When you hear about smog and other types of air pollution, it’s easy to think that the outdoor air is dangerous to your health while you get a reprieve inside your home. But in reality, the opposite is true. Your home holds air that is full of various contaminants while the outdoor air tends to be fresher and cleaner for your health.
In fact, one of the ways to create cleaner indoor air is to let some outdoor air in part of the time. Plus, homes are more airtight than they used to be, which furthers the problem of keeping contaminants inside. What’s in your indoor air? How does it get contaminated?
Sources of Contamination Indoors
Many pollutants and contaminants are present in your indoor air. These are some of the sources of contamination common in homes:
Cleaners: Chemical cleaners you use to clean your counters, tub and other areas in your home can give off harmful pollution. To create a cleaner environment, think about switching to a more natural cleaning solution instead.
Fragrances: Similar to chemical cleaners, many spray fragrances, devices to freshen the air and candles people use to improve the scent of their home give off chemicals. Try to use essential oils, which are essences taken from plants, and soy candles to replace the chemical versions.
Formaldehyde: The off-gas from formaldehyde can get in the air from flooring, cabinets, shelving and other sources within the home.
Allergens: The air can hold outdoor allergens, dust mites, mold and other particles that can irritate breathing and aggravate allergies.
Sources of Pollution: Components of your home can be polluting the air. For example, you might have exposure to asbestos in your building materials, gas from your gas stove and smoke from a fireplace or wood stove.
Other Contaminants: Your indoor air can also have paint fumes, cigarette smoke, dust, fire-retardants and various other contaminants within it.
How to Clean the Indoor Air
There are various ways to improve the air in your home. These include getting sources of pollution in your home under control so they don’t give off as much pollution. For example, you could seal areas with asbestos. You could let more outdoor air in, especially when you’re using harsh chemicals, glues or other harmful substances. You could switch to more natural cleaners and use home materials that give off fewer contaminants.
To help with the contamination you already have, consider using air purification filters. These filters, especially a HEPA filter, can capture dust, smoke, allergens and various contaminants in your air to provide a cleaner indoor environment.