Tips to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

Pollution is often thought of as something that belongs to ‘the outside’; ozone depletion, UV rays, smoke, gases, haze, smog. Whereas the air inside your house or office building might contain way more pollution than the air outside. There way too many pollutants that sneak into the indoor to name them, formaldehyde, lead, radon and even combustible chemicals of volatile nature. Besides, the air indoors is also rich in microscopic living, yes living such as dust mites, molds, and pet dander.

These pollutants are brought into the indoor air in a number of ways. Most of them are transported through the breeze that comes in. While some of them sneak in through your clothing (this includes pet dander, which can be found in every home and workplace, even if it doesn’t have a pet). Some pollutants originate from inside your homes such as smoke, pet dander (if you own a pet) and molds.

Keeping indoor air is quite a challenge in itself. Here is a checklist you can follow to help you choose the best air purifiers.

Keep the Floors Clean

Floors provide a ground for air-pollutants to settle down. The air pollutants are either roaming around in the air or sitting on the floor mingled in the dust, waiting for the next gust of wind to lift them up.

The first step to clean up your floors is to vacuum. Allergens and chemicals are gathered in dust in houses for decades. These little dudes (bacteria and viruses) have been chilling in your home for years, traveling from one corner to another. What ensures these free-loaders’ stay at your place is improper cleaning of the house. By using vacuums that come with HEPA filters can drive the pollutants out by sucking them up. Vacuums ensure proper dust removal from the corners and under the furniture, places that are otherwise impossible to clean properly, with its strong suction and rotating brushes.

Another step is to mop the floor. Moping makes sure the stubborn guys of the pollutant clan are wiped off the floor as well. You can mope with just plain water or an anti-bacterial solution.

Keep Moisture Levels in Check

Most pollutants especially mites and moles love humidity. Keeping moisture levels around 30% to 50% can help keep such pollutants and allergens under control. This can be done using an air humidifier or air-conditioner. They help reduce moisture levels in indoor air, inhibiting the growth of dust mites, molds, certain types of alga and fungi, etc. Air conditioners also help decrease the levels of pollen in the air. Some other ways to dehumidify the indoor air are using an exhaust fan, opening windows, working with water and not overusing house-plants.

Keep Out the Smoke

While keeping the smoke out of your indoor air is not really in your hands, you do your part in reducing smoke levels by making your indoors are a no-smoking zone. Second-hand cigarette smoke is the most important aspect of indoor pollution. Cigarette smoke has nearly 4000 chemicals and over 200 bacteria. Besides the obvious lung and heart diseases, it contributes to, second-hand smoke is also highly dangerous for children especially infants and leads to growth inhibition or SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. If you or someone inside your indoor space smokes, seek help. Try support groups or replacement therapies, these can work.

Another way to reduce smoke levels is to set up a separate room for smoking, either in your home or workplace to avoid the smoke from mingling in all the air in the space. Make sure to opt for a room with good ventilation. An open window or a good vent and exhaust fan would suck out all the smoke, while an air purifier can work by removing the remaining smoke particles from the air before they escape the particular room and spread around.

Test for Radon

Radon is an odorless and colorful gas. Whether you have an old or a new house, you could still have a radon problem. This invisible gas is one of the most dangerous components of polluted air. After smoking, radon is the second biggest cause of lung diseases. If the indoor air is always reeking of cigarette smoke and you haven’t kept the radon levels in check, the chances of developing lung cancers increase. It is a radioactive gas and comes from the natural decomposition of uranium found in soils. Radon enters indoor air through holes and cracks in the walls. Old houses especially have high radon levels because of their crumbling foundations. It doesn’t matter whether you have a drafty home, a home without a basement, or air-tight home, radon can be found lurking in all indoor airs. Besides cracking foundations, granite countertops also emit radon, though not on levels high enough to be carcinogenic.

Radon testing is convenient and inexpensive. It only takes a couple of minutes to discover the radon problem. Once you have found out about the radon level in the indoor air, there are simple methods to reduce even high levels of the radioactive gas.

Don’t Let the Pleasant Smells Fool You

Everyone likes the piney or citrusy smells that come from laundry or clean kitchen. But synthetic scents from air fresheners or laundry contain dozens of chemicals and emit them into the air. The name of these harmful chemicals are not mentioned on the labels, but conventional detergents, air-fresheners, sprays and oils, all of them emit these gases. Studies show that a plug-in air freshener emits around 20 different volatile organic gases, including 7 highly toxic compounds.

Most scents come from petroleum products and aren’t generally tested for any hazardous substances that can adversely affect human health. The only test performed is for skin-irritation. A group of chemicals called phthalates – also used to soften plastic – present in the fragrances disrupt hormones in human beings.

You can free the air from such hazardous chemicals by adopting a number of precautionary measures. Always buy laundry products that are scent-free. Avoid using hair-sprays or artificial fragrances, especially in confined spaces. Besides hazardous substances, hair sprays and perfumes also contain volatile components.


Interestingly, the indoor atmosphere can be unhealthier than the outside. Not only does it bring in all the pollution from outside, but it also more hazardous substances originating from the indoor space. Indoor air pollution severely damages the health and property. Reducing air pollution becomes easy when you put in the effort and target the sources of pollution. Adopting precautionary measures to reduce pollutants from the indoor will pay off in increased health and pleasant indoor environment. Moreover, another subtle yet effective way to reduce indoor air pollution is to add little greenery by adding indoor plants in your living space.