Archive for the ‘fresh air’ Category.
It’s been a mild winter for many of us, but that doesn’t mean we’re not giddily anticipating spring. On the next warm day, try opening your bedroom windows and airing out your sleeping space. And here are some tips for keeping your bedding fresh, clean and sanitary so you can count sheep, healthy and worry-free.
- Your mattress should be aired out twice a year. If you have the space, it’s a great idea to bring the mattress out into the sunshine for a few hours (UV rays kill mold and mildew)… then don’t forget to flip it over when you put it back on the bed. If you can’t bring it outside, another option is to prop your mattress up in a well-ventilated room and open all the windows for a few hours.
- Then, vacuum your mattress to eliminate dust, mites and dead skin.
- Wash your pillows in the bathtub (or on gentle cycle in the machine, if they’re down) with some mild liquid detergent, then put them in the dryer with a brand new, clean tennis ball to fluff them back up.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to wash not just your sheets, but all your bedding — including quilts, blankets and mattress covers.
- While your bed is dismantled, it’s a great idea to vacuum those hard-to-reach spots underneath!
- A spritz of diluted essential oils makes a great air freshener. You can buy essential oils at Whole Foods and most natural markets and pharmacies. Simply mix 20-30 drops in a glass spray bottle with water, and use to freshen up your sleeping quarters with the aroma of your choice. We particularly like: lavender (it has a calming effect — the better for sleeping), peppermint (it’s cooling and sweet), and eucalyptus (an invigorating, sinus-clearing scent!).
It’s a big job, but the benefits are worth it. You’ll sleep better (and who knows, maybe even snore a little less!) with clean, cared-for bedding.
Houseplants are a great way to improve the air quality in your home, especially if you live in an urban area where fresh air is a luxury. As the winter months settle in, houseplants will keep your home’s atmosphere healthy… and your spirits are buoyed by the green, too.
Different houseplants are known for different purifying properties:
- If you have a diagnosed issue with formaldehyde, for example, stock up on any of the following genuses: aloe vera, philodendron, bamboo, rubber plants, English ivy, ficus, or Boston ferns.
- The Draceana known as “Janet Craig” is great at sucking up cigarette smoke.
- Dwarf Date Palms can neutralize xylene, a toxin found in paint and solvents.
- Peace lilies mask acetone (like in nail polish remover).
- Spider plants are a remedy for carbon monoxide. (Although if you suspect a carbon monoxide issue in your house, best to get a carbon monoxide alarm and have it looked at right away!)
- Mums (aka chrysanthemums) take care of the scent of ammonia.
- Palms (like the Areca Palm or Lady Palm) are great catchalls for generally clean air. Like a splash of color? Gerbera Daisies are good for this, too.
NASA has actually conducted an official study on the matter (The Clean Air Study, natch), so if you want to hear what the scientists have to say, Wikipedia hosts the breakdown of common houseplants and how they rate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_air-filtering_plants
If your car is starting to smell a little funky from the summer sweat, there’s a subtle, natural way to clear the air that doesn’t involve hanging tacky, artificial-smelling Christmas tree air fresheners from your rearview. And you can choose your own flavor from a range of essential oils.
- A few same-sized squares of a breathable fabric (Cheesecloth is great for this and can be found in most kitchen supply stores, and even in the kitchen supply aisle of your local grocery.)
- A handful of cotton balls
- Several drops of your favorite essential oil (Suggestions: cedar, citrus, sandalwood, peppermint)
Sprinkle essential oil onto the cotton balls until they are pungent but not soaked. Place the cotton balls on one square of fabric, place another square over the top like a piecrust, and then either stitch, glue, or staple the two squares together.
If you’re feeling particularly inspired, you can attach a string or ribbon to hang the newfangled air freshener from your rearview. Else, just toss it in the console or under a seat. And enjoy the luxury of being stuck in traffic in a sweet-smelling, refreshingly summery car!