Why is it so important to have clean air? The quality of our air affects us in many different ways. When we breathe, pollution enters our lungs and can enter our bloodstream. Pollution levels found in the air affect our breathing, our sleep, our performance, and even our skin. Air pollution can contribute to small annoyances like coughing or itchy eyes. It can also cause or worsen many diseases involving the lungs, leading to hospitalizations, cancer, or even premature death. There are a lot of pollutants that can affect the quality of the air we breathe. We often cannot see these harmful particles. The five primary air pollutants include carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, sulfur oxides, and volatile organic compounds. The sources for all five of these pollutants include electricity production, industry, and transportation. You don’t often picture your home as part of the problem. The truth is, air pollution in your home can be just as bad – or even worse – than it is outdoors. Why? Because our common daily use items have pollutants we’re negligent about. Indoor air pollution is usually caused by the accumulation of contaminants from various sources inside a home. Be it the mattresses in our house that keep collecting dust, to the inside of our drawers, the paint on our walls, shampoos, creams, emission from fireplaces, stoves, cigarettes, cleaning products, and chemicals stored in the home can cause these problems. All of these contain chemicals and toxins that are causing us harm in the long run. And if you think spraying a scented air freshener will clean your air, think again. That scent is also a form of indoor air pollution, and most air fresheners release more harmful chemicals into your home. WHAT CAN BE DONE TO IMPROVE INDOOR AIR QUALITY? Improve Ventilation SystemVentilating homes reduces moisture levels, a major problem for indoor air quality. You can install vents to purify and cycle the air you breathe indoors. Another great alternative is to use exhaust fans which help carry pollutants outside. Décor with HouseplantsPlants are nature’s natural air filters which can help improve indoor air quality. Several types of houseplants filter out common volatile organic compounds from your indoor air. For example, spider plants are effective at reducing benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Small plants like ferns and lilies (which bloom indoors) and larger palm trees are the best options to pull contaminants out of the air. Low levels of chemicals can be removed from indoor environments by plant leaves alone.” Avoid scented productsScented candles might smell, but they’re not doing you—or your lungs—any favors. Perfumed products are packed with toxic chemicals and other harmful irritants, so opt for some air-friendly aromatics instead like Essential Oil Diffusers. Burning essential oils is a great way to purify the air as well as offer many health benefits to those within your home. Essential oils like eucalyptus, clove, and lavender have been proven to help reduce the number of dust mites in houses too. Take Your Shoes OffWearing shoes inside the house is not only gross but a real health threat. Your shoes come in contact with bacteria from restroom floors and the outdoors. Unless you remove your shoes or clean them, you can transfer the bacteria indoors. You are simply spreading all those icky substances throughout your home. Keep Your Pets GroomedCleaning and grooming your pets reduces dander and fur shedding. Pets that go outdoors will track in allergens, meaning you can be impacted even if the pet dander itself doesn’t trigger a reaction. Generally, you should bathe your pet once a month and brush it every week or so. Brushing followed by vacuuming the area you brushed your pet can help you better manage air quality in your home. Clean with Non-Toxic ChemicalsMany cleaning supplies or household products can irritate the eyes or throat, or cause headaches and other health problems, including cancer. Some products release dangerous chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Other harmful ingredients include ammonia and bleach. As a safer cleaning alternative, warm water and soap often will do the trick, especially at home. Baking soda is good for scrubbing. A mix of vinegar and water can clean glass. Get Rid of MoldAnother issue affecting air quality is humidity and temperature. When both environmental factors are very high, the air is of lesser quality, posing a greater risk to health as organisms such as viruses, fungi and molds can proliferate. Mold spores are constantly all around us. The key to mold prevention is moisture control. Even small amounts of moisture can allow mold spores to germinate and take root in your home. Use Activated CharcoalActivated charcoal is a very common component in air purifier filters. It can serve to eliminate a wide range of pollutants present in the indoor air of a house, apartment or even office. Change and clean bedding regularly Not washing your sheets regularly exposes you to the fungi, bacteria, pollen, and animal dander that are commonly found on sheets and other bedding. Other things found on sheets include bodily secretions, sweat, and skin cells. Some people should wash their sheets even more often than once a week. If you have pets, and particularly if you let them sleep in your bed, a wash every 3-4 days is recommended. If you experience allergies or asthma, it may be worth it to try cleaning your bedding more frequently to see if your symptoms improve. Clean air improves lifestyle and promotes activeness. People feel more energetic by inhaling air that is devoid of toxic matter. Keeping the air pure and breathable requires diligence and preventative maintenance. The importance of clean air can’t be underestimated. Clean air is absolutely essential for leading a healthy life, that’s why it pays to take the time to better the air you breathe at home.