When we think of air pollution it’s easy to conjure images of the smog filled streets of Los Angeles or perhaps a power plant billowing smoke into the sky, but it is a lesser known fact that the air in our homes can be up to 10 times worse than it is outside.
And while the number of deaths attributed to air pollution, also known as the ‘silent killer’, has considerably dropped in the last three decades, we don’t have to tell you about the importance of having high air quality in our little sanctuaries. However, what we can tell you are some simple ways to vastly improve the air we breathe indoors.
Open the Windows
Although it might sound a bit obvious, keeping the airflow fresh by opening the windows is the easiest and of course cheapest way to improve the air quality in our homes, even in winter. And while it might seem counter-intuitive to open the windows when the temperatures outside are dropping but it is crucial, even for a short time, to allow the oxygen in and that bad air out.
It will also help reduce the humidity in your rooms, something that dust mites thrive on. This becomes ever more necessary if you happen to be using chemical-heavy cleaning or decorating products.
Buy Second Hand Furniture Over New
Again this might sound rather counter-intuitive as when we think of old pieces of furniture we tend to image that they have accumulated a lot of dirt in their lifetime but there is a surprising fact about new furniture you may be unaware of. That new sofa you’ve just bought might look pristine, and of course it is, however, what you might not know is that luxury piece of furniture you’ve just treated yourself to is secretly releasing chemicals into your living room.
Known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), they are gases emitted by many fabrics, glues and paints that react with sunlight and chemicals in the atmosphere to form particulates that irritate and damage our lungs. Items stop emitting VOCs after a few years, so that older piece of furniture is likely to have ‘gassed-off’ by the time it finds it’s place in your home.
Buy an Air Purifier Today
While dust and pollen particles are almost ever present in your home, unless you have a microscope, they are impossible to see, and how do you clean something you can’t see? This is where the trusty air purifier comes in. When you are looking to buy a purifier it’s best to invest that little extra as the top brands trap and remove almost 100% of pollutants by drawing in dirty air, filtering it and releasing it back out into the room, much cleaner and fresher.
If you also suffer from hay fever, then having an air purifier in your home, especially between the months of May to July, you’ll be thankful for this device.
It Is a Must to Dust
As we just said with investing that little bit extra to get as high quality an air purifier as you can, the same rules apply when purchasing a vacuum cleaner. We know that vacuums can sometimes come with a hefty price tag but you’ll be thankful again as a good quality vacuum cleaner can really make light work of dust, pollen and pet hair, all of which can quickly build up and irritate your respiratory system.
When it comes to your favorite cushions, rugs and throws, take them outside and give them a good bashing so any dust they’re holding onto is released outside. You should also change your bedding once a week washing it at 60 degrees to kill those pesky dust mites and germs. Keep surfaces clutter-free for frequent dusting and always use a damp cloth to ensure you trap those particles.
Go Green to Clean
If you are wanting to improve the air quality in your home while keeping it clean, then using cleaning products filled with toxic ingredients somewhat defeats the purpose. For some reason we have all been convinced that the only way to give our home that deep clean is to use products with incredibly harmful substances.
Thankfully, things are starting to change as more and more companies are producing eco-friendly cleaning products. Not only will they not pollute your home but when you dispose of them down the sink, they won’t pollute the waterways and harm wildlife. So, next time you’re in the store looking for cleaning products look for labels that have food-grade ingredients like coconut oil and are fragrance-free or scented with aromatherapy oils.
There is nothing more relaxing after a long day at work that a hot bath or shower, and while you might love either, dust mites, mold and viruses love them just as much, if not more! And it’s not just your bathroom, your kitchen can be a haven for these little critters as when you are boiling those potatoes to make some lovely creamy mash, all that steam soon turns into condensation.
So, if you are having a bath or shower, make sure you keep the door closed as much as possible, cover your pans when cooking and if you have an extractor fan in your home make sure it’s turned on. Failing that, just open a window so you keep the humidity levels in those rooms to a minimum.
Thankfully in recent years tobacco use rates have generally declined, but if you are still partial to the odd cigarette, you should probably smoke it outside. Why? Well, apart from the obvious health issues associated with smoking, not only are there around 7,000 plus chemicals found in cigarette smoke but those toxic airborne tobacco particles remain at harmful levels for up to five hours.
And it’s not just cigarettes, anything you burn in your home, like incense sticks or candles, emit carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into the air. Incense sticks actually emit over 100 times the number of fine particles than your average candle.
Air Fresheners Aren’t So Fresheners
Although the adverts profess that air fresheners are great for masking those terrible odors, they do it by spraying your home with a mist of synthetic chemicals. There are so many better more natural alternatives to those fake, sickly scents, like naturally-fragranced or fragrance-free products. If you want to go even further then you should put an organic room diffuser or essential oil burner on your shopping list.
You can even try a little DIY when it comes to eliminating the many odors you’ll find in your kitchen by mixing baking soda and lemon juice with hot water and pouring the mixture into an empty spray bottle for your own home made air freshener. Another great tip for neutralizing cooking smells is to leave a bowl of white vinegar in the kitchen overnight or microwave slices of lemon in water for that fresh lemony smell.
Make Sure Your Paint Isn’t Toxic
Like with your food, you should always check the label. If a paint claims to be non-toxic then they should have no problem displaying the ingredients list on their cans. If you see the paint contains petrochemicals derived from acrylics, formaldehyde, ammonia and oil, as well as synthetic dyes, then you should avoid it at all costs.
Another ingredient to look out for is plastic as it creates a barrier on walls that traps air, leading to the development of mold. Like with most previously toxic products, innovators have created more eco-friendly and healthier alternatives, so, if you go looking for them you will find them.
Wood-burning Stoves Are a No-no
Around 11.6 million American homes use wood as a primary or secondary source of heat, with about 4.8 million of them using wood stove appliances. Unfortunately, recent studies have suggested that using your wood-burning stove indoor just once can expose you and your loved ones to more air pollutants than standing by a traffic-clogged freeway during rush hour.
Plus, the older the model, the higher the likelihood that the smoke it is emitting will damage lung tissue and lead to long-term breathing problems. If you can’t live without your trusty wood-burning stove, then make sure your home is well ventilated while using it.
Welcome to the Jungle!
Did you know that around 82% of the total population in the United States (that’s from almost 330 million) live in cities and urban areas? It’s called the ‘concrete jungle’ for a reason, as if you are lucky to be surrounded by greenery, it’s not going to be much. That’s why we highly recommend you invenst in some plants for your home ASAP.
It has been long documented that houseplants come with huge air-purifying benefits. Not only that, but it’s good for your mental health to surround yourself with natural things, so get yourself down to your local garden center and stock up on some plants today.
Now that we’ve taken care of this matter, let’s start another important topic: our skincare routine. Here’s what we recommend you: 11 Places on Your Body You’re Not Using Sunscreen (But You Should)