Recently, we moved into an old, old house. I am talking more than 50 years old. My first impression of this house was not good. The smell of mold and old together was just not good. My immediate impression was that I was not moving into that home!
How could I detox the air in that house?
We took a tour of the house, and while old, it seemed in good condition. Some renovations had been done, and it was clean.
We learned that the basement was not usable because the entire basement flooring had been ripped out. The floor had been built with wood decades before and had rotted away over the years.
The owner had ripped out the entire basement floor so the floor was just a layer of gravel.
That the moldy stuff was gone gave me some peace of mind. The house still smells old, but as long as there are no toxins hanging around, I can live with it.
We decided to rent the house for a couple of months.
I needed to find ways to detox the air in my new home.
An air purifier was immediately in my thoughts, but after we moved in, I realized there were other ways to clean the air in our home naturally, without spending a lot of money.
This house still smells. You get used to it after a while, and if it was our house, we would definitely have plans to renovate.
As it is, we are only planning on living here for a couple of months, so our solutions are temporary.
The air that we breathe is something we take for granted.
The quality of the air even more so. Just as important as water is to life, without breath we would not survive.
Without oxygen, our bodies would not work properly.
Our cells need oxygen to make energy. The air we breathe is what our lungs absorb, which then enters our blood through the lungs and travels to all other organs. One-third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer, and heart disease are from poor air circulation!
The air in your home can become toxic due to chemicals, mold, pets, as well as poor air circulation and ventilation systems.
If the air quality inside your home is poor, you might have an unpleasant odor, headaches, and nausea, dust buildup, as well as sneezing, and allergic reactions.
These are all unpleasant side effects that can happen somewhat immediately.
Chronic toxic air can cause health problems including cancer, respiratory irritation, nervous systems problems, and birth defects(source).
You can test home air quality by purchasing an air quality tester. This is a device that you can take from room to room to sample the air all over your place.
If you are like me and want to clean the air in my home naturally, then check out these tips.
How To Clean The Air in My Home Naturally
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Invest in living plants.
That living plants would help clean the air makes a lot of sense to me. In 1989, a NASA Clean Air Study found that some indoor plants help to reduce air pollutants.
However, they do so at a very slow rate, so just relying on your plants isn’t the best option.
Every little bit helps though. Plants also make our home a bit more beautiful, and we can all use that.
Vacuum and Dust Regularly
A clean home will naturally have fewer air pollutants flying around. Ever seen dust particles in a sunbeam? It can be shocking to realize that that’s what we are breathing in all day.
Use a vacuum cleaner with a good filter system, (I really like this one) and use a microfiber cloth.
You want your cloth to trap the dust, not just brushing it off to settle elsewhere.
Let in Fresh Air
This one is for you that DON’T live in air polluted cities. Those of you that live in areas where the air quality is much better outside, open your windows more often.
Fresh air is amazing for our lungs and for our mental health. If you live in a polluted city, I feel sorry for you. An air purifier is your best option.
Clean filters regularly
Your air conditioner and furnace filters need to be cleaned and replaced regularly. They are intended to keep toxins from circulating through the air, but if you never clean them they aren’t able to do their job.
The general consensus is to change your furnace filter every three months(but check your model). Dirty filters also make your furnace work much harder, which can cause it to break down faster.
Use Your Fans
Poor air circulation causes areas of high humidity and can increase the amount of allergy-inducing dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores circulating in your home.
Using your fans regularly will help to clean the air naturally in your home.
Air fresheners are terrible for air quality, but essential oils are a rock star. Pine, clove, lavender, and tea tree oil have all been proven to reduce microbes in the air.
An essential oil diffuser is believed to kill the pathogens microbes found in indoor air. Too much essential oil can actually contaminate the air as well, so it’s important to use moderation.
With essential oils, a small amount goes a long way. Using your diffuser for a couple of hours a day is ideal. Diffusing essential oils moderately around your home provides a wonderful aroma while also keeping you safe from harmful pollutants.
Invest in an Air Purifier
Air purifiers are still a good thing to have if you are able to invest the money. Katie from Kitchen Stewardship recommends the Air Doctor (and I trust her recommendations!).
Another option is the Dyson Air Purifier. Both come highly recommended, and while it comes at a higher cost, you are worth it.
Coincidentally, this house already had an air purifier so the previous occupants obviously had a concern as well.
A simple Bionaire air purifier that just needs new filters. I also got some house plants now, and am opening windows regularly.
Things That Make Air Quality in Your Home Worse
High humidity and insufficient ventilation are the prime cause of poor air quality in your home, but there are several other things that we often use that also affect air quality.
Toxic Cleaning Products
Have you cleaned a toilet lately with a commercial toilet bowl cleaner?
I never really took into consideration how terrible it was for my health until my daughter started cleaning toilets.
That caustic smell that makes your nose burn is terrible for our health.
When you take into consideration that 150 cleaning chemicals commonly found in homes are linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer, and psychological abnormalities, what we use to clean our homes is crucial.
That’s why I love Norwex products.
A company that started in Norwegian, their products are environmentally friendly. Cleaning with just water sounds good to me.
Norwex puts all their products through stringent tests to make sure that they are safe to use around our families, babies, and fur babies alike.
I’m sure you know this already. Tobacco Smoke clearly affects the air quality in your home! Please don’t smoke inside.
Air Fresheners, and Perfumes
Toxic chemicals in air fresheners can lead to indoor pollution as well. They contain various ingredients that are associated with certain health issues. I know for myself, the smell of aerosol sprays is very harsh and can make me feel sick.
The dust and chemicals of paints and stains can cause indoor air pollution as well.
The number of toxic chemicals has been reduced in building material over the years, but if you are living in an old house, the pain and carpets probably still contain the toxic chemicals that have since been outlawed.
Pesticides that get used outside on our lawns and in our gardens can be trucked inside through open windows and shoes. Another reason to switch to organic gardening!
Clean air is very important; young and old. We don’t want to expose our babies to excessive amounts of chemicals, but neither do the elderly and immune-compromised need it.
Natural methods to clean the air in our home can be effective and well worth the effort.
Detox the air in your home with living plants, moderate use of essential oils, vacuuming and dusting regularly, and using your fans. Make your home healthier one step at a time.
If you want an even bigger workhorse, then invest in the Air Doctor. Fresh air is well worth the price.