7 Ways to Have Clean Indoor Air

  • 2 years ago
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I don’t know about you, but whenever I used to hear the word “pollution” I would think of dust
from commercial construction or exhaust from traffic jams. I automatically associated it with
being outside in a big city or other high populated area. As it turns out indoor air pollution is the
real issue.

Here are some not-so-fun facts and statistics:

  • Indoor air is often 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air, and in some cases it’s even
    up to 100 times more polluted.
  • Poor indoor air quality is linked to multiple health concerns, including allergies and
    asthma.
  • We spend about 90% of our time inside

A lot of us do everything from home nowadays. We work at home. We start and grow business
from home. We get an education from home. The pandemic had us staying inside to avoid
catching a virus, but now we risk getting sick from breathing the same stagnant air every day.
But here’s how you can change that:

1. CHECK FOR MOLD

To begin working towards cleaner air, you should first look for anything that might be actively
polluting it. Mold and mildew are major culprits. They can cause serious respiratory issues,
particularly if you are already prone to allergies or other breathing difficulties.

Check in dark, damp spaces where mold grows and thrives, such as:

  • In, on, and under sinks
  • Inside AC vents
  • On shower tiles
  • Behind toilets and in toilet tanks
  • Corners of the kitchen and bathroom
  • In the attic and/or basement

If you find mold or mildew, eradicate it ASAP. Depending on the severity, you may need to get
professional help so you don’t inhale dangerous spores in your attempt to get rid of them.

2. Let some fresh air in 

The reason indoor air pollution is such a problem is because it comes into your home and then
stays put. At least when pollution is outside there’s wind to move it along. If the air in your home
has toxins, give it a chance to clear out by opening the windows. If you can, try to get a cross
breeze so the air can circulate.
Research indicates that sunlight can kill potentially harmful bacteria, and as I mentioned before,
mold and mildew thrive in the dark. So open your blinds, pull back your curtains, and let the
sunshine help cleanse your home.
If you live in an area where the outdoor air is less than ideal, you can skip this tip. Instead, make
sure you are changing your air filters every 90 days at a minimum and make sure your home
has proper ventilation.

3. REMOVE YOUR SHOES

Streets and sidewalks are a cesspool of germs. Dirt, spit, urine, toxic commercial waste, it’s all
fair game to be stepped on without even noticing, then it all gets carried into your home on the
bottom of your shoes.
If you ignore every other tip in this article, at least heed this one. Take off your shoes when you
come home. If you don’t like being barefoot, keep a pair of house slippers by the door so you
can switch into them.
I actually have the opposite problem and sometimes step outside without shoes on for
gardening in the backyard or taking my dog out to potty. If you do that too, keep wet wipes by
your front and back door. My dog’s paws get wiped, too!

4. Keep a consistent cleaning schedule

No one enjoys this tip, but it’s so important to having healthy indoor air. I realized that my
allergies would flare up worse whenever I start slipping up on my cleaning routine. I’m not
saying you have to deep clean every crevice of your home every single day, but there are a few
chores to stay on top of if you want to breathe easier.

  • Dust air vents and ceiling fans- My house gets very hot, so I have the fans and
    AC on almost constantly. Dust builds up really quickly on the fan blades and air
    vents, so try to wipe them down regularly, especially in the bedroom or other
    rooms where you spend a lot of time
  • Vacuum carpets- Carpets are a magnet for dust creators like dirt on the bottoms
    of feet/shoes (see above tip), pet fur, human hair, and skin flakes. On hard floors
    it’s simple to sweep up, but these materials build up in carpet fibers faster than
    you can imagine, which is why regular vacuuming is essential. This is by far my
    least favorite chore, so it used to get neglected a lot and my health suffered.
    Getting a vacuum robot was a game changer
  • Clean out humidifiers and essential oil diffusers- Temecula is a very dry area, so I
    rely heavily on humidifiers to breathe easier at night and keep my fiance’s
    eczema from flaring up. I also love diffusers to make the house smell like
    oranges. Unfortunately, both of these machines can be horrendous for indoor air
    quality. Mildew can accumulate in the warm, stagnant water, then gets circulated
    throughout the home with the mist.
    To clean your machines, dump out any sitting water, then pour in a cup of distilled
    water and a cup of white vinegar. Let it sit for about an hour, scrub gently, then
    rinse out and you’re good to go!

5. Use non-toxic cleaning products

We’ve gone over the importance of cleaning the house; now let’s make sure the products you
use don’t actually contribute to the problem. It sounds completely counterintuitive, but certain
conventional household cleaners contain ingredients that can increase indoor air pollution due
to the toxins they release, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). I won’t go too much
into depth on the science, but there’s plenty of information available if you’re interested in
learning more.
This does not have to be an all or nothing issue. There is absolutely a need for both
conventional and natural products. Sometimes your house needs a deep clean, and gentle,
natural products just won’t cut it. For example, if you have a mildew problem, by all means get
some bleach on that. But harsh, sterilizing products are not only unnecessary on a regular
basis, but breathing them in can cause respiratory irritation and even worse problems with
extended exposure.
For everyday cleaning products, like all-purpose sprays for kitchen counters, try to stick to
brands dedicated to being healthy and non-toxic. My whole family uses Grove Collaborative,
and we swear by it.

6. Switch to nontoxic candles and alternative air fresheners 

This also ties into the last tip, because a lot of times in our effort to have a home that smells
clean we end up unintentionally contaminating the air. Many conventional candles contain
ingredients that release toxins into the air while they burn. These toxins can include certain
carcinogens, including formaldehyde. I’m not trying to fear-monger and act as if burning one
candle will cause cancer, but toxicity in the home accumulates over time, and it doesn’t have to.
This is one switch that’s very simple to make. When purchasing candles, check the ingredients
list. If there’s a long list of words you cannot pronounce, you may want to put it back on the
shelf. Instead, opt for something with coconut or soy wax, or beeswax which is the healthiest.
Choose candles that use essential oils for fragrance instead of parfum, which can contain any
number of unknown toxins.
Smoke is a major contributor to indoor pollution. If you really wanted to, you could forgo candles
altogether and find alternative ways to have a nice-smelling home, such as essential oil room
sprays or potpourri.

My personal favorite is simmer pots. For this, you fill a pot with water and natural aromatics,
then put it on the stove at the lowest setting. A crockpot works even better if you have one.
Aromatics can include:

  • Fruit peels such as apples and oranges
  • Spices such as cinnamon sticks, cloves, and nutmeg
  • Fresh herbs and flowers

7. Get house plants

I am going to be very transparent, because I have seen the research and I am not here to
misinform. Despite common beliefs, house plants do very little to purify indoor air. You would
need something like 100-1000 house plants per 10 square feet to make any real difference in air
quality. As much as we all may wish it, you cannot bring home a plant in the hopes that that
alone will solve the problem of indoor air pollution.
They are not the best clean air solution, but most plants do have air purifying abilities in tiny
amounts, and a little is better than nothing at all, especially when used in combination with the
other tips listed in this article. Consider this a supplemental tip.

In conclusion

A lot of information was presented in this article, but of course you do not have to try every
single tip in order to breathe easy at home. Reducing indoor air pollution can be summed up
quite simply: keep up with house cleaning to the best of your abilities and try to avoid things that
bring toxins into the home.
If you live in an area with severe pollution, or your current home is full of toxins that no amount
of cleaning can fix and you’re ready for a change, we can help with that. Reach out and let us
help you find the best home for your family’s health and well being

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