Despite the growing issue of pollution here in the U.S., the greatest source of poor air quality comes from inside your home. The EPA has stated that the air inside our homes is many times more polluted than what you would find outdoors.
Of course, the outdoor air quality depends on where you live, with cities being much more polluted than the countryside. But it makes sense. Outside, there are trees and plants to help filter the air, plus there is just so much more of it. Throw in a cool breeze, and the outdoors just feels fresher. Inside our homes, we have plenty of items that are polluting the air with chemicals, dust, and microbes. Everything from the carpet to the couch to the mattress releases chemicals like flame retardants into the air. Then there’s candles, adhesives, mold, air fresheners, chemical cleaners, paint, cabinets, laminate flooring, vinyl, plastics, and whatever we have brought in through the door.
But not all is lost, there are super simple ways to help keep the air inside fresher and cleaner.
- Open the windows. Perhaps the simplest and most effective way to get clean air into the home. We often get so obsessed with controlling our environment that we fear letting in air that is too cool or too hot. But an hour or two during hours when the outside temperature is the mildest make a big difference in the air quality. Plus, I really enjoy listening to the rustling of leaves and birds singing.
- Stick to natural cleaning products and fresheners. Avoiding chemical cleaners and air fresheners is super beneficial to your health, as you are cutting out exposure to all of the nasty ingredients in them. Try using vinegar for cleaning and essential oils for cleaner scents.
- Bring the outside in with indoor plants. Having plants around helps to use up extra carbon dioxide and releases oxygen into the air. Plus, they actually help by absorbing some nasty chemicals too.
- Take off your shoes. By leaving your shoes at the door, you are leaving all of the dirt, dust, and pollutants out of the house. Plus, less to clean up!
- Vacuum, mop, and dust regularly. A little dirt is good for us, but the dust and dirt inside our homes are not made up of the same beneficial stuff as soil. By keeping the floors and surfaces clean, it gets rid of all of the pollutants that have settled and prevents them from going airborne again.
Staying home is nice, but don’t forget that the best way to get the benefits of fresh air is to be outside!