photo credit: Kaleen F.
Everyone knows about outdoor air pollution, smog, ozone, or haze in the air, especially during warm weather. But what about indoor air pollution? Believe it or not, the indoor air in our homes holds more pollutants and toxins than the outdoors. Here are several easy and inexpensive tips to clean the air at home.
Buy Some Plants
Many common indoor plants remove toxins from the air. For the most benefit, place at least one plant per 100 square feet of space. The best plants for air cleaning include the bamboo palm, Boston fern, and the Spider plant. English ivy and Peace lilies also clear out toxins, but be careful. Those plants are poisonous to dogs and cats. And if you own outdoor pets, bathe them often.
Take Off Your Shoes
Many pollutants enter your home on the bottom of shoes. Dirt, dust, pollen, and chemicals attach to the soles of your shoe. When you enter your home, you track those things in with you. Invest in a good quality welcome mat for any doors leading outside so people wipe their feet. If you have a front or back porch, leave your shoes outside. If not, place shoes right inside the door. It’s a good idea to keep extra slippers or socks by the door to encourage shoe removal.
Be Aware of Fragrance
Those pleasant smelling air fresheners, laundry supplies, hairspray, and other scented items are very dangerous. They contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) not shown on the labels. Any product using the word fragrance has unlisted chemicals. Under the law, the composition of a fragrance is a trade secret, and therefore, companies do not divulge the ingredients. Some plug-in air fresheners use 20 different VOCs, including several regulated as toxic under FDA laws.
Find More Solutions
Opening the windows helps keep air circulating in your home and helps rid the air of toxins. Vacuum, dust, and mop several times each week. Use microfiber cloths and mops because they capture more dust and do not need cleaning products. Just use a little water, or for heavy cleaning, use water with vinegar, lemon, or baking powder.
Also, plan on having your carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned once or twice a year. Dust and bacteria spores love hiding in carpet and furniture made with fabric. Get in the habit of changing your bedding weekly. No matter how meticulously you clean your home, dust mites and other allergens make their way into every home. Wash all your linens in hot water and dry on the highest heat setting.
If you or your family suffer from asthma or severe allergies, think about buying an air purifier. The small desktop purifiers are only effective in very small areas. Instead, purchase a portable air purifier, or if you can afford it, a whole house system. And always use a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. Even the best air purifier does not remove gases. If you feel your home has radon, call a professional to check it out.
Help you and your family to breathe easier. Incorporate these tips into your everyday routine, and cut down on pollutants in your home.