Indoor Air Quality Overview
Housing & Dining Services Facilities understand that people are impacted differently by their indoor environment. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) plays a large role in people’s health and wellness. We work closely with CSU Environmental Health Services (EHS), to maintain safe and healthy facilities. EHS performs routine inspections of our facilities for safety concerns and if identified, brings them to our attention with expert guidance. Keeping a clean room, free of clutter is the most important step you can take, as a resident, to maintain a healthy living environment.
Having a Clean and Clear Space
Your cleaning efforts should focus on strategies to reduce the accumulation of dust, crumbs, and other debris lurking in your room.
Focus on the following:
- Vacuuming the carpets and area rugs at least once or twice a week with a vacuum cleaner. If you are particularly sensitive, you may want to consider purchasing a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter.
- Regularly clean bedding, surfaces, and other items that tend to attract allergens—particularly if you have a service animal. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends washing items in water that is at least 130° F. Also consider using dust mite–proof covers on pillows, whenever possible.
- Clearing clutter because it traps and holds dust that can trigger a reaction in sensitive persons.
- While some plants are touted as helping to improve indoor air quality because they release oxygen, they are still allergy triggers for many people. If you have plants, avoid excessive quantities of them, and clean on & around them regularly.
- If you’re allergic to indoor allergens and can’t control the source of the problem, it may help to use an air purifier. These devices, in particular ionic purifiers, can help capture some of the irritants that may trigger your symptoms. You’re probably not going to be able to remove these allergens completely, but you can cut down on them, which may help the problem. Housing & Dining Services Facilities and EHS do not recommend the use of ozone-producing air purifiers by residents or occupants.
- Even in the cold months, open windows from time to time to allow fresh air to move into the room.
- Dispose of garbage promptly and properly.
- Store food properly in airtight containers
- Clean refrigerators and microwaves on a regular basis.
- Avoid drying clothing in your student room/apartment as it increases the humidity
- Avoid an excessive amount of plants
When it comes to how often should you clean your bathroom, you want to clean this area at least once a week. Community bathrooms are cleaned by staff daily, Monday-Friday. Suite-style bathrooms are cleaned by staff once a month, and we strongly encourage students to do some additional cleaning in between. Some areas of your bathroom require more or less attention. If you keep up on regular cleaning of your bathroom, you shouldn’t have to give it a deep cleaning more than once a month. A deep cleaning goes further than just regular cleaning. Not only are you cleaning surfaces but cleaning out drawers, medicine cabinets, and more. You are also sweeping all the crevices and giving everything within the room a thorough disinfecting and scrubbing.
- Shower: If you shower every day or multiple times a day, wipe it down after use, with a towel or squeegee, and clean it once a week.
- Toilet: When it comes to how frequently you should clean the bathroom, the toilet is ground zero. This is where all the germ action is happening. Clean the toilet every 2 to 3 days.
- Sink: The germs from your hands collect on the sink knobs and in the sink bowl when you wash your hands. So, even if you live alone, the sink needs a good wipe down regularly with an all-purpose cleaner or antibacterial cleaning wipe.
- Floor: Mopping is variable and can happen every 1-2 weeks, depending on how dirty your bathroom is. However, you want to consider wiping the floor around the toilet down with hydrogen peroxide or disinfecting wipes more often.
Air fresheners can impact indoor air quality by adding potentially hazardous pollutants to the air. The use of air fresheners is associated with elevated levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylenes, in indoor air. These VOCs are often difficult to smell in the air, but they can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as cause headaches and nausea. The types and amounts of VOCs emitted depend primarily on the fragrance composition of the air freshener, not on the type of air freshener.
The use of air fresheners can increase exposure levels to air pollutants. These exposures, even at relatively low levels, have been associated with a range of adverse health effects. These effects may include migraine headaches, asthma attacks, breathing, and respiratory difficulties, dermatitis, and neurological problems, particularly for sensitive individuals. Please be thoughtful that even if these materials don’t cause you difficulty, they can have an impact on your neighbors. And, if you are experiencing sensitivity and unsure where it may be originating, it may be worth a visit to your neighbors to see if they may be using something causing a reaction.
What are some alternatives to using air fresheners?
- removing the source of the odor
- increasing ventilation by opening a window
- regular cleaning and vacuuming
- use of an air purifier when other means are not sufficient