How to reduce the indoor air pollution

Written by Zulekha Nishad

Last Updated June 6, 2024

Did you know that the air inside our homes is sometimes more polluted than the air outside? It can even wreak havoc on our physical and mental health!

You would be surprised to know that Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors, where levels of pollutants can be up to five times higher than outside air.

latex mattress

Even if you are a non-smoker; all the healthy cooking you do; the beautiful furniture you buy; and the new paint or the carpet you just installed can pollute your indoor air with harmful chemicals.

10 major ways to reduce the indoor air pollution

And please don't think you can band-aid this issue with air fresheners. Air fresheners are not going to ease these problems but only worsen it. So keep the lids on those artificially scented candles and implement these five major things to boost your indoor air quality.

What are the common indoor air pollutants?

The most common, harmful pollutants found indoors include:

  • Trichloroethylene
  • Formaldehyde
  • Benzene
  • Xylene
  • Asbestos
  • Ammonia
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Secondhand Smoke/Environmental Tobacco Smoke
  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
  • Pesticides
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Wood smoke

In high concentrations, these pollutants can cause dizziness, headaches and irritation to nose, mouth and throat as well as liver and kidney damage.

Effective ways to reduce indoor air pollution

1. Once a week open up the windows.

Marie Kondo, the most popular decluttering expert that we are huge fans of, opens her windows every week for some time to let fresh air come in. How hard can it be to open the windows to replace the old air with fresh air?

2. Change your air filters frequently.

Air-conditioning systems are constantly working to give your living area that perfect temperature all year round. But did you know that these AC systems have a little secret?

According to the EPA,  air filters can help remove and reduce airborne particles indoors, including the ones that are of greatest health concern.

While they’re busy producing fresh air and reducing heat, they’re also filtering out some of those pesky air pollutants. Eventually, their air filters fill up and stop working. Not only does this interfere with the indoor air quality but also wear down your air-conditioning system.

In general, air filters should be replaced every 2-3 months. This is a great practice to keep your HVAC system in top condition without working hard and breaking down.

3. Gradually replace the pillows, cushions and mattresses.

The pillows that you press your face and nose on, the comfy mattress that you sleep on for one third of your life and all those fancy upholstered chairs are emitting VOCs polluting your air.

natural and organic latex mattress topper

We recommend working on replacing your bedding first to improve your sleep quality as well as your air quality.

There are a variety of options when it comes to pillow and mattress filling like down, wool, buckwheat, latex, organic cotton fiber and more. Replacing all of them may be expensive so work on the ones you and your family sleep  on at first and then work on the guest beds and furniture.

If replacing a mattress is expensive we recommend a mattress topper to alleviate the situation.

4. Change to natural household cleaners.

Here at Turmerry we are big fans of simple household ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. Oh! and essential oils.

Vinegar when mixed with essential oil in small quantities works equally well on just about any cleaning job. Never use vinegar on stone, ceramics, computer screens—and please never ever mix vinegar with bleach.

You can look up many recipes for natural cleaning solutions . Also, you can check out some eco friendly brands like Seventh Generation or refillable subscription based brands like Clean Living.

We also request you to provide these natural cleaning options to your cleaning service people in consideration for their health along with yours.

5. Try an air purifier or if that is expensive buy houseplants.

There are many high quality air purifiers available in the market that will remove a wide range of airborne particles, chemicals, and odors.  Investing in one like this that can last for decades is a wonderful health option for you and your family.

If you think air purifiers like Dyson or Austin are expensive, consider growing indoor plants. Plants such as florists, chrysanthemums, peace lilies, and spider plants are known to purify air.

You might want to have multiple plants placed strategically throughout the home to get significant results. Make sure to keep them out of reach from children and pets.

Beautiful spider plant kept indoors

Recent studies show that air pollution can cause neurological health issues. It can affect our mental health and can cause depression.

6. Vacuum ​your carpet

Dust particles do not remain in the air for too long. They quickly settle on horizontal surfaces like carpets and floors and are more easily disturbed. Thus allergens get redistributed throughout the air over and over.

Vacuum your carpets and floor regularly and they will keep working for you, improving the indoor air quality. Make sure you are using a high-quality vacuum with micro or High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration.

7. Use kitchen vents

Indoor air pollutants can come from the kitchen too! Gas stoves and electric burners produce harmful pollutants, including carbon monoxide. So, when you're cooking, make sure to turn on your kitchen vents. If you don't have vents in your kitchen, at least open a window to help filter out the air.

8. Take off your shoes before entering home

Shoes are known to bring more dust, dirt, and outdoor chemicals inside your homes. For this reason, the practice of removing shoes before getting inside is another way of reducing indoor air pollution.

9. Use a dehumidifier

Humidity has a significant influence on indoor air quality. The ideal humidity level is between 30% and 50%. If the humidity level rises above 50%, it encourages the growth of mold, dust mites, and other allergens.

A dehumidifier is a great investment for decreasing the moisture level, thus improving indoor air quality. The more you control the moisture levels, the better the air quality.

natural and organic pillows

10. Beware of dry cleaning

Yeah, dry-cleaned clothes do smell great, but did you know that the dry cleaning solvents used can be toxic to breathe? Make sure to air dry cleaned clothes outside before bringing them home to minimize chemical exposure.

Now that you know how to improve your indoor air quality, it’s time to get started! Remember, reducing pollution doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, most of these tips are easy and take very little effort. But the payoff is big in terms of improved health for your family.

We hope you loved this blog post on ways to reduce indoor air pollution. Please leave us feedback if you have any questions or comments about this post, we would love to hear from you!

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Disclaimer: What is said in this article has been referenced from multiple sources and is intended only for educational and informational purposes. Please note that no content in this article is a substitute for professional advice from a qualified doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult an experienced doctor with any concerns you may have regarding a health condition or treatment, and never disregard any medical suggestions or delay in seeking treatment because of something you read here.

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