Make your indoor space healthier with these pollutant-busting tips.
We're spending nearly all of our time at home at the moment, so it's important is a clean and safe haven - but did you know inside air pollution can be just as harmful as the atmosphere outside. Here are some tips to help you freshen your air.
1.Be air aware
Scarily, there are as many as 900 toxins polluting our air indoors. Tiny particles from mould spores, house dust, pollen, cleaning products, gas cookers and cosmetics such as perfume and hairspray, all linger in the air and can be inhaled deep into the lungs, says Airtopia’s TimRobinson. ‘The health impact canresult in conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonarydisease (COPD), bronchitis and even heart attacks and strokes.’
2. Open a window
‘The one thing you can do to improve the air quality in your home is to keep it well ventilated, especially when cooking and cleaning,’ says Harriet Edwards, air quality policy manager at the British Lung Foundation. Opening the windows for just 10 minutes at a time will allow fresh air to circulate through the house.
3. Houseplants can help
Did you know that having plants around can improve air quality in your home? ‘There is good evidence that houseplants can remove some toxic compounds,’ says Tijana Blanusa, environmental scientist at the Royal Horticultural Society. ‘Dracaena, ivy, and rubber plants have been found to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and peace lilies helpto reduce air dryness in a room.’
4.Get candle smart
Candles smell gorgeous, but they can give off nasty toxins. A study found that parafin wax candles release chemicals that cause poor indoor air quality, and long-term exposure can be harmful. If you love a scented flickering flame at home, choose soy and beeswax candles instead.
5. Bust the dust
House-dust mites are a common trigger for allergies. ‘when people say they are allergic to dust, it’s actually dust mites or, to be precise, their waste, which is the problem,’ says Dr Gill Jenkins. These mites thrive in humidity, so keep your home between 17-22 degrees. A regular whizz around with a vacuum cleaner and washing bedding at 60 degrees, will also keep them at bay.
6. Ditch the products
Powerful household cleaners can be a dangerous source of health-damaging VOCs. ‘Many contain ingredients that are highly irritant to both the skin and the respiratory system,’ says Dr Jenkins. TheBritish LungFoundation says it’s better to use solid or pourable cleaning products rather than sprays, which distribute particles into the air. Or ditch the chemicals altogether and replace with eco ingredients.
Break the mould
Damp and dangerous mould can cause respiratory issues and allergies,’ says Tim. Here’s how to prevent it in your home.
✱ Don’t dry clothes indoors or on radiators.
✱ Cover pans when cooking.
✱ Vent tumble driers to outside.
✱ Avoid bottled gas heaters.
✱ Open trickle vents.
✱ Ventilate the kitchen and bathroom when using them, and for a short time afterwards.
✱ Air your cupboards and wardrobes and avoid over filling them.
✱ To remove condensation, wipe the windows and sills in the bathroom, kitchen and bedrooms.
Try these health helpers
Spritz around the home to naturally reduce airborne bacteria, fungal spores, and house-dust mites.
✱ Puressentiel Purifying Air Spray, £20, Boots.
Help to calm symptoms ofhay fever and indoor allergies.
✱ Pollinosan Lu a Nasal Spray, £7.99, avogel.co.uk.
Get air aware with this indoor pollution tracking device that hooks up to your phone.
✱ Awair Indoor Air Quality Monitor, £169, amazon.co.uk.
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Senior writer Ali Horsfall has almost 15 years of experience as a journalist and has written for national print titles and women’s lifestyle brands including Woman & Home, Woman, Woman's Own, BBC magazines, Mothercare, Grazia and The Independent.
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