Indoor air pollution

With spring in the air we are opening our houses from the long winter letting some fresh air inside. This is fantastic as trying to keep the heat in during winter can actually be bad for our health. Furniture, carpets, paint, curtains and rugs just to name a few all off gas chemicals, which end up in the interior environment. We breathe all of these in whilst relaxing at night in front of the TV or sleeping in our beds. This all contributes to a build up of indoor air pollution.

People who are sensitive to such pollution may become ill due to a build up of these chemicals.  Signs of illness can be obvious such as increased sinus congestion, runny noses, sneezing, and headaches, but can also be insidious such as fatigue, lack of motivation, and lack of energy.  The effects of all of this will lead to more sick days and less productivity.  In a worse case scenario it can lead to chemical sensitivity and sick building syndrome.

So what can you do about it?


It is very beneficial to encourage good air flow, particularly if you have recently renovated, if you have purchased new furniture or carpets, or if you live in a new home which is well sealed from the outdoors. So the first strategy for reducing indoor air pollution is to open up the doors and windows and let some fresh air into the house (or office).

Indoor plants

Having lots of indoor plants is also a great benefit, as they absorb different chemicals and make our indoor air a lot cleaner. It is important not to have plants in the bedroom though, as they will take your oxygen at night when you sleep.

An important thing to note is that the indoor environment has many chemicals that cant be smelt which off gas over many years, and so plants are not a short term fix, but rather a long term initiation that should become part of the scenery of every home and office.

  • Madonna/Peace lily – reduces paint and varnish fumes
  • Gerbras – as above
  • Headie Palm – plastic fumes
  • Mother in law’s tongue – formaldehyde (found in furniture – chip board)
  • Rubber plants – general remover of many chemicals in the air

For more information, please refer to

Air purifiers

These do a great job at removing air pollution and can be great as a short term solution for areas such as bedrooms which cant have plants in them. Make sure you research the specific air purifier you need for the specific job in mind.


What other things do you do to help purify the air in your home?

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