Being forced indoors in the colder months is an excellent opportunity to consider how your home’s air quality might affect your health. However, you don’t have to wait until winter to improve the air quality in your home. Even if you spend a lot of time outside, you still likely sleep in your bedroom and cook in your kitchen. Because of the amount of time we spend inside, it’s vital to our health that we do everything we can to have clean, healthy air to breathe. You might be able to open a window when spring rolls around, but what do you do when it’s too hot or too cold?
What is Indoor Air Pollution?
Impurities in the air can be caused by many different things and vary depending on where you live. In general, there are two kinds of pollution. The first is particulate matter, such as viruses, dust, pet dander, and mold. The second is gas pollutants like cleaning products, paint, or automobile fumes. All these can cause allergies to flare up, asthma to worsen, or even, in extreme untreated cases, lung cancer. Implementing some of the tips below can prevent all of these things.
Through the natural process of photosynthesis, living plants remove pollution from the air through their leaves. Plants cleanse the air and give it that fresh outdoor smell. Having plants in your home, in addition to air purifiers and filters, can help rid your air of that “stale” characteristic that happens with closed windows. Check out this list of air purifying plants that could be fantastic options for your home.
If you’re like many of us, keeping a plant alive might not be your greatest strength. Check out this list of low-maintenance plants from HGTV for some great easy maintenance ideas.
Air purifiers remove the toxins from the air and clean the air of pollution like pollen, auto fumes, and pet dander. These pollutants can be dangerous and worsen illnesses such as asthma. Choosing the right purifier can be confusing, so here is a link to a complete buying guide to purchasing the perfect air purifier for your home. You can also check out this comprehensive review on some of the best air purifiers!
Using essential oils has been a trendy topic in recent years. From putting them in diffusers to rubbing them on our temples, it seems there isn’t anything they can’t cure. Add purifying the air to the list of essential oil benefits! You can kill airborne bacteria and fungi by diffusing lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil. Not only will they cleanse the air, but they also help with creating a relaxed and calm atmosphere.
For more in-depth reading on essential oils, click the link below to buy Elizabeth Asley’s book: “The Complete Guide to Clinical Aromatherapy & Essential Oils for the Physical Body.”
Note: If you are an animal owner, it’s a good idea to check with your vet before buying, as certain essential oils can be harmful to pets.
Growing your own herbs will improve your air quality and provide you with fresh herbs to use in your cooking and natural aromatherapy. This option is a win, win, win! To get the low down on which herbs are best for indoor air purifying herbs, check out this article here.
If you’re sneezing or coughing more than usual, it might be a sign that it is time to clean. Cleaning and dusting your home can improve the air quality by ridding your home of the pollen, dander, and dirt that has settled onto your shelves and into your couch fabric.
Just be careful with the cleaning products you’re using as some can also pollute the air if not handled correctly. Here is a helpful list of harmful products you may use and should probably avoid.
Furnace filters are easy to forget about, but replacing them regularly can have positive effects on your air and your wallet. Leaving an old furnace filter in for too long can leave your furnace working extra hard without actually cleaning the air. This means you still have polluted air, and you’re paying more money for your furnace to do all that extra work.
Changing your filter regularly can keep your furnace running at its best, extend its life, and do a much better job of keeping your air clean. How often you should change your filter depends on the filter size and whether or not you have pets. In general, it’s recommended that you change your filter every two months. Check out this article to find more information about how often you should change your filter.
Check for Mold
If you’re noticing an unpleasant smell or your throat is itchy, you might want to have your home checked for mold. Having mold in a home is fairly common but should still be taken seriously. Untreated, mold can cause many illnesses in humans and pets, including some mental illnesses as well. Here is a link from the CDC with all you need to know about mold and how to prevent it.
After discussing the hazards of mold, a humidifier might sound like a bad idea, but in the middle of winter, a humidifier is a must in a dry, mold-free home. Dry air causes dry skin, irritated sinuses, and many other issues.
Two ways to humidify your home are bypass humidifiers and power humidifiers. Read this blog here for more information on these two options and what not using them could mean for your home and your health.
Steam Clean the Carpets
Like dusting, steam cleaning your carpets pulls out all the dander, dust, pollen, and other impurities from your carpet. The floor is where most of our daily dirt goes, and carpets are notorious for holding that filth and growing things you would not want living in your home. There are many excellent professional carpet cleaners, or you can rent one from Lowes or Home Depot.
Change the Bedding
Your bedding is a lot like your carpeting. It will hold all that dead skin, dust, and dirt right where you lay your head down every night. This can affect your air quality, as well as your quality of sleep. Change the bedding once a week for better rest and cleaner air. Unfortunately, some critters will make their homes in your sheets if you don’t wash them regularly. Don’t believe us? Check out this post on Bustle about the things found on bedsheets.
Beeswax Candles vs. Traditional Candles
Reading a book while burning a pumpkin spice candle is one of life’s many small pleasures. Switching out your traditional candles for beeswax candles could be an excellent switch for your air and health. Conventional candles can burn off chemicals like benzene and toluene into the air. Beeswax candles don’t emit these harmful chemicals and are smoke-free. They also last longer than standard candles and give off negative ions that clean the air of pollution. Another win-win!
As you can see, there are many small ways you can improve your indoor air quality without tremendous effort. So consider the choices above and find the ones that fit your family.