Sometimes we don’t even realize how toxic the air in a room is until we leave the space and come back later after taking a breath of fresh air. It’s good to be aware of this and to look for ways to keep the air inside your home as fresh and pure as possible. And there are numerous ways to do that.
What else could you do besides opening a window, right? Not exactly. It’s more to this than that. So, for example, if you open a window you should also make sure the air that’s coming in from outside is not full of pollution so you could install trickle vents.
Running the AC in the summer months is convenient and tempting but it’s not always a healthy option. Here are a few alternative solutions. You could use ceiling fans to circulate the air in your home, install heat-blocking window treatments to keep the sunlight and heat at bay and grow plants for shade. The plants will also purify the air in your home.
Also, consider using HEPA filters in your air purifiers and central air systems. They’re efficient at eliminating unwanted contaminants from the air but should be changed regularly for good results.
Find the source
A lot of things could cause the air in your home to be polluted so, in order to solve the problem, you first need to find the source(s).
A really bad habit is smoking indoors. Even if you leave the windows open for a while and you think all the smoke got out, usually there’s still some left and you’ll be inhaling it all day/ night. So try to either completely eliminate indoor smoking or to limit it to a certain space such as the kitchen which you close off and vent properly.
Even though the paint on the walls appears to be completely dried, it will still release trace amounts of gases for months to come. It’s why you should use low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, varnishes, waxes and other such products.
- excess moisture
Don’t allow leaks or moisture problems in your home. The high humidity can lead to mold and mildew and even if it doesn’t the air will still be polluted. So check the roof, the basement, the pipes and everything else regularly.
- AC maintenance
You may think everything is fine with your AC or that if you have a dehumidifier in your home the problems solve themselves but you’re responsible with the maintenance of these features so you should clean them regularly and fix drips, leaks and humidity issues as soon as they appear.
- pet problems
Having a pet means spending a bit of extra time cleaning after it and making sure the environment is safe for everyone. Things get more difficult if you’re allergic to your pet. The allergy can be triggered by a number of things such as saliva, dead skin cells, urine or feces. Always clean up after your pet, give it regular baths and even consider keeping it out of the sleeping areas.
- dust mites
But you don’t need a pet to be allergic in your own home. Dust mites can cause allergies as well and because they’re microscopic getting rid of them is not that easy. It’s best to avoid letting them get cozy in your home in the first place. But if you do find them, here’s what you should do. Try to keep the humidity level below 50%, vacuum and steam clean your upholstered furniture, remove the carpets, use dust-mite-resistant covers and wash the bedding in very hot water.
- stoves and fireplaces
Fireplaces and stoves that run on wood or gas produce carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and fine particle pollution which reduce the quality of the air inside a space. To avoid health problems or accidents, make sure the fireplace or stove is fully vented to the outside.
- toxic products
The quality of the indoor air can also decrease because of toxic products you may use. Things like hair and nail products, cleaning products and art supplies can have this effect so make sure you open the windows or use exhaust fans to get rid of the unwanted chemicals.
Cooking, especially on a gas stove, fills the air with pollution, making it unsafe to breathe. So you should ventilate the kitchen properly, especially if it’s a small and enclosed space. It’s good to not let the air pollutants get into the other rooms of the house.
- bathroom ventilation
There’s a lot of moisture in the bathroom so to prevent the growth of mold in this space you should ventilate it with a fan or by opening a window. You can even have a separate timer for the fan so it continues to run after you leave the room or turn out the light.
Carpets always trap dust mites, chemicals, pet dander, dirt, fungi and other pollutants so you should either make sure they’re always clean or get rod of them. Vacuuming the carpets actually makes all those particles circulate in the room, making them more dangerous. Another solution can be to use a HEPA vacuum cleaner.
Use natural air purifiers
If you want to purify the air in your home or to make it more pleasant, there are several natural options you can try. For example, you can use beeswax candles. Try to avoid regular paraffin and petroleum derived candles. They can release harmful chemicals such as benzene, toluen and soot. Beeswax candles burn with almost no smoke or scent. They also release negative ions into the air and help purify it.
Another option is to use salt lamps. They’re made from Himalayan salt crystals which release negative ions into the air and help clean it by fighting the positively-charged particles which cause the air to feel stuffy. In addition they also help remove allergens like smoke, pet dander and pollens and they also look great so you can use them as decorations as well.
You can also use bamboo charcoal to absorb unpleasant odors and to dehumidify the air in your home. You can put bamboo charcoal in linen bags and place them around the house in key areas. You can reuse these bags for around two year if you place them in the sunlight once a month.
And, of course, you can also use air-purifying houseplants to clean the air and keep your home fresh. You can choose from a variety of species and also use the plants as decorations for the house.