Before the pandemic, you probably didn’t think too much about the air quality in your home. 2020 made us hone in on the importance of keeping our homes—including the air—as clean as possible.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, people spent around 90 percent of their time indoors before the pandemic. And the quality of air that we breathe during that time has a significant impact on our overall health and well-being—one more than you might think. But the fact that we can’t see what we’re breathing in makes it that much harder to prioritize clean air.
Some minor health issues we might experience from unhealthy indoor air quality include ears, nose, and throat irritation; headaches; dizziness; coughing and sneezing; fatigue; digestive problems; nausea; asthma; and other respiratory issues. On the more severe side, bad air quality may increase the risk for nervous system damage, endocrine system problems, cancer, fever, vision problems, stroke, heart disease and more!
The severity of these systems depends on a few different factors and causes of air pollution: the type of pollutant, level of pollutant, frequency of exposure, the concentration of exposure. The thing is though that many of these problems don’t show up the first day of exposure—they can take years of low, chronic exposure to show up.
It’s not something to mess around with. Improving the air quality of your home can be simple and can make a world of difference. In this article, we’re sharing 6 ways to improve indoor air quality in your home.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Remove Air Pollutants
The first step may sound obvious, but it’s crucial. If you have paint, conventional cleaning supplies, or other chemicals in your house, consider moving them out of your main living area and into your garage. Switching from conventional cleaning products, which contain a number of overwhelming dangerous chemicals, think about switching to all-natural cleaning products.
To see what type of air pollutants you have, you can get professional testing or at-home air quality test kits that test for the following common indoor air pollutants:
- VOC testing
An at-home air quality test kits cost somewhere around $200 and $450. Outside of a standard at-home air quality testing kits, consider a carbon monoxide detector and lead test if your home or furniture was built on or before 1978.
For more information on testing, check out our article on the Causes of Air Pollution in Your Home & What To Do About It.
In addition to getting in-home air quality testing, you should also be cleaning your home thoroughly to prevent pollen, dander, dust mites, and other pollutants from piling up. Organization is also a huge part. As mentioned above, keep all thinners, paints, and home improvement items stored correctly in a garage or shed. And when you’re done with them, throw them away properly.
Having a regular cleaning routine is crucial for keeping your air quality good in your home. Make sure to inspect and clean your heating and air conditioning units as well as replace air filters regularly.
If you live somewhere with humid conditions or have a basement, increase ventilation and possibly consider a dehumidifier to limit mold risk. If you have water damage, address it with a professional as soon as possible. Your ideal humidity level should be somewhere between 30% and 60%.
On the other side, if you live in a dry environment, use a humidifier and clean it regularly to prevent any mold growth.
Choose Natural Products With Care
Swapping out conventional products laden with toxic chemicals is an easy first step that will make a huge difference. Here are some alternatives and products to improve indoor air quality.
- Chemical-filled cleaners → DIY natural cleaning products or store-bought
- Conventional air purifier products → essential oils for purification
- Toss conventional cosmetics and toiletry products (definitely nail care!!) → natural cosmetics and body care products
- Conventional candles → soy with essential oil candles & essential oil recipes for fragrance alternatives
Create Air Flow
Bring in fresh air daily by opening your windows. A little quick ventilation can be easy and effective. Try and do this for 15-20 minutes in the morning if the weather permits.
Indoor houseplants can increase the oxygen inside your home, and some can even filter the air of nasty pollutants. Common houseplants like the snake plant, english ivy, and spider plants can help to pull out harmful pollutants like formaldehyde, monoxide, and more! Check out this list of the 20 best indoor plants to purify the home to discover plants that improve indoor air quality.
Invest in a High-Quality Air Purifier
One of the best decisions you can make is to invest in a high-quality air purifier. Investing in an air purifier was the best thing we ever did to help keep the air in our home pure and free of pollutants.
Watch our video on the causes of air pollution, what to do about it, and why we love these air purifiers.
Now that you have the top tips to help improve indoor air quality, which tips do you think are most accessible? Which will you try first? Let me know in the comments below!