Indoor air pollution

fresh-air-indoor-pollutionFor this week’s change the world Wednesday challenge we’re breathing in and taking a lungful of fresh air.

I said fresh air…

Did you know air pollution in your home can be up to 5 times higher than outdoor?

Indoor air pollution comes from several sources, here are four of them.

Toxic cleaning products

Indoor air pollution can be due to the use of toxic household cleaning products.  Some of the most toxic products are drain cleaners, oven cleaners and amazingly, air fresheners!

Do you use air fresheners? If so, why not check out our natural alternatives to chemical air fresheners article for ideas on safe, effective and natural alternatives.

Toxic beauty products

Toxic beauty products are another cause for concern – spraying all that deodorant, body spray and perfume can contaminate the air you breathe.

Opt for fragrances that are made with natural essential oils and herbal extracts rather than artificial fragrance or ‘parfum’. The latter are a cocktail of artificial fragrances containing formaldehyde and other ingredients that cause allergies, attack the central nervous system and are known carcinogens. You don’t want to be breathing that in do you?

Read my article on some of the hazardous ingredients I found in a child’s lip gloss.


With makeover programmes adorning our TV screens, more and more of us are turning to a spot of weekend DIY.

The trouble is, just ‘freshening up’ our homes can pollute them with toxic fumes from paint. If you’re planning some decorating, find out how to choose toxic free paint before you hit the DIY store.[amazon-product align=”right” small=”1″]0297844776[/amazon-product]


Yep, the shoes you are wearing could be responsible for carrying hazardous toxins into your home. Adopt a ‘shoes off’ policy at the door and provide good mats for people to wipe their shoes on before entering the house.

The Institute for Total Carpet Hygiene (ITCH) states ‘if you haven’t washed your carpet in the last 12 months you can be sure that lurking deep in the carpet fibres will be bacteria, fungus, chemicals, dead skin, dust, food particles, germs, pollen, grease, grit and dust mites.

Get out that steam cleaner and say no to shoes from now on!

House plants to remove toxins

One of my favourite ways to keep the air clean in our home is to use house plants.

NASA found the following:

To remove trichloroethylene: Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera janesonll), Marginata (Dracaena marginata) and Peace Lily (Spethiphylium ‘Muana Loa’).

To remove benzene: Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera janesonll), Pot Mum (Chrysanthemum morifollum) and Peace Lily (Spethiphylium ‘Muana Loa’).

To remove formaldehyde: Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea selirizll), Janet Craig (Dracaena deremensis ‘Janet Craig’) and Mother-In-Law’s tongue (Sansevieria laurentii).

You could do far worse than to give a friend a houseplant for their house warming gift!

How about you – does indoor air pollution concern you?


  1. Kelly on May 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    I keep meaning to get some plants for the house (though fortunately I don’t have many of those polluters around that you’ve listed – that shoes one is crazy! I had no idea…but we keep our shoes out on the porch anyway. 🙂 ). Thanks for this list!

  2. Small Footprints on May 6, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Great post, Mrs. Green!! And yes … indoor pollution concerns me a lot! I first started to think about it, years ago, when I would clean using commercial cleansers and bleach. I had to wear gloves to prevent my skin from literally burning. I also noticed that on cleaning day I’d have headaches. It finally dawned on me that feeling bad and using those cleansers were related. When I rid my house of toxins, it was amazing how much better I felt overall. And … that realization was a bit scary … one wonders what toxins are doing to the body if using them causes headaches so quickly.

    I really like your tips, especially the decorating idea. It’s another area that we don’t really think about … but it has a big impact!

    Have a great weekend … and Happy Mother’s Day!

  3. Mrs Green on May 6, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    @Small Footprints: Lovely to see you – I hope you are well It’s funny how it takes such a long time to connect the dots sometimes, it was the same for me – and a lot of the connections came with hindsight. I notice now that I am MORE sensitive; do you find this too? Even using a marker pen has my eyes running and going into the garden when my neighbour has her washing out can be awful because all I can smell is her fabric softener.

  4. Mrs Green on May 6, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    @Kelly: hey Kelly – the shoes one really got to me too. I’ve taken carpets up in heavy traffic areas now and it’s amazing how much stuff I get off the floor even though I sweep once a day…

  5. Preseli Mags on May 7, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Great post – I have a big problem with those air fresheners that squirt ‘smell’ into the air and going into anywhere that has been gloss painted. I must wash my carpets though – thanks for the reminder. And what a great reason to get some more house plants!

  6. Mrs Green on May 12, 2011 at 6:30 am

    @Preseli Mags: Oh goodness; I hate those squirty air fresheners too. One friend in particular uses them and I can’t stay in her house longer than 45 minutes…

  7. sara @ rabbitair biogs on May 15, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Your share good points here. I think its important no to bring your shoes inside your home. One question though – what about pets after their walk outside?

    Your blog was featured on my site at

  8. Mrs Green on May 16, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    @sara @ rabbitair biogs: Hi Sara, welcome to the site and thanks for sharing our link on your squidoo page. Your question is brilliant; not one I had thought about and I have to admit defeat with an answer on that one!