When you talk about air pollution, the first thing that comes to mind is outdoor pollution. You discuss smog, vehicular emissions, industrial pollution, and so on. You tend to forget that the indoor air can be highly polluted as well.
These pollutants can also cause respiratory diseases. Hence, eliminating indoor pollution is essential. Let us look at what constitutes indoor pollution, and its causes are.
Not everyone in the world uses excellent and clean fuels for cooking. There are millions of people using traditional methods of cooking. They use wood, charcoal, dung, and crop wastes as fuel. These fuels cause high levels of indoor pollution.
We shall look at other causes of indoor pollution.
Causes of Indoor Air Pollution
It is common to find asbestos in some form or the other in homes and industries. The floor tiles and roof tiles have asbestos in them. You have asbestos in paints, building materials and different types of coatings. It is the most common indoor pollutant.
Formaldehyde is another common indoor pollutant. You can find formaldehyde in wooden floors, paints, and other sealants.
Many people have the habit of smoking indoors. Tobacco smoke is the most dangerous form of indoor pollutant.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Detergents and soaps
It is normal for people to inhale detergent powders and soaps while using them in their washing machines.
Many people use kerosene and charcoal as their fuel for cooking. These compounds can emit a lot of soot thereby contributing to the indoor pollution.
You have pollutants like mildew, mould, bacteria, and dust mites that flourish in cold and damp places. It is natural to find them in on the lining of the doors of washing machines and refrigerators.
Aerosol sprays are very common today. You have perfumes, insect repellents, medicinal sprats, and so on. Inhaling the chemicals from these sprays is also harmful to our health.
People who have pets experience a different type of indoor pollutant, animal dander.
Indoor pollutants are more dangerous than the outdoor ones you inhale these minute pollutants almost on a daily basis.
Ways to decrease indoor air pollution
Allergies and breathing issues are common problems associated with indoor air pollution.
People have the misconception that indoor air is healthier than the outdoor air. In fact, it is not so. It is because the concentration of pollutants indoor is always higher. It also explains why people increasingly opt to have air purifiers in their homes today.
There are natural ways to decrease indoor air pollution. Let us look at some of the natural remedies for improving the air quality inside your homes.
Going out in the morning can have its drawbacks
Usually, the morning air is fresh and healthy to breathe. However, the drawback is that trees release more pollen in the mornings. Hence, people having asthmatic complaints should stay indoors in the morning and avoid inhaling the pollen released by plants.
Be frugal while watering your indoor plants
Excessive watering of your indoor plants can make the area damp and susceptible to the formation of moulds. These moulds can emit millions of spores into the air. One way to avoid it is to water them less.
You can also try placing small pebbles over the dirt to discourage the formation of moulds.
Change your clothes when entering your home
Every time you come home after a long stint outdoors, you bring in a lot of dirt, pollen, and ragweed into your house. Change your clothes and if possible, have a shower. Ensure to wash your hands properly before you start preparing your food.
Inculcate the habit of washing your feet every time you come home. Influence your children to do the same.
Wash your bedding regularly
The bedding is the best place for the collection of dust mites. Inhaling this polluted air infected with dust mites can cause respiratory problems. Ensure to use a high-quality vacuum cleaner to suck out the dust on alternate days.
Wash your bedding once a week and allow it to dry completely before using them again. The bedroom is the right place for you to install an air purifier.
Wash your shower curtains
Shower curtains can become damp and hence collect mould. The lack of proper ventilation increases the chances of mould formation. Install a two-way exhaust fan that blows air inside as well as sucks it outside. Clean the vents and ensure there is no blockage of air.
Wash your shower curtains once a month to ensure they remain free of contaminants.
Clean the gutters regularly
Clogged gutters can lead to water seepage from the walls and ceiling. Unclog the water drains on your terrace and ensures there is no accumulation of water. Stagnant water will find its way through the minute cracks in the walls and enter the house.
The damp walls provide the perfect setting for the growth of moulds and moss. It can pollute the indoor air you breathe.
Remove clutter from your homes
The more clutter you have in your house, the more polluted is the indoor air. Dust settles over the clutter and pollutes the air. Discard old clothes and newspapers. If possible, keep them inside overhead cabinets and ensure to shut them off properly.
Clean your ceiling fans regularly. It can improve the efficiency of the fan as well as keep the house clear of the dust.
Freeze your children’s toys to kill pathogens
Children toys like the Teddy Bears are fertile grounds for the collection of dust mites, dirt, and other forms of bacteria and viruses. Washing them is not a good option as it can damage the fibre. Vacuuming them is one way to remove the dust mites.
Placing these toys in the freezer compartment of your fridge for about four to five hours can help in eliminating bacteria and viruses.
Maintain interior temperature above 18 degrees Centigrade during winter months
It is advisable to maintain the indoor temperature more than 18 degrees Centigrade during winters. Cold and damp air provides the perfect grounds for development of moulds. Heat results in providing less surface area for the fungi to grow.
Ensure to maintain humidity levels around the 50% mark.
Maintain cleanliness of your pets
You inculcate clean habits in your children. Similarly, keep your pets clean. Children love to play with pets. An unclean pet can be a source of potential danger to your children. Wipe their paws with a clean towel.
Give them regular baths and remove the fleas and allergens from their skin. Comb their hair cleanly to remove the free hair. It will reduce animal dander, one of the principal causes of indoor pollution.
Have synthetic doormats
Replace the traditional jute doormats with synthetic ones. These mats do not break the same way the conventional rugs do. Hence, you discourage the formation of moulds, fungus, and dust mites. Similarly, do not walk into your house with your shoes.
Remove the shoes and socks outside the home. It will prevent dust from settling into the home.
Refrain from smoking inside the house
As it is, smoking is bad for your health. If you smoke indoors, you cause indoor air pollution and affect the health of the non-smokers in your house.
Similarly, lighting too much of camphor and incense sticks in the house can also cause respiratory problems. The smoke emitted by cigarettes and the organic compounds can cause severe health problems in people.
We have seen a dozen ways by which you can keep the indoor air clean. It is better to install air purifiers to ensure delivery of pure air for your family to breathe.
VS Chaitanya is a Computer engineer, creator, and editor in chief of Kitchenarena. He is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert and has experience of Ten years in technology news reporting and his area of expertise includes Large Appliances and Electronics.