Breathing clean air is crucial to your overall health and wellness. The quality of the air we breathe on a daily basis has a major impact on our state of wellbeing and our long-term health.
Unfortunately, we may not realize we’re breathing in toxic, unclean or unsafe air.
Especially in the colder months, we tend to spend most of our time indoors, and indoor air tends to be of much poorer quality than outdoor air. This is especially true if you are unaware of water damage or mold growth in your home, apartment or workplace, or if you live near a construction site or a dusty neighborhood.
According to the EPA, indoor air quality can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, and they estimate that people spend 90% of their time indoors. Common reasons why the air you’re breathing at home might be polluted include dust, pollen, bacteria, pet dander, smoke, malfunctioning appliances, toxic household products and mold. Electronics in your home can pollute the air as well, and your furniture could even be emitting formaldehyde fumes that you’re unaware of.
Enclosed spaces such as your home or workplace facilitate the build-up of these pollutants. Breathing unclean air in your home or at work can cause a variety of health problems over time. Many of your negative health symptoms could be caused by poor air quality in your vicinity, and breathing clean air could combat these symptoms.
Vancouver-based Naturopath Dr. Briana Takeshita explains, “Polluted air can cause headaches, skin damage, eye irritation, throat infections, fatigue and nausea. More severe health problems such as heart and respiratory problems can occur from breathing unclean air as well.”
Below are 9 tips to improve your indoor air quality, and start breathing clean air for the sake of your health and wellbeing:
1. Get Plants for Your Home to Start Breathing Clean Air
It’s never a bad idea to get some houseplants for your home or office if you want to start breathing clean air. Plants are natural air purifiers, and buying a few potted plants could help you breathe cleaner air. NASA scientists have confirmed that indoor plants can help purify indoor air. Plants (real potted plants, not faux plants) are able to clean the air in your home or workplace by absorbing gasses through their roots and through pores on the surface of their leaves. Microorganisms that live in the soil of potted plants also help neutralize pollutants. Certain plants can therefore absorb carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, benzene, and various volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
There is actually a scientific term for a plant’s ability to clean air. The term is “phytoremediation”, which refers to the use of plants to reduce pollution in air, soil or water.
While most leafy plants are able to purify indoor air, some of the plants that are the most adept at removing VOCs include:
- Spider plants
- Japanese royal ferns
- Boston ferns
- Purple waffle plants
- English ivy
- Peace lilies
- Snake plants
- Aloe vera.
When you visit your local plant nursery, be sure to ask for plants that are best at purifying the air.
2. Light Some Beeswax Candles
Most store bought candles that people burn in their home are made with paraffin, a petroleum by-product that’s neither natural nor safe, as they emit harmful black soot while polluting the air. Beeswax candles, on the other hand, burn with almost no smoke and clean the air by releasing negative ions into the air. These negative ions emitted are air-purifying because they bind with toxins and help remove them from the air. Beeswax candles are the purest and least processed of all wax candles. They burn clean and soot free, and by switching to these safer candles, you’ll help clean your air.
So, the next time you shop for candles, look for beeswax candles such as these from Planet Bee.
3. Open Windows and Doors for Daily Cross-Ventilation
By opening windows and doors in your home, you are creating a cross-ventilation, also known as a cross-draft. This is a natural means of cleaning the air in your home, as cross-ventilation pushes the polluted air out.
Think about doing this every day, for about an hour. You can ventilate your home by opening windows across from each other on opposite ends of the room, or using fans to direct the air out an open door, for example. Another efficient way to ventilate a room is to face a fan out of a window. Many people wouldn’t think to do this, but it is an effective air-cleaning practice. If you have a ceiling fan, that will aid the ventilation process as well. Creating a cross-draft is also a great natural way to cool down your home, so that you can save by not using your air conditioner as much.
4. Diffuse Essential Oils
Diffusing essential oils can cleanse the air you breathe and combat toxins. Some essential oils have more purifying potential than others. For example, tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils have actually been proven to be adept at killing the airborne flu virus, according to a scientific study. Natasha Keren of Saje Natural Wellness explains, “Lemon and grapefruit essential oils are antimicrobial and can annihilate airborne bacteria in your home. Tea tree oil is one of the most air-purifying essential oils as it fights against mold.”
5. Use Air Filters
IQAir is an innovative air purifier with a unique HyperHEPA filtration technology which filters air down to the 0.003 micron level, protecting you from harmful small particles of pollutants. The ultrafine particles are dangerous to breathe in because they are small enough to move through your lung tissue, into your bloodstream, and into your organs and your brain. IQAir’s technology removes 99.5% of all particles down to the 0.003 micron for the ultimate protection from harmful pollutants. Their Atem Desk is a personal air purifier that you can bring with you to work and plug in at your desk. This sleek, compact air purifier comes in handy for travel as well.
