Most people are shocked to learn that the air inside their homes is likely dirtier than the air outside. In spite of how unlikely it might seem, EPA research has shown that the atmosphere inside the average house contains levels of pollutants two to five times higher than levels found in nearby outdoor air. Some 900 different pollutants have been identified in indoor air. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to prevent or reduce indoor air pollution at home. Here are those that will give you the biggest breathing bang for the buck.

Things You Will Need

*Cleaning supplies
*Good ventilation

Step 1


Unless you live in a highly polluted area, ventilate your home frequently. Open doors and windows wide to let good fresh air in and bad old air out – even in winter. The health benefits will far outweigh any added energy expense.

Step 2


Don't use synthetic cleaning, personal care, or other household chemical products. These add countless dangerous toxins to your home's air when used. Use only natural, nontoxic ingredient-based alternatives instead.

Step 3


Don't use synthetic air fresheners, deodorizers, or similar products. Substitute fresh air and natural essential oils. Never use chemical pesticides or herbicides in or around your home. This includes flea collars and treatments and similar pet products. Use a chlorine-free dishwasher detergent, and if you have chlorinated water install a showerhead filter. These prevent hot water-volatized chlorine vapors from entering.

Step 4


Have devices that create fire inspected annually to ensure they're properly vented. This list includes fireplaces, woodstoves, gas ranges and dryers, water heaters, and furnaces. Use only electric space heaters. When buying new combustion-based appliances, don't buy any that employ a pilot light.

Step 5


Grow plants, which act as natural air scrubbers. Particularly effective species include Boston fern, palms, and rubber plants. Forbid smoking in your house. Use only beeswax and vegetable wax candles with metal-free cloth wicks and natural essential oil scents. Don't buy furniture or fixtures made from plywood, particleboard, of other composite pressed woods. Choose solid-wood items instead.

Step 6


Clean humidifiers and air conditioners frequently to prevent them from spreading molds and bacteria. Test your basement for radon, an invisible, odorless, natural radioactive gas that can seep in from the ground. Before installing new carpets, make sure they are free of volatile organic compounds, then air them out for at least a week unrolled or very loosely rolled in the garage or another outdoor space before bringing them inside. Use mechanical means like tacks rather than adhesives to install them. Once installed, keep fresh air circulating through the room for a year to remove the gases emitted by new carpet. Make your next vacuum cleaner a HEPA model, which will trap and permanently remove particulates, dust, and allergens instead of simply spewing them back out into the air like other machines.


Tips & Warnings