Saturday, January 2, 2010

5 Ways To Green Your Indoor Air

Today we spend an increasingly large amount of time indoors. At the same rate, indoor air pollution has been a growing concern for households around the country. Here are some things you can do to make sure the air your family breathes is good for their health in this new year.

1. Open Doors and Windows: The easiest and perhaps the most cost effective way to freshen your air is of course to open your doors and windows. This does present challenges in extreme climates, but for the most part this is doable. Even in New England winters I try to air each room of the house for ten minutes at least once a week. You'll be amazed at what this does to your indoor air! If you live in a hot and humid climate, I guess I can't really help you on that one. Though fans can help circulate the outdoor air through your dwelling if placed strategically near windows and doors.

2. Grow Air Filtering Plants: Any plants in general will help cleanse your indoor air, but a few in particular are designed for this task. In fact, NASA evaluated the air filtering properties of plants to choose those they want to put in a space shuttle. Some plants with excellent properties include English Ivy, the Spider Plant, the Peace Lily, the Red-edged Dracaena, and the Gerbera Daisy. You can also refer to the air filtering plant chart for more information.

3. Stop Using Artificial Fragrances: Candles may be romantic I must admit, but what is your candle made of? If I say it is derived from petroleum I have about a 90% chance of being right. Burning petroleum inside your home contributes to indoor air pollution. Try soy or beeswax candles as an alternative. Do you have air fresheners around your house? Maybe fragrance sprays like Febreze? To put this in perspective, in a spray of the same brand EWG detected 89 air contaminants and 1 carcinogen. Only three ingredients are disclosed by the manufacturer. Get to know what is in your fresheners and look for healthier alternatives. You never know, the answer to your home odor issues just might be in a box of baking soda. Looking for some pleasant smells? Try something made with essential oils, or buy/make some of your own.

4. Use Non-Toxic Finishes: The largest surfaces of you home, the floors and walls, can also be a source of pollution. Avoid toxic paints and floor finishes and go for non-toxic alternatives such as Mythic Paint, cork flooring, wool rugs, sisal floor covering, etc. Though you might pay a little more upfront, it will spare your budget in terms of health issues. Minimizing your chances of allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems is a smart financial decision. Don't forget about your mattresses too, you spend a lot of time on them, a dose of formaldehyde shouldn't come with it.

5. Switch to Non-toxic Household Cleaners: I can tell you from experience that doing this will not only make your home a healthier place to live but will save you money! You would be amazed at what some baking soda and vinegar can do, not even the harshest nauseating chemicals I have used have that kind of cleaning power. Finally, if you are looking to do even more that just clean surfaces, you can clean the air in an Eco-friendly manner with proven technology of UV-C light that even kills viruses (such as the Germ Guardian UV-C Air Sanitizer).

I am sure you have other ways of making indoor air healthier, please feel free to share those in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. Another effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate individual sources of pollution or to reduce their emissions. Some sources, like those that contain asbestos, can be sealed or enclosed; others, like gas stoves, can be adjusted to decrease the amount of emissions.


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