1. Let the outdoors in
adequate ventilation is key to good indoor air quality. Airing out your
home by opening windows as much as possible means letting more oxygen
in and removing things like cooking odours, gases and humidity which
builds up over time. Opening up our homes sometimes goes against our
instinct, particularly in the winter months in our drive to save on
heating costs, but it's important to find the right balance between
letting your home 'breathe' and energy efficiency.
An easy way to get the fresh air flowing in the right places is by
opening windows in the bathroom every time you shower and in the kitchen
every time you cook, allowing steam and odours to escape. Closing the
doors to these rooms while they air out will restrict the cool air to
these spaces in addition to stopping the steamy air from travelling to
other places in the house.
If you find it difficult to open
windows during the day because you work full time, consider leaving them
open at night (as long as security isn't an issue) or when you're at
home during the weekends. It might also be worth looking into electric
roof windows which can automatically open and close depending on the
weather and room temperature.
2. Consider using naturally fragranced or fragrance-free products
common household cleaning products and air fresheners use special
chemicals to give them the characteristic fresh and fragrant smells that
so many of us find appealing. There is growing evidence to suggest that
once these chemicals are released into the atmosphere and react with
compounds in the air, they produce formaldehyde as a by-product.
classified as a volatile organic compound (VOC), is a normal part of
our environment in small concentrations but many experts have advised
that indoor exposure to high levels of VOCs could be harmful. To limit
exposure, consider using products which are naturally fragranced,
fragrance free or even natural cleaning alternatives. Use essential oils
as a replacement, diluted with water in a spray bottle, in a stick
diffuser or burner – there are so many lovely natural smells to choose
3. Add some greenery
One of the
simplest ways to help improve the air in your home comes straight from
the natural world. Beyond the aesthetic appeal, studies indicate that
plants are highly effective air purifiers and can help to reduce
chemical levels in enclosed spaces by filtering out potentially harmful
compounds. This, coupled with the fact that they produce oxygen, means
they have the power to make the air that we breathe indoors
4. Find ways to minimise dirt and dust
small amounts of dirt and dust can build up over time and impact the
quality of air you breathe in. Keep surfaces and floors as clean as you
can by vacuuming, damp dusting and mopping, not forgetting to get
underneath furniture where dust might linger. Clear away clutter so that
dust doesn't have the chance to build up and change bedding regularly.
To minimise the amount of dirt entering from outside, make sure you have
a sturdy doormat or even consider making your home a shoe-free zone.
you're having building work done and living on site, use fine water
sprays as frequently as possible to dampen down the site – the water
helps to weigh down some of the dust particles, clearing the air you
breathe, a little! Never sweep, always mop and wherever possible take
the time to build temporary walls and doors to keep your living areas as
dust free as possible – having your builders spend a couple of days
doing this at the beginning of your project will pay dividends later.