How to Immediately Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Air quality is on all our minds these days even if it didn’t seem like a high priority before. I’ve spent the past year scouring the interwebs for cost effective ways to improve indoor air quality.

While I didn’t find anything (reputable) for home use that is proven to filter out viruses, I did find a number of unexpected products with HEPA filtration, solid MERV ratings, and that will upgrade your ventilation. My thinking is any way we can protect our baseline health and keep the air clean, fresh and circulating is one less risk we face.

When I finally switched to a robot vacuum cleaner, I wondered why I waited so long. This little automated helper removes dust and pet hair with a precision brooms and other vacuums I’ve owned couldn’t touch. With a replaceable HEPA filter and lots of other replacement parts available, this has been for me an excellent investment.

Added bonuses are how much time it saves that you can now be using for other things, and that kids and pets are entertained by it (and internet techs, too, if you happen to be on a troubleshooting call when the cat decides to take it for a joy ride). I haven’t used the mop function but I liked having the option.

The reason I haven’t used the mop function is because upgrading to this steam mop was a game changer.

You can sanitize your floors with nothing but water (hello, less expense and lower carbon footprint when you say goodbye to all those cleaning products you no longer need), it’s safe for all kinds of hard floor surfaces, and the heat action means you don’t need to apply any pressure at all to clean the floors.

If you have access to your HVAC system, these MERV 13 filters are the easiest way to upgrade your indoor air quality year round.

With the highest MERV rating available for residential sized furnaces, this pack of furnace filters even removes bacteria from the air.

A tip I just learned is to switch the fan on your thermostat to “on” instead of “auto.” When it runs continuously, it’s continuously filtering the air (versus only when the heat or AC kicks on).

If you don’t have access to the HVAC, I found the best workaround: MERV 13 filter cloth that can be cut to any size. You can pop off your register covers and put a layer of this, cut to size, there and then replace the register cover. If you cut it just a little bigger than the opening, the edge of the register cover holds it in place. While there are some pre-cut standard sizes of similar products, it’s much more cost effective in this big sheet and you can use it where ever you need it.

When I had use for these, I doubled up and used both the MERV 13 and this carbon filter cloth under each register.

Other possible uses for these cut-to-size filter materials: cut to fit behind your existing space heater’s filter (like a quartz heater) for extra air filtration. Cut to fit a fan and attach to the back for extra air purifying. Use the carbon filters as replacement cat litter box filters.

I’ve also been really happy with this reasonably priced air filter. It’s compact, shows you when the particulates are high (light some incense to see that in action), tells you when it’s time to replace the filter, and covers 500 square feet.

It’s not too loud even on the highest setting and very quiet on the lower settings. Each filter lasts several months and the replacement filters are inexpensive.

This window fan has been very reliable. My priorities on this were durable and quiet. After looking at many, I thought some had too many possible electronic failure points (in my experience, buttons that are flush with the surface of the appliance are finicky and tend to wear out faster).

It’s super convenient that you can switch from exhaust to intake without having to turn the whole thing around, and you can even have one of each going at the same time. It’s quiet, easy on the wallet, and has been running steadily for two seasons now.

On the topic of fans, while the trusty box fan may be loud, I have a life hack for that. If you have a dog that gets scared of fireworks, get a box fan. A box fan makes enough white noise to drown out the sound of the fireworks so Fido can stay relaxed. Also useful for light sleepers or early morning construction next door.

One of the simplest improvements I can suggest to limit particulates drifting around your castle is this recycled material doormat with the most clever design. The honeycomb-like pattern catches dirt and it falls down into the crevices, where it stays instead of getting tracked all over your space. All the better, it’s made of recycled rubber! I spent a hot minute trying to find recycled material doormats. And then this one exceeded my expectations with its ingenious use of gravity.

I was so impressed with these I got two. Even using your robot vacuum daily, you will be amazed how much was getting tracked in from outside – and formerly all over your floors – when you pick this up to vacuum.

Air Quality Improvements with Extra Ambiance

This little gadget has served me well for four or so years. It’s a wall plug-in with compressed cellulose pads that you drop essential oils onto for slow release into the air.

It’s excellent for making a small space smell a little more pleasant without overwhelming it. Each refill pad lasts months and is biodegradable, making these green and cost effective.

If you prefer a cool mist essential oil diffuser, see this one that I recommended among my Home Office Must-Haves for 2021.

The glow of this Himalayan salt tea light candle holder is a calming addition. These are made of rock salt – which is also what the trendy salt caves are filled with.

You’re probably aware that burning even an unscented candle neutralizes odors, making these great for the kitchen or bath. My favorite candles for this are these soy wax tea lights.

These unscented soy candles fit in any candle holder, burn cleanly for 5 hours, have cotton wicks, and you can recycle the aluminum they come in.

Throw in some plants to help with your indoor air filtration and you are well on your way to breathing a little easier.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchasesI share links to products I personally have positive experiences with and would buy again. I look for durable, eco-friendly, high performance goods and put extensive time into researching reviews, price and product comparisons before I purchase anything – because I hate shopping and even more than that, I hate having to throw away broken things that weren’t acceptable quality. So what you’ll read here are my curated bests of the best.