You Air Your Dirty Laundry
The mistake: You hang up damp clothes and towels inside your home.
Fresh from the washer, your laundry may look clean, but it pollutes the air, found a study at the Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit at the Glasgow School of Art. Damp clothes can increase humidity, creating an allergenic environment in which dust mites and mold spores grow (depending on where you live) at concentrations 300 percent higher than safe limits. About 25 percent of the homes where laundry was air-dried tested positive for Aspergillus fumigatus, a fungus that causes lung infections in people with weakened immune systems. (And just because you don't see greenish fuzz on the wall doesn't mean you're safe—spores are often invisible to the naked eye.)
The lesson: For eco-lovers who worry about using the dryer but don’t hang the wash outside, the researchers recommend hanging it in a space that has, ideally, an independent heat source and ventilation. (When drying clothes in the bathroom, turn on the fan and shut the door.)