We spend so much time worrying about the planet’s lungs, it’s easy to overlook what we’re breathing into our own. Case in point: studies show indoor air can actually be more polluted than outdoor air. So, while we often focus on diet and exercise when it comes to our well-being, let’s not forget about our environment. Fact is, improving indoor air quality is a crucial step toward achieving optimal health for yourself, your family, and your pets. After all, is there anything more essential? With that in mind, let’s explore a few eco-friendly ways to purify and rejuvenate the air in your home. Then we can all breathe easier.
Common indoor air pollutants to be aware of
Many factors contribute to poor indoor air quality. Mold, pollen, and allergens are some of the most common pollutants that can impact your household’s health and even trigger respiratory issues. Combined with low ventilation rates and high carbon dioxide concentrations, these unwelcome inhabitants can create stifling conditions and even discomfort. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from cleaning products, paints, and some furnishings are also indoor pollutants to be aware of. Exposure to these chemicals may cause respiratory problems in addition to other health risks.
How to improve indoor air quality sustainably
Now that you know the health hazards and the pollutants to watch out for, consider these sustainable living solutions to improve your home’s indoor air quality:
Create natural ventilation and air circulation
One of the most essential steps you can take to bolster the air quality in your home is to incorporate natural ventilation. This allows clean air circulation. Natural ventilation is most easily done by strategically opening windows and doors, weather permitting. This simple action dilutes indoor pollutants and refreshes your living space. Opening windows and doors on either side of your home also creates better circulation. Remember this in summer when you’re looking for eco-friendly ways to heat the beat.
Energy-efficient ceilings or standing fans will also help move the air in your home, distributing it more evenly so that not just one room or area receives the benefit.
Incorporate indoor plants for air purification
Adding greenery to your living space doesn’t just make it more inviting, it also helps create healthier air without using electricity. If you incorporate the correct plants throughout the rooms in your house, you’ll be able to create a more sustainable environment with fresher air. Some plants known for their air-purifying abilities are peace lilies, snake plants, and spider plants. These easy-to-care-for plants act as natural air filters, absorbing harmful pollutants and releasing oxygen. You can also get creative by incorporating a green wall or an indoor vertical garden, refreshing both the air and your home’s interior decor.
Make eco-friendly cleaning products a priority
Switching to eco-friendly cleaning products for your home isn’t just a step in the right direction toward a greener lifestyle, but it’s a power move for improving indoor air quality. Conventional cleaning supplies, including aerosol sprays and disinfectants, often contain harsh chemicals that release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) — which can lead to respiratory issues and other potential health problems — into the air.
Even how you do laundry can impact your household’s air quality. More than a decade ago, researchers published results of a study that concluded air vented from machines using the scented liquid laundry detergent contained toxins, two of which are classified carcinogens. All the more reason to swap to green-minded products such as our SaltyLama laundry detergent sheets, which are plant-based, hypoallergenic, and toxin-free.
Ditch synthetic fragrances
Room sprays and synthetic air fresheners also contain VOCs, so when you’re trying to freshen up your living space, choose essential oil diffusers, DIY room-freshening sprays, or simmer pots with natural fragrances like citrus peels, cinnamon, or herbs. All of these will add a refreshing aroma without releasing harmful emissions.
Use energy-efficient air purifiers
Investing in energy-efficient air purifiers equipped with HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters is another effective way to enhance indoor air quality. These purifiers capture and eliminate airborne particles, allergens, and pollutants – quickly reducing contaminants that might otherwise circulate within the home.
Choosing an energy-efficient purifier also allows you to also conserve electricity, meaning that you’ll be lowering your power bill while reducing your environmental impact. Make sure you also use a HEPA filter, as they trap even the tiniest of particles.
Conduct regular HVAC maintenance
Prioritize check-ups around your house. Make sure you are regularly servicing your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems if you want healthy air quality indoors. Clean or replace filters and schedule annual professional maintenance to ensure optimal performance and air quality.
Most professionals suggest vacuuming your filter weekly and changing it out every three months.
Check for mold and monitor humidity levels
Mold can creep up during humid seasons. To combat its growth, you’ll want to keep your indoor humidity levels between 30 to 50%. If your indoor humidity is too high, you might come across mold growth. On the other hand, low humidity can cause respiratory issues and dryness. One way to improve and balance your home’s humidity? Use humidifiers or dehumidifiers to maintain ideal moisture levels. These are especially worthwhile investments in basements and other areas where stale air lingers.
The best practice for a healthy home and good air quality is to vacuum weekly, often more if you have pets. Regular vacuuming and dusting help eliminate dust build-up, pull up pet hair, and any other allergens that may have trickled indoors.
Remember, for as much as people talk about detoxifying their diets and bodies, it’s also important to cleanse your indoor environment of potentially harmful toxins. By following these sustainable living solutions, you’ll be maintaining the air quality of your home, promoting longevity and overall wellness for everyone under your roof.