When we think of air pollution, we tend to think about smog, car exhaust, fumes from factories and power plants — in other words, outdoor air pollutants. But did you know that indoor air can actually be more polluted than outdoor air?
Yes, your house could be making you sick – and the air inside could be the primary culprit.
How is this possible? Well, scientists say that we can use the “rule of 1,000”: a pollutant that is released indoors is 1,000 more likely to be breathed in than a pollutant that is released outdoors.
And what makes the air in our homes so dirty?
First, there are the things that release pollutants continuously: building materials, appliances, and furnishings. There’s also dust, smoke from cooking, pet dander, mould, and dust mites. Add in cigarette smoke, synthetic chemicals from scented air fresheners, toxic household cleaners, and dirt trodden in from outside and you’ve got a pretty noxious airborne cocktail.
Indoor air pollutants can cause allergies, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and respiratory problems like asthma. According to this study, everyday exposure to chemicals that commonly pollute indoor air may even contribute to the increasing prevalence of childhood cancer and autism.
Because we spend so much of our time inside our homes, we need to pay closer attention to indoor air quality. Fortunately, there are natural ways to filter air at home so we can have a truly healthy home.
Decorate with houseplants
One of the easiest non chemical ways to improve the quality of indoor air is to get some houseplants.
We already know that plants help us breathe by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Now, thanks to NASA, we also know that certain plants are better at cleaning the air than others. The NASA Clean Air Study found that common houseplants such as peace lily, Chinese evergreen, English ivy, and bamboo palm can remove toxic stuff like formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and carbon monoxide from the air.
In addition, a 2009 study published by the American Society for Horticultural Sciences found that golden pothos, snake plant, and spider plant reduce the levels of ozone, the main component of air pollution, in an indoor setting.
According to NASA, you should have at least one air purifying plant per 100 square feet for a healthy home.
Use essential oils
Essential oils have so many uses in a non toxic home. You can use them to make natural household cleaners, get rid of bugs, and make the house smell nice. On top of that, a 2012 study found that essential oils can purify indoor air by stopping the growth of airborne bacteria.
One of the best ways to diffuse essential oils inside your home is via an ultrasonic diffuser. With this nifty device, you can get the air cleaning benefits of essential oils without having to worry about naked flames or the soot and smoke from a tea light candle.
Try activated charcoal
Activated charcoal is a popular water purifier and is now even in things like toothpaste and facial cleansers. Because of its toxin removing effects, activated charcoal can also help clean the air inside your home.
You can hang linen or burlap packets of activated charcoal all around the house to absorb unpleasant odours, dehumidify the air, and eliminate VOCs (volatile organic compounds). These are particularly useful in removing musty smells from bathrooms, storage areas, and cars.
Plug in a salt lamp
Like beeswax candles, Himalayan pink salt lamps are said to release negative ions that act as air purifiers. These beautiful chunks of crystallised salt are heated from inside by a small bulb, which activates their “toxin neutralising” effects.
But, again, the claim that Himalayan salt lamps can clean indoor air remains unverified. This doesn’t mean, however, that these lamps don’t work. There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence out there that salt lamps can remove allergens from the air and even boost people’s moods.
Burn beeswax candles
If you like to burn candles in your home, choose beeswax candles. Paraffin candles are derived from petroleum and could release byproducts into the air. Good quality beeswax candles, on the other hand, are made from natural ingredients. They burn clean with practically no scent or smoke.
There are claims that beeswax candles can clean indoor air. This is supposedly because they release negative ions that bind with airborne particles (positively charged ions), causing them to get heavier and drop to the ground. Bear in mind that this claim hasn’t been independently verified. Still, if you’re going to enjoy the soft glow of candles in your home, go for beeswax instead of paraffin.
How do you filter air at home? Please share your tips in the comments below.
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