Safest way to cook for indoor air quality?

Asked September 10, 2020, 11:42 AM EDT

Hi, with the air quality outside right now being as bad as it is our house is pretty well sealed up. I've read in a few places to avoid frying or broiling food, but I'm wondering if there are any other cooking methods (microwave, baking, toasting bread, boiling water, etc.) we should avoid or prefer in order to keep the indoor air quality as good as it can be (given the circumstances). I've also seen recommendations that humidifiers can help if you're having issues with air quality, and I'm wondering if boiling water would have the same effect if we don't have one? Thanks.

Linn County Oregon

3 Responses

Hello,

The outside air quality is at very unhealthy levels, unfortunately. We do recommend staying indoors. It sounds like you are already doing the right things to keep your indoor air as healthy as possible, by avoiding frying or broiling food. I always recommend using a ventilation hood over the stove any time you are cooking - even if just boiling water. Toasting bread would technically release some air contamination, but it would be relatively minimal. The other methods of cooking (baking, microwave, etc.) are all acceptable. Again, where possible, I recommend ventilating your stove when using it.

The humidifier is an interesting question. It won't have much impact on reducing indoor air contamination - it can be used to add moisture to the air, which if you have very dry air, that can help with overall comfort. So if your throat is very dry, a humidifier may help with that, but it won't actually remove the smoke and other contamination that may have entered your home due to the wildfires. Boiling water can add moisture to the air, but I do not know that it would have enough of an effect to make a difference. I do however, highly recommend drinking more water than usual, so you can ensure you are staying hydrated.

I hope this helps!

Best,
Diana

Thank you so much, that's super super helpful!