When we think of the issue of air quality, we tend to think of things like factories expelling all sorts of horrible things into the atmosphere and exhaust fumes from cars. These are certainly legitimate concerns for sure, but did you know the air inside homes is often worse? It is, and for several reasons, including but not limited to, poorer circulation of air, daily use of chemical-laden products and the release of dangerous substances used in the manufacturing of furniture that slowly leaks out into the house.
The good news is you can do a lot to improve the air pollution solutions within four walls of your home.
Here are just a few suggestions to get you started on improving indoor air quality.
The Power of Plants
While plants in the home can boost mood, and add a nice aesthetic touch, they can be good for your health too. Back in the late 1980’s, NASA conducted research on the effects of plants in purifying the air in space stations. The study found several different plants were very efficient at ridding the air of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs—harmful substances that are emitted from a variety of products, and easily make their way into the air we breathe.
For optimal effect, it is recommended a 2,000 square foot house have about 16 to 18 plants throughout. Here is the list of the best plants to improve indoor air quality:
- English ivy
- Spider plant
- Chinese evergreen
- Golden pothos
- Peace lily
- Bamboo palm
- Heartleaf philodendron
- Snake plant
- Elephant ear philodendron
- Selloum philodendron
- Cornstalk dracaena
- Red-edged dracaena
- Warneck dracaena
- Janet Craig dracaena
- Gerbera daisy
- Pot mum
- Weeping fig
- Rubber plant
Tend to Your Floors
The floors of your home are a hotbed of chemicals and allergens polluting the air in your house. If you have carpet, make sure you are vacuuming at least twice a week with a machine that has a HEPA filter, and clean the filter regularly to keep it performing optimally. This is one product to improve indoor air quality that you should not be without.
Regularly mop your floors—you don’t need to bust out the soaps and cleansers every time. Using just water can pick up all sorts of nasty things that will make its way into the air. If you don’t already own one, get a microfiber mop. The material is better at picking up dirt and dust than traditional fibers.
Keep Stuff from Getting Dragged into Your Home
Consider a no-shoes-in-the-house policy; while it may not seem like it would make a big difference, the small amounts of ‘stuff’ sticking to the bottom of shoes can add up to a big problem when tracked in multiple times day, after day, after day. At the very least, make sure there is a large floor mat at every entrance where people can thoroughly give their shoes a good wiping before stepping inside.
Use Natural Products
Most conventional cleaning and fragrance products are chock-full of harmful toxins, and if you are using them for years and years, it can really take its toll on air quality. There is a growing interest in natural products, and you can usually find them at your average grocery store.
WebMD notes one study on a conventional air freshener that found it contained 20 different VOCs—seven of them are considered toxic or hazardous under federal laws. Of course, you won’t find this stuff on the label.
Kelli Cooper enjoys blogging about all things health and wellness.