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Fact check: The best (and not-so-best) ways to keep smoke out of your home

(Update: Adding video)

Here's what an OSU professor thinks works - and doesn't

BEND, Ore (KTVZ) -- Smoke, smoke and more smoke.

It seems to be what everyone in Central Oregon is talking about right now.

With air quality levels hovering between unhealthy and hazardous, some NewsChannel 21 viewers have suggested different ways to keep the smoke out of their homes.

One thing we've done here at NewsChannel 21 is tape one of these air filters onto a fan to try to clean out our studio. That might be something you can try too, according to Glenda Hyde, an Oregon State professor in family and community health.

"The do-it-yourself box fan is something that can help control the particulates in the air," Hyde told NewsChannel 21 Wednesday.

She said to look for a filter with a high MERV rating, and point the arrows toward the intake side of the fan.

While the fan and filter works, many of the other ideas don't. Some people think putting baking soda or vinegar into a slow cooker might take away the smoke.

“That's going to maybe make the air smell better,” Hyde said. “But it's not going to remove any particulates out of the air -- or any of the particulates."

Another bad idea is turn to leave your shower running or turning on a humidifier. This will help with the smoke, but not for long.

"The extra humidity can cause some of the particulates to fall down,” Hyde said. “But as soon as they dry out, in our desert climate, that's going to be almost immediately. They're going to go back up into the air."

Do not try taping up your windows either, it may succeed in keeping the smoke out, but could create another problem if you needed to get out of the house quickly.

Lighting a candle is also not a great idea -- it just adds more smoke to the air. The same thing goes for using a stove top or oven.

Really. the best things to do are to stay inside and clean your clothes as soon as you come in.

"Have a plan set up where you can completely strip when you come in, and all that stuff goes into the laundry," Hyde said.

And of course, while you are home, keep your windows and doors closed.

Bend / Central Oregon / Health / News / Top Stories
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Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.

Comments

8 Comments

  1. Speaking of cleaning your clothes –

    Keep in mind that your clothes dryer is a very effective air pump. So if your dryer is inside the living space it draws air from inside your house (the air that you’re trying to keep clean) and the air that must replace it has to come from somewhere. That is almost always from the outside – where all the smoke is. Therefore while you’re drying your clothes you might also be reducing your indoor air quality.

    1. Unless you have a source for filtering incoming air your bathroom fans are just another way to pump indoor air out and replace it with smoky air from outside.

    2. No. Bathroom fans exhaust interior air to the outside. This air is then replaced by unfiltered outside air; e.g., leaking in through cracks in exterior walls and underneath doors. Unless the air quality in your home is worse than it is outside, this will make the air in your house worse.

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