The air in your car needs purifying also, as the air in your car contains a cocktail of toxic fumes and gasses that are potentially harmful to your health. The IQAir Atem Car air purifier and its revolutionary HyperHEPA® Plus filter use air filtration technology that captures a range of in-car air pollutants and captures gas and odor molecules. With this handy portable car filtration system which can be mounted in your car, when you drive you’ll be breathing clean air that’s free of odors, gasses and harmful chemicals. For safety at home, IQAir also has a whole house air filtration system which does its job while also being absolutely silent, so that you won’t suffer from noise pollution either.
6. Salt Lamps
Not only do those cute pink salt lamps emit a beautiful glow, but like beeswax candles, they also release air-purifying negative ions into the air. Salt lamps are made from himalayan salt crystals, and when turned on these lamps can help clean the air naturally of allergens like smoke, pollen, pet dander, and other air pollutants. The key word here is ‘help’. Salt lamps on their own are not powerful enough to purify your air, but they definitely contribute to your air-purifying efforts. Salt lamps also contain trace minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium which contain their own healing properties. Some airborne pollutants can be effectively trapped in the lamp’s surface. The salt attracts and traps air molecules and airborne pollutants such as dust and pollen present in the water molecules, can be trapped on the surface of these unique lamps. Head to Salt Lamp Superstore to get beautiful and practical salt lamps as part of your mission to start breathing clean air. In addition to the other tips in this article, salt lamps can help you get cleaner air.
7. Clean and Vacuum Your Home Regularly
It’s common sense that you should clean your home regularly to reduce pollen, dust and pet dander and improve air quality at home. However, it’s important to avoid using cleaning products that contain high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). When using cleaning products, be sure to open windows and doors to properly ventilate. If you use an air conditioner, you must clean it often, and you should vacuum often, especially if you have a pet. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) states that you should vacuum your home once or twice a week to reduce indoor pollutants, and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
If you live in the dusty downtown core, in a high-traffic area or near construction sites, you’ll likely get lots of dust entering your home if you open your windows. You can’t be expected to leave your windows closed, because everyone needs fresh outdoor air, but you’ll have to clean, sweep, dust and vacuum your home more regularly if you live in a dusty area.
Furthermore, you might find out through your CircleDNA test that you have a genetic allergy to dust or other pollutants. This would be another reason to clean your home more often.
8. Use Humidifiers
Keeping the air in your home too dry and humid can have a negative impact on your skin, throat and eyes. Humid air can also encourage the growth of mold in your home. Humidifiers are portable devices that emit water vapor to help keep indoor air moist. When used correctly, a humidifier may help improve your indoor air quality. Various health problems can stem from breathing dry air, for example it makes it more difficult for your respiratory system to do its job when you breathe dry air. If you do use a humidifier, you should clean it at least every 3 days, use distilled water, and change the water every day.
9. Get Your Home Inspected Annually to Find Water Damage for Mold Prevention
Mold is a natural by-product of a humid environment, and mold often grows in dark, damp places, such as your bathroom, laundry room or basement. Sometimes it grows in one’s home due to water damage.
Breathing clean air is impossible if you have mold growing in your home that you’re unaware of. Unfortunately, it’s easy to be unaware of mold growth in your home, because you won’t always see it or smell it. Mold often grows in your walls or floorboards, making it very hard to detect.
Breathing in mold spores is extremely hazardous to your health. In fact, mold is one of the most dangerous things you can breathe in.
You can prevent mold from growing in your home by keeping tabs on areas in your home where frequent condensation or leaks occur. Mold can’t grow without moisture, so fix these issues immediately if there are any leaks or too much humidity. We previously mentioned cross-ventilation at home, and know that ventilating your home will help prevent moisture as well. There are natural ways to kill mold at home without using harsh chemicals. If you see a spot of mold in your home, spray it with a tea tree oil solution or with vinegar, leave on for a few hours and then scrub the mold off with a firmly-bristled brush. Always contact your landlord or building inspector if you see any mold.
Breathing clean air is vital to your health, so anything you can do to breathe cleaner air shouldn’t be a question. Start implementing these tips for cleaner air today.
- Volatile Organic Compounds' Impact on Indoor Air Quality | US EPA
- A Study of Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement - NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)
- Full article: Inactivation of Airborne Influenza Virus by Tea Tree and Eucalyptus Oils
- Let’s Talk About Air Quality
- Control Indoor Allergens to Improve Indoor Air Quality | AAFA.org