In my last post, I discussed the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of common household sources of indoor air pollution. Listed were cleaners, paints and solvents, natural gas, and combustible items such as wood, candles, and tobacco. No surprise there. However, items that surprised me were simple building materials such as carpet installation products and furnace components. I routinely vacuum my carpets, but had no idea carpets released toxins into the air my children breathe each time the carpet gets disturbed. Therefore, I’ve discovered a few ways to combat the sources on the EPA’s list.
8 Ways to Lessen Air Pollution in Your Home:
1. Protect your air by replacing your furnace air filter every 30-60 days with a high grade one. I choose the filter that removes everything including outdoor smog. It’s also recommended to clean your venting system cleaned out by a professional once every one to two years. I’ve installed small filters in the vents in our bedrooms and replace them when they look dirty. This way, I have multiple filters working in unison.
3. Clean up wet messes in your carpet. The EPA states that wet carpet, if not cleaned and dried properly, can quickly grow bacteria such as mold spores. Then, each time the carpet is disturbed by foot traffic or worse yet, vacuuming, those harmful spores get released into your indoor air.
4. Another great way to clean indoor air is to have a really proficient air purifier or multiple air purifiers running in unison throughout the home. We have a large air purifier in the main living space in our home running almost 24/7. I will occasionally move it to other areas of my house for extended periods of time to get the most use out of. I also have a small room air purifier located in my children’s bedroom that runs during the night while they sleep. Not only does it clean the air they breathe, but it also acts as a great white noise maker to promote a restful night’s sleep!
5. Keep the toxic cleaners out! There are wonderful alternatives to typical heavy duty cleaners that work efficiently while keeping the air safe to breathe. When I first began using simple DIY all-purpose cleaners such as a distilled white vinegar/water/essential oil solution, I remember feeling a sense of relief and freedom because I was able to use the cleaners with my children in the same room without harming my children.
6. When looking for the right cleaners for our home, I refer the Environmental Working Group. The EWG has a resource guide when searching for safe alternatives to cleaning products as well as health and beauty products. They even offer a handy “wallet” guide you can take with you while you shop that lists healthy cleaning products. On my personal blog, I’ve been fortunate to review many non-toxic products and I am convinced the alternatives are safer.
7. Be sure your HVAC system is in proper working order. Leaky humidifying components, cooling coils and drip pans can contain biological growth that can release into your air. Many local power and natural gas companies provide rebates to those who purchase energy-efficient products.
8. Lastly, and my personal favorite, include plants in your home. Beautiful greenery inside your home, especially when those plants LOVE to eat up your indoor toxins, are wonderful! Some species of plants are more successful at removing indoor pollutants than others based on their phyto-remediation potential. I found a guide from NASA that lists air filtering plants. A few of the plants on the list include: English ivy, Golden pothos, Rubber plant and Heartleaf philodendron.
Pollution is everywhere, but keeping it out of the home makes this mom feel like she is creating the cleanest, safest environment for my family!