With most of us spending an increased amount of time inside our homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, optimal air quality should be at the top of our priorities. Luckily, making your home healthier and greener doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.
While we’re all pretty familiar with the negative effects of outdoor pollution, many of us are not aware of the potential negative health consequences associated with our indoor air quality. The truth is that indoor pollution can have similar effects on our health:
- Immediate Effects: irritation of the nose, eyes, and throat. Dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and exacerbated or worsened asthma symptoms for people who suffer from asthma are also immediate effects.
- Long-term Effects: With chronic exposure, respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer can all be caused by poor indoor air quality.
What are indoor air pollutants, exactly? Some of the most common indoor air pollutants that threaten indoor air quality include:
- Dust mites
- Pet hair
- Carbon Monoxide
There are plenty of simple and inexpensive actions you can take to reduce the number of toxins and overall pollution in your home. Keep reading for some tricks on how you can start making your home less toxic.
1. Take Off Your Shoes Before You Enter Your Home
This is especially important in homes that are carpeted. This easy and free tip won’t just keep your house clean longer, but it will also decrease the number of pesticides and other chemicals that you would otherwise be dragging in with your shoes, therefore keeping your home healthier. Finding an area in your home that helps remind you to build this habit can be a great way to start, and it can also help guests take their shoes off.
2. Choose Green Cleaning Products
Many common store-bought cleaning products contain chemicals that stick around in the air a lot longer than after you’ve finished applying them. The polluting substances found in these cleaners spread in the air and dust, causing damage to the environment and our health. Instead, choose to use natural cleaning products that are derived from plants or minerals. If you want to go one step further, you can make natural, environmentally friendly cleaning products that get the same job done instead of purchasing them.
3. Enliven Your Home or Office Space With House Plants
Not only are they a vibrant and fun touch to your home, but house plants have been proven to improve indoor air quality. NASA’s Clean Air Study in 1969 concluded that many types of plants (including Philodendron, Spider Flower, and Peace Lily) have the natural power to purify the air, especially in enclosed spaces that have very little airflow. Plus, the presence of house plants has also been found to help increase mood and productivity, enhance concentration and memory, and reduce stress and fatigue.
4. Change Your Furnace or HVAC Filter
Depending on usage, your heating/cooling system filters should be changed every 1-3 months to keep your air clean and your system running efficiently. By taking this simple step every month or so, you’ll not only help reduce the toxins in your home, but you may even help save money on your heating/cooling costs. Regularly changing the correct filter when necessary can also help reduce allergies in your home.
5. Open the Windows
There are times when indoor pollution may be worse than the pollution outside, so it’s important to allow some outside air to circulate inside your home if the weather permits. You can easily help to circulate the air and reduce the number of poisons just by slightly opening the windows on opposite sides of your house for about 10 minutes a day. You may also experience a boost in your mood as you get in touch with the outside world as you stay inside.
Healthy air quality should be a top priority right now, with most of us spending more time in our homes due to the pandemic. These are just some of the ways you can remove toxins from your home and improve your indoor air quality.
Since your home is currently juggling different roles, from your home office to your fitness studio, you’ll want to make sure to continue following our blog for more useful tips on how to sustainably make your home more comfortable and how you can optimize your space for energy efficiency.