Air quality can dramatically impact your health for better or worse — even more so if you have allergies or if you’re prone to respiratory issues. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, air in a home can be even more polluted than on a city street. But it can seem particularly daunting to keep the air from feeling heavy and stagnant during the winter months when the heat is on and the windows are closed at all times. Thankfully, there’s something you can do. Start with these simple steps to clean up the air in your space — without dropping thousands on elaborate air purification systems.
1. Change the Filters in Your Furnace
In residential homes, this is one of the most overlooked tasks that makes the biggest difference in the quality of your air (and the efficiency of your heating system). When the heat is on regularly, experts recommend checking filters every month and planning to replace them every two to three months. Set a reminder on your phone and make it happen. You’ll end up breathing less dust and debris, and your heating bill might even go down.
2. Be Smart About Your Cleaning Supplies
Many cleaning supplies and traditional air fresheners leave air dirtier than it was before you used them. Swap your air fresheners and petroleum-based wax candles for soy or beeswax candles, simmer pots, essential oil diffusers or other non-synthetic air freshener options. When it comes to cleaning supplies, look for eco-friendly options with no synthetic fragrances or volatile organic compounds.
3. Get Some Houseplants
It might sound hard to believe, but some houseplants operate as ideal “air scrubbers” by absorbing carbon dioxide, releasing oxygen, and reducing the pollutants that carpeting, paint, varnish and other substances release into the air. Bamboo palm, Chinese evergreen, English ivy and Gerbera daisies top the list of easy-to-grow, air-scrubbing indoor plants.
Of course, keeping your space as clean and dust-free as possible will also make a huge difference in your overall air quality! If you hire a cleaning company, make sure to ask about the eco-friendly products it uses to cut down on indoor air pollution.