9 simple steps to reduce indoor pollution and help kids breathe easy!

You and I are not the only ones smoking in our kid’s face, most of the world is. And I am talking about more than cigarettes and tobacco here. I am talking about that air freshener that your cabin crew sprays in the plane just before shutting the door on the fresh air. I am pin-pointing to the perfume that you spray on your munchkin’s dress. I am warning you against the incense, the mosquito-coils and even the coal fire that you enjoy weekend barbeques on. Outdoor pollution is our known neighbour now. But what about our dangerous, poisonous and life threatening flatmate called indoor pollution?


Who is keeping a tab on it? Not the companies that are making products which emit CO2, Sulphide, Nitrogen or have Aerosol and other ingredients that even mimic estrogen. Not our fellow citizens whose reckless desires and actions have punched a hole in the ozone layer. And certainly not us with our ignorance. No wonder then that the air is full of chemicals and hospitals are packed with sick kids. The roads are full of cars and our lungs are jammed with toxins. In India things are worse what with 13 out of world’s most polluted cities being here.


So when I was invited to be a part of the NDTV and Philips ‘Breathe Clean Conclave’ I felt both panic and relief. Here is a brilliant initiative that is bringing the government and citizens together on a life-threatening issue. After all as Vikram Chandra, the CEO NDTV group summed it up “How can one chose not to breathe? So clean air has to be our right”. It was alarming to know that the pollutants have reduced in size and are invisible, odourless and highly penetrative in nature. These settle into our lungs, reach our blood and then corrode our bodies from within. It was comforting to know how people were inventing ways to beat indoor pollution. Living in a Bubble was a promising idea by an architect, Vogmask was another existing solution to toxic surroundings.

However as a mother I am looking for instant clean-up. The small steps that can go a long way into protecting my little ones today and tomorrow.


No shoes inside the home: Ask visitors to leave them in a shoe-rack outside your main door and provide them with house-slippers instead. Shoes carry enough and more pollutants, bacteria and viruses to your house. According to abcnews.go.com a child less than 2 yrs, puts his hands in his mouth at least 80 times an hour on an average. Guess what all goes from the shoes to their body.

Clean your house with natural agents: Most of the house cleaning liquids have ingredients that are neurotoxin, carcinogenic and hormone altering. So find those alternate and healthy options to these poisons. For e.g.- My mother-in-law always gets 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice or just plain salt added to a bucket of water for mopping the floor.

Open the windows: Ok the air outside is polluted too. But with your carpets, rugs, upholstery, curtains and all the cosmetics etc your indoors are more polluted than the streets outside your gate. So make sure you leave the windows open and allow good ventilation.


Ditch that perfume: Have you heard of phthalates? Yes the ones that are known to be endocrine disruptors and can have adverse effect on sperm counts and puberty. If you are checking the ingredient list and find it absent I suggest you look for ‘Parfum’ or ‘fragrance’. This is the term that companies use to protect the product-secret and in the bargain hide the chemicals that they use.


Pray, that incense is burning your kid’s lungs: I don’t know if it makes god happy or not but it is upsets your kid’s body system. Incense is being studied across the globe for releasing cancer causing chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). For more information read Incense and its dangers.

Indoor air-filtering plants: Get that greenery into your rooms and purify your indoor air naturally. Read about NASA recommended plants and if these are good to purify the air at the space station then why no your homes? These include plants that use CO2 to produce oxygen and also absorb the toxins in the indoor air. I personally have Tulsi all over my house as I really do believe in its healing and cleansing powers. Read more here Garden Herb your kids can so benefit from.

Outdoor has a direct impact: This one is a no brainer. When you open your windows and let in the air it does come from your surroundings. Experts believe that at least in Delhi, early morning air is really polluted. So you do need to time the window opening ceremony in your house. Possibly when the traffic outside your house is at its lowest.


Vacuum clean your rugs, carpets, window mash: You have no idea what all is sitting hidden inside that fabric or weaves. You need to pull it out with vacuum cleaners and then throw them out of your house. Regularly and frequently are the key words here.

Sleep in mosquito nets rather than spraying chemicals: Every time I apply those mosquito-repellant creams on my kid’s skin or burn those coils around I try to lie to myself that they are safe. Although I doubt that a thing that kills one has no adverse reaction on the other. What are our options then – herbal repellant, anti-mosquito plants like citronella and Holy Basil, sleeping under the net and keeping the windows mesh in place and cleanliness.

Well you might think this is me over-reacting after one conclave. Well I challenge you to hear the experts on NDTV Breathe Clean and then ignore my worries. I have joined the initiative and pledged to do my bit by spreading the knowledge that I have gained. Although I can pat my back for celebrating a Green Diwali, free of crackers since couple of years. Hope you are joining us!

This is not a sponsored article. KetchupMoms was invited as a parenting group to be a part of NDTV Breathe Clean Conclave. This is an honest attempt to learn, share and bring a change in the environment so that our kids can breathe easy.

Comments (1)

Choose to breathe safe with Moonbow Air Purifier | KetchupMoms Posted on Dec 15, 2015

[…] known to be endocrine disruptors and can have adverse effect on sperm counts and puberty)  we can reduce indoor pollution. Till then, Moonbow Air Purifiers are your best […]

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Charu Chhitwal

Charu Chhitwal, Founder KetchupMoms has daring tastebuds, a love for travel and an owl for her soul. It’s little wonder then that she loves to write and share her tips and tricks on traveling, food,

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