehyde which is present in household equipment and it’s also used in manufacturing kitchenware. In very high temperatures, formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen, is released. Another thing, particulate matter which is released by the gas burners used for cooking food.
Cigarette smoke is another major pollutant. If someone in your home smokes than you have dirty air circulating around your house. The harmful compounds in cigarette smoke can linger in clothes, cushions, carpets, and even in your furniture.
Radon is another dangerous gas that could be lurking in your home. You can’t see, smell or taste it. Radon enters your home through cracks or holes in the foundation, walls, or around pipes.
Kitchen Cleaning Tips for Fresh Air
The kitchen is often the busiest and therefore, dirtiest part of the house. To improve your indoor air quality, you should start by employing proper cleaning practices. The problem with the kitchen is that there are just so many items (little and big) that you have to check. However, by being more systematic, you can maintain a cleaner and fresher kitchen every day. Check out the following tips:
- Keep everything dry as much as possible.
Moisture can cause mold build-up which is a serious cause of indoor air pollution. Exposure to mold can cause respiratory problems, such as allergy and asthma. To avoid mold problems, keep your kitchen dry by fixing sources of leaks, wiping the sink and counters with clean, dry cloth after use, and clean food spills immediately.
- Use reliable all-purpose cleaners for your kitchen. All the germs and bacteria
from various surfaces can travel into the air. If you have the option, choose cleaning products that contain less chemicals as these can contaminate the air too.
- Keep your floors clean and dry. Use vacuum and mop to remove dirt and dust.
Also consider drying by tools like air movers if needed.
- Clean your fridge. Make sure to toss everything that has already expired into the
- Take out trash daily.
- If your central heating and air conditioning system has problems, have them fixed
right away. Clean it regularly to prevent poor ventilation and release of toxic carbon monoxide. Change the filter regularly to avoid dirty air from re-circulating around your home. Don’t forget the chimney. Keep it well-maintained by getting annual inspections and performing regular filter changes.
- If you have new furniture, keep it in your garage for a week. If it isn’t possible,
open the windows in your kitchen let the air out the volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Best Tools for a Cleaner, Fresher Air
With all the smoke and fumes going around our kitchens, having an exhaust fan is a must. Whenever you are cooking, hand washing, cleaning, or running the dishwasher, make sure to turn on the exhaust fan to remove both the heat and any moisture. This greatly helps lower the humidity in your kitchen and keep the air clean and fresh.
A dehumidifier is another great addition in your kitchen especially when it is extremely humid outside. Humidity triggers dust mites, mold, and mildew which could cause allergic symptoms, such as stuffy nose, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, and skin rash. Dehumidifiers reduce humidity levels and help keep indoor air clean. There are small capacity models for a single room (which works best if you have a small or average-sized kitchen.
An air scrubber is a compact and portable filtration system that is particularly beneficial for removing airborne smoke and grease particles. It works by drawing in air from the surrounding environment and filtering it to remove contaminants.
These devices work with your home HVAC system to filter the air. There are portable air purifiers that are easy to move and install, making them a perfect choice for home use. When buying one, make sure to choose a size-appropriate for your kitchen. This device is very effective in removing pollutants.
Carbon Monoxide Detector
This is another helpful device that is required from homeowners in most states. CO is odorless and difficult to detect. CO detectors warn you by sounding an alarm when a certain amount of the dangerous gas is sensed in the air over time.
Your kitchen is an essential part of your home. Apart from keeping it beautiful, functional and clean, you also want to ensure that there’s quality air circulating around your kitchen. Hopefully, this guide will help you boost air quality not only in your kitchen but in the rest of your home.