How can indoor air quality be improved?


Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in our homes is always a primary concern to guarantee a healthy living space. However, with pollution levels consistently increasing, simply cleaning dust and dirt off surfaces is insufficient to maintain a healthy environment. Indoor spaces are also at risk due to air pollution. Nonetheless, managing indoor air contamination is not as intimidating as it may seem. Understanding its causes and eliminating them is simple, allowing for a healthier living environment. In this article, we will explain the basics of indoor air quality and show you how you can make it better.

Causes of indoor air pollution

A combination of various factors can lead to poor indoor air quality. Knowing these reasons is the initial stage in dealing with them effectively.

Inadequate ventilation

Having inadequate ventilation in your home could lead to an accumulation of indoor air contaminants. Without good air flow, pollutants are trapped inside and can't get out, staying in the room for a long time.

Indoor pollution sources

Tobacco smoke, cooking and heating appliances, building materials, furniture, carpets, cleaning products, and painting can all release pollutants into the air inside buildings.


Outdoor pollution

Toxins from outside can also make their way inside and affect the quality of indoor air. These things can come into your home through windows, doors, and vents: fumes from cars, pollution from factories, and pollen from plants.

Moisture and dampness

The buildup of too much moisture can lead to mold, mildew, and dust mites, which release substances that can cause allergies and make the air bad.

Biological contaminants

Poorly ventilated areas with high humidity can create a good environment for things like dander, pollen, bacteria, viruses, and other tiny organisms to grow. This can be bad for your health when you are indoors.

Chemical pollutants

Products used in the household, such as paints, solvents, and adhesives, release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to indoor air pollution. Another common pollutant is formaldehyde, which can be found in certain building materials and furniture.


Radon, a radioactive gas, has a tendency to infiltrate building structures from the ground. It can build up inside homes and create big health problems, like giving people lung cancer.

Inadequate filtration

If your air filtration system is not adequately maintained, it could be negatively impacting the air quality indoors. Systems that are not taken care of well may not be able to get rid of air pollutants and instead, they may spread them around inside the building.

Also Read: Delhi pollution: Construction activities prohibited from November 14 to 17

Occupant activities

Everyday tasks done in the house like cooking, cleaning, and smoking can add pollutants to the air, which can make the air inside not good for breathing.

HVAC systems

Improperly installed, cleaned, or maintained HVAC systems can help spread pollutants throughout the area. This can make the air inside your home very bad.

Ways to improve indoor air quality

Enhancing indoor air quality doesn't need to be a complex task. Routine upkeep and regular cleaning are enough to prevent indoor air pollution. Here is a clear explanation on how you can make the air inside your home better.

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Increase ventilation

Open doors and windows as much as possible to let in fresh outdoor air and reduce indoor pollutants. In areas with high moisture levels like kitchens and bathrooms, be sure to have extra mechanical ventilation such as exhaust fans to eliminate moisture and pollutants from activities like cooking or showering. Setting up a whole-house ventilation system, like a heat or energy recovery ventilator, can help keep fresh air circulating and reduce wasted energy.

Control indoor humidity

Dehumidifiers are useful for managing moisture in spaces that are susceptible to high humidity levels, like basements or bathrooms. Humidity levels should ideally range from 30 to 50% in order to avoid the growth of mould and dust mites. Getting rid of extra water can really help make the air inside better.

Also Read: Air purifiers, Rest in Peace; these cost-effective curtains can tackle pollution.

Regular cleaning

Regularly vacuum carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture with a vacuum cleaner that has a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter for best results. This aids in capturing airborne particles such as dust, pet dander, and other allergens. Collect and get rid of dust without spreading it in the air by wiping surfaces with a wet or static-removing cloth.

Reduce indoor pollution sources

Reduce the release of toxic chemicals into the indoor atmosphere by opting for environmentally friendly or low-VOC options of household and cleaning items. Limit indoor smoking and promote quitting smoking to lower exposure to secondhand smoke due to the harmful effects of cigarette smoke on air quality.

Limit indoor combustion

When using gas stoves, ovens, or fireplaces, make sure there is adequate ventilation to decrease the accumulation of dangerous combustion byproducts such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Keep track of how much carbon monoxide is in your house by putting in detectors that can find high levels and warn you about any dangers.

Maintain HVAC systems

Make sure HVAC systems are functioning properly by arranging routine inspections and maintenance. Inspect filters, ductwork, and coils to confirm they are in good working condition to prevent trapping and circulating pollutants. Change the filters regularly as recommended by the manufacturer and think about using good HEPA filters to catch bad stuff in the air.

Use air purifiers

Portable air purifiers with HEPA filters are able to effectively trap and eliminate airborne pollutants such as dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and allergens. For best results, put the air purifier in rooms where people are often and there is a lot of dirty air.

Bring in plants

A variety of houseplants are recognized for their ability to purify the air by eliminating harmful substances. Spider plants, peace lilies, snake plants, and pothos are among the plants that require minimal upkeep and can effectively enhance indoor air quality. Place these plants in the best spots in the room to get the most out of how they look and how they can be used.

Test for radon

Test the radon levels in your home by using a testing kit bought from a trusted supplier or seek assistance from a certified professional for radon measurement. If you find high levels, take action by sealing cracks in the foundation and installing a mechanical mitigation system. These things can make indoor radon levels go down and make it less dangerous for our health.

Also Read: 14 Methods to Minimize Indoor Air Pollution

Frequently Asked Questions

Ans 1. Healthy indoor air has moderate humidity, good oxygen levels and low concentrations of airborne particles and harmful gases. Poor IAQ can have a negative impact on human health and cause expensive structural damage to buildings.

Ans 2. Keep airborne chemical levels between 0-250 ppb to improve overall building satisfaction. Airborne chemicals (VOCs) consist of many substances of varying toxicity. However, there should be less than 250 ppb of any one chemical in an average indoor environment.

Ans 3. On days when the AQI is more than 300, everyone should avoid outdoor physical activity and remain indoors. Keep in mind “inside” isn't a sealed off clean-air bubble—your indoor air can be polluted by pet dander, mold spores, dust, smoke and smog from the outside or even airborne particles from candles and cooking.

Ans 4. Simple things you can do to improve your indoor air quality include: Reduce dust by vacuuming regularly and using a microfiber or damp cloth for dusting. Reduce humidity to avoid mold and mildew buildup and change appliance filters regularly. And make sure to test your home for dangerous gases like radon.

Ans 5. Check your house for toxins by installing carbon monoxide detectors and a continuous air quality monitor. You can also test for lead, mold, and radon levels with specific at-home test kits.