Clear the Air: 5 Ways to Improve the Air Quality in Your Home
It’s no surprise that breath and clean air are considered foundations for good health – yet many of us take an “out of sight, out of mind” approach to the air pollutants in our homes. Here are 5 easy ways to start clearing the air.
Did you know that the air we inhale indoors can actually be more polluted than what’s outside? There are thousands of identified indoor pollutants including mold, animal allergens and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – invisible gases emitted by common household products such as paints, cleaning supplies, cabinetry, flooring, and cigarette smoke.
Children are particularly sensitive to air toxicants because their lungs are still developing, they have a greater metabolic rate, and they favour oral breathing. So if you have little ones underfoot, it’s a good idea to make improving the air quality in your home a priority.
1. Open your windows and doors
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to keep our homes shut up to retain the heat over winter. A well ventilated home helps reduce dampness and mold, which can cause a host of health problems including wheezing, coughing and asthma attacks. Make a point of regularly opening your windows and doors, especially in high moisture-producing areas such as the kitchen and bathroom.
2. Vacuum and wet mop regularly
It turns out a clean home isn’t just about keeping up appearances. Toxic dust and contaminants get tracked through our homes on shoes and clothes – eighty percent of flame retardants (chemicals linked to serious health risks), for example, have been found to come from house dust*. Vacuum with a HEPA filter and wet mop regularly, especially in areas where children play.
3. Decorate with indoor plants
While all plants help to purify the air through photosynthesis, a Clean Air Study by NASA in the 1980s (aimed at improving the air quality in space stations) found that certain common indoor plants could actually remove harmful and carcinogenic toxins from the air including benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. Pass me the Peace Lily please!
4. Diffuse essential oils
High quality essential oils can not only help purify the air and make your home smell divine, they can also support your physical and emotional wellbeing. For example, dōTERRA’s Purify blend eradicates odours, while its OnGuard blend helps protect against environmental threats. Avoid air fresheners as they may contain phthalates (endocrine-disrupting chemicals that mess with our hormones and can affect reproductive development).
5. Ditch the toxic cleaning products
Many traditional cleaning products are laden with chemicals and emit high levels of VOCs – yet they’re a staple in many homes because, let’s face it, they get the job done. But so do their friendly, natural alternatives if you given them a chance. Good old white vinegar, baking soda, Castile soap and essential oils are all effective, safe alternatives that make cleaning your home a pleasure (especially if you can get the kiddos to help!).
*Source: Environmental Health course, The University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine
Emma Lawrence is the founder of Thank Goodness, an award-winning journalist, and dōTERRA Wellness Advocate. She lives on New Zealand’s beautiful Coromandel Peninsula and believes wholeheartedly in a daily self-care practice, lifelong personal development, and growing a thriving business anchored in generosity and gratitude.