HomeHealth TopicRespiratory
01:27

Purify the Air in Your Home: 8 Natural Tips that Work

In this video, learn tips to reduce airborne pollution in your home.

Lauren SmithMera Goodman, MD
Written by Lauren Smith | Reviewed by Mera Goodman, MD
Updated on December 26, 2021

Your spring cleaning To-Do list is already full of all those tasks you’ve been putting off since September: giving the bathtub a good scrub, re-organizing and de-crumbing your pantry, emptying all the clutter from your desk drawers, and untangling all those cords behind your TV, for starters.

But spring cleaning is also a good chance to help purify your home’s air. We know, we know: You already have SO much to do. Why add more to the list? But most of the things that purify the air also just clean your space in general. Everyone loves multitasking, right?

Clean air at home has a big payoff: Fewer contaminants in your home air may lower your risk of respiratory problems, infections, and lung diseases (even lung cancer). Clean air can also minimize complications from allergies, asthma, and eczema. Before you invest in pricy air filters, try these natural remedies for cleaner air at home.

  1. Fix leaks and drips ASAP. Besides wasting water and making annoying drip-drop sounds all day, leaks create stagnant water in your kitchen and bathrooms. Standing water is a breeding ground for mold, which is linked to asthma flare-ups, coughing, congestion, and sore throat, especially for people with allergies.

  2. No smoking. No exceptions. You already know what smoking does to your body, but cigarette smoke adds pollutants to your home air as well. Each year, secondhand smoke triggers over 202,000 asthma flare-ups in children and is responsible for 7,330 deaths from lung cancer, according to the American Lung Association (ALA). Don’t let anyone smoke in your home, and encourage any smokers in your life to try these methods to quit smoking today.

  3. Keep humidity levels below 50 percent. High moisture encourages growth of mold, bacteria, and dust mites. Use a dehumidifier if needed, especially in bathrooms after steamy showers.

  4. Ditch scented candles and fragrances. That warm vanilla scent may be a cozy welcome when you step into your home, but artificial fragrances are a common irritant for allergies and asthma, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. This includes scents from candles, air fresheners, body sprays, scented wax warmers, and cleaners.

  5. Bathe pets weekly to reduce dander. Pet dander commonly trigger allergic reactions for many. The dander actually comes from Foxy’s saliva, not her fur itself, so washing her regularly (or freshening up using dander-reducing wipes) can reduce the amount of dander on her fur. Word of caution: Don’t wash too frequently or with harsh shampoos or you could dry out their skin.

  6. Go green with plants. A 2010 study tested 86 types of houseplants and found that the Japanese royal fern was the most effective at reducing formaldehyde in the air. Devil’s ivy is another top performer; it effectively reduced levels of the chemicals benzene and trichloroethylene in a Plexiglas chamber to “barely detectable levels within two hours,” according to a 2011 article in Environmental Health Perspectives. Do your research before investing in a houseplant—some may trigger certain allergies.

  7. Keep food and trash covered and floors clean. Um, you’re already doing this, right? Leaving out food (even those muffin crumbs on the floor) invites pests, especially cockroaches. In addition to being incredibly unpleasant to look at, cockroaches produce allergens in their poop (yep) that can contaminate the air and worsen asthma and allergies. Exposure to cockroach infestations may even cause the development of asthma in toddlers and young children, according to the ALA.

  8. Avoid toxic cleaning supplies. Unfortunately, the same supplies you might use to dust your living room or mop your kitchen floor may also pollute your air. The harsh chemicals in many of these products can irritate your throat and eyes and trigger headaches. (Learn other common headache triggers here.) You could go all natural (and budget savvy!) by cleaning with warm water and unscented soap or baking soda. You can also find air-friendly cleaners using the Safer Choice list by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

While you’re cleaning and decluttering, here’s how to organize your fridge for healthy eating.

References

Claudio L. Planting healthier indoor air. Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Oct;119(10):a426-7.

Cleaning supplies and household chemicals. Chicago, IL: American Lung Association. (Accessed on December 27, 2021 at http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/cleaning-supplies-household-chem.html.)

View All References (6)

Cockroaches. Chicago, IL: American Lung Association. (Accessed on December 27, 2021 at http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/cockroaches.html.)

Environmental trigger avoidance. Arlington Heights, IL: American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Accessed on December 27, 2021 at https://acaai.org/allergies/allergy-treatment/environmental-trigger-avoidance.)

Health effects of secondhand smoke. Chicago, IL: American Lung Association. (Accessed on December 27, 2021 at http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/smoking-facts/health-effects-of-secondhand-smoke.html.)

Indoor air pollutants and health. Chicago, IL: American Lung Association. (Accessed on December 27, 2021 at http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/.)

Keep pollution out of your home. Chicago, IL: American Lung Association. (Accessed on December 27, 2021 at http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/at-home/keep-pollution-out-home.html.)

Kim KJ, et al. Variation in formaldehyde removal efficiency among indoor plant species. HortScience. 2010;45(10):1489–1495. Mold and dampness. Chicago, IL: American Lung Association. (Accessed on March 26, 2018 at http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/mold-and-dampness.html.)

GoodRx Health has strict sourcing policies and relies on primary sources such as medical organizations, governmental agencies, academic institutions, and peer-reviewed scientific journals. Learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate, thorough, and unbiased by reading our editorial guidelines.

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