We spend at least 85% of our time breathing indoor air, yet we spend 85% of our time worrying about outdoor air pollution! I asked Lori Denis (photo below right)for ideas on simple steps that keep the air inside fresh and clean. She should know. She's the star of HGTV's "The Real Designing Women" and author of Green Interior Design, a book I highly recommend. Here's what she said:
Here’s to your health! When I first heard that our indoor spaces were more polluted than outside, I didn’t believe it. Not in my house – I’m a neat freak! But everything from furniture to plastics to electronics is constantly off-gassing, polluting our safe haven. These toxins cause headaches, nausea, sore throat, dry skin, itchy eyes, and even loss of concentration. Outdoor air quality is not only better for you, but Vitamin D production from sun exposure can actually help ward off sickness. Here are a few ways to make sure you are enhancing your spaces to keep you, your family and friends healthy and happy.
1. WINDOWS – Open the windows and let the sunshine in! Sunlight is a natural disinfectant. Even if you live in an apartment, you can place pillows, blankets and mattresses in front of an open window to allow solar rays and fresh air to help sanitize them. It's a lot easier than steam cleaning them, too!
2. PLANTS – Rooms with plants have been shown to have 60% less airborne molds and bacteria than rooms with no plants. They soak up all the toxins your home is emitting and act as purifying organs. Plants can also improve our mood by increasing positive feeling, improving creativity and reducing stress by producing higher dopamine levels. They can even produce a healthy drop in heart rate. As an added bonus – plants can make a room seem more expensive, making it look good and you feel
3. PAINT – Paint is one of the biggest culprits of poor indoor air quality. By not purchasing eco-friendly paint, you’re opening yourself up to a host of VOC’s, or what some lovingly refer to as “New Paint Smell.” These carcinogens can cause kidney damage, headaches, loss of muscle control, dizziness and irregular heartbeats. No thanks. Instead look for Zero VOC paint that is water based, or natural paints made from plant oils and minerals. It’s one of the least expensive ways to upgrade your home and stay healthy at the same time.
4. VACUUM - Vacuuming once daily is one of the most effective and easy ways to improve indoor air quality and prevent allergies. You would be amazed at the amount of dust that accumulates on a floor in a 24-hour period. In addition to human and pet skin and hair, fine particles from furniture, fabrics and other surfaces end up in the air and eventually on the floors as the items break down over time. If you simply don’t have the time or money for a full-time cleaning crew, I highly recommend the Roomba vacuum robot – it has changed my life! Seeming too good to be true, the Roomba travels around the entire house or office all day long if you’d like, picking up anything that isn’t nailed down. It’s powerful and goes effortlessly from hard surfaces to plush carpet. Now you can sit back and let something else do the work for you.
5. CANDLES – When we think of candles, we think of setting the perfect mood for relaxing and creating a spa-like environment. But did you know that most candles are toxic when they’re burned, releasing harmful chemicals and soot into the air, damaging walls, furniture and your health? Gross. A healthier option would be Soy or Beeswax candles* that burn 3x longer and much, much cleaner. In fact, they actually diffuse the air when burning and when unlit. Aaaaaaaah, now you can relax!
Thanks, Lori! And note to readers: you can purchase many of these products directly from Lori at www.loridennis.com.