Friday, May 28, 2010

How to purify your air

In, out. In, out.

We breathe air in, we breathe air out. An instinctive function we never really give much thought to, but the air we breath has enormous power to either vitalise us, or make us ill.

Cocooned in a bubble of insulation, modern homes are wonderfully heat efficient, but also trap mould and toxic gases in the place we spend most of our time.

Where do toxic vapours come from? Almost everything - carpets, floor coverings, plastic bags, furniture, curtains, paint, upholstery, appliances, cleaning products, gas heaters, particleboard ... I could keep going.

The more synthetic an object, the more it 'offgases' toxins that have the potential to make people sick. Common complaints include allergies, asthma, fatigue, headaches, nervous-system disorders and sinus congestion. I'm guessing you don't want to suffer any of that, so here are my top three tips for clearing the air in your home:

1. Limit the toxins entering your house
Buy real instead of synthetic, eg. real wood, linen and leather furniture, woolen carpets. If redecorating, choose toxin-reduced household paints. Forego the plastic bags at your supermarket for reusable cloth bags. Use toxin-free cleaning products, like the following all-purpose spray cleaner you can make at home.

All-purpose spray cleaner
  • 1/4c white vinegar
  • 1T baking soda
  • 500mls hot water
  • Few drops of essential oil, eg. Tea Tree for antiseptic purposes, or lavender or orange for a pleasant smell.  
Mix ingredients together, ensuring baking soda dissolves, and allow mixture to cool before tipping into a clean spray bottle.

2. Ventilate
Open windows on opposite sides of a room to create a cross-draft that will bring fresh air in and push bad air out. On warm days open every window as wide as you can. On cold days make sure at least a couple of windows are cracked open, or open wide the windows in rooms that aren't being used and close those rooms off from the rest of the house.

3. Grow pot plants
This is the easiest and most attractive way to purify your air. Plants revitalise air by removing chemical vapours and generating clean oxygen.

The top ten house plants according to How to Grow Fresh Air are the Areca Palm, Lady Palm, Bamboo Palm, Rubber Plant, Dracaena, English Ivy, Dwarf Date Palm, Ficus Alii, Boston Fern and Peace Lily.

My house is decked out with Peace Lilies. I realised their importance after reading Living Green and now have them all over the house.
In our lounge...
On my desk...
In our bedroom...
In L's bedroom... and so on around the house.

What are your clean air tips? I'd love to hear!

I've linked this post to Homemaker Monday.


  1. Love your posts Emma! Informative, clear and easy to read. Plus you are living what you write about. Awesome! :o)

  2. i really wish we could have plants in our home, but we have 3 cats and they would just destroy them :(

  3. We have one cat and he doesn't go near the plants. Maybe you could experiment; Try putting one plant somewhere with an easy clean floor - like the kitchen - so if they did make a mess, it wouldn't ruin the carpet.

  4. Another tip:

    Buy Second Hand
    The amount of toxins emitted by plastics etc. reduces over time so if you buy older things they will have already released most of their toxins.

  5. Great idea to buy second hand.

  6. Great ideas, i love this blog. As a side note someone with 2 cats, if you have cats best to avoid ferns or look up which plants are poisonous to cats.

  7. Good point. I never even think about things like that. Thanks for sharing that tip!


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