In the fall and winter months, you are going to find yourself spending a lot more time indoors.

When you’re cooped up inside, natural air flow is limited. Ensuring that the air quality in your home is extremely important. Even with your HVAC system running, you are still going to be exposed to much of the same air throughout the day.

Anything inside your home that compromises air quality is going to stay inside and circulate. Poor air quality can cause illness, trigger allergies and asthma or just make it harder to breathe.

To help keep you and your family healthy this fall and winter, here are a few tips on keeping your indoor air quality fresh and clean.

Avoid VOC cleaning products

VOC (volatile organic compounds) are solid or liquid cleaning products that emit potent chemicals when used. As you can probably guess, chlorine bleach, furniture polish, aerosol sprays, oven cleaners and rug cleaners are all common household VOCs.

Be extremely careful when using these kinds of products. The chemicals can linger in the air and can cause headache, dizziness, nausea and more.

Whenever possible, use VOC alternatives or use them outside to keep them out of your indoor air circulation. If you must use them indoors, but sure you are in a ventilated area, like your bathroom or kitchen, and can push out the chemically-tainted air.

Open windows when weather permits

Although the temperatures drop during autumn, there are going to still be some lovely, cool days ahead. When the weather is nice, turn off your air conditioner or furnace and let in some fresh air.

Open windows can push air in and out and help with circulating fresh air throughout your home. Giving your HVAC a little rest can also help with your energy bill.

Be careful though. While this allows for clean air to enter, it also opens the door for pollen and other outdoor allergies to enter, so act accordingly.

Keep a healthy humidity

You may not think about humidity during the fall and winter months, but it is just as important.

Dust mites and mold thrives at high humidity levels. They can take hold and taint your indoor breathing air. Dust mites, mold and mildew are extremely common allergies and can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms.

Maintaining a humidity level of 30-50% will keep them at bay and stop them from spreading. Utilizing a dehumidifier in your home can ensure constant levels throughout your home and keep these allergens out and keep air fresh.

Regularly clean, vacuum, mop and dust

Maintaining a clean home is important to keeping air quality high. Dust, dirt pet dander and other particles can build up and easily be kicked up over the course of regular home activities.

Although dirt, dust and dander aren’t dangerous, they can make breathing difficult and result in coughing and sneezing as well as triggering other allergy and asthma symptoms.

Vacuum carpet and furniture, use cleaning supplies without harmful chemicals, dust and mop on a regular schedule to prevent build up.