This year, many traditional holiday events and venues are cancelled, long-distance travel is unlikely, and large holiday parties are on hold. For many, this means holiday decorating is likely to take center stage in an effort to celebrate the season.
It may seem like a harmless way to get in the spirit, but whether it’s pulling the decorations out of storage, setting up holiday lights or trimming the tree, decorating for the holidays can have an effect on your indoor air quality. And, according to a recent survey conducted for Filtrete™ Brand, nearly half of American’s concern over their indoor air quality has increased since the beginning of 2020.
Filtrete™ Brand has partnered with Dr. Neeta Ogden, an allergy, asthma and immunology specialist and weekly contributor to CBS national news who can share more about how to maintain good indoor air quality as houses are decorated for the upcoming holiday season. Additionally, she can provide tips about the importance of reducing harmful particles in the air so you can stay healthy AND maintain your holiday spirit!
Some specific tips include:
- Dust off décor - After being stowed away all year, holiday décor (i.e. tree skirts and stockings) likely needs some sprucing up and attention. Wear a mask and gloves while retrieving anything from storage and don’t hang them by the chimney until they’re cleaned according to the label’s instructions to prevent dust from being propelled into the air.
- Opt for a real tree - With their easy maintenance (no watering or needles to worry about!) and long lifespan, it’s easy to see why artificial Christmas trees are popular. However, the plastic material they’re made with can break down over time and may release chemicals like lead into the air. Real trees, on the other hand, naturally clean the air by emitting oxygen—and that fresh pine scent—all season long.
- Skip scented candles - Fragrances like pumpkin pie and vanilla bean instantly make us think of the holiday season, and while lighting a candle may seem like the perfect finishing touch, it can pollute the air with PM 2.5. Baking or cooking the real thing may be worth it this season, of course while being aware of any food allergies of your family or guests.
- Ventilate - Our well-loved family spaces get lots of traffic and surfaces are likely hosting all kinds of indoor pollutants, such as dust, pet dander and smoke. Open the windows and ventilate properly to circulate good old-fashioned fresh air and vacuum rugs or carpet at least three times a week. If you use a wood-burning fireplace, logs can carry mold and dust, so make sure to have it professionally swept each year.
- Replace your HVAC filter regularly - A fresh HVAC filter will help capture fall & winter allergens and keep your indoor air cleaner. 3M Filtrete recommends a change at least every 90 days for 1”-2” filters and every 12 months for 4’ - 6” filters. The Filtrete™ Smart App helps simplify filter replacements for all Filtrete™ Air Filters. Pair a Smart Air Filter to the app, and you can expect a real-time notification to make a change. With the barcode scan feature, you can create a personalized countdown timer.