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How to Improve Air Quality in Your Home

Woman petting a cat on a yoga mat, plants and Briiv air purifier are in the background

Improving the air quality in your home means breathing easier, and reducing your risk of developing health problems. In this guide we discuss what air pollution is, and how you can reduce it in your home.

What is Air Pollution?

Air pollution is air that has been contaminated by a harmful substance. This could be particulate matter (such as dust), gases, or harmful chemicals.

Common indoor air pollutants include dust, pet allergens, CO2, CO, NO2, and VOCs.

How Does Air Quality Affect Your Health?

Bad air quality can have a negative impact on your health. Below are the ways that common air pollutants can affect you:

Particulate Matter

Particulate matter (PM) are tiny particles of liquids or solids that are found in the air. This includes particles such as dust, dirt, pet dander, soot, or smoke.

Inhaling particulate matter can cause allergic reactions, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, shortness of breath, or eye, nose, throat and lung irritation.
They can also worsen symptoms of existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma.

PM exposure has also been associated with many health conditions, such as:

  • Heart or lung disease
  • Heart attacks
  • Asthma
  • Respiratory inflammation
  • Cancer
Woman helping child use an inhaler for asthma


Gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are considered as air pollutants. These gases can affect your health in various ways.

Man with headache

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Low levels of CO2 are not harmful to our health. In fact, CO2 is naturally found in the air. We breathe CO2 out in our exhale as part of respiration. Carbon dioxide is also released by open flames and heaters.

Although fine in low concentrations, breathing in high levels of carbon dioxide over time can be harmful. These high levels are often caused by poor ventilation. The effects include drowsiness, impaired thinking, dizziness, and headaches.

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Carbon monoxide can be released in your home through the incomplete burning of carbon based fuel such as natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas. This happens when there is not enough oxygen in the air.

Exposure to a small amount of carbon monoxide can cause headaches, flushing, nausea, dizziness, vertigo, muscle pain, or personality changes.

Being exposed to higher levels can cause confusion, movement problems, weakness, lung and heart problems, loss of consciousness, and death.

Clipboard with text "Diagnosis: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning"
  • It is extremely important to have at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home. CO is odourless, and so cannot be detected without one.
Sick man wrapped in blanket, checking temperature with hand

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)

Nitrogen dioxide, produced through combustion, can damage your respiratory system and make you more susceptible to infections when inhaled in high concentrations.

Households with gas stoves or unvented gas-space heaters are more likely to have higher concentrations of NO2 in their homes.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compound is a type of chemical that evaporates easily and contains carbon. Many types of VOCs are completely harmless. However, some can have negative effects on our health. The more harmful kinds of VOCs are commonly released through cooking, non-electric heating appliances, paints, or cleaning products.

Exposure to high levels of VOCs can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, and nausea. Inhaling VOCs over a long time can damage the liver, kidneys and central nervous system.

Spraying kitchen cleaning product onto white surface

How Can You Improve Indoor Air Quality?

1. Good Ventilation

The best and most effective way to improve the quality of air in your home is with good ventilation. Ventilation allows harmful air pollutants to escape, and fresh air to enter.

Below are some tips on how you can keep a well ventilated home.

Open Windows

Opening your windows is the cheapest and easiest way to provide ventilation. However, you still need to be mindful when doing so. This is because, at certain times of the day, you may actually be allowing outside pollutants to enter your home.

If you live near a busy road or train station, avoid opening your windows during high traffic hours. Furthermore, if you suffer from hay fever avoid opening windows in the morning when the pollen count is up.

We recommend checking your local air pollution levels on a regular basis to know when the best days are for keeping your windows open, and when it’s best to keep them closed.

Man reading by an open window
Opening Windows Whilst Cleaning or Decorating

Keeping a well ventilated area is important whilst using cleaning products or decorating your home. Many cleaning products, paints, and varnishes release VOCs which can be harmful to your health. Opening a window will allow these VOCs to escape. You can also find low VOC paint to reduce the amount released into your home.

Opening a Window to Help With Damp and Mould

Opening a window can help prevent damp and mould growth. Mould is more likely to grow in a warm, humid environment. By opening your window on a dry day, you allow the air flow to cool down your home, mould spores to escape, and moisture to dry up.

Person in biohazard suit cleaning mould on ceiling

Mould contributes to air pollution. This is because mould releases spores into the air. Although spores are always naturally found in the air, increased amounts can trigger asthma and cause respiratory problems. Therefore, it’s important to do what you can to prevent mould growth.

Use Cooker Hoods and Extraction Fans

When you cook, lots of particles are released into the air. These particles include smoke, grease, and moisture. To prevent them from spreading, we recommend using a cooker hood. These will remove the particles from the air, helping you keep air pollution to a minimum.

For the best extraction results, you should choose a cooker hood with an extraction rate that’s at least 10x higher than the volume of your kitchen. For example, if your kitchen measures at 25 cubic metres (width x height x depth in metres), you’ll need an extraction rate of at least 250m³/h. However, the higher the extraction rate, the quicker and more efficient your cooker hood will be at removing pollutants from your air.

