When we think of air pollution, we usually picture car fumes, power plants, and smoggy, congested cities, not our apartments. However, just because we can’t see the pollution, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. In fact, sometimes the air we breathe indoors is just as polluted as that we do outdoors.
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To improve air quality in an apartment, try opening your windows, investing in an air purifier, buying some plants, and removing dust regularly. Moreover, stop using air fresheners altogether.
Read on to learn more about indoor pollution and what can be done to minimize its effects. Below are 5 easy steps to improve the air quality in your apartment.
1. Open Your Windows
Opening your windows is the cheapest and easiest way to increase ventilation and improve air quality in your apartment. By ventilating your home, you can reduce or eliminate airborne pollutants that have entered your home from the outside.
When to open your windows:
- In the morning. If your apartment is in a suburban area, keep those windows open as often and for as long as possible. Fresh air is not the enemy.
- At night. If you live in a busy city it may be best to open your windows at night when the traffic has lessened.
- When cleaning. If you’re giving your apartment a deep clean be sure to open those windows because those chemicals can be mildly toxic.
- When cooking. The steam and aromas may be warm and flavorful but they can also lead to breathing problems. Open those windows when making food.
- When doing home maintenance. If you’re painting, sawing, grinding, etc. you will want to ventilate the area as much as possible.
You can also reap numerous health benefits by opening your home’s windows. Opening your windows will help circulate stagnant air, fill your lungs with fresh air, and increase oxygen levels. It also helps dry excess moisture.
2. Invest in an Air Purifier
Air purifiers are an excellent choice, especially if you live in an apartment. Air purifiers remove airborne particles such as dust, pollen, pet hair, and other allergens, so you can breathe freely and comfortably in your home.
Here are some tips for choosing an air purifier:
- Where it will go. Decide where you want to put the air purifier so you can pick one that fits the space.
- What you require. Choose an air purifier that will effectively remove contaminants that are specific to your home or health needs (removing cigarette smoke, for example).
- Noise levels. Check the product specifications for the noise levels (given in dB). You might prefer a quieter air purifier depending on where you want to use it.
- The cost to run. Consider the air purifier’s recurring electricity and maintenance costs so you have extra money set aside.
- How fast it works. View CADR ratings, which demonstrate how quickly an air purifier can filter air.
Air purifiers also help to get rid of unpleasant smells. If you’re looking for other ways to keep your apartment smelling fresh, have a look at these 3 simple steps.
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3. Buy Some Plants
Plants soak up pollutants and look very good while doing so! While you may need many plants to make a significant difference, there are a few specific species that are especially air-purifying.
Let’s have a look at the top plants to purify your air:
- Peace lily. Peace lilies are known for their ability to combat poisonous chemicals like formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. They are mainly poisonous so be sure to wash your hands after touching the leaves.
- Rubber trees. Rubber trees can absorb and neutralize airborne toxins. Additionally, their broad, glossy leaves absorb and convert carbon dioxide into oxygen.
- English ivy. English ivy not only eliminates benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, but it may also help stop the spread of airborne mold in your home.
- Broadleaf lady palm. The broadleaf lady palm reduces the amount of ammonia in various household cleaning solutions. Furthermore, it removes formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, and nitrogen oxide.
As mentioned before, you would need a whole lot of plants to make any significant difference to air purification in your home. However, this is definitely a good place to start.
4. Remove Dust Regularly
Your throws and rugs might look beautiful but they are also dust traps! The best way to prevent dust from filling up your apartment is to clean your soft furnishings on a weekly basis.
Here are some great ways to remove dust from your apartment:
- Vacuum. Vacuum cleaners are an effective weapon against the dust, pollen, and pet hair that may quickly accumulate in your home and aggravate your lungs. Make a point of vacuuming your apartment at least once a week to keep dust at bay.
- Shake it out. Shake and bash carpets, throws, and pillows against exterior walls to release any dust that has settled on them. This should be done about once a month at least.
- Wash your bedding. Wash your sheets, covers, and bedspreads at 60 °C (140 °F) every week. The hot water will eliminate dust mites and pathogens in your bedding.
- Wipe it up. Use a damp cloth to catch small particles and keep surfaces clear
- Dust. Use a feather duster on surfaces and hard-to-reach crevices to fully remove dust particles from your apartment.
Dust, pollen, and pet hair can quickly build up and irritate your respiratory system. It’s best to keep your apartment spick and span so you can breathe easy.
5. Stop Using Air Fresheners
When you have a pesky smell in your apartment you may be tempted to reach for a bottle of air freshener, but as it turns out, that might affect the quality of your indoor air. They can even be harmful to your health.
Indoor air quality can be negatively impacted by air fresheners because they add potentially hazardous pollutants. Benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylenes, as well as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and benzene, are often found in air fresheners.
Here are some alternatives to air fresheners:
- Essential oils. Essential oils are natural deodorizers. The most popular essential oils for air freshening are lavender, lemon, orange, peppermint, and cedarwood. You can also mix flavors to make your own scent. Put them in a diffuser to make your apartment smell amazing.
- Natural candles. Candles are a simple and easy way to add a wonderful fragrance to your home while making it look pretty. Look for 100% or beeswax candles as they are completely natural and add some essential oils for a more pungent aroma.
- Coffee beans. The nitrogen in coffee neutralizes odors in the air quickly and effectively by absorbing most smells. It acts as an air freshener, deodorizer, and a strong smell remover.
- Vinegar. Vinegar can help get rid of unpleasant and musty easily and cheaply. The acetic acid in vinegar is what neutralizes the alkaline odors. Keep some diluted vinegar in a spray bottle to mist your apartment every so often.
Although air fresheners often seem like the obvious choice to cover up unpleasant smells, if you want cleaner air, it’s better to go the natural route.
Apartment living means we are usually surrounded by air pollution during our daily lives. While this is something we cannot control, we can control the air we breathe inside our homes. By following a few simple steps you can ensure you’re breathing in healthier air every day.