Spring cleaning the air in your home: 5 natural ways to tackle air pollution

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As spring returns, many are rolling sleeves up to get stuck into thorough home cleaning. However, many overlook the importance of spring cleaning the air inside, too. The average Brit spends around 90 percent of their time inside, making indoor air pollution an important area to tackle – and fast.

Spending prolonged periods of time in heavily polluted areas poses a serious impact on our overall health, and sitting with this pollution in enclosed areas is even worse.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released some startling statistics showing that close to four million people die prematurely from illnesses caused by household air pollution from inefficient cooking practices. Nearly half of deaths from pneumonia among children under five are caused by particulate matter (soot) inhaled from household air pollution.

Amongst mowing the lawn and clearing the loft, purifying the air indoors should also be a crucial item on the spring cleaning agenda to reduce respiratory health risks – as well as those of allergens like pollen, to enable a better living environment all-round.

In view of this, Express.co.uk spoke to expert Dr Nisa Aslam, a GP from Puressentiel to find out five effective, natural ways to tackle indoor air pollution.

Bust the cocktail of pollutants in your home, fast

Indoor pollution is a mix of both outdoor pollutants, such as ozone and vehicle emissions, and indoor irritants, such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), moulds, fungal spores, bacteria, and microplastics.

VOCs are chemicals that have a high vapour pressure and low water solubility, and can be found in cleaning products. When used, VOCs are emitted as gases and can cause health problems when breathed in for long periods of time.

Dr Nisa said: “Avoid using chemical cleaners that have VOCs to spring clean and rid your home of mould and fungal spores, lurking within all rooms.

“Man-made VOCs found in chemical cleaners are a dangerous form of pollution.

“VOCs elevate inflammatory markers associated with dermatitis and eczema and when they combine with sunlight and nitrogen oxide, they generate summer photochemical smog.”

Photochemical smog is visible as a brown haze and has properties that can erode surfaces, as well as cause painful irritation to the respiratory system.

Dr Nisa continued: “Many VOCs originate from cleaning products, solvents, and paints, and levels are two to five times higher inside our homes than they are outside.”

Ditch the microplastics

Microplastics are plastic particles spanning less than five millimeters and shed from all plastic substances.

Microplastics can cause damage and inflammation to human cells, and a particularly worrying study carried out by the University of Portsmouth found we typically breathe in around 28 pieces of plastic each minute.

Dr Nisa said: “[Microplastics] come from a range of household and everyday items, such as the clothes we wear, home furnishings, and food packaging, and they can settle in dust around the house.”

To reduce microplastics in the air at home, a good start would be to get rid of unnecessary plastics you have around.

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Next, swap to more natural means, such as replacing utensils with wooden ones, use biodegradable dishcloths and shopping bags, swapping to more natural clothing and ditching plastic bottled water.

Don’t let your home turn into a hothouse, it will undo spring cleaning

On average, houses today are 4C warmer than they were in the 1970s.

As warm air holds more moisture, the moisture is released when the air cools at night or comes into contact with cold windows. This can cause homes to become humid or damp.

Dr Nisa said: “Avoid if you can drying clothes inside and using radiators as it adds to the moisture trapped in our homes.

“Plus, this combination of increased warmth and humidity is a recipe for respiratory problems.

“It encourages the growth of mould and fungal spores, and provides the perfect environment for house-dust mites, which are a common trigger for asthma and allergies, ultimately unravelling any spring cleaning.”

Purify your indoor air

Another method to remove toxins in the home is to purify the air – and sadly, contrary to popular belief, house plants can’t solve this, according to National Geographic.

Dr Nisa said: “Puressentiel Purifying Spray is designed for use indoors and is a unique combination of 41 essential oils.

“[These oils] help to reduce respiratory issues by tackling common triggers, such as airborne bacteria, fungal spores and house-dust mites in one go, making it the perfect, natural spring cleaner.”

One study found the spray reduced airborne bacteria in a London office by an average of 69 percent over five hours.

Vacuum with vitality

Dr Nisa said: “Vacuum with vigour all over the house to remove dust mites and that includes hoovering furniture. Pay particular attention to rugs, carpets, upholstered furniture.

She advised: “Even get the vacuum out to use on the mattress. A typical mattress will contain tens of thousands of the pesky pests and just one square meter of carpet could be home to 100,000 mites.”

Banish odours

Does your home have that ongoing cooking smell, especially if you have cooked something with potent spices or seafood?

Dr Nisa said: “Boil up small amounts of white vinegar, let that into the air and it will help banish those cooking smells.”

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