Did you know that Americans spend 93% of their time indoors?
Did you also know that indoor air pollution is usually 2-5 times worse than outdoor air pollution?
Yup, the air quality in our homes is not good, and it’s causing more problems than we may realize.
Especially in the midst of a global pandemic, we’re all pretty much stuck at home right now.
It’s a bummer, but we don’t need to keep talking about that.
What matters is how we use this time, how intentional we are with this time, and how we decide to live healthy and happy, even when our circumstances are far less than ideal.
But since our entire family (and likely yours as well), is spending far more time at home, inside, it makes sense to consider the air quality in your home for a minute, and make a few simple changes to help yourselves out!
What’s wrong with being inside? And what’s wrong with indoor air?
While there are many reasons for this for spending so much time indoors, and many things that are wrong with this from a health perspective, I’m talking specifically about indoor air pollution and ways you can help your family out but “cleaning the air” in your home, at least a little bit.
Did you know that the people who are the most susceptible to issues due to indoor pollution are the very young and the very old – the people who tend to spend even MORE time inside, naturally.
That means our kids are the ones really suffering.
And while the rate of deaths caused by indoor air pollution globally has been declining (thus, getting better), it still causes 1.6 million premature deaths each year, primarily in low income countries due to unsafe cooking fuels in their homes.
However, some of the other things causing air pollution inside our homes include:
- Building materials of our home
- Cleaning products and chemicals
- Carbon monoxide from lighting fires, such as appliances or fireplaces
- Mold, lead, asbestos
And some of the health issues that can actually be caused by all of this indoor air pollution include (but are not limited to):
- Irritated eyes, nose, and throat.
- Frequent headaches, feeling dizzy, and always feeling tired and fatigued.
- Respiratory diseases, heart disease, and even cancer.
- Triggers asthma attacks
So that’s all pretty depressing, right?
Well, thankfully there are some pretty easy things you can do to help your home and your family!
Let’s dive into some of the ways you can lower the indoor air pollution in your home, breathe healthier, and stay strong, especially in seasons of life when we simply need to stay indoors more.
8 simple ways to lower indoor air pollution and breathe healthier at home
1. Stop burning candles and start diffusing essential oils
In our efforts to create a more cozy home, we are often actually causing harm.
Candles are now being called ‘the new secondhand smoke.’
Anything that burns in your home, such as the wick of a candle, causes soot – bad.
Paraffin wax, used in many candles, is bad for you. Using soy or beeswax is less bad, but still not good for you.
And synthetic fragrances added to candles can cause more soot, as well as chemicals from the fragrance itself.
Instead, opt for all-natural, healthy essential oils with a diffuser!
Essential oils are all-natural, 100% good for you, have no negative health or pollution effects, and can actually support your health and wellness, your emotions, and your brains!
Plus, many diffusers, such as the Desert Mist from Young Living, have a candle light setting, making your home feel just as cozy, but smell wayyyy better than using candles.
No more candles, sorry. But diffusing all-natural essential oils is far better.
2. Diffuse Oils in your home to help purify the air
Not only will diffusing essential oils help you remove harmful candles, but they can actually work to clean the air in your home as well!
Was your house built in 1960, like mine? Have some old wood panelling that you can’t afford to replace just yet? Does it smell super old and musty?
We diffuse oils daily in our home, especially our home office (where the panelling is) which replaces the old, stale odors with a fresh, clean, natural aroma of essential oils.
Diffusing oils is also helpful after cooking, when the air carries the aroma of sauteed onions, or after changing a diaper, or when you haven’t cleaned the house in a little too long…
Oils that especially help clean and purify the air include:
- Tea Tree
- Purification – blend from Young Living, my favorite oil for clean air
- Lemongrass – strong enough to fight the harshest of odors
3. Your laundry room is the source of many harmful substances. Clean it out!
The laundry room is often the source of many VOC’s, and should be a cause of concern for you.
“Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.” Source
Most people use traditional, chemical based laundry detergent full of synthetic fragrance that fills the air, soaks in your clothing, bedding, and towels, and is distributed throughout the home.
We also use dryer sheets to freshen our laundry, which are extremely toxic.
And we have fabric softener, again which is toxic.
The easiest thing you can do is ditch the dryer sheets and fabric softener. NOW!
Get all-natural, wool dryer balls instead. Toss them in the dryer. They bounce around and ‘fluff’ your clothing, helping it soften naturally. Plus, they break up clumps of laundry, helping your laundry quicker, saving energy and money.
PLUS, you can add essential oils directly to your dryer ball, infusing all your laundry with a fresh, clean, NATURAL aroma.
Grab some dryer balls here. They are worth it, they last a long time, will save you money, and help make your home a little healthier.
