7 Ways to Improve the Air Quality of Your Own Home

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shaded room by sgt_fun via flickr

Outdoor pollution is a major concern for environmentalists, but indoor pollution can be even denser, not to mention more noticeable. Our living spaces are tightly enclosed and filled with various things deteriorating the air quality, and we often end up spending more time in these enclosed spaces as well.

Dust, pet dander, and material from cleaners and fragrances can all linger in your internal atmosphere and prevent you from being able to breathe clearly—especially in the elderly and people with asthma.

Improve Your Air Quality

Try these methods to improve the air quality in your home:

1. Vacuum regularly. Dust, dander, and other forms of particulate matter are largely responsible for that dusty, “stale” feeling. These particles are routinely kicked up into the air when agitated, eventually settling back to the ground, only to repeat the cycle over again. Vacuuming is one of the best ways to cut this cycle at the source, eliminating the particulate matter and preventing it from launching into the air. You should be vacuuming at least once a week, potentially more if there are a lot of people in your home or if you own pets.

2. Sweep and mop. Sweeping and mopping perform mostly the same function as vacuuming, but for hard floors rather than carpeted surfaces and rugs. Hard floors don’t trap particles the way that carpets do, so they’re often more neglected, but it’s important to clean your floors once or more every week to maintain the quality of your air.

3. Use dehumidifiers. You may not think of dehumidifiers as great ways to purify your air, but you’d be surprised what an impact they can have. Dehumidifiers function by drawing moisture out of the air, which can also help eliminate pollen and other particulate matter from the air (as long as you change or clean your filter regularly). Furthermore, a dryer atmosphere helps to mitigate the development and propagation of things like mold and dust mites, which can further influence the quality of your air.

4. Switch to all-natural cleaning products. We live in an astounding modern era with tons of products that improve our quality of life. Companies have developed powerful household cleaners that keep our floors, walls, and items clean, beautiful, and sterile—but these cleaning products also carry questionable side effects. Aerosol cans and chemical cleaners, for example, often pollute our indoor atmospheres, making the air denser and harder to breathe. Instead, opt for more all-natural cleaning products, such as ones based on lemon, pine, or vinegar. You’ll notice a difference almost immediately.

5. Ionize the air. Some products, like air ionizers, function by “ionizing” oxygen molecules in the air, giving them a negative charge. This discrepancy in charges attracts airborne particles, functionally purifying the air. Other, more natural products, like Himalayan salt lamps are designed to function similarly—they use electricity and natural salt to ionize the air.

6. Keep your windows open. Sometimes, the easiest solutions are the ones that are most effective. If the air in your home feels stuffier and denser than the air outside, simply open the windows. Obviously, this isn’t always possible, but opening your windows even temporarily can help you release the trapped particles within your home.

7. Get some filtering house plants. Most plants function as types of filters in their own right, drawing in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen in a process that reverses what we engage in during normal breathing patterns. There are actually certain types of houseplants that can remove specific pollutants from the air in your home. For example, garden mums can remove ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene from the air. Spider plants, peace lilies, bamboo palm, and aloe vera are just a few other types of plants purported to improve air quality.

Make the Most of Your Work

Each of these strategies can, individually, make a marginal improvement in the air quality of your home. However, the change may be so gradual and so subtle that you barely notice. If you want to see the greatest possible impact, you’ll use these strategies together. Any two of these strategies, working together, will instantly be better than any one alone, and since most of them are relatively easy and inexpensive to implement, it won’t require much additional investment.

Make the most of your efforts, and reap the rewards in your everyday breathing.