Everybody knows what air pollution is, right?
Haze and smog hanging over a city, smokestacks spewing out chemicals, clouds of exhaust fumes pouring from cars and trucks...
Those are good examples, but guess what?
Air pollution isn't limited to just the outdoors.
The air inside your home can actually be more polluted than the outside air.
Pollutants like radon, lead, formaldehyde, and the fragrances and chemicals found in everyday cleaners often permeate indoor air without our even knowing it.
And that's a problem.
Children, the elderly, and people suffering from asthma may be immediately affected by exposure to these contaminants. For others, adverse health effects may appear several years down the road.
Sometimes there are good reasons why you might want to go the air purifier route. But that's not always an option.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take right now to reduce the level of pollutants in your home and improve your indoor air quality.
1. Adjust Your Humidity Level
Mold and dust mites are major indoor air pollutants, and they love moist climates. So aim for a humidity level of between 30% and 50% in your home.
Investing in a dehumidifier can help reduce the amount of moisture in your house, and so can using an air conditioner during the summer months. And, as an added benefit, the A/C will also help to keep pollen outside where it belongs.
To keep humidity at an optimal level, avoid overwatering your houseplants, and make sure that leaky plumbing problems are corrected.
2. Keep a Clean Floor
The floor of your home is a major source of allergens and pollutants that can affect the quality of air that you breathe. That's because you bring them in with you on your feet every time you come into the house.
And those contaminants can accumulate within household dust for years if you're not diligent to get rid of them.
What's the best way to deal with them?
Invest in a vacuum that has a HEPA filter, rotating brushes, and a strong suction.
These features will ensure that dirt and dust can't escape through the exhaust. For best results, vacuum at least twice a week, and be sure to clean your filter regularly.
What else can you do?
Mop your hard surfaced floors to pick up the particles that your vacuum leaves behind. You don't need any special kind of cleaner. Just plain water will do the trick.
Also consider placing a rug or floor mat by each door to reduce the dirt, pollutants, and pesticides that are tracked throughout your house.
3. Make Your Home a Smoke-Free Zone
Secondhand cigarette smoke is one of the greatest sources of air pollution indoors.
Cigarette smoke is thought to contain over 4,000 chemicals, and inhaling this toxic mixture increases the risk of developing a variety of health conditions, including cancer.
Secondhand smoke increases the risk of a child developing asthma and respiratory and ear infections.
There's nothing good about having smoke in the house. By either kicking the habit or keeping it out of the house, you can dramatically improve your home’s indoor air quality.
4. Avoid Synthetic Fragrances
You may enjoy the fresh scents of kitchen cleaners, but you should think twice about using them.
The products that use synthetic fragrances often release many chemicals into the air. Most of the fragrances found in these products are made from petroleum-based products, and they're often not tested to determine if they pose any negative health effects when inhaled.
Look for products that are either naturally-scented or fragrance-free, and use baking soda, sliced lemons, or essential oils to get the clean scent that you enjoy in your kitchen.
Air pollution is as big of a problem inside the home as it outdoors. It actually might be even bigger.
But the difference is that, in your home, you're the one in control. You can take steps to dramatically alter your indoor environment.
By following these simple tips, you can improve the air quality of your home in order to benefit the health of your family.
Last Updated on April 7, 2022
One piece of the puzzle that’s often overlooked is the importance of a dehumidification system. Low humidity levels decrease the risk of mold, pests, and property damage. By properly conditioning lower-level air, it often improves the living environment throughout the entire structure.