by Scott Sanders, guest blogger

Most of us think of air pollution as something that happens outdoors, the accumulation of smog, factory smoke, and auto exhaust. But dangerous air can be found indoors as well. In fact, bad indoor air quality may constitute a greater threat to our health, and particularly to children, than the polluted air that greets us when we venture outside.

The objects and materials that we live amid contain dangerous substances including formaldehyde, radon, and fire-retardant chemicals, poisons we breathe in every day. For children, they can cause anything from runny noses and red eyes to pulmonary illnesses. Mitigating their effect on children requires attention to detail and a knowledge of where such dangers originate. Use this guide for examples of lifestyle practices that boost your immune system, and use the tips below for keeping your home healthy and breathable.

Vacuum and mop frequently

Allergens and dangerous chemicals can accumulate for years in ordinary household dust. Make liberal use of a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter, which will help reduce concentrations of lead and other toxins as well as build-ups of pollen, pet dander, and mites. Dust isn’t reintroduced into the environment in exhaust.

Be sure to vacuum multiple times in high-traffic areas, including walls, upholstered furniture, and where carpeting and walls come together. Use a microfiber mop to pick up dust residue, using water only. If your time is limited, don’t attempt to clean everything in one day. It’s better that you manage your time wisely and workroom to room to clean as thoroughly as possible.

To give your home a deep cleaning, you may want to bring in a cleaning service, and if it’s been ages since you’ve had your furniture cleaned, you may want to consider working with a deep cleaning furniture service. When researching cleaners, check customer ratings and reviews. Before hiring a furniture cleaner, always insist on a detailed cost estimate. Check to see if your furniture has a warranty; it’s possible that the cost of cleaning will be covered.

Moisture levels

Mold and dust mites thrive in moist environments, so it’s important to keep humidity levels in your home at between 30 and 50 percent. During the summer, an air conditioner helps reduce indoor air moisture; a dehumidifier helps keep moisture under control at other times of the year and controls allergens that can create pulmonary issues in children or aggravate an existing respiratory problem.

No-smoking zone

The dangers of secondhand tobacco smoke are well-known. For a child whose lungs are still developing, or who suffers from a pulmonary disorder, it’s a dangerous substance to introduce into a home environment. Cigarette smoke, which contains over 4,000 chemicals, increases a child’s chances of developing respiratory and ear infections, as well as cancer, asthma, and sudden infant death syndrome.

Your home should be a “no-smoking zone,” and you should make it clear to visitors who smoke that you don’t allow it. An air purifier is an excellent investment if you have children because it will remove the allergens that threaten your children’s respiratory health.

Natural aromas

The “forest-fresh” aromas that detergent and cleaning substances give off may smell good but they introduce dozens of chemicals into your breathing air that can contribute to respiratory problems. Plug-in air fresheners alone may contain as many as 20 volatile organic compounds, some of which have been declared toxic by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Instead, you can use an essential oil diffuser, non-toxic candles, and freshly cut flowers to add chemical-free fragrances. Pick up some indoor plants as well—not only will these plants add oxygen to the air, but they’re mood boosters as well.


It’s startling how many seemingly innocuous causes there are for unhealthy indoor air quality and they can cause sneezing, rashes, and shortness of breath. Pollen, mites, spores, and pet dander are among the most common triggers for allergic reactions. A poor ventilation system and dirty air ducts are among the most common causes. The materials used to make the furniture we sit and lay on give off pollutants and allergens, as do cleaning products used every day to keep our homes clean. Synthetic carpet fibers also contribute to dangerous indoor air quality.

Children are especially vulnerable to the many factors that contribute to poor indoor air quality. Frequent cleaning, liberal use of filters, and the application of natural cleaning materials can help diminish the effects of allergens and indoor air pollutants that threaten your children’s health.

If you rent your home, you may feel limited in some of your options to improve your air quality. Speak with your landlord about having your furnace upgraded or ductwork cleaned. If you are unable to come to an agreement, it may be time to look into other apartments near Denver for your living space. Your health is far too valuable.

If you or your family has been dealing with repeated illness due to your home’s air quality, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. With the above advice, you can create a cleaner, healthier living environment for yourself and your family.

This article is brought to you by Integral Travel, a medium for individual and community transformation. Our wellness adventures promote health and well-being through physical, psychological, and spiritual activities. We combine outer exploration of other countries and cultures with an exploration of your inner landscape through daily mindfulness practices, journaling, and discussion. For more information, please contact us today!

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