5 Ways to Boost Indoor Air Quality


| 10/1/2014 10:26:00 AM


Although it may seem counterintuitive, indoor air is typically two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. As energy-efficient homes become tighter and tighter with less air infiltration, indoor air quality deteriorates without proper ventilation and mindfulness. With numerous sources of indoor air pollution found within the home, it’s important to minimize them while boosting healthy practices. Thankfully, there are many simple actions you can do for cleaner air.

Indoor Air Quality 

1. Use Natural Fragrances

Although you may associate pine, lemon or botanical scents with cleanliness, synthetic fragrances can emit numerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that evaporate or off-gas into the air at room temperature. Some of these compounds are known to be toxic or hazardous. One fragrance can contain a couple hundred chemicals. Conventional laundry products, cleaning supplies, air fresheners and personal-care products may contain numerous toxins, although it might merely be listed as “fragrance” on the label.

To reduce your exposure, use mild cleaners that don’t contain fragrances or make your own with essential oils. Avoid using products that have fragrances in the list of ingredients, and be aware that some products labeled unscented even contain fragrance (so read the ingredients list). For healthier personal-care products, refer to the Environmental Working Group's Cosmetics Database, and use baking soda, essential oils or ventilation to remove unwanted odors.

2. Prevent Mold and Moisture

Molds can produce allergens, aggravate asthma symptoms and, in some cases, produce toxic chemicals. They can irritate the skin, eyes, nose, throat and lungs, regardless of whether the person is allergic to mold or not. Wet surfaces can start growing mold in just 24 to 48 hours.



Moisture is the most important factor impacting mold growth. Look for mold growth around leaky plumbing fixtures, around the foundation, and near windows and sinks. Common sources of water include leaks from floods, the roof, plumbing fixtures, humidification systems and sprinklers. Stop the source of moisture entering your home, clean mold where possible, or replace items that cannot be properly cleaned such as carpeting, ceiling tiles or furniture. Avoid breathing in mold when making repairs. For severe water damage, consult an expert.



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