Is your home overdue for an indoor air detox? It might be…
- …if you’ve noticed that the air in your home smells stale every time you walk through the door.
- …if you’ve started sneezing more or your nose seems to drip constantly.
- …if you’re experiencing headaches or other adverse health symptoms for no reason.
- …if an asthmatic member of your household is having frequent attacks.
- …if you find yourself buying scented sprays and candles to cover odors and staleness.
So if you think it’s time to revamp the air inside your home once and for all, we’ve got some great detox tips that can take your air from stale and unhealthy to fresh and clean!
Determine the cause(s). Water leak that’s turned into a mold or mildew disaster? Trash overdue for takeout? Overcooked the fish? Did Fido roll in something unsavory outside…and then bring it inside? Find the most obvious sources that are fouling up your indoor air quality and deal with those immediately.
Leave it outside. Doormats aren’t just for decoration. Using well-constructed mats with coarse bristles can remove a great deal of dirt, dander, pollen, pesticides, germs and other contaminants before they have a chance to make it into your home. If possible, leave shoes outside as well.
Easy on the fragrances. If you’re a scented candle connoisseur, or have room sprays for every holiday, you could actually be polluting your indoor air. The chemicals in artificial fragrances can wreak havoc for anyone with chemical sensitivities or asthma, too. If you must freshen your home, putting a drop or two of an essential oil or extract (we love vanilla!) on a cottonball can add a pleasant smell without overwhelming anyone or introducing chemicals into the air.
Plants are your friend. Certain houseplants can naturally help detox your indoor air. Plants can filter out toxins and pollutants, and replace them with oxygen! And that’s always a good thing.
Vacuum often. Dust, debris and contaminants can settle and hide in your carpet and upholstered furniture, which can affect your indoor air quality. Vacuum at least once a week with a machine that has a sealed HEPA filter, which prevents those same contaminants from blowing out the side of the vacuum, right back into your environment.
Be careful with paints, carpets and new furniture. They all can contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that can off-gas into your indoor air. Certain paints, mattresses, new carpet, furniture made of pressed wood or particle board, and vinyl flooring can all create a build-up of VOCs in your home. Buying used furniture that’s already off-gassed, or eco-friendly paints and solvents can help keep some of these harmful fumes out of your home.
Get an air purifier. Determine how many you’ll need based on your home’s square footage (apartments and smaller homes may only need one; larger or multi-level homes may need several). HEPA filters are a must-have feature for air purifiers. And if you can find one that also can destroy VOCs, smoke, odors and contaminants in air and on the surfaces of your home, that will add an extra layer of protection as well.