10 natural ways to purify indoor air

Oluwatosin Jegede

Clean air indoors matters. Surprisingly, we spend about 93% of our time inside. This means we’re often breathing in things like pet dander, carbon dioxide, and harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These aren’t great for our health.

That’s why many of us rely on indoor air filters. And guess what? Houseplants help, too. They’re not just pretty to look at, but they help keep our air cleaner. In this guide, we will explore natural ways to make our indoor air fresher and healthier.

What causes indoor air pollution?

Why is our indoor air sometimes not as clean as we think? Well, several things play a role. First off, dust. It’s everywhere. Then, outdoor pollution can sneak in. Not good. The stuff we use to decorate our homes? Paint, furniture, and flooring can release VOCs.

Even our furry friends contribute with their dander. And those pleasant-smelling cleaners and air fresheners? They might be culprits, too. Older appliances, especially gas stoves, can also be a problem. Moist areas? They might encourage mold. Lastly, things like carpets and drapes trap dust and dirt. But remember, a lot of this is within our control.

Read also: Air pollution, 12 things you can do to help reducing it

Natural ways to purify and clean air

First things first. Before cleaning the air, let’s understand what dirties it. Dust, mold, pet dander—these are some sneaky culprits. And dust mites? They love damp spots like our mattresses and carpets. Even though they’re tiny, their waste can trigger health problems like asthma or eczema. So, where to start? Grab your vacuum and some dusting spray.

1. Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum

A good vacuum is your best friend. While HEPA filters are popular, they’re not always needed. Carpets? They’re dust mite magnets. One small patch can hold a whopping 100,000 of them! If you keep carpets or rugs, deep clean them once in a while. And some more cleaning tips:

  • Regularly dust and clean. Wipe surfaces, and take out the trash;
  • Clean your drapes, blinds, and bedding often;
  • Shoes off at the entrance. No pollen or dirt inside;
  • Less stuff means less dusting.

Remember, being too clean can backfire. Our homes, like our guts, have good microbes. Kids with pets or farm exposure might get asthma less often. So, keep cleaning simple. No fancy products. Just basics, like Homebiotic.

2. Groom your pets

Love your pets, but not their dander? Regular baths and grooming help, especially if they play outside. This reduces pet hair, dander, and dirt indoors.

3. Freshen the air naturally

Store-bought air fresheners often just mask smells with chemicals. Go natural. If something stinks, remove it. Then, use natural fresheners or essential oils. These not only remove odors but also reduce bacteria and dust mites.

4. Light up beeswax candles

Candles set the mood, but not all are good. While some release toxins, beeswax does magic. Here’s the fun science bit: Beeswax releases negative ions. They bond with the positive ions from pollution. Result? Cleaner air! Plus, beeswax candles last longer. Great for people with allergies or asthma. In my home, it’s only beeswax. We love the tea light and votive sizes.

5. Keep the HVAC system in check

AC and heating systems are essential for clean air, especially if you’re near pollution. If outdoor air quality isn’t a concern, open those windows for fresh air. Don’t forget to change HVAC filters. Want a tip? Add a few drops of purifying essential oil to disposable filters. Lemon, lime, and clove are some of my top picks.

6. Watch out for mold

Did you know? Nearly half of buildings might be damp and ready for mold. Mold and its by-products, mycotoxins, can lead to brain fog, tiredness, and more. The solution? Fix leaks and get rid of moisture. Check your home’s humidity. If it’s above 50%, think about a dehumidifier. Moldy or damp items like wood or paper? Toss them out. But items like metal or glass can be cleaned.

7. Opt for low-VOC items

That stylish couch or paint might have Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). And these chemicals can hurt our health. The EPA warns about headaches, dizziness, and even cancer. What to do? Pick low-VOC items when shopping. Let new furniture air out in the garage before bringing it inside. And remember natural cleaners and avoiding fake air fresheners can cut down on VOCs.

8. Be smart when cooking

Here’s a surprise. Cooking, especially with gas stoves, can pollute our air. Some gas ovens produce way more nitrogen dioxide than safe limits. And gas stoves can release lots of carbon monoxide, a dangerous invisible gas.

Keep your gas stove in top shape. Newer models are safer, says the EPA. And always vent out cooking fumes. Use an exhaust fan or even an open window with a fan. And about cooking oils? Pick ones that handle high heat, like coconut oil, to avoid unnecessary smoke.

9. Welcome more greenery

You might’ve heard about that NASA study suggesting plants can purify indoor air. But let’s dive deeper. While this old study was done in a sealed space, a 2014 review looked at it in light of new findings. Lab studies confirm plants can absorb VOCs. But can they purify the air in bustling offices or homes? It’s a debate. Some say you’d need tons of plants to see a difference, while others believe 15-18 plants can do the trick in a 1,800-square-foot area.

Here’s a twist: the plants might not be the only heroes. A 2004 study found that dirt microbes do a lot of the purifying. These tiny organisms in the plant’s soil seem to be big players. Some plants also pitch in.

While experts might still be discussing this, I’m all for more plants indoors. Not just for cleaner air but for their beauty and calming presence.

10. Embrace salt lamps

Salt lamps can be an ally for cleaner air. Made from Himalayan salt, they also release negative ions, like beeswax candles. Their ion release might be modest, but they have other air-cleaning perks.

Read also: Top 5 materials that absorb carbon emissions: how they mitigate air pollution

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