Researchers now say indoor air can be 10 times more polluted than the air outdoors. This is due to the many toxic products we have in our homes, such as formaldehyde and benzene released from furniture, rugs, plastic and paints. These products can then trigger headaches, fatigue, wheezing, allergic reactions, or a blue mood. Many people are buying air purifiers but not only are they costly to buy but they use electricity – another cost.
Of course eliminating products that out gas and using no VOC paint products is the best way to start. However, there are many natural ways to address the problems which are decorative as well as effective:
1) BAMBOO –
In Korea, you notice bamboo is used everywhere to clean the air. Not bamboo as a stalk in its green state. When bamboo is baked at ultra-high temperatures, it turns into absorbent charcoal. This charcoal becomes an odor magnet which then draws in bad odors and also hazardous chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, and ammonia. People in Korea, as well as China and Japan have used bamboo in briquette form for hundreds of years to eliminate odors from kitchens, bathrooms, closets, shoes, etc. When I stepped into any school or business in Seoul, I always noticed large chunks of this kind of bamboo. Also whenever I purchased a green plant, a piece was stuck into the pot – perhaps making it doubly effective.
2) A SALT CRYSTAL LAMP – (see photo below)
When the salt gets heated by the low wattage bulb, salt crystals are released into the air and attach to impurities, weighing them down so they cannot circulate and you will not breathe them in. It will also neutralize pollutants and toxins, and it offers light therapy. I do find the glow very soothing – so perhaps that is light therapy at work. There are no longer any dust bunnies under my bed – and I am no longer aware of the endless amount of dust that used to float about in every ray of sunlight.
3) CINNAMON – (see photo below)
The photo that you will see is of real cinnamon. Unfortunately what we buy here in the USA is not real cinnamon – just something that looks a bit like it in quill form. It’s hard to say if the results will be the same. Studies show that the scent of cinnamon reduces fatigue, makes you feel happier, and increases your attention span. Simmer 1-2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon in a pan of water and the whole house will smell fresh and clean. Those scented air fresheners on the market actually create toxic air by releasing dozens of chemicals as well as carcinogens. Sometimes, I have to supplement heat on extra cold days by using a portable heater. On the top I put a pot of water, and crush a cinnamon quill (one is enough) and it does smell delightful!
True cinnamon quills
cinnamon quills from Sri Lanka
Source: photo by: BkCreative
4) BEESWAX CANDLES –
Only real beeswax will do, and they should be made from 100% natural beeswax. Regular candles on the market are often made solely from paraffin with added chemical scents; this then adds smoke and toxins to the air – whereas the beeswax literally cleans the air by producing pollution clearing negative ions (like the salt crystal lamp). The initial cost may be higher but then they last five times longer. Make sure it says 100% beeswax on the label.
5) A CACTUS –
My cat loved my cactus. She would regularly rub against it – making it a great backscratcher or cat-scratcher. Scientist in Switzerland have discovered that employees who suffer from tiredness and headaches feel more energized if a cactus is placed near their monitors. It is thought that cacti have compounds that counter the effects of electromagnetic pollution and radiation emitted from the screen.
6) WATER FOUNTAIN –
Once again it is the negative ions at play (or work), like the salt crystal lamp and the beeswax candles. The water fountain will wash away airborne germs. The flowing water will release negative ions – air molecules that have broken apart, that then attach themselves to air pollutants dragging them down so you cannot breathe them in. Researchers say the fountains are so effective at cleaning air – they work as well as a HEPA filter.
7) HOUSE PLANTS –
I think the most popular and most commonly used air cleaner is the house plant. Some work better than others. NASA scientists have found that houseplants, like spider plants, and flowers like mums and gerbera daisies can remove up to 87% of toxic indoor air all in one day; this includes carbon monoxide and cigarette smoke. Plants naturally have a built in filtration system that suck in hazardous particles and then neutralize them. Rooms with plants are said to contain half the amount of airborne microbes as rooms that do not have plants.
For much polluted environment like in New York City, I need all the help I can get and so far the items I have used I think have made a difference, e.g. plants, salt crystal lamp, and cinnamon.