16 Dangerous Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

Breathing polluted air can make you sick, increasing any health problems in your life. I was recently reminded of this when I was visiting a friend in England. Within five minutes in her home my eyes were red and I was sneezing.

I’ve always been sensitive to air quality and toxic chemicals. This is why I have have worked so much with organic Power Foods, and alkaline balance and gluten free cooking. With all of this balancing, my immune system is very strong but my body still doesn’t like chemicals.

In some situations, poor air quality means much more than puffy eyes. You can die when breathing extremely toxic air. You certainly don’t want to deeply breath in air that is filled with toxins.

The World Health Organization estimates that 6,400 people die every year in Mexico City and more than 1 million people suffer from permanent breathing problems because of air pollution.

People spend 90 percent of their time indoors. Indoor air quality can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air.

The good news is, indoor air pollution is created by us, so we have the power to reduce pollutants.

16 Possible Sources of Pollution and Healthy Alternatives

1. Cleaning products are responsible for nearly 10 percent of all toxic exposures reported to U.S. Poison Control Centers! Take time to find alternatives or Make Your own Natural Cleaning Solutions.

2. Laundry detergent and fabric softeners can be very toxic.

Very early in my life, I found that mainstream laundry detergents caused itchiness. It’s a direct result of the toxic chemicals found in these laundry detergents. For example…

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate – EVS Rresearch studies on SLS are linked to: Organ and Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, ecotoxicology, biochemical or cellular changes and cancer.
  • Phenols have been linked to serious health conditions and even death.
  • Optical brighteners make clothes look whiter, but studies have shown them to be extremely toxic to fish. They can also cause mutations in bacteria.

Since the 70’s I have always stayed away from big brands like Tide, which is the most toxic.

Use one of 7 Least Toxic Laundry Detergents and definitely avoid the 7 Most Toxic Laundry Detergents!

3. Many house cleaners are filled with toxins.

Some cleaners are among the most toxic products found in the home.  If I use the wrong ones, I have breathing issues. In 2000, there were 120,434 reported exposures involved children under six to Poison Control. These were children swallowed or spilled cleaners stored or left open inside the home. It’s best to make your own cleaning products or use to use non-toxic products.

4. Chemical air fresheners! They should be called Toxic Air Polluters!

5. Use eco-friendly paint and glues in your home. Do not use products with methylene chloride. This includes spray shoe polish, water repellents, spot removers, wood floor and panel cleaners, adhesive removers, lubricants, wood stains, varnishes and finishes or paint strippers.

6. The best time to paint the house or do other repairs that use glue is during the summer so doors and windows can be open for full ventilation.

7. When cars idle in the garage, toxins can easily fill into the home.

8. Keep the home a smoke free zone.

Tobacco smoke contains many pollutants at high concentrations. “Tobacco use kills more than five million people every year – more than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.”

9. Creams and lotions also need to be unscented with chemicals.

10. New carpets not made of natural fiber can be a source of formaldehyde.

11. Candles and incense can release lead and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air making it toxic. Use beeswax or soy candles instead.

12. Shoes bring in dirt and toxins tracked in from the outdoors. Best to have mats at the entrances to the home and to leave shoes at the door.

13. Regularly have the furnace cleaned to ensure good indoor air quality, which can help to with environmental allergies and asthma. Also, it will help it to operate at maximum efficiency.

15. Pillows, sheets and comforters can be full of allergens, including dust mites. It’s best to wash them weekly.

16. Carpets are a major source of dust, mold, and allergens; regularly clean them with an eco-friendly solution.

What To Do With this Information?

If you think your health or someone in your family’s health is being affected by any of these sources, it would be very difficult to tackle everything on this list at once.

I suggest you pick one to three of the items on this list and do what you can in that area for stop toxins from entering your home.

After this is completed, then you can tackle one or two more.

The Next Step Is To Improve Your Home Air Quality!

There are simple things you can do to improve the air. These arethe fun things like adding plants, etc. Read 7 Ways to Improve Air Quality In Your Home.

If you have problems with indoor pollution I have 30 years of experience dealing with this. You can contact me through my website or on twitter.

7 Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
How Toxic is Your Couch?
8 Ways to Protect Your Home from Air Pollution

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Danielle I.
Danielle I.11 hours ago

It can be extremely difficult to keep our household air pure. I make all my own cleaning products. White vinegar & baking soda do most things. Don.t buy fragranced items. My home has very old carpet & not many windows that open, but I do my best with careful purchasing of products, frequent vacuuming, air cleaning house plants etc... I do admit to being guilty of occasionally burning resin incense, as I love the smell, but also bring jasmine flowers inside & dry lavender so there are natural fragrances as well..I worry about things like flame retardant lounge suites and mattresses etc as have no real idea what they are 'leaking' into my home..

Azle B.
Azle B.2 years ago

The HABG is adding pine oil saturated furniture to the pollution in some of the HABG area. Housing should not cause the deaths of children and asthma in adults.

Mia E.
Maria E.2 years ago

Good article, one of the chemicals I would add to the list of 16 making 17 is household bleach.
A halogen element ( halogen elements includes fluorine (F), ), bromine (Br), iodine (I) & others...
Chlorine bleach is best used diluted 9 parts bleach to the total water volume.
Most of us have become very accustomed to the use of chlorine/ bleach in our homes.
It's used in our municipal water to treat bacteria, & it's touted as the best product for killing germs in both the kitchen & bathroom.
Cloth wipes for use on counters and most household surfaces oh our lucky stars for the broad spectrum miracle that is chlorine, pushed commercially for keeping us safe from germs
still I wouldn't want my food sitting on a counter wiped with bleach or babies hands touching wiped surfaces.

Chlorine-based bleaches are found in many household cleaners & can react with other common household chemicals like vinegar and ammonia to produce toxic gas.

Terry V.
Terry V.2 years ago


Fi T.
Fi T.2 years ago

Air quality for quality life

PrimaAWAY B.
PrimaAWAY B.2 years ago

"You can die when breathing extremely toxic air. You certainly don’t want to deeply breath in air that is filled with toxins."

YES ,yes...so true and I'm going through this right now. Too long of a story . I do rent or many things would be way different. I do not use any chemicals. That's been over 25 years.

This is a great post. Every suggestion/tip is correct. Excellent informative post.

Thank You deeply for posting...

B Jackson
BJ J.2 years ago

Good ideas, thanks.

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra2 years ago

Thank you Diana, for Sharing this!

Amandine S.
Past Member 2 years ago

Thanks for the article, very useful.

heather g.
heather g.2 years ago

Thanks for the information - especially which plants are best at cleaning the air.