10 Ways to Improve the Air Quality of your Home for your Family (2020)

We’re always trying to live healthier lifestyles. Most of the time, we do so by sticking to a regular exercise regime and eating a healthy diet.

However, we usually miss out on the one thing that directly influences our health and wellbeing, the air we breathe in.

The air we breathe in is especially important to our health, in particular our respiratory health, and all humans definitely require air to survive.

With us spending most of our time at home and especially during resting hours, the air quality indoors should definitely be of concern to us.

So aside from buying pricey air ionisers, purifiers, and the like, what can we do to improve the air quality of our homes for us and our loved ones?

1. Ventilate your room

Ensuring a good air-flow within the house is important in improving air quality within the house.

Studies have shown that inadequate ventilation of the house can lead to staleness of the air and accumulation of unpleasant odors, dust and allergens [1]. 

Having adequate air circulation within the home would be effective in decreasing carbon dioxide concentrations and improving quality of the air.

2. Clean your air-conditioner filter 

Singapore is hot and humid and there may be weeks where you just can’t get by without turning on the air-conditioner.

The filters of your air-conditioner can filter out much of the dust within the air of your house.

However, this means that the filters need to be cleaned regularly to ensure that there isn’t a buildup of bacteria within the filters.

Therefore, start improving the air quality of your home by cleaning out your air conditioner filters!

3. Use beeswax candles as alternatives

Many of us love scented candles, it’s romantic, it sets the mood and best of all, it smells great.

However, many scented candles in the market are mostly paraffin candles and studies have found that these types of candles release toxic chemicals when burnt [2].

But this doesn’t mean you have to give up using scented candles completely.

If you find yourself wanting to use a scented candle, opt for beeswax candles instead of paraffin candles as they produce significantly less toxic chemicals when burnt.

4. Use activated charcoal

Activated charcoal is a substance that can help improve air quality in your home through the removal of carbon dioxide and small particles in the air [3].

Using activated charcoal can help remove staleness of the air and improve overall air quality at home.

Woman holding indoor plant

5. Grow some plants 

Having some greenery around your home can not only serve aesthetic decorative purposes but can also help in ‘purifying’ the air in your house.

Plants are natural carbon dioxide removers during the day when they photosynthesize and replace it with oxygen.

Planting some potted plants and flowers at home can help freshen up the house and improve the air quality indoors.

6. Turn on your exhaust hood while cooking

Most of us usually turn on the exhaust hood to fan out the fumes when we’re cooking meals, especially when preparation involves lots of oil fumes and smoke.

However, the exhaust hood can generate lots of noise (especially when it’s set on high) and some people might choose to leave it off altogether when they’re doing light cooking.

While it may sometimes seem redundant, turning on the exhaust hood during cooking will actually help expel pollutants in the air and improve air quality in the house [4].

Studies have also shown that leaving the hood for a while after cooking can help improve the overall air quality of the home.

Woman and child cleaning floor

7. Clean your house

Cleaning your house remains one of the most effective ways of improving the air quality in your house.

The dust and dirt in the air usually sink to the floor and accumulate, becoming air-borne again when there is air movement from people walking or wind.

Regular vacuuming and mopping of the floors (as well as changing your sheets) will be effective in achieving good air quality indoors.

8. Get rid of your carpets

Carpets play a part in making a home look cozy, comfortable, and even luxurious at times.

However, did you know that the fluffy carpets you have decorating your floors are actually one of the culprits contributing to the bad air quality in your home?

Carpets trap greater levels of dust, allergens and dirt within them as compared to smooth bare floors [5].

These can not only worsen air quality in the house but also serve as a trigger for certain respiratory and dermatological health conditions such as asthma and eczema [6].

9. Wash your curtains regularly

Just like carpets, curtains also contribute to worsening air quality in the home.

Curtains are a necessity and are majorly present in every room of every household.

Not only do they serve practical functions such as keeping out the glaring sunlight and giving us privacy from our neighbours in the other block, but they also serve aesthetic functions and are part of the decor of the room.

Most of us don’t think to wash our curtains (unless it’s spring cleaning or we notice how dark they look) and washing them requires so much effort.

However, the pretty fabric not only traps fine particles like dust, allergens and dirt, but also helps in effectively spreading them around the house [7].

Furthermore, the billowing wind flowing through these dust-filled curtains only serve to worsen the situation.

Therefore, even though taking them down requires a lot of effort, cleaning your curtains regularly will definitely be worthwhile in the long run.

Essential oils and herbs

10. Opt for natural repellents 

The tropical climate of Singapore means insects and pests all year round. 

As such, some even consider pesticides and insect repellents their best friends in their combat against these pests.

However, whatever that’s strong enough to kill them can harm us too and continuous exposure to these chemicals within the air of our homes can lead to several health conditions [8].

To counter this, we can opt to use essential oils to repel these insects [9].

Some scents which have been proven effective against pests include:

  • Eucalyptus 
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
  • Citronella

1. Vornanen-Winqvist C, Salonen H, Järvi K, et al. Effects of Ventilation Improvement on Measured and Perceived Indoor Air Quality in a School Building with a Hybrid Ventilation System. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018;15(7):1414. Published 2018 Jul 5. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071414

2. Derudi M, Gelosa S, Sliepcevich A et al. Emission of air pollutants from burning candles with different composition in indoor environments. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 2013;21(6):4320-4330. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-013-2394-2

3. Raso R, Zeltner M, Stark W. Indoor Air Purification Using Activated Carbon Adsorbers: Regeneration Using Catalytic Combustion of Intermediately Stored VOC. Ind Eng Chem Res. 2014;53(49):19304-19312. doi:https://doi.org/10.1021/ie503851q

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