5 Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

Can you believe that the air in our homes is often more toxic than the air outside, even in cities? How unfortunate since we spend a lot of time in our home resting and rejuvenating. Take control of your air with these 5 tips.

Don’t use harsh cleaners or air fresheners– We all know bleach is bad to use regularly but even some of the basic cleaners at the store are full of harsh unnecessary ingredients. They will irritate your skin, eyes and respiratory system. You make think that because they are on the shelf of a well known store that they’re safe, but that’s far from the truth. Commercial cleaners are not heavily regulated and are not tested for long-term use. They are often used in conjunction with other cleaners which causes another host of problems. Air fresheners contain artificial fragrances which often include hormone disrupting ingredients such as pthalates. Simply switch to vinegar or plant based cleaners. This goes for your laundry as well. Use essential oils and plant extracts to freshen the smell in your home. Check out my Going Green 101 post about Non-Toxic Cleaners to learn more.

Have lots of indoor plants– Not only do plants look beautiful in your home, they give you fresh oxygen and filter out toxins in the air. They absorb gases, mainly carbon dioxide, through the pores on their leaves. Amazingly, it has been found that plants absorb other toxins in the air like; VOC’s (volitile organic compounds), benzene and formaldehyde. Some examples of where these toxins might come from are; plastic, cleaners, fabrics, cosmetics and furniture. Thank you mother nature!

Buy used or organic furniture– Or you could even make your own. The many items in your house are often coated with toxic flame retardants. This goes for couches, office chairs, beds, pillows and even rugs. Unfortunately these items are made of synthetic material which can be quite a hazard if there was a fire, as it melts instead of burning away. They will off-gas their toxins as well as shed the flame retardants for many many years. Your best bet is to stick with companies that use wool, which is naturally flame retardant. Couches can be wood frames with simple cushions. We love our wool mattresses!

Dust and vacuum often– Many of the items we have in our home can shed heavy metals and flame retardants. Surprisingly our electronics are a main contributor to this. The most common way the toxins end up on our bodies is by inhaling and ingesting (when they get on our hands). So, dusting and vacuuming often help cut down on the amount that end up in our bodies. Washing hands before eating helps too!

Be aware of VOC’s– Volitile organic compounds are chemicals that enter our air from solids or liquids. Some of the common household items that contain VOC’s are; new carpets, paint, PVC, nail polish, perfume/cologne, aerosols,  furniture, moth balls and even air conditioners and refrigerators. These are obviously not all avoidable, so try to cut down on the unnecessary ones and keep lots of plants around to help filter the rest. New carpets can be left in an open area or shed to help allow some of the VOC’s to off-gas. There is also low-VOC paint available and proper ventilation during and after application can help cut down exposure. Make sure to store VOC containing products and building materials in an area away from the home, like a shed.

 

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About Angela Vullo

I am a mother to three wonderful children. I love to read and write. I created this blog to share my experience and tips on trying to live a green lifestyle.

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