How to Improve Indoor Air Quality





Did you know that according to the EPA “air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities”. The health effects or poor indoor quality range from mild irritation such as headaches, sneezing and congestion, to more severe like heart disease and cancer. A while back I researched igredients to avoid in personal care products (read it here) but I was not surprised to find out that many of these highly toxic chemicals found in soaps or makeup make their way to household air cleaners or air freshners. That particular “tropical breeze” in that aerosol air freshner is not because they have actually captured and bottled tropical breeze but it is only possible through synthetic frangrances. For example, phthalates is an ubiquitous ingredient in artificial fragrances, the Environmental Working Group as a carcinogen.   

Where does air pollution com from?
  • Household products like air fresheners, cleaning products, and personal and body care products
  • Unvented or malfunctioning stoves and furnaces
  • Cigarette smoke, candles, and wood 
  • Outdoor polluted air being carried inside the home
  • Allergens like dust and dander 
  • Heating and cooling systems


1. Open a window

No surprise here. Even opening a windows for 5 minutes a day can significantly improve the quality of the air in your home.In a well ventilated are not only decreases the concentrations of  pollutants but it also prevents mold and bacteria to grow. Even in the winter I still open my windows, I pick a room close the door and shut the heat off.


2. Get rid of dust often 

Those dust bunnies may seem harmless but they carry chemicals from the home that are linked to an array of health issues. If you pets it is important to dust or sweep regularly to get rid of pet dander. If that doesn’t seem to much of a priority consider this: flame retardants cling to dust particles. There has been a lot of talk lately of the dangerous chemicals used in furniture, carpets, and even electronics, it seems the banning of these chemicals is an uphill bottle, meanwhile we have to live with these chemicals for a long time. Just make sure your vacuum has an HEPA filter.


3. Have indoor plants

Plants are effective at removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and CO2 form the air at home, concluded a study done by NASA . According to Healthy Child Healthy World the best plants to have indoors are: Areca palm, lady palm, purpple waffle, variegated wax plant, and Boston Fern. Just remember your high school lesson on photosynthesis; plants make O2 during the night and release CO2 during the day, so it is highly important to open the windows to allow air to circulate.




4. Switch to natural cleaning products 

This will have a huge impact on your health! All the conventional cleaning products and air fresheners are highly toxic, bad for your health and the environment. These products only mask a bad smell making it worse by releasing toxic chemicals into your home. This made me realize I have not publish any posts on all purpose cleaners, but to be honest, I can’t think of enough words to embellish two words: white vinegar. That’s all you need, equal parts of white distilled vinegar and water and you it’ll clean any mess and it is an natural antibacterial, too. Don’t worry, the smell dissipates when dry. (Here is a previous post on an alternative to stove cleaners).

5. Vents and filters

Change the air filter in your cooling and heating unit as needed and don’t forget to dust vents and baseboard. Make sure to make a working carbon monoxide alarm if you your stove and heating is gas and make sure your gas stove is properly adjusted, this will result in less carbon monoxide emissions but it will save money, too! 

6. Avoid smoke

This sounds like common sense, right? You wouldn’t think twice about letting someone light a cigarette inside your home, especially if you have children but cigarette  smoke is not the only one you need to avoid. Candles, a pose high health risk, too. Candles emit pollutants like benzene, styrene, toluene, acetone and some wicks are even made out of lead. Besides, according to FEMA, 20 % of all house fired occurred daily are caused by candles. Skip them all together or use a natural and safer alternative like beeswax candles.



Stay tuned because I have a post coming up on natural ways to remove odors, freshen up the air at home and make your home smell wonderfully, naturally!

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This post was proudly shared at: Healthy 2day, Homemaking Link Up, Sunday School Blog Carnival, Natural Living Link-Up, Thank Your Body Thursday,


   
About Stephanie

Stephanie is a stay-at-home mom to her curly-haired two year old son, a nursing student, dog lover, and yoga enthusiast. She loves to share her tips on making green and healthy living attainable to families getting
started in the wonderful world of eco-consciousness. She believes in
real food and living as natural as possible…and why not, leaving behind a
better planet for our children.

Comments

  1. Thanks for this! I have been meaning to get more indoor plants, so I appreciate the specific recommendations… melanie

  2. Anonymous says:

    thank you for this info! xx

  3. Great information! People often don’t realize how toxic their indoors can be due to all the commercial products out there. Green cleaning lifestyles have really changed my life as a Spiritual Adviser and Feng Shui Design Consultant. Health is Wealth in my World. Thanks for sharing!

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