Home Detox with Danny Seo: Indoor Air Quality

Home Detox with Danny Seo: Indoor Air Quality

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Janel Laban
Oct 8, 2008

Danny Seo, green living guru (and yes, a super nice guy) is in Chicago to help out at Method's pop-up shop on Halsted. A while back, he got in touch with AT:Chicago about arranging a Home Detox for a reader while in town, and we happily agreed.

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Fast forward to yesterday, as Danny Seo, Rachel from Method and I spent part of the afternoon at longtime AT reader Kathryn's loft in Lakeview. Kathryn's home was chosen by Danny as the location for the official detox and it was a fun and enlightening couple of hours. This is the first in a series of posts to share some lessons on cleaner housekeeping that we learned during the detox - starting with improving indoor air quality...

Unpacking the supplies for cleaning...
...and Danny's books for inspiration.

Danny and Rachel arrived with big (reusable, naturally) bags from Method, filled with their products for keeping the loft in shape without all the chems that can be part of the package with standard cleaners. A second bag was full of everyday household items that Danny uses to keep things clean and fresh, like newspapers, vinegar, lemons and salt - and as an added gift, Danny brought Kathryn several of his books.

Danny kicked it off with a few observations and questions for Kathryn on her present household habits and had some quick advice right off the bat for improving the air quality in the loft:

Checking Out the Ceiling Fan
Clean the Vents Before Heating Season

The Good News: She's got the air circulating, which helps to keep the indoor air cleaner. Windows open and ceiling fans going are both good things.

Danny's Advice: Take the time to clean off the vents on your heating system in the next few weeks (before you turn on the heat for the first time). The dust and allergens that have accumulated in the vents since it was last used will be spread throughout your home as soon as you turn it on otherwise. A once over with a microfiber cloth (dampened with water or all purpose cleaner) should do the trick. For vents located up high (like in the loft, which features exposed ductwork), he suggested that Kathryn could use the omop (from the Method goodie bag) to help reach the areas to be cleaned.

Extra Tip: Remember to switch the direction of your fans twice a year during major season changes. In the winter, you want the warm air to be pushed down, so have your fan run counterclockwise. In the summer, switch the direction to clockwise to help cool the room.

Using newspaper to improve the shoe storage area.
Paper lines the shelves and is inserted into the shoes.


The Good News:
Kathryn stores her shoes near the front door, taking them off and storing them as she arrives home, which reduces the amount of dirt, lead and other particles that are introduced into the home by street shoes.


Danny's Advice:
Recycle some of your old newspaper as shelf liners or floor covering for shoe storage areas. Newspaper is designed to absorb, meaning that it helps to collect particles from the bottom of your shoes. Change out the paper once a month.

Extra Tip: Crumple up newspaper and insert into shoes that are being stored. It helps to control moisture and odor.

Keep an eye out for more tip-filled posts on the Detox to follow in the coming days.

Thanks to Danny, Method and Kathryn!

Method's Detox Pop-up Shop is in Chicago through the weekend (final day is October 12) - it's located at 2034 N. Halsted.

Photos: Janel Laban

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