These mini moves will help you breathe easier at home. 

By Katie Holdefehr
June 13, 2019

While most of us know about the air pollution we can expect to face when we step outside our homes, it's less commonly known that air pollution exists inside our homes, too. Everyday activities like making toast or repainting your bedroom can effect the amount of air pollutants you and your family are exposed to. But before you get too concerned, don't worry, there are also some easy ways to clean the air inside your home. In IKEA's ongoing research on air quality (they're even creating an air-purifying curtain, set to release in 2020), the company has found some simple ways to improve air quality, and even mini moves like turning on your exhaust fan every time you cook and choosing no-VOC paint can help. Below are seven steps you can take to start to breathe a little easier at home. 

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Whenever you cook, be sure to turn on the exhaust fan and ventilate the room. Frying foods and using a toaster can release combustion particles into the air, so it's especially important to make sure the room is well-ventilated during these cooking methods. When you're making toast, go ahead and place the toaster oven underneath your kitchen's exhaust hood. 


To avoid the harmful fumes of harsh cleaning products, always use the mildest cleaning solution possible. For everyday cleaning, natural cleansers and homemade cleaning recipes should do the trick. Only reach for heavy-duty cleaners for deep cleans or when you're tackling stubborn stains, and make sure the room is well-ventilated by opening the windows and using a fan. 


If you suffer from seasonal allergies, the dust inside your home could be exacerbating your symptoms. Dusting your home (even those areas we so often forget), frequently vacuuming rugs and carpets, and reducing dust-collecting surfaces by using storage containers can help. 


One major source of indoor air pollution is home decor and furnishings that off-gas chemicals. In fact, interior paints can off-gas for years, slowly releasing VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air. Luckily, more and more paint companies have started producing low- or no-VOC alternatives, so we no longer have to turn to air-polluting paints. Look for these safer options at your local hardware store. 


In the winter, there's nothing cozier than a warm fire, but it can also release particle pollution into the air. When you light a fire, be sure to ventilate it properly to reduce the amount of soot and smoke that enters into your home. 

Similarly, keep candles away from drafts or vents, which can cause them to soot and release harmful particles into the air. 


Particularly if you live in a highly polluted area, consider investing in an air purifier, whether a portable air purifier or one set up in your central air and ventilation system. No matter which option you choose, you'll want to make sure you clean and replace the filters regularly. 


To keep outside air pollutants outside, check for leaks around the window and door frames, baseboards, key holes, and vents around your home. Re-caulking any gaps or cracks is an easy (and very affordable) way to make sure outside pollutants aren't entering into your home, while also preventing drafts.