Examining the Benefits of Salt Lamps: Do Himalaya Salt Lamps Purify the Air and Slow Mold Growth?
Himalayan salt lamps are so ubiquitous — in homes, but also in yoga studios, restaurants, and other commercial ventures with an alternative flavor — that you will almost certainly know what they look like. To some people, these salt lamps are simply aesthetically-pleasing light sources. Others, however, claim that having Himalayan salt lamps in your space offers significant health benefits, and that often includes their manufacturers. The idea that salt lamps have the potential to act as natural air purifiers is especially prevalent.
Is there any scientific evidence to back the claims proponents make up? Given the fact that salt does inhibit the growth of certain kinds of mold, when applied in specific ways, could having a Himalayan salt lamp in your home even slow mold growth? Let’s take an in-depth look.
What Is Himalayan Salt?
Himalayan salt, also called Himalayan pink salt or simply pink salt, is rock salt mined from the Punjab in Pakistan; a region close to the Himalayas. The various minerals present in Himalayan pink salt, like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and of course sodium give this salt its characteristic pink or salmon color.
As a rock salt (halite), Himalayan salt is different from other types of salt you may use as seasoning. Both sea salt and brine salt — today the most common way to manufacture table salt — are obtained by using a process of evaporation. Halite may, as a rock, be mined in various sizes, making it possible to create products that range from lamps and candle holders to the types of tiles you may encounter in so-called salt rooms.
What Are Himalayan Salt Lamps?
Himalayan salt lamps are table lamps made with Himalayan salt rocks of various sizes. Underneath their chunky exterior, they are hollowed out and equipped with light fixtures and electric wiring. Anyone who is considering purchasing a salt lamp simply because they like the way these lamps look should, it goes without saying, simply go ahead and place their order. However, as these lamps have grown in popularity, many people bring Himalayan salt lamps into their spaces because they are hoping to reap the supposed health benefits. If you are one of them, you may first want to know to what extent the many claims made about Himalayan salt lamps have scientifically been investigated.
What Claims Are Made About the Health Benefits of Salt Lamps?
Some people believe that Himalayan salt lamps:
Salt lamps are, however, best known because they are said to act as air purifiers within a space. Just like you might be advised to gargle with salt water when you have a sore throat, some people believe that having a Himalayan salt lamp in your home — or, preferably, in every room — has the same soothing effect on a more systemic level. Salt lamps can, according to some, filter out household dust, outdoor air pollution that came into your home, and reduce the growth of mold.
Many of the purported benefits of keeping an array of salt lamps in the home are related to the idea that these lamps release negative ions.
What Evidence Exists to Support Claims About the Health Benefits of Himalayan Salt Lamps?
You may have heard about “halotherapy”, a type of alternative medicine or a spa treatment that involves breathing in salty air. While various approaches to halotherapy exist, so-called “salt caves” or “salt rooms” are among the most popular, and very often, Himalayan salt rock is used to facilitate the process.
There are some studies to suggest that this type of immersive halotherapy can have certain health benefits. It is possible, for instance, that halotherapy can help to improve the respiratory symptoms people with lung conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and allergies suffer from. Because other research contradicts these findings, however, this is not certain. The other health claims are simply unproven at this point.
When it comes to mold prevention, it is crucial to note that professional salt caves maintain extremely low humidity levels with the help of entire air filtration systems, as well as that people spending time in these facilities would inhale larger concentrations of salty air. Not only is the evidence that salt lamps emit negative ions — which do have proven health benefits — weak, one single salt lamp in your home would not generate that many.
Salt, in general, does absorb water, and that means that any Himalayan salt lamps in your home may trap some harmful particles, such as dust and VOCs, on their surfaces. It it also important to keep in mind that when saturation levels are reached, meaning the lamp has attracted more water than it can absorb, this process would stop. In a high-humidity environment, that would happen quickly.
In short, there is no solid evidence that placing a salt lamp — or even many salt lamps — in your home will promote your general wellbeing and health in any significant way. Of course, there is also no reason to believe that salt lamps pose a risk to your health, unless having one in your home prevents you from taking other steps to improve your indoor air quality.
Do Himalayan Salt Lamps Inhibit Mold Growth?
Salt can — in all its forms — be a potent antimicrobial agent. It is for this very reason that salt has been used to preserve food since ancient times. Don’t try this at home, but if you were to leave, for instance, a dish of unsalted fries out alongside a dish of heavily-salted fries, you would almost certainly notice that mold appears on the salted side of the experiment much more slowly. That would be a “yes”, then — salt does inhibit mold growth, and it does so primarily by dehydrating the mold.
This fact does not, in any way, mean that having a Himalayan salt lamp in a room is going to solve a mold infestation in that room, or even that it will prevent the appearance of mold. You should also be aware of the fact that certain mold species, including some that belong to the Penicillium family (some of which are harmful to human health), are resistant to salt. Research into this subject was carried out in the same broader region where Himalayan salt is mined.
There are other and far more effective ways to control mold in your home, and among them are:
Would Your Home Benefit from a Mold Inspection?
If you have been considering ways to improve your indoor air quality, it may be because you have either seen or smelled mold within your home. Long-term exposure to harmful molds can have a variety of negative health consequences, beginning with uncomfortable respiratory symptoms, skin rashes, and red and itchy eyes.
Remediating a mold infestation on your property starts with knowing exactly what is going on — and MI&T can assist you with that. As a nationwide mold inspection only company, MI&T has no vested interests or commercial biases. We are not trying to sell you a mold remediation plan that you may not need. Our professional mold inspectors simply perform a thorough visual mold inspection, including of places that are unlikely to be on your radar, and then take air samples to be sent to an independent lab.
With a full mold inspection report from MI&T in hand, you will know exactly what types of mold are present in your home, where they originated, and what steps you would need to take to eliminate the problem. Rather than trying to control an issue that has grown out of hand with salt lamps, a mold inspection lets you know how to treat the root cause of the mold infestation.
Once your mold remediation process has been completed, MI&T can come back to check that your home is now, truly, free of harmful molds — so that you can enjoy clean indoor air without worries.