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Natural Air Purifiers To Cleanse Your Home During Fire Season And Beyond

Molly Grace4-minute read
October 19, 2021

For homeowners near areas where wildfires are prevalent, indoor air quality is high on the list of priorities when maintaining the home.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans spend 93% of their time indoors. The EPA also notes that the indoor concentrations of some pollutants can be two to five times higher than outdoor concentrations. Ensuring your home’s air quality is good can keep your family healthy longer.

How To Purify The Air In Your Home

There are a variety of ways to reduce or eliminate contaminants in the air. We recommend discussing any air quality issues with your chosen health professional and home inspector. Airborne particles and pollutants can pose many dangers to your health and it's best to prepare an action plan with a professional.

Many homes are equipped with a home air filter connected to their heating and cooling systems. Many homeowners opt to purchase additional air purification appliances to better filter dust, dander and other pollutants in specific areas of the home. An air purifier uses internal fans to suck in air, pulling the air through filters, to capture pollutants before they are released back into your living space.

In 1989, NASA conducted a study using houseplants to purify air. It worked and the houseplants did scrub the air of some pollutants. However, the EPA noted that a typical home would need 680 houseplants to match the pollutant removal rate of the study.

Plants are natural air purifiers, albeit slow. Every little bit helps when it comes to air quality. Dangerous substances like benzene and formaldehyde along with toxins, pollutants, and airborne particles can be absorbed and purified by house plants.

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5 Natural Air Filters That Can Create Clean Air

1. Remove The Source Of Contaminants

Keeping a clean and tidy home is the first step in top-notch air quality. Consider decluttering. With less surface to land on, dust and other particles are easier to manage.

Pay close attention to your furnace and air conditioner maintenance. If you have a forced air system, buy furnace filters by the case to save a little money and have plenty on hand to change them with more frequency.

Duct cleaning is another way to improve the air quality in your home. Using a brush and vacuum system, duct cleaners can remove dust, dirt, and debris that would otherwise be pushed into your home when heating and cooling.

Investing in a self-driven, self-guiding smart vacuum can decrease the amount of dust and debris on both carpet and hard surfaces.  

2. Filter And Forget With Bamboo Charcoal

For smaller areas like a closet or entryway, an air purifying bag of activated charcoal could help improve air quality and reduce stagnant air odors.

Microporous activated charcoal in loosely woven bags collect air moisture that carries allergens, chemicals and toxins. These small bags are cost effective and environmentally friendly. A typical activated charcoal bag can last up to 2 years.

3. Clean And Purify With Essential Oils

Outdoor air quality plays a large part in the interior air quality of your home. Opening windows and doors when cleaning or painting in your home will help accelerate the dissipation of harsh chemicals and odors caused by volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

VOCs are widely used in household products like cleaners, paint, varnish, disinfectant, degreasing and hobby products. These products can release organic compounds while you’re using them. Be aware that high concentrations of benzene and formaldehyde are toxic and carcinogenic. Use caution whenever handling products with these ingredients.

Essential oils are a great alternative to harsh cleaning chemicals. Essential oils like tea tree, citronella, eucalyptus and peppermint are just a few essential oils with antibacterial and antifungal properties. Many essential oil users clean and disinfect surfaces with diluted essential oils to prevent mold and mildew growth.

Most users will use an essential oil diffuser to disperse essential oils into the air to remove airborne pathogens and add a nice scent to their home. Many diffusers are equipped with calming lights and sounds to add to your home’s tranquil aesthetic.

4. Ventilate The Outdoor Air In

If you have allergies or asthma, we recommend checking the air quality outside before ventilating your home. The EPA’s www.AirNow.gov website provides Air Quality Index (AQI) based on location. AQI uses a scale from 0 – 500 to communicate the outdoor conditions. AQI considers ozone levels, weather conditions and area issues like wildfires. The larger the number, the bigger the health concern. Like the weather, AQI can change quickly.

Your home’s ventilation is a vital part of maintaining good air quality. Read on to learn more about home ventilation. The typical home will circulate the air inside of it once an hour. Knowing your outdoor air quality can help improve your indoor air quality. 

5. Houseplants

House plants are excellent choices for home décor, they look nice, and they can remove toxic chemical compounds from the home. Some plant experts believe the amount of leaf surface area influences the rate of purification. Meaning the bigger and leafier a plant is, the better. The plants recommended below are low maintenance and can thrive in a variety of spaces and climates:

  • Bamboo Palm
  • Peace Lillie
  • Pothos plants
  • Spider plants
  • Rubber Plants

The Bottom Line: The Clean Indoors Can Be Yours

Air is everywhere and it can be hard to manage. Keeping a regular cleaning schedule is the first line of defense in the fight for good indoor air quality. By incorporating a few plants and some essential oils, you can turn your home into the retreat you deserve.

Knowing the ins and outs of your home is so important to the long-term health and wellness of those who live there. Research how to prevent common household hazards to ensure your family is ready for whatever the wind blows in.

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Molly Grace

Molly Grace is a staff writer focusing on mortgages, personal finance and homeownership. She has a B.A. in journalism from Indiana University. You can follow her on Twitter @themollygrace.