22 Ways to Improve the Indoor Air Quality of Your Home or Office
Air pollution is one of the greatest health threats humanity is currently having to face. Due to the industrial nature of society, such as animal agriculture, the transport industry, factories and production plants and the way in which we consume other resources, the air is becoming full of more and more pollutants.
It can affect animals, crops, forests, natural environments and even large bodies of water. Most notably, it can also affect human health. It doesn’t matter whether you’re living in a big city or out in a rural area, everything from cigarettes to the cars out on the road can contribute to this growing problem.
Table of Contents
- 1. Keep Your Floors Clean – Part One
- 2. Keep Your Floors Clean – Part Two
- 3. Keep Cleaning Products Outside the House
- 4. Control Your Humidity
- 5. Control Air Moisture
- 6. Indoors is a No-Smoking Zone
- 7. Run a Radon Test
- 8. Avoid Fragranced Cleaners
- 9. Open the Windows
- 10. Keep Windows Open When You’re Asleep
- 11. Introduce Plants to the Room
- 12. Replace Carpets with Hard Floors
- 13. Thinking About Fire
- 14. Use Fans in the Bathrooms
- 15. Consider Your Cooking Appliances
- 16. Pay Attention to the Outside Conditions
- 17. Leave Your Shoes at the Door
- 18. Groom Your Pets
- 19. Invest in a HEPA Filter
- 20. Use No-VOC Paint
- 21. Use Dust Mite-Proof Bedding
- 22. Avoid Using Aerosol Sprays
Some of the negative health effects include irritated lungs, internal inflammation, blocked oxygen consumption, increased risks of asthma and cardiovascular conditions, heart disease and loss of lung capacity.
You can find out the current air condition in your town in real-time using this website.
While green indicators are good, anything above the green indicator, such as yellow and red, are classed as seriously damaging to your health. This map can be accessed anytime, and you’ll see increases during certain times of the day, such as rush hour. This screenshot was taken around 1 PM GMT, meaning most of the US was asleep.
While the large-scale effects are quite unavoidable, you can be proactive in making sure that the quality of the air in your home and office is maintained and controlled. Since this is where you’ll spend most of your time, you can dramatically minimize the risks of long-term health problems by being vigilant.
Today, we’re going to explore 22 ways you can improve the air quality in your home, office, or any space you inhabit, ensuring you live a happier, healthier life. What’s more, you’ll also lessen your own footprint, which can in turn help to change the world!
1. Keep Your Floors Clean – Part One
It’s a little-known fact that dust in your household can absorb and retain chemicals, such as cleaning products, and allergens, known for affecting conditions like asthma, for decades. By using a vacuum cleaner that has been fitted with a HEPA filter, you can clean up all these dust particles from your floor which would otherwise float around the room.
2. Keep Your Floors Clean – Part Two
Once you’ve finished vacuuming your home or office, on your hard floors, try mopping it at least once a week. This is a great way to pick up any dust particles you may have missed simply because they’ll stick to your wet mop.
3. Keep Cleaning Products Outside the House
Consider where you currently keep your cleaning tools like your vacuum and mop. If you’re cleaning up and then leaving them in the same room, a bit of breeze from the wind or someone walking past is only going to release them into the air again! Keep your equipment outside the house or in a dedicated closed off space.
4. Control Your Humidity
The ideal humidity levels within an interior space are around 30-50%. This stops bacteria growing so quickly and helps to keep allergens at bay. This will also reduce the amount of moisture that’s in the air. You can control your humidity using a dehumidifier or air conditioning unit.
5. Control Air Moisture
Hand in hand with the consideration above, consider how else your day to day activities are contributing to the moisture in the air. Some tips include not overwatering your houseplants, fixing faulty pipes and dripping taps and drying your clothes outside or by an open window.
6. Indoors is a No-Smoking Zone
This is perhaps one of the most beneficial methods you can take when it comes to improving the air quality in your home.
While we’re not here to tell you to stop smoking, smoking inside means that you’re releasing over 3,000 chemicals per cigarette into the air of your home. These chemicals stick to everything, including your clothes, carpets, furniture and walls which has long-lasting effects on your air quality.
7. Run a Radon Test
Radon is a colorless, odorless gas which is invisible but can be found in new and old homes alike. In the US, Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and is radioactive. It can be found in nearly all kinds of soil beneath and around your house. Get it tested and sorted for your own-wellbeing.
8. Avoid Fragranced Cleaners
While we’ve all become quite accustomed to the lemony or ‘lavendery’ smells that our favorite ‘air fresheners’ provide, these spray cleaners can do more harm than good. One study found that a standard plug-in air freshener emitted over 20 different kinds of harmful organic compounds, known as VOCs, including seven that were classed as ‘toxic or hazardous’ by the Federal government.
9. Open the Windows
Perhaps the most obvious tip for improving the air quality in your home is to simply open the windows! You might be thinking, hold on, if the air outside is pretty bad, won’t this cause more harm than good?
Not necessarily. If the air outside is bad, hopefully not as bad as Luo he, it’s going to be getting into your home or office anyway. However, keeping the windows and doors closed can keep any harmful gases from escaping, allowing them to build up in volume. Opening a window can help the air to circulate around the room, making sure these gases are present in far fewer densities.
