Where does indoor air pollution come from?

There’s more to a happy, healthy home for your family than keeping it clean and tidy – and it starts with good indoor air quality

When you think about air pollution, you probably envision hazy cityscapes, cars and trucks with smoke billowing from the exhausts, dust blown on the wind or heavy industry. However, the air inside our homes can be much poorer quality. In fact, indoor air is estimated to be up to two and a half times more polluted than that outside. Which is surprising until you learn where most of our indoor air pollution comes from.


Sources of indoor air pollution

There are a number of ways that the air inside our homes can become polluted, some of which are more obvious than others. One that you may be familiar with is smoke – from cigarettes, cooking, candles or incense, or a poorly ventilated solid fuel stove. There’s also mold from moisture on surfaces or spores in the air, pollen blown in from outside as well as allergens from household and cosmetic products and pet dander. However, there’s another source of air pollution you could be less aware of, called VOCs (volatile organic compounds).


VOCs are chemicals that easily become a vapor or a gas at room temperature. Examples of VOCs include benzene, acetone and formaldehyde, which are used in many everyday household products, such as upholstery fabrics, carpets, adhesives, solvents, vinyl floors, cleaning chemicals, air fresheners and building materials. VOCs can also be produced by smoking, cooking and printing, and can leak from stored containers of products. Consequently, the level of VOCs indoors is frequently far higher than outdoors.

Some VOCS can cause health issues at high concentrations in the short term. These include eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches and nausea. Young children, the elderly and those with asthma and respiratory conditions may also be more susceptible to the effects of VOCs. Long-term, chronic exposure can have more severe effects.  


How to reduce indoor air pollution

Because VOCs are present in so many household items, it’s very difficult to remove them permanently from your home. However, there are a few ways to improve the quality of your indoor air.

One is air purifiers. However, most of these are designed to capture larger particles, such as pollen and mold spores, and require an activated carbon filter to absorb VOCs. They’ll also need to be plugged in all the time and for the filters to be changed on a regular basis to maintain their efficacy.

Another option is indoor plants that clean the air by absorbing gases through their roots and leaves. The problem is that not all plants are able to do this, and the ones that can will only clean the air on a small scale. Plus, you’ll have to remember to keep them watered and healthy.

Fortunately, Dulux Better Living Air Clean Biobased paint goes one big step further. Inspired by nature, Dulux Better Living Air Clean Biobased paint works to continually clean the air in your home on a large scale. It’s been specially formulated with active bamboo charcoal and tea tree oil to remove harmful air pollutants, including formaldehyde.

It works by capturing harmful pollution from the air before neutralizing the particles, which are converted into harmless molecules and water vapor. In independent tests, Dulux Better Living Air Clean Biobased paint removed up to 80% of formaldehyde from the air – improving indoor air quality for a healthier home.

Improve indoor air quality

As well as cleaning the air, Dulux Better Living Air Clean Biobased paint has several additional benefits built in. It’s anti-bacterial, resistant to fungus, low odor and low VOC – meaning there’ll be fewer harmful air indoor particles in your home. Plus, it has no added lead or mercury and is USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) approved.

The more surfaces Dulux Better Living Air Clean Biobased paint is applied to, the greater the air purification effect. This is why it’s been created in a palette of easy living colors. Soothing and versatile, they’re perfect for any room of your home, and can be used to decorate ceilings as well as create beautiful, hard-working walls. So that you and your family can breathe easier at home.


Improving your indoor air quality naturally has never been so easy. Discover the science behind the paint now or see the full range and choice of 75 nature-inspired colors.