Improve indoor air quality this winter
As temperatures drop, you may find yourself shutting all windows and doors in an attempt to stay warm. While it may feel cozy being shielded from the cold, did you know that lack of ventilation carries many health risks? Think about it - you're breathing in stale indoor air!
Health risks of poor indoor air quality
The WHO (World Health Organisation) estimates that poor indoor air is responsible for nearly 3% of the global burden of disease! Let's take a look at the dangers of keeping your windows and doors shut:
- Lack of ventilation increases the amount of allergy-inducing dust mites, pet dander, and mould spores circulating through your house.
- No flow of fresh air from the outside means that allergens, bacteria and other microbes stay trapped inside - these pollutants are up to five times more concentrated inside than outside.
- Asthma flare-ups and allergies are likely to increase through the colder months if you always keep doors and windows shut.
Higher concentration of CO2 levels are accumulated indoors with closed windows and more time spent inside - too much CO2 exposure causes headaches, restlessness, drowsiness, poor sleep, respiratory issues, cardiovascular irregularities, inability to concentrate and more!
- Indoor air pollution is linked to increased risk of pneumonia, bronchitis and other respiratory concerns.
How to improve indoor air quality in the cold winter months
Make sure a window is often, or always, open
Keep a window open as much as possible, even if it's only slightly cracked open. This is the easiest and most cost-effective way of cleaning the indoor air!
Keep houseplants in every room
Indoor houseplants are a brilliant (and pretty) way to purify the air, as these plants naturally filter the air and improve air quality. Lilies, fern, chrysanthemums, snake plants and palms are some of the best indoor plants for filtering the air, plus they make for beautiful home decorations!
Use natural cleaning products
Most cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that damage your air quality, especially if you're keeping the windows and doors shut. Research shows that cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting products potentially contribute to nearly 20% of indoor pollution! The good news is that an increasing number of people are becoming aware of the dangers of these common cleaning products and are switching to non-toxic products, which are thankfully becoming more available on the market.
Essential oil diffusers
Not only do essential oils smell wonderful, some have strong air purification properties! Certain essential oils, when used in a diffuser, have shown promise against airborne pathogens. The particular essential oils that were shown to effectively reduce microbes in the air include pine, clove, lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree, oregano, thyme, lemon, and anise.
Caution: Avoid essential oils labeled as “fragrance” or “perfume” because these are made of synthetic chemicals which can negatively affect the air quality in your home, as well as your health. Also, too much essential oil diffusion contaminates the air and excessive exposure to diffused essential oils can lead to respiratory issues, seizures and psychological issues like anxiety.
Dust is an irritant that aggravates symptoms of allergies, asthma, irritations of eyes, coughing, and various other respiratory issues. You'll be surprised to learn how much rugs, cushions, couches and other surfaces retain dust particles and mites! To improve air quality, dust out your home regularly; take cushions, bedding and rugs outside to bang out the dust outside of your home. Vacuum/sweep carpets, corners and other surfaces and keep surfaces clean of clutter (as clutter makes perfect environments to collect dust), and wipe them clean to pick up all remaining particles!
Avoid air fresheners and scented candles
Although air fresheners and candles make your house smell lovely and fresh, they release harmful chemicals into the air. Rather invest in natural candles, and instead of an air freshener, use an aromatherapy diffuser with essential oils. You can also burn essential oils in an oil burner if you don't have a diffuser.
Keep your home smelling fresh with Natural Lavender Scented Candles (made by a community-based business with a strong social conscious focused on entrepreneur development and job creation in underprivileged communities throughout Cape Town).
Natural incense resins and sticks is another beautiful way of perfuming your space without adding harmful chemicals to the air you breathe.
If you have any questions, please contact our team or leave a comment below for FREE health advice. We always love hearing from you!