7 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

My son when dealing with asthma
My son when dealing with asthma

According to the American Lung Association, indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air. Many people who stay indoors most of the time are not aware that their health is at risk because of indoor air pollution.

Poor indoor air quality can be due to a number of factors such as poor ventilation, dust, molds, smoke and other household gases or irritants. This may not be a big deal for healthy individuals at the outset, but for people who are suffering from upper respiratory illnesses like asthma, this can be a matter of life and death.

One or two weeks ago, in our local news, there was a non-smoking man who died of a respiratory illness. The reporter said that the probable cause was indoor air pollution as he was consistenly exposed to wood smoke whenever they cooked their food.

Giving attention to this topic is important to me because I know how it is to grow up with asthma. Exposure to cigarette smoke, molds and dust can trigger my asthma and can cause me difficulty in breathing for days. I did not have access to good medicine then. My son probably inherited his asthma from me. And so improving air quality in the home is a must for people like us.

No smoking in your home just like the No Smoking Play Parks in the UK

Inverclyde Council was the first in the UK to designate some play parks as no smoking areas.
Inverclyde Council was the first in the UK to designate some play parks as no smoking areas. | Source

7 Simple Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Improving air quality indoors doesn't require complicated steps. It doesn't need to be costly as well. Listed below are some of the practical things that you can do to help keep the air in your home fresh and clean.

1. Don't allow smoking cigarettes inside your home.

This rule must not be compromised especially with children around because second hand smoke is a strong contributing factor to the development of asthma and other ear and respiratory infections in children.

2. Dust and clean your home regularly.

When dust accummulates in the home, so do chemicals and allergens. Sweep or use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of dust on the floor and carpets at least two times a week. Choose a vacuum cleaner with hepa filter to make sure that the dust doesn't get blown back from the exhaust and don't forget to wash the filter. Mop the floor with plain water afterward to pick up the dust left behind by the vacuum or broom.

It's not only the floor that needs dusting, the walls, furniture and appliances need that, too. If you're living in a country like the Philippines where electric fans are commonly used, be sure to clean it at least once or twice a month. Air conditioner or cooler filters must also be cleaned or vacuumed weekly. Then, once or twice a year, ask an AC technician to maintain and clean your entire unit for you.

Vacuum cleaning an air cooler filter.
Vacuum cleaning an air cooler filter. | Source
Andersen 280 WaterHog Fashion Polypropylene Fiber Entrance Indoor/Outdoor Floor Mat, SBR Rubber Backing, 3' Length x 2' Width, 3/8" Thick, Charcoal
Andersen 280 WaterHog Fashion Polypropylene Fiber Entrance Indoor/Outdoor Floor Mat, SBR Rubber Backing, 3' Length x 2' Width, 3/8" Thick, Charcoal

Put a mat outside your front door that traps water and dirt effectively. WaterHog mats are constructed with raised, "water dam" borders which really trap the dirt and water thus keeping floors cleaner and safer.

 

3. Keep the dirt out.

People bring into your home all sorts of dirt via the shoes they are wearing. It is wise to put a large floor mat at the door to shake off the dirt from shoes and reduce the amount of pollutants that get in. Better yet, you may request your guests to leave their shoes at the door before entering.

4. Keep moisture under control.

Humidity levels must be below 50% to discourage the growth of molds and control allergens. You may use a dehumidifier if you want to but simple ways to control humidity is to fix sources of water leaks on the ceiling or perhaps under the sink.

To clean mold growth, wash the affected area with soap and warm water then dry it completely. If mold growth becomes a recurring problem, you may need to get help from expert cleaners.

5. Observe proper ventilation.

Proper ventilation means getting dirty indoor air out of the house and letting fresh air in. The simplest way to do this is to open the windows. You need to do this especially whenever you're cooking, cleaning, painting or using any chemicals. If your budget allows, install exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms to facilitate more effectively the movement of fumes and airborne particles to the outside. Install vents to the outside on appliances that require such whenever possible. Some also use window or attic fans to mechanically bring fresh air into the house.

6. Smell good naturally.

Many people use fragrances to make kitchens, bathrooms, clothes and even their hair to smell fresh and clean. But these aerosol sprays, air fresheners and other fragrances are often made from petroleum products and contain different volatile organic compounds or VOCs. These introduce chemicals in the air reducing its quality and may possibly cause allergic reactions and worsen asthma symptoms.

Aside from opening the windows to let out the toxic chemicals and let in fresh air, use alternative natural products to have a clean and fresh smell in the home. Make your own natural air freshener concoctions using sliced lemons and herbs like lavender and eucalyptus. To get rid of bad smells, you can generally use baking soda, white vinegar, charcoal or coffee grounds to absorb the bad smell.

Beeswax candle is another product which help eliminates bad smell. In addition, they are said to help purify the air by releasing negatively charged ions which bond with positively charged ions in the air, thus removing contaminants and unpleasant odors.

How to make a natural air freshener in your kitchen

Snake Plant.
Snake Plant. | Source

7. Use plants to improve indoor air quality.

We've learned from science class that plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Therefore, having indoor plants may do some good to air quality. But there are certain plants which have been noted to help purify the air as well.

According to a NASA research, chemical pollutants in the air are absorbed by these plantts. The following is the list of plants which are said to have air purifying effects:

  • Aloe vera
  • Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Gerber daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
  • Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii')
  • Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures)
  • Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)
  • Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
  • Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)
  • Azalea (Rhododendron simsii)
  • English ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis 'Warneckii')
  • Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema Crispum 'Deborah')
  • Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)
  • Heart leaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium)
  • Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)

Watch the video below for more information on what you should know about plants that help clean the air.

Improve indoor air quality with plants

More Suggestions When Building Your Home That Improve Indoor Air Quality

Are you planning to build a home or make home improvements? Would you like to know the type of materials or furnishings that you can use to ensure better air quality in your home? Watch the video below and see how you can have an eco-friendly home and cleaner indoor air.

© 2014 Chin chin

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