Wednesday, January 20, 2016

12 Natural ways to clean the air inside your house!

It's winter in most areas and the windows and doors are shut tight to keep out the cold. Unfortunately, that keeps in lots of allergens, contaminants and irritants that we're breathing in constantly. The more all that toxic stuff builds up, the more it tears us down and that is the last thing we need this time of year! So how do you clean the air? I mean really clean the air, not just cover it with a blast of perfumed spray! I have a few different methods I use to keep the air inside my house naturally clean.

12 ways to clean the air inside your house naturally


Salt Lamps: Made of Himalayan pink salt and either powered by a light bulb or candle, these lamps are said to clean the air in your home. When the light is on, the salt warms slightly increasing the negative ions which then attract contaminants like dust and allergens. This weighs them down and they cannot circulate so you don't breathe them in. I have this lamp made of smaller chunks of salt with a dimmable light bulb in the middle, but there are also solid rock lights available too. They have a nice pale orange glow so they make a great accent or night light. Be forewarned though: cats like to lick them!

Beeswax candles: I've always lit a beeswax candle when I wanted to "clear the air". My belief has always been that it helps to remove negative energy...but what does it really do? When 100% beeswax burns it releases negative ions which bind to toxins and helps remove them from the air. Beeswax burns without any smoke or scent so it's not adding any pollutants to the air like paraffin or wire wicked candles do. Beeswax is particularly helpful for allergies and asthma.

Bamboo Charcoal Air filters: You know those bamboo stalks you see pandas eating at the zoo? When that bamboo is baked at super high temperatures, it turns into absorbent charcoal. This porous charcoal then draws in bad odors and hazardous chemicals removing them from the air you're breathing. I use bamboo charcoal bags to remove impurities, odors and moisture from the air naturally. They are organic and sustainable plus they are safe to use around pets and children. Recharge the bags by placing them in direct sunlight once a month. They last a few years then can be composted.  

Vents and fans: Anything that removes odors and fumes and whisks them outside is going to improve air quality. Fans above your range hood and in the bathroom are two that come to mind. You want to run the bathroom fan during showers to remove moisture from the air. Too much moisture is a breeding ground for mold which can be very tricky to get rid of once established. Range hoods and oven vents are also important for removing smoke or fumes while cooking. Ever notice how oily and sticky your vent cover is when you clean it? That was all airborne at one point and got trapped on the way out. Aren't you glad you turned it on?



HEPA Filters: Make sure you're using HEPA filters in everything from your air purifier to your vacuum cleaner!  Be careful when using HEPA filters in your home heating or air conditioning unit though. Not all units are strong enough to handle HEPA filters so check with the manufacturer of your particular unit for recommendations. Don't forget to change them all regularly or you'll just end up recycling dust particles.

Vacuum everything: Beds, couches, pillows, dog beds, drapes, under the refrigerator...everything! Vacuuming beds and pillows helps to remove dust mites and other allergens. Don't forget when you empty the canister into the garbage to do it outside, otherwise some of the dust becomes airborne inside the house again.

Shake it out: Once a month I take my throw rugs outside and shake shake shake! Even though I vacuum them weekly, I still get tons of crap flying through the air every time I shake them out. I also shake out throw pillows and couch cushions. You'll be amazed how much dirt and dust comes flying out of them. I really want an old fashioned rug beater. Now that would be fun!

Open the windows/close the windows: On a nice day throwing open the windows and letting in the outside air can be a lovely way to make your space feel fresher but watch the air quality when you do. On high air pollution days or when pollen's are high it's best to keep your windows closed. You can check airnow.gov to see the current air quality forecast for your area.

Grow some plants: Plants do a great job of filtering your indoor air, especially the Ficus which is well known for their gas-absorbing and antimicrobial activity. Actually, all growing plants from fresh herbs to flowering plants will help improve air-quality. Grow a mini herb garden on your windowsill. Plant some catgrass for Fluffy. Get a nice potted mums plant (chrysanthemum) or mini roses for a centerpiece. Even if you have a brown thumb you can keep a Spider Plant or Aloe Vera alive and they are excellent at cleaning the air!

Air fresheners: reed diffusers are a great way to release a scent into the air and essential oils are the safest way to go. I like: clove, lemongrass, cinnamon, oregano, lemon, rosemary & thyme. Most spray air fresheners are filled with chemicals and perfumes so skip those and go natural! 

Baking soda: Leaving a bowl of baking soda out on the counter will help to absorb strong smells. I also keep a small bowl in my refrigerator for the same purpose, but the do sell special vented packs to use in the refrigerator.

Take your shoes off: Removing your shoes when you enter the house keeps dirt, lawn chemicals, bacteria, molds, vehicle fluids and other things you may have walked through from making their way all through your living area. If you trek these items through your house they continue to get stirred up every time you walk around causing them to become airborne and possibly inhaled.

Speaking of unseen irritants, Radon is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless radioactive gas. It occurs naturally and can be found in 1 in 15 homes. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Home test kits are around $20 and available at any hardware store. This is definitely something you want to check for as radon can be removed before it causes you serious health problems.

~L
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