You know outdoor pollution is bad. You certainly wouldn’t want to climb to the top of the tallest building in L.A. and take a few deep breaths. But did you know that some indoor air can be just as bad for you?! According to John Girman, the Environmental Protection Agency’s indoor-air science advisor, concentrations of air-pollutants are usually 2 to 5 times higher INDOORS than outdoors. Everything from your candles to your shower habits can affect how well you breathe in your own home. So, here are a few things you need to know, courtesy of Shape magazine.

  • Leave your shoes at the door. Your favorite pair can track in dirt, pollen and pesticides. So leave them outside and spring for a nice pair of slippers to “slip” into once you get home.
  • Buy solid wood. Bookshelves, entertainment centers, tables and other pieces of furniture are often built with pressed wood. Code words to look for on the label are “particle-board” or “medium density fiberboard.” And these pressed woods can contain formaldehyde – a chemical than can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks. It’s true – solid wood pieces are usually more expensive, but think of it as an investment in your health.
  • Switch to soy and beeswax candles. They’re renewable resources which burn cleaner and produce less soot than candles made from petroleum-based paraffin wax. Also, look for cotton wicks, not metal, and avoid lighting incense – which can release unhealthy amounts of something called “particulate matter.” That’s a mix of extremely small particles and liquid droplets that can irritate your respiratory tract and skin.
  • Run a fan while taking a shower. Excessive moisture and humidity create a breeding ground for mold – which can cause rashes and hay fever-like symptoms. And all the scrubbing in the world won’t help if you don’t have good ventilation. So run a fan and keep the windows open for at least 10 minutes after you’ve finished.