A healthy home environment is something everyone strives for…
You wash the table before you eat.
You vacuum the carpet on a regular schedule.
You hog-tie the dog and wipe the mud off his paws before letting him trample through the house.
But despite your best efforts, unseen dangers can compromise the safety of your home.
VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are gases released from certain chemicals, many of which are found in cleaning agents and other common household items. When large amounts of VOCs build up in your home, the air can become unsafe to breathe.
While no general standards exist for safe VOC concentrations (here’s more info from the EPA), it’s best to limit exposure for both your everyday comfort and potentially your long-term health.
Here are some resources for removing VOCs in your home and improving the quality of the air your family breathes.
Tips For Removing VOCs
- Don’t Store Unnecessary Chemicals
The following are sources of VOCs and you should avoid keeping them around your house and garage: paints, adhesives, cleaning agents, aerosol sprays, stored fuels and other automotive products.
- Look For Symptoms
Be aware of illnesses or symptoms in yourself and your kids. These can include: headaches, eye and nose irritation, sore throat, nausea, and unexplainably worse asthma symptoms. All are possible signs that you need to address VOC levels in your home.
- Increase Ventilation
Bringing in fresh air is key to limiting VOC concentrations in your home, especially after cooking, using a wood fireplace, or doing arts and crafts. Check out the ways Aprilaire is solving fresh air problems.
Because so many commercially available cleaning products contain VOCs, it’s wise (and less expensive) to create your own cleaning agents at home.
Try this simple recipe for an all-purpose cleaner:
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/2 gallon water
Here are some natural air fresheners that remove odors throughout the home without harsh chemicals or aerosol cans:
- Kitchen: Simmer vinegar and water on the stove during cooking.
- Bathroom: Choose your favorite dried plants and herbs and keep them in a bowl in the bathroom. Pine, citrus, and cloves are some of our seasonal favorites.
- Living Room: Plants are excellent at removing VOCs like formaldehyde [link to plant blog post], and they work on odors, too.
- Whole Home: Fresh air from the outdoors is a great way to flush out unwanted smells and VOCs. An Aprilaire® Ventilation System makes the process easy.
Natural bleach alternative for laundry and other cleaning:
- 6 cups water
- 1/8 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide