Are you concerned about the air your family breathes inside your home? Indoor air quality is a hot topic, as the tight construction of newer homes trap more pollutants and toxins indoors. The more homeowners learn about the chemicals released by new carpeting, furniture, and the chemicals found in cleaners and air fresheners, the more likely they look for ways to create a healthier indoor environment. Here are some ideas for attractive ways to improve your indoor air quality.
Decorate With Houseplants
Plants are some of the most beautiful air-freshening items you can add to your home. They absorb carbon dioxide and emit fresh oxygen constantly, which is the earth’s natural approach to air filtration. They also bring a touch of life and energy to any room. Try a tall palm in a corner, or hang a spider plant over the kitchen sink. Boston ferns acclimate well to bathrooms, where sunlight might be lacking. A windowsill full of herbs or African violets in bloom will perk up a dull kitchen space instantly.
Install a Smart Thermostat
Maintaining the right temperature and humidity level in your home is vital to preventing the overgrowth of mold spores and germs. An updated HVAC system is one of your best lines of defense against indoor pollutants, as the newer systems can filter out nearly all allergens and pollutants, as well as some other irritants. The smart thermostat can also be a decorating feature, offering a flat-screen display of weather and home comfort information instead of an old-fashioned, clunky box-style thermostat.
Buy VOC-Free Decor
If you don’t want to worry that your next furniture or decor purchase will release toxins into your home, look for VOC-free furnishings.
- Look for furniture cushions filled with cotton, down, or wool.
- Avoid fabrics with chemical coatings that make them resist stains and moisture.
- Buy solid wood furnishings.
- Look for words like “Zero VOC” or “Low VOC.”
- Avoid fabrics treated with flame-retardant chemicals.
Use Fresh Flowers
Instead of scenting your air with phthalate-laden chemical air fresheners, arrange some scented flowers in each room. Bouquets of lavender, lilies, and potted hyacinths are all very fragrant and long-lasting, and they bring beauty as well as a fresh scent to your rooms. If you’re expecting guests, place a large arrangement near the front door to greet them with scent and add a small bouquet in each bathroom.
Replace Your Carpets
Most carpets are made from petroleum-based fibers that emit all sorts of pesticides, neurotoxins, and carcinogens. Carpets also trap dust, mold, and toxins in their fibers and in the padding underneath. If possible, remove your carpet by dampening it first to reduce dust, and then take out while wearing safety masks, glasses, and gloves. Replace the carpeting with healthier options like wood, linoleum, stained concrete, cork, or ceramic tile. If you can’t remove your carpeting, practice leaving shoes at the door to avoid tracking in pollutants from outdoors and clean often with a HEPA-filter vacuum.
It’s possible to have a beautiful home that is also a healthy place to spend time with your family. Once you start educating yourself on indoor pollutants, you’ll find lots of ways to improve your indoor air quality and your family’s health.