What affects air quality?

There are many causes for poor air quality, both natural and unnatural.

As breathing beings, we need oxygen to live and convert it into CO2 in our bodies. If this CO2 remains in a room, we have already significantly deteriorated our air quality.

Lighting a fire, or burning other raw materials in heaters or our vehicles, worsens our air quality.

Even cleaning with cleaning agents affects our breathing air indoors.

But let's take a closer look at some of these things to understand how much impact our actions can actually have.

Combustion Processes

Imagine we're refueling a car. Maybe it can hold 60 liters of gasoline. Let's assume this is about 60 kg in weight.

We drive around, and eventually, the tank is empty. The 60 kg of fuel is gone. But where did it go? Nothing on the planet can just disappear. So where are the entire 60 kg?

What was previously liquid in the tank has been converted into gases with oxygen and released into the environment through the exhaust. Along with relatively harmless components, highly toxic substances are also produced, which now drift in our breathing air.

The same is true for heating with wood, oil, or gas. It may seem like everything rises and stays high up in the atmosphere, but unfortunately, that's not the case. The most harmful substances, much heavier than air, sink to the ground once they cool down, like fog on a field early in the morning, but completely invisible.

Cleaning Agents

You might wonder why cleaning the apartment or washing clothes worsens air quality. Shouldn't it be the other way around? But far from it.

Let's look at what happens when cleaning in the apartment. Typically, hard floors are mopped with water and a cleaning agent. But what happens to the rest of the cleaning agent on the floor? The used cleaning agent evaporates into our room air. And here again the question: Would you drink the cleaning agent? Probably not. But why then do you voluntarily inhale it?

It may seem like a small amount, but think of all the cleaning and washing agents you have ever used. This entire amount ends up in the breathing air sooner or later, in one way or another. Some of it immediately during cleaning, some while the floor is drying. Other substances we use to clean the laundry. The pleasant scent that remains after washing is also a substance that is released from the cleaned laundry into our breathing air. Does anyone know if that's really healthy?

Whether harmful or not, these are additional substances we artificially add to our breathing air, which do not occur in the natural environment. Mostly unnecessary and often unnoticed.

However, not cleaning or washing is also not an alternative. Then bacteria and germs accumulate over time on surfaces and in clothing. The most important thing is to maintain a reasonable measure in everything and to use cleaning and washing agents sparingly.

Mold, Dust, Bacteria, Viruses

Besides the substances that we spread in the air through our own actions, there are many other substances, especially in indoor environments, that can harm us.

It's not about each individual substance, but the total amount of all substances together that determines whether we get sick or not.

But before we start combating all viruses and bacteria with disinfectant, we should ask ourselves: If the disinfectant kills bacteria and viruses, what impact does it have on us when we inhale it?

One thing should be clear: Our body can usually deal with viruses and bacteria and fight them off on its own. However, it is powerless against gases and inhaled disinfectants. So, before fogging the whole apartment with disinfectant spray or wiping it down with cleaning agents that then evaporate into the room air, we should ask ourselves whether this is really necessary. Proper ventilation not only transports CO2 and other pollutants out of the room but also reduces viruses and bacteria in the space.


Odors are nothing more than particles and gases that are present in a space. If it smells bad, it is a sign of something that does not belong in our indoor air.

If we now resort to a room spray to make the odors 'disappear', the underlying problems and thus possible pollutants are still in the room. So, we are not solving the problem, but creating a new one - the room spray, which is now additionally present in the breathing air.

Before we tackle odors with other means, we should first find out their cause. However, bad odors are often already caused by insufficient ventilation. If they have developed due to very long insufficient ventilation, it will also take correspondingly long to remove them from the house.