You can also replace your laundry detergent with a more natural (or all-natural) solution. We are big Young Living fans, and use their Thieves laundry detergent. It works great, but for serious stains, use a stain stick before tossing into the wash.
4. Open Your windows daily
We’ve become so dependent on our homes heaters and coolers, that we rarely open our windows anymore.
This is a mistake.
One of the biggest reasons our air pollution is so high inside our home is because we trap everything inside. Our homes NEED to ventilate, daily!
Even if the weather is less than ideal, open your windows for at least 10 minutes a day to circulate some fresh air, and let the air pollutants out of your home.
If the weather is pretty good, or really good, let those babies open all day! 🌬
Especially when cooking on a gas stove, cleaning, doing laundry, painting, moving furniture around, etc.
5. Your cleaning closet needs help – go green the easy way!
Cleaning supplies are often really bad for us. Not only are they completely made up of synthetic, often toxic chemicals, they are often filled with artificial fragrance as well.
Ditch your harmful cleaning products the easy way – get Thieves instead!
Thieves household cleaner is an all-natural cleaner based on their famous essential oil blend- Theives, which is made up of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary essential oils for a natural, powerful, wellness supporting blend.
So many people recommend using Thieves Cleaner – it’s been featured on sites like,
- Reader’s Digest – One of the best green cleaning products that professional house cleaners trust most
- Perez Hilton – One of the celebrity endorsed, green cleaning products
- NY Post – Founder of DKNY fashion line on Thieves essential oil – “It’s my personal favorite of all oils. The scent is intoxicating, and it boosts your immune system.”
If you order a Young Living Starter with me, for example, I will send you a free packet of Thieves Household Cleaner, enough to make you a 16oz bottle of cleaner.
Once you try it out, you’ll never want to go back! Make cleaning fun (and safe) again!
Don’t let your unused, toxic cleaning supplies just sit in your closet as a backup. These products can still emit toxic gas over time, making your supplies a hotspot for air pollution.
Ditch everything you don’t use regularly, or just keep a small amount instead.
6. Houseplants, baby!
No list about indoor air pollution would be complete without talking about houseplants.
And while I’m not a houseplant enthusiast (I wish I was, but I manage to kill them all), I still want these benefits!
Over time, we’ve killed so many different types of plants! 😭
We’ve found that we can manage to keep the Golden Pothos and SPring Lily alive in our low-light home pretty easily, so that’s all we have.
Don’t go buying every plant you can see! Try one or 2 out and find out what YOU can keep alive easily. 🤞🏼
7. Get your air ducts cleaned
We finally did this after 3 years of being in our 1960’s house.
I’m pretty sure they have never been cleaned out. Plus, we did a major renovation which included new drywall (which causes SO MUCH drywall dust).
We finally spent a few hundred dollars and got it done. 😌
While I can’t speak of any insane, obvious improvements in our breathing, it’s nice to have the peace of mind of knowing it’s been taken care of.
8. Get outside more!
And last but not least, we need to spend more time outside.
There are SO MANY health benefits for being outside, and so many negative effects of staying inside too much.
As mentioned in the beginning of this post, most Americans spend an average of 93% of their time indoors today!
That sounds so bad! That means we are only outside for 1.68 hours a day.
Do you think you can double it and find ways to be outside for at least 3 hours a day?
My challenge to you is to make this happen, at least a couple of times each week, if not every day.
Easy ways to spend more time enjoying fresh air outside are:
- Eat your meals outside. Turn the TV off and head for the patio.
- Go for a walk every day.
- Exercise outside. When you exercise, you breathe so heavily. Make sure this air is better for you by simply running outside instead of on a treadmill. Do your yoga in the backyard.
- Read outside, or at least next to an open window.
- Do normal activities outside at the table, rather than inside. Let your kids play with toys, or do their worksheets outside, or play games outside.
- Get a hammock to make sitting outside so comfortable
- Find a new outdoor hobby, or give yourself permission to revive an old hobby you “don’t have time for” anymore. It’s for health! You have time to prioritize your health.
– get really good at identifying the birds, animals, and trees in your area
– make a list of all the places within 1 hour of your home that you can hike, and try a new spot every week.
– the list can go on forever!
(I’m bad at spending time outdoors, to be honest. My husband is the one working hard to get us all outside more)
A little tiny bit of effort can make your home a little bit (or a lot) healthier
My hope is that you can find at least 1 negative thing to remove or reduce in your home, and to find at least 1 positive thing you can do to make the air in your home a little bit healthier.
One small change can have a lasting affect over time. Don’t underestimate that!
Remember, if you haven’t yet tried essential oils, check out this list of 29 popular scents you can recreate naturally using pure, wellness supporting essential oils.