10. Keep Windows Open When You’re Asleep
When you go to bed at night, do you sleep with your windows and doors shut? If so, remember that if you’re sleeping for 8 hours a night, that’s eight hours of you filling your bedroom with the carbon dioxide you emit when you breathe out. If the windows and doors are shut, there’s not an optimal airflow, meaning you could wake up feeling very light-headed.
11. Introduce Plants to the Room
Plants are natural air purifiers. By nature, they absorb carbon dioxide in the air and turn it into breathable oxygen. Many houseplants are also extremely effective when it comes to absorbing or diluting harmful gases such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, so it only makes sense to put at least one in each room!
12. Replace Carpets with Hard Floors
When the time comes around for you to replace your carpets, perhaps think about doing away with carpets altogether and replacing them with hard floors, such as tiles or laminate flooring. Carpets are renowned for holding onto gases, dust and other nasty particles that can sometimes be completely resistant to vacuuming. Hard floors make it easy to simply sweep up and mop clean!
13. Thinking About Fire
If you have an open fire or light candles in your house or office, this can be a very effective way to pollute your air quickly. If you plan on using candles, especially fragranced candles, it’s always best to open a window in the same room.
If you have an open fire, consider keeping the windows open, making sure your chimney or exhaust is clear and functioning or even think about investing in a wood burner.
14. Use Fans in the Bathrooms
A bathroom is one of the most prominent rooms in your home or office that can contribute moisture into the air and will, therefore, need the most control. The best thing you can do is to add an air purifier or dehumidifier, using it, especially when after you’ve had a shower.
If you have extractor fans installed in your bathroom, make sure they are on and functioning properly. You’ll also want to use these methods after you have been cleaning and using spray or liquid-based products.
15. Consider Your Cooking Appliances
When you’re cooking at home, or even in your office if you have the facilities, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using the built-in extractor fans and cooker hood fans to ensure that all moisture, oven fumes, and heat are all directed to the outside of your building.
16. Pay Attention to the Outside Conditions
Using the map we linked above, or even just your own intuition; it can be extremely beneficial to the quality of the air in your house if you pay attention to the quality of the outside.
For example, if you live in an urban area, be sure to keep your windows and doors closed during times of peak traffic to minimize the risk of the pollution entering your home. After rush hour, wait another hour or so for the air to clear again before re-opening them for the greatest benefits.
17. Leave Your Shoes at the Door
Only God knows what you’re bringing in in your shoes once you enter your house or office from traversing the outside world. There’s going to be all kinds of bacteria, germs, pollutants and, of course, fecal matter that’s going to pollute your interior air quality as soon as you start walking around.
Take your shoes off and leave them by the door to ensure the best air quality in your home or even in your office. You’re perhaps going to want to talk to the boos before you start walking around barefoot though!
18. Groom Your Pets
Of course, all this talk of keeping your home clean, there’s no point in putting in so much effort if you’re going to let your dirty pets roam around and contaminate everything. While cats are relatively clean anyway, you’ll want to make sure you’re grooming them around once a week just to make sure.
19. Invest in a HEPA Filter
We briefly mentioned it above but investing in a HEPA filter is one of the best ways to keep your home or office in the best possible shape when it comes to air quality. This is a special kind of air filter that can be purchased in your local area or easily online and is very effective when it comes to removing VOC emissions, such as from paint, furniture and cleaning chemicals, ensuring that your air stays clean!
20. Use No-VOC Paint
When it around to the time where you’re starting to think about repainting your rooms, it can be tempted to go straight out to the shops to buy a color that you like the best. However, many mainstream paints will contain VOC chemicals, toxic finishes, and varnishes that can linger in your home for many months to come.
When you’re going out shopping, make sure that you’re asking the supplier for low, or even no VOC emissions paint to protect your health entirely.
21. Use Dust Mite-Proof Bedding
Just like we’ve mentioned carpets above, and the fact they can harbor all kinds of dust and dirt, the bedding in your household is exactly the same. Instead of using cheap materials, try investing in anti-dust-mite bedding, organically made is possible.
What’s more, you’ll want to make sure that you’re cleaning these sheets at least once a week, as well as your pillows, blankets and even toys you may keep on the bed.
If you have a loved one in your home who suffers from asthma or a similar condition, changing your bedding to this kind can have dramatic improvements overnight.
22. Avoid Using Aerosol Sprays
Consider how many aerosols sprays you use every day, whether you’re at home or working away in the office. The chances are that there’s a lot. This includes deodorants, cleaners, air fresheners, anti-odor solutions and basically anything you need to spray to use.
All these products contribute to air pollution in your personal environment and minimizing the use of them can help to keep your air clean and fresh.
After all, there’s a reason the packaging asks you to use these highly flammable products in a well-ventilated space, so make sure you open a window!
As you can see, although the dangers of air pollution are clear, there are so many things you can do when it comes to improving the air quality of your interior spaces. With more and more people following the tips above, we can be proactive in reducing the overall air quality of the planet, making real, healthy change happen in our world.