5 ways to manage the air quality in your home while in self isolation.
So you’ve heard of a detox - right? We have all seen them circulating Instagram with our fave celeb trying to sell us the latest sham. I definitely do not recommend those but what I will recommend is a detox for your home. By detoxification I don't mean a seven day hard core, restrictive diet. I mean a process that involves making life-long changes to your habits that will help maintain and restore your health forever. In your home. The place you’re most comfortable. Your safe place. Or is it?
The indoor air quality (IAQ) of your home may be up to five times more polluted than the air outside your home. When you consider the types of chemicals and pollutants that unfortunately surround us as we go about our day every-single-day, it is actually limitless! The last place we need them to be is in our home having a highly negative effect on our internal health and hindering or hurting vital systems such as our cardiovascular, immune and reproductive systems. Whether they're environmental or just some bad habits you don't even know you have - we’ve got you. In order to mitigate this problem though, we have a number of simple changes you can make to improve the air quality of your home. So what to do?
Firstly, looking at our own lifestyles is a good way to decide whether our home may have poor indoor air quality. There are tell tale signs. Does your home have mould? Does condensation build on the windows or walls? Does the air become smelly or stuffy? Now to action!
POWER TO THE PLANTS!
According to studies done by NASA growing common indoor house plants can improve the air quality inside the home. When they put the plants to the test they got positive results when tested against 6 common chemicals - benzene, trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene and ammonia. This is just a very short list of potential chemicals in the home. A little disturbing - right?
By adding something as simple as a few houseplants you can remove dangerous toxins while also increasing the amount of oxygen and decreasing carbon dioxide. These benefits serve to reduce the number of headaches, colds, and aid in preventing the development of allergies. Some of my personal favourites include the Snake Plant (an indestructible plant that can take a whole lot of neglect and stay alive) and the English Ivy (give it the right amount of light and it will reward you with its multitude of heart shapes leaves). Top performers from the NASA study were the Peace Liliy (produces a lovely flower during the summer) & the Florists Chrysanthemum (beautiful blooms make them a great option to brighten up any room). Both plants successfully reduced the presence of all top toxins - talk about plant power!
LET THEIR BE AIR!
People spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. Say what! So it may seem like common sense, but opening a window is a good tip for improving air quality in your home. When a home has been leak proofed all day toxins are sealed in and fresh air is sealed out. Ventilation will increase the amount of outdoor air coming into your home, diluting the indoor toxins and dust, and pushing stale indoor air out of the home. Indoor air quality can be particularly compromised during winter and summer months when the home is more likely to be sealed tight to keep heated or cooled air from escaping. So remember in these months to ventilate regularly, even if it’s just a for 5 - 10 minutes. Oh and my tip - be sure to run the bathroom fans for roughly 20 to 30 minutes during and after your shower to ensure excess moisture is ventilated out.
KEEP THAT DUST AT BAY!
Have you ever wondered what ‘dust’ is made up of? It contains more hazardous chemicals than you might think, including lead, fire retardants, pesticides, and other chemicals. So those dust bunnies behind the lounge and under the bed - gotta go! It is not something you want to take lightly. So, vacuum frequently - meticulously getting into corners, along the floorboards and moving furniture to get those dust bunnies. Ideally your vacuum cleaner would have a HEPA filter to enclose any small particles. Also clean your filter every time you vacuum (I know what your thinking! I’ve never done this) but its time to start so that dust isn't spewed back into the air... Eww. Using a microfiber or damp cloth will stop that dust from escaping that cloth.
BARE THOSE SOLES!
Establish A ‘No-Shoes’ Policy in Your Home. The simplest way to keep germs, outdoor pesticides, especially lawn chemicals and other unwanted things from entering your home is to have family members and visitors leave their shoes at the door. Shoes are constraining anyway, so why not break free! This will also reduce the need for home cleaning. If this makes you feel a little uncomfortable (which it shouldn't, its your home!) ensure you place doormats at all entrances. Although no matter how well you wipe your shoes on a mat, particles still cling to the grooves and crevasses of your shoes. My suggestion - post a friendly sign to remind all who enter to yield their heels and bare their soles!
GET SAVVY ABOUT STUFF!
Last but definitely not least! Decrease the amount of chemicals you bring into your home. I’m talking cleaning products, air fresheners, insect repellants, perfume, dry cleaning, fabric softeners and anything and everything with a synthetic fragrance. All of the above pollute the air that we breathe and are known to be extremely harmful to our health - especially for our children. Because effects from exposure to toxins are difficult to identify, it can be years before problems from exposure manifest themselves as a disease or chronic ailment. You will be amazed at what castille soap, vinegar, salt, bi-carbonate soda and lemons can do for cleaning your home.
One of my very favourite cleaners is to take a jar, fill it with leftover citrus peels and pour white vinegar over them. Leave it alone for a few days, remove the peels and It makes a wonderful (and amazing smelling) general cleaner. Swap harsh clothes washing chemicals for natural plant based options. If your a lover of fragrance I can not recommend highly enough pure essential oils. You can literally add scent and/or DIY everything in your home. You can even buy or make your own perfume blends. I like to call it ‘PUREfume’. Invest in an essential oil diffuser & diffuse oils for a sweet aroma around your home (instead of air freshener). Lets get this straight friends - that scent coming from your clothes, your ‘clean’ bedding, your ‘freshly cleaned’ toilet, shower and floors, your air freshener, your wafting perfume is nothing more that a chock full of nasty, nasty chemicals. And every-single-time you use one of these products you are heavily polluting your indoor air quality.
So let's be clear on this. Toxic detoxification is no doubt an essential component of lifelong health. Every single one of us is being poisoned in some way, shape or form, every single day. The good news - we can dramatically reduce the impact of these toxins by being more aware of where they are coming from and by changing some simple daily habits. We absolutely have the power to change! Feel empowered!