Holiday Indoor Air Pollution: How to Combat the Risks

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Christmas tree holiday indoor air pollution

One of the things that really seems to help get people in the holiday spirit is when they smell a scent that reminds them of something from their childhood. The smell of fresh-baked Christmas cookies, just like the ones mom used to make, can bring a smile to almost anyone’s face. Walking into a room that is filled with the aroma of fresh pine, spruce or fir may trigger an instant reaction that will make a person close their eyes, breathe deeply and exhale with a sigh of relief. The wafting aroma of hot apple cider or warm cocoa will have most kids (and adults) headed to the kitchen in very short order. When introduced naturally these types of scents can provide a wonderful warmth and a rush of good memories to any holiday setting. On the down side not everyone has the time, money, interest or means to bring these familiar holiday scents into the comfort of their own home. Some feel they have no choice but to turn to an imitation. Opting for the “quick fix” or “natural smelling” substitute that can be found in candles, aerosol sprays and other chemical concoctions is not the way to go. Most of the products produced for the purpose of simulating holiday scents only serve to increase the levels of harmful indoor air pollution in a person’s home and introduce a slew of deadly toxins into their bodies.

To protect yourself, and everyone else you plan on having enter your home this winter, you are going to need to know how to combat the risks associated with holiday indoor air pollution. Here are some of the most simple and natural ways to minimize indoor air pollution and reduce the introduction of harmful toxins this holiday season:

  • When the weather is cold people tend to seal up their homes, use the heater or fireplace to help keep warm and do everything possible to avoid letting the cold air in. The problem with this is that keeping your home sealed up tight during the holiday season allows toxic chemicals to build up. By opening a few windows now and again to allow the fresh air in and the stale air out, you will help lessen the air pollution in your home and rid your home of built up toxins. Even if you use non-toxic cleaners, having lots of guests traipsing in and out of your home over the holidays can bring in unwanted chemicals, dirt, dust, mold and other harmful pollutants. Fresh air has also been known to lift people’s spirits and brighten their moods. We all want that during the holidays, right?
  • Should you want to do a little cleaning before your guests arrive I suggest making your own natural cleaners or using natural products. These 5 foods make great eco-friendly cleaners. Oranges, white vinegar, tea bags, club soda, olive oil, salt and hydrogen peroxide can be  just as effective at removing dust, dirt and grime as other cleaners filled with chemicals. The main difference? You aren’t introducing more toxins into your home.
  • Use can also use green tea to help refresh your home before guests arrive.
  • To help reduce the volume of pollutants that get into your home this holiday season, be sure to put a mat at your door. Having people wipe their shoes before they enter will get rid of a lot of dirt and other contaminants that would otherwise get stuck in your carpets and floors. These “Dr. Doormats” seem like they might be a smart way to go.
  • If you want to bring in some of those natural holiday scents you have come to enjoy, grab your slow cooker or crock pot and brew up one of these three natural holiday room scents. Using organic foods and other natural materials to produce holiday aromas will bring back those happy memories without adding in dangerous chemicals.
  • Scented candles and air fresheners are never the way to go. Besides making holiday scents in the slow cooker, you can also make your house smell like cookies, candy, pine and other holiday scents, by opting for the natural version instead. Bake some cookies. Make your own candy. Bring in a living pine tree.
  • Another handy helper when it comes to combating indoor air pollution is a plant. Give it a try. Decorating your home with some of these indoor plants that naturally combat air pollution can help bring some of the outdoors in to help get the toxins out.

Another action you can and should take to help ensure your body does not get loaded down by the toxins and other pollutants responsible for causing indoor air pollution is to get outdoors. Going for a walk, taking a jog, riding your bike or even just spending a little time outside every day will help clear your mind, body and soul. All it takes is a few simple steps and you’ll be on the way to combating the risks posed by indoor air pollution and a much happier and healthier holiday season for you and your family.

Image by Jeremy Bronson via Flickr Creative Commons

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2 Comments

  1. These are so helpful ideas! I’m just finished the big pre-holiday cleaning at home and your advises gave me some great ideas on bringing in some holiday spirit and cleaning the air around. Thank you for sharing these precious information!

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