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Clean Air At Home

A deep breath outside can help you feel exhilarated and refreshed. Here are a few tips on how to bring that freshness indoors.

Two small succulent plants sit near a window

The Canadian Lung Association recommends a humidity level of 30 to 50 per cent in order to avoid common health risks associated with poor air quality. If you’re concerned, you can purchase an inexpensive hydrometer to measure your home’s humidity levels. A humidifier or dehumidifier will then help reach the optimal level. There are also many ventilation options that replace stale air with fresh, such as air purifiers, bathroom fans, fresh air vents in bedrooms and living areas, and exhaust fans in the kitchen.

Keep Away from Harmful Products

You should always paint with your windows open, but it’s also important to choose paint free of harsh chemicals since, even after drying, toxic emissions can be released into the air for years. Paints with low or no VOC (volatile organic compound) are ideal. For healthier indoor air, use environmentally and eco-friendly cleaning agents; there’s a reason poison symbols appear on bleach bottles and other cleaners containing harsh toxic chemicals, such as ammonia. These fumes can be released into the air and linger while we breathe them in. You can even make your own cleaning agents. And, of course, never smoke inside—it releases toxic particles in the air.

Decorate with Houseplants

Besides decorating your shelves with colourful flowers and leaves, adding a little greenery can improve your indoor air quality. According to the American Society for Horticultural Science, ground-level ozone (smog), which is the leading element of outdoor air pollution, also gets inside our homes and offices. In a study that observed the effects of snake plants, spider plants and golden pythos (all common and inexpensive), their presence decreased ozone levels. Consider also aloe vera succulents or Chinese evergreens, which assist in clearing formaldehyde and benzene—perfect if you’ve been painting. (If you have pets, always ensure that plants aren’t toxic to them before purchasing.)

Choose Air Fresheners Wisely

Conventional air fresheners might mask an unpleasant smell temporarily, but may cause more harm than good. The Canadian Lung Association recommends making your own natural fresheners with fresh cut flowers or potpourri. When purchasing air fresheners, choose products without chemicals: organic botanical mists, a spritzer with essential oils mixed with water or a charcoal air filter that absorbs unpleasant smells. If you enjoy candles, it’s best to use all-natural soy candles that are biodegradable with lead-free wicks made from cotton that don’t contain petroleum, palm or paraffin products.