Dealing With Air Toxins: How Can You Make The Air That You Breathe Purer?

houseplants & health

How Can You Purify The Air That You Breathe

We’re all aware of the dangers of air pollution and many of us have been making a conscious effort to combat its effects where possible. Whether it’s taking public transport to work, recycling our cans and plastics, or taking our old clothes to the charity shop, many of us have been taking action to create a better world for future generations. But how are we tackling air pollution?

Often thought of as an ‘outdoor only’ issue, it’s rarely mentioned that the air in your home and the air outside are almost exactly the same. Therefore, the air in your home is susceptible to the exact same toxins as the air outside. Research suggests that we spend around 90% of our time indoors, so it’s vital that the air we breathe is as clean as possible. We’ve teamed up with leading air conditioning unit suppliers, Daikin, to find out how you can ensure that you’re breathing cleaner air indoors:

Sick building syndrome explained

The NHS have listed several potential causes of this illness, also known as Toxic House Syndrome. Dust, smoke, bad ventilation, and inadequately maintained air conditioning units are all cited as potentially contributing towards the problem.

The World Health Organisation lists the following risks as being associated with breathing toxic air in the home:



Ischaemic heart disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Lung cancer

Though the impact of toxic household air is more apparent in poor and low-income countries, who still use solid fuels like wood, waste, and charcoal, more developed countries are still adding to their indoor pollutants.

Causes of poor indoor air quality

So, what are the main causes of toxic indoor air? An article by the British Lung Foundation noted that ventilation, temperature, damp, cooking, smoking, pets, cleaning products, and pollution from outside all build up within our homes. It’s worth opening the windows of your home for at least a little time every day, especially when you’re cooking. Check your home for damp too — this can cause myriad health problems, so you’ll want to treat it as soon as possible if found.

Despite their recent popularity, scented candles can lead to a range of health issues. The chemicals used to perfume candles for their scent can contain harmful substances like benzene and toluene. The same goes for air fresheners, regardless of if they are spray or plug-in. The fresh scent is achieved by chemicals, which you let into your home when you use them, so if you’re looking to freshen up, best stick to opening the windows and cleaning the home with natural products.

Spray bottle cleaning products also cause the chemicals to spray into the air. It’s better to opt for liquid cleaners that you can pour as much as you need. Consider other sprays too (deodorant, hair spray, etc) and only use them in well-ventilated areas.

Tips for improving air quality

There are several ways to improve the air quality in your home without using scented candles and air fresheners. Luckily, there are loads of natural air fresheners you can make, and they’re very easy to create. The Natural Penguin offers loads of great ideas — we’re particularly fond of the oil-scented wood blocks, they’re simple and would look boho-chic in a glass bowl mixed with some dried flowers or glass pebbles.

Investing in a few plants could help. NASA has even conducted a study of the best air-purifying plants out there; try some aloe vera in the bedroom, or a spider plant in the kitchen! Ask your employer if it’s possible to bring some greenery into the office too.

If you have a bit more of a budget, it could be wise to invest in an air purification system. These powerful systems actively filter the air you breathe, capturing any harmful particles or pollutants and keeping the air as fresh as possible. Air purifiers can help lower allergy and asthma symptoms, as well as reduce the number of bacteria in the air you breathe. They’re also a great way to neutralise odours without resorting to harmful air fresheners.

We often neglect the air in our homes. But it’s not something you can avoid! Take a look around your indoor spaces and ask yourself — what exactly am I breathing in every day?