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How to Improve Indoor Air Quality Naturally

by Laura Beans

As the snow and freezing temperatures drive us indoors for the winter, we need to take into consideration the quality of the air in our homes. Beyond dust and other irritating allergens, indoor air can be polluted, containing a potential mix of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ozone gas, carbon monoxide and other hazardous airborne chemicals.

Effects on humans from indoor air pollution can range from cancers to chronic respiratory conditions. The World Health Organization has estimated that more than 4.3 million people die each year from the effects of breathing toxic indoor air.

In industrialized countries, people can spend as much as 90 percent of their time indoors. Take some time to evaluate your home’s air quality before winter hits and read on to find out ways clean your indoor air naturally.

Plant Problem Solvers

While humans breathe in oxygen and release carbon dioxide, all plants do the opposite: absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. When added to interior spaces, houseplants can increase oxygen levels.

In 1989 NASA published a paper on the use of household plants for indoor air pollution abatement in an effort to purify the air in space stations. The study found that common species such as spider plants, peace lilies, English ivy and others are extremely effective when it comes to eliminating toxins like formaldehyde and benzene. In fact according to NASA’s findings, plants can remove up 87 percent of VOCs every 24 hours.

Further studies have found that houseplants can reduce ozone concentrations indoors as well as combat the release of “off-gassing” from wall coverings, electronics and particle board that makes up our home’s furnishings.

Keep A Green Clean

Being vigilant about the cleanliness of your home, furnishings and linens (especially bedding) can help control the amount of indoor allergens that could become airborne and affect your home’s air quality.

Be sure to scrutinize your cleaning products, though. Many cleaning agents such as aerosol sprays, chlorine bleach and floor polishes can contain harmful chemicals, including VOCs, which will end up hurting more than they help.


Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner kills 99.99 percent of household germs botanically, deodorizes with a light lemongrass citrus scent and controls odors. seventhgeneration.com

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap is made from organic, certified Fair Trade ingredients and comes in a range of fresh scents (almond, eucalyptus, lavender and more) and sizes. This all-purpose soap is concentrated for an effective clean, so dilute with water depending on desired strength. drbronner.com

Air Filters & Purifiers

Installing an air-cleaning device in your home, or using a portable air purifying system, can further improve you home’s indoor air quality. Air cleaning systems should be used in conjunction with common-sense practices, such as eliminating the sources of contaminants and banning smoking indoors.

Keeping your home’s ductwork clean and replacing furnace filters often is not only energy-efficient, it can also improve air quality in your home.

Activated charcoal air filters can help reduce air pollutants, but associated costs can be high. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are able to screen out the very smallest of particles and are great for people who have respiratory problems or autoimmune disorders.

Air purifiers are also an option. Guardian Technologies sells a wide range of purification systems that use UV/UVC light technology to help kill of 99.9 percent of airborne bacteria.


Guardian Technologies GermGuardian 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier This best-selling air purifier harnesses the power of HEPA filters and activated carbon filters. The UV/UVC light technology kills mold, bacteria and germs while reducing unpleasant odors and removing dust, pollen and pet dander. guardiantechnologies.com

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