Miele DAPUR98W 90cm Chimney Hood – STAINLESS STEEL

For better air quality in moisture rich rooms, such as the bathroom, use an extraction fan. These fans remove excess moisture from the air, which prevents damp and mould growth.

Avoid Unvented Heaters

Unvented gas heaters can be a problem in your home. Gas heaters create heat through burning natural gas. This creates air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and water vapour.

The negative effects of these gases have been explained above. It’s therefore crucial to ensure that there is adequate ventilation when these heaters are used. Alternatively, you can invest in electric heaters, which don’t produce these by-products.

Avoid Wood Burning Stoves or Fireplaces

Similarly to gas heaters, burning wood produces many by-products. These include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, water vapour, and more. Although both wood burning stoves and fireplaces are generally ventilated, many of the by-products don’t escape. Instead, they stick around and spread throughout your home. It’s therefore best to avoid these for a cleaner and fresher living environment.

Wood Burning Stove

Don’t Smoke Indoors

Woman lighting a cigarette at home with a big red cross over the image

Everyone knows that smoking isn’t healthy, and so it may seem obvious to say that the worst place to smoke is indoors. Many toxic chemicals are released into the air when smoking, including carbon monoxide and tar. Not only is this dangerous for you, it’s also dangerous to anybody else visiting your home. These chemicals can linger in your home for hours, days, weeks, or even longer.

2. Frequent Cleaning

Keeping a clean home through frequent cleaning will reduce the amount of dust, dirt, and pet allergens floating around in your home. The areas to focus on to reduce these polluting particles are surfaces, flooring, and upholstery. Carpets can be particularly difficult to keep clean.

HEPA Vacuum Cleaners

A HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuum cleaner contains specialised filters to trap even the tiniest of particles. This helps to purify the air around you, and give a much deeper and long lasting clean.

Many of our high performing vacuum cleaners contain a HEPA filter. With frequent cleaning, you can quickly and efficiently remove unwanted particles from your home.

Samsung Jet vacuum cleaner five step filtration for clean air

Use Less-Polluting Cleaning Products

Cleaning your home will help you to reduce air pollutants in your home. However, many cleaning products contain harmful chemicals themselves!

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are often found within cleaning products. These compounds can have a negative effect on our health and wellbeing. To reduce the amount of VOCs released into your home, we suggest using natural or eco friendly cleaning products as often as possible. If you do ever need to use more powerful cleaning products, keep the area well ventilated by opening a window and using a cooker hood or extraction fan.

3. Using an Air Purifier

Our final recommendation for improved air quality in your home is using an air purifier. These small appliances are built for removing allergens, dust, mould, and VOCs. They’re perfect for those with dust or pet allergies, and hay fever sufferers. Even if you don’t have any allergies, they’re ideal for helping you breathe cleaner.

Improve your indoor air quality and health with our collection of powerful air purifiers.


Air Purifying Plants

Plant lovers will absolutely love this one. There are some plants that act as air purifiers! Of course, all plants take in carbon dioxide, which is always a benefit. However, some plants go a step further and can actually absorb pollutants such as VOCs!

According to a study by NASA, the best houseplants for air quality include spider plants, snake plants, aloe vera, chrysanthemums, and quite a few more. They recommend placing a plant roughly every 100 feet of your home for the best results.

Keep Pets Out of the Bedroom

This may be a no-brainer for those who are allergic to pet dander. The less exposure to pets equals better control of your allergies. However, keeping them out of your bedroom is also beneficial for those with hay fever. Pollen is sticky stuff, and often gets stuck to your pets fur. If you allow them into your bedroom, they’re likely to spread pollen all over your sheets and pillow! It’s up to you if you’re willing to take that sacrifice though.

4. Service Gas Appliances

When using gas appliances, there’s always a risk of a carbon monoxide leak. It’s extremely important to have at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home for this reason.

To reduce the risk of a carbon monoxide leak, you should regularly service your gas appliances. At the very least, this will give you peace of mind that they are working properly and efficiently. At the most, a gas appliance servicing could save your life.


Improving air quality at home is crucial for better health and well being. By performing some practical solutions you can significantly improve the quality of the air at home. This includes proper ventilation, regular cleaning, and avoiding harmful practices, such as smoking indoors. Appliances such as air purifiers and HEPA vacuum cleaners can further aid in maintaining a cleaner environment.

Breathe easier and live better by prioritising air quality in your home.


  • What country has the worst air quality?

As of 2024, studies show that Bangladesh has the worst air quality in the world. This is followed by Pakistan and India.

  • Can bad air quality make you sick?

Yes, bad air quality can make you sick. Poor air quality can lead to many health conditions of differing severity, including allergies, asthma, coughing, shortness of breath, heart attacks, or even premature death.

  • What air quality is safe for infants and children?

Air quality is measured by Air Quality Index (AQI). The lower the AQI, the safer the air is to breathe. Children and infants are particularly vulnerable to poor air quality, and so ideally should only be exposed to an AQI reading of 0-50.

  • How does air quality affect mental health?

As well as having a negative effect on your physical health, research shows that air pollution can impact your mental wellbeing. This includes an increased risk of depression, anxiety, stress, psychological distress, and dementia.

For personalised advice, our friendly appliance experts are ready to assist on