Most of us spend a large part of our lives in enclosed spaces. Over a lifetime many people breathe in more indoor than fresh, outdoor air. So it’s worth asking how you can keep indoor air fresh and clean.
Regular ventilation and moderate heating in winter – a room temperature of 21 degrees is recommended – will keep the air fresh and healthy. In this health tip we reveal what else you can do to improve the quality of air indoors.
Bad, stuffy air isn’t just due to people. Furniture, carpets, paints and varnishes also emit harmful substances. The amount that gets into the air depends on what materials your furnishings are made of. These substances and gases can trigger physical problems.
Certain houseplants can help in such cases. Chrysanthemums, for example, can “filter” out unhealthy gases such as trichlorethylene, formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and ammonia to improve the air in your home or office. Other good air purifiers besides chrysanthemums are the dragon tree, snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata), common ivy, golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum) and spathiphyllum.
In winter the air indoors often feels too dry. Since dust and pollutants also make the air feel dry, it’s easy to get a false impression of the actual humidity. This means that before you buy a humidifier you should use a hygrometer to measure the humidity in the room – or that you should buy a humidifier with a built-in hygrometer. You don’t need a humidifier if the humidity is between 30 and 50 per cent. But if you nevertheless have dry skin and mucous membranes, dusting more frequently or putting air-cleaning plants in the room can help.
Many people like using scented candles, aromatherapy oils and incense sticks at home, particularly at Christmas. Make sure you use products made of natural ingredients, as scented products can also emit harmful substances. For this reason it’s not advisable to overuse scented products.