The festive season is just around the corner. Soon, you will be entertaining a steady stream of family members, friends, and acquaintances with greetings and get-togethers. But, did you know that the increased human activity also brings in more indoor air pollutants inside your home?

With more people in the market, more vehicles on the streets, and crackers bursting all over the city and frolic everywhere, there is more dust and pollution in the air. And, having an open house brings more of those inside your home. Also, indoor air pollution rises during the festive season because there are more people in the house and kitchen activities also increase.

Read Also: Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

Common Indoor Air Pollutants in Homes

Here’s a list of polluting agents that are usually present in our homes.

Excess Moisture

Moisture is one of the most prevalent yet least recognised indoor air pollutants. Humidity not only affects the health of homeowners but is also a degrading agent for the building itself. Moisture makes it easier for microbes to survive in the ambient air. Mould, mildew, dust mites, bacterial and viral elements thrive in moist environments and can trigger respiratory problems in people with health issues like asthma and allergies. High moisture can also result in off gassing of toxins in your home’s furniture and cleaning products. Moreover, moisture leaves you feeling clammy and uncomfortable.

Radon

Radon is a radioactive gas that is generated in the soil. It is a naturally occurring element that can cause lung diseases and even lung cancer. Radon’s concentration in the air is minimal and varies from region to region. But its release can increase during the festive season due to increased human movement and a rise in construction activities as the days get colder. Read More about Diseases Caused by Air Pollution.

Combustion Products

Kitchen equipment like gas burners and stoves and some types of water heaters and dryers can produce gases like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrous oxide as by-products. If not ventilated, these gases can stay indoors and pose a health risk for everyone in the house. Since it is difficult to detect the presence of some of these gases (e.g., carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide), as they are odourless, you may well remain unaware of the health risk till the problems become severe.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs include evaporated substances which are present in building materials, furnishings, and computing events. One of the most dangerous VOCs is formaldehyde, which is often used in adhesives and is quite commonplace. It is a known carcinogen. Other examples of VOCs include gasoline fumes, pesticides, and the pungent smell that comes when frying onions and garlic. While most VOCs simply smell bad, some of them like formaldehyde can be toxic.

Tobacco Smoke

Perhaps one of the most common air pollutants on this list is the smoke from cigarettes. Even if you are a non-smoker, the health consequences of passive smoking i.e., being near a person who is smoking, are well documented. Cigarette smoke can hang around in an indoor space for quite a while, as you can tell by the smell that refuses to go away, and is harmful to children, adults, and the elderly.

Particulate Matter

This unseen dust is made up of minuscule debris that may come from the upholstery, pet dander, fur, etc. the naked eye cannot see. Some PM particles such as PM2.5 are so small that they can enter our bloodstream and reach the brain and the nervous system.

All of the above pollutants are known to affect human health and may often need special measures for clearing them out of your home, especially when you are having a festive bash and wish for everyone to be healthy and happy. Moreover, indoor air pollution is also harmful to your pet animals.

Read More: 5 Hiding Places of Indoor Air Pollutants in Your Home

9 Easy Ways You Can Improve Indoor Air Quality

So, now that you know what to fight, here are our pro tips that will help you fight the menace of indoor air pollution.
Ventilate Your Home

Proper airflow can work wonders for your indoor air quality. By getting the air to flow across your home, you can remove stagnant air and replace it with fresher air from the outside. Now, we know that the outside atmosphere too has pollutants, but it is still better than the stale indoor air. Besides, the outside air will not have some of the harmful indoor air pollutants. So, make use of exhaust fans and open windows and doors during the wee hours of the morning to get clear out stale air and replace it with relatively cleaner outdoor air.

Clean Your Air Conditioners

Air conditioners have a basic air filter inside. These filters accumulate fine dust over time and start releasing it back into the room once the filters are over-encumbered with it. By cleaning the AC filter regularly, you can mitigate the risk of breathing in polluted air significantly.

Keep Your Linens and Upholstery Clean

Believe it or not but household linen and upholstery are one of the most common breeding grounds for indoor air pollution. Dust mites can often linger in the fabric of your bedding, cushions, and curtains. So, make sure you are vacuuming and cleaning the linens and upholstery items at regular intervals to keep the allergens at bay.

Use Beeswax Candles

Instead of using regular candles for ornamental use, switch to using beeswax candles. These candles have natural air-purifying qualities, as they release negative ions. Most common air pollutants like pollen, dust, dirt, etc. have a positive charge, so when you burn a beeswax candle, it brings down the positively charged pollutants by releasing negative ions in the ambient air. Also, unlike ion-based air purifier, which may release harmful quantities of Ozone, beeswax candles are 100% natural does not release any toxic byproducts.

Use Mops Instead of Brooms

Dusting and sweeping with brooms during festive cleaning drives is not as effective as using micro-fiber mops and cleaning materials. While dusting with brooms usually unsettles the dust for a short time, hence giving an impression of cleanliness, cleaning with mops will permanently remove the dust from a surface.

Buy an Air Purifier

While we did discourage you from getting an air purifier with ion technology, we do recommend buying an air purifier with HEPA filters. High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filters, commonly known as HEPA filters, can remove over 99 percent of indoor air pollution due to their unique design and application. These are the same filters that are used in nuclear power plants for filtering atomic dust.

International brands like Honeywell, combine high-quality HEPA filters with activated carbon filters to remove both dust pollution and VOC pollution from the air. The activated carbon filter can trap gaseous elements and formaldehyde fumes, making the air safer and improving the indoor air quality. Moreover, HEPA air purifiers remover indoor air pollution permanently in contrast to other ventilation and filtration technologies.

Get Some House Plants

While not proven science, houseplants are considered a great way to breathe in clean air. Some common houseplants with anti-toxin properties are Bamboo Palm, English Ivy, Gerbera Daisy, Janet Craig Dracaena, and Mass Cane.

Choose New Furniture Carefully

If you are planning to add new furnishings this festive season, make sure that you are buying solid wood items instead of particle board furnishings. Adhesives used in binding sawdust to make particle boards often contain VOCs like formaldehyde and are not suitable for indoor use.

Switch to Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Cleaning products often make use of chemicals that are not good for our health and may also release VOCs on drying up. Cleaning with eco-friendly products will not only keep your home spotless but also help you avoid allergies and health problems caused by the toxic footprint left by chemical-based cleaners.

So, that’s all for this post. We hope these tips help you in staying protected from indoor air pollution. To know more about smart home technologies and more home and life tips, subscribe to our blog.

Read More: Tip to reduce Indoor Air Pollution in your Kitchen

Honeywell is a Fortune 100 brand, renowned internationally for its R&D of new, innovative technologies. The company is involved in fields as diverse as aerospace, infrastructure development, industrial innovations, safety & security, productivity solutions, oil & gas, manufacturing and development of performance materials. In India, the company sells fully automatic air coolers, air purifiers, electrical switches and sockets, electrical safety products and home and office security solutions. To know more about the brand, visit www.honeywellsmarthomes.com.

Read Also: Types of Air Pollutants Inside your Home