9 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality and Reduce Health Risks

In our quest for a healthier lifestyle, the quality of air within our homes plays a pivotal role. With an average person spending approximately 90% of their time indoors, the significance of breathing clean, unpolluted air cannot be overstated.

Poor indoor air quality can trigger different health issues, ranging from mild annoyances such as allergies to more serious conditions like asthma and chronic respiratory issues. Fortunately, there are effective strategies to enhance indoor air quality, ensuring a safer and healthier environment for you and your family.

1. Keep Your Living Space Clean

An important step for improving indoor air quality is maintaining a clean living environment. Regular cleaning removes dust, pet dander, and other allergens that accumulate on surfaces and in the air. Vacuuming at least twice a week with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner can capture fine particles and prevent them from recirculating.

Additionally, dusting surfaces with a damp cloth can help trap and remove dust instead of dispersing it into the air. Minimizing clutter also reduces dust accumulation and makes cleaning more efficient, contributing to better air quality.

2. Identify and Safely Remove Asbestos Materials

Asbestos, once a popular construction material, poses significant health risks if disturbed. Found in many homes built before the 1980s, asbestos can release harmful fibers into the air when damaged or during renovations. If you suspect your home contains asbestos, it’s crucial not to disturb it and seek professional assessment and removal. Exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to serious conditions such as mesothelioma, a type of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos, consulting with mesothelioma attorneys can provide valuable legal advice and support, helping you navigate potential health and compensation issues related to asbestos exposure.

3. Improve Ventilation

Improving your home’s ventilation is a key factor in reducing indoor pollutant levels. Simple practices such as opening windows regularly can introduce fresh air and help dilute and remove indoor pollutants. Utilizing exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms can also expel pollutants directly outside, preventing their spread throughout the house.

For homes in areas with high outdoor pollution levels, consider installing a mechanical ventilation system that can filter and bring in fresh air from outside, ensuring a constant supply of clean air without opening windows.

4. Use Air Purifiers

Air purifiers can significantly improve indoor air quality by filtering out particulate matter and allergens such as pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. Devices equipped with HEPA filters are particularly effective, capable of capturing 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter or larger. Placing air purifiers in high-traffic areas or rooms where you spend most of your time can provide targeted purification, reducing the risk of respiratory problems and allergic reactions.

However, it’s important to regularly replace the filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to maintain the effectiveness of the air purifier.

5. Maintain Optimal Humidity

Maintaining the right level of humidity in your home can prevent the growth of mold and mildew, which are common sources of indoor air pollution. Ideal indoor humidity levels range from 30% to 50%.

High humidity can be addressed with the use of dehumidifiers or air conditioners, which remove excess moisture from the air. Conversely, if the air is too dry, especially during winter months, using a humidifier can add the necessary moisture. Monitoring humidity levels with a hygrometer can help you maintain balance, ensuring your indoor environment is not conducive to mold growth or excessively dry air, which can irritate the respiratory system.

6. Introduce Houseplants

Incorporating houseplants into your indoor environment not only beautifies your space but can also play a role in improving air quality. Plants like the spider plant, snake plant, and peace lily have been recognized for their ability to absorb toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene from the air. While plants alone cannot solve indoor air quality problems, they can complement other air purification strategies.

It’s important, however, to keep in mind that overwatering plants can lead to mold growth, so proper plant care is essential to ensure they contribute positively to your indoor environment.

7. Use Natural Cleaning Products

Many conventional cleaning products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can evaporate into the air and degrade indoor air quality. Switching to natural cleaning products can significantly reduce the release of these harmful chemicals. Ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice can be effective in many cleaning tasks without the adverse health effects associated with synthetic cleaners.

8. Keep HVAC Systems Clean

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems play a crucial role in maintaining indoor air quality by circulating fresh air throughout your home. Over time, however, these systems can accumulate dust and other pollutants, which can then be distributed around your living space.

Regular maintenance, including changing filters every three months or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, can prevent this issue. Additionally, having your ductwork inspected and cleaned can further ensure that your HVAC system promotes rather than compromises your indoor air quality.

9. Avoid Synthetic Fragrances

Products such as air fresheners, scented candles, and some laundry detergents contain synthetic fragrances that can release a cocktail of chemicals into the air. These substances can trigger allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems. Opting for fragrance-free or naturally scented products can significantly improve indoor air quality.

For those who enjoy a fresh scent, essential oils diffused in water provide a natural alternative that can enhance air quality without the adverse effects of synthetic fragrances.


Improving indoor air quality is a multifaceted effort that requires attention to various aspects of your home environment. From the air we breathe to the products we use, each element plays a part in creating a healthier living space.

These strategies discussed above contribute to a safer, more comfortable indoor environment. Remember, the steps you take today to improve indoor air quality can have a lasting positive impact on your health and well-being.