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 to reduce VOCs in your home and improve the quality of the air your family breathes.
Steps to Reduce VOCs Inside Your Home
Don’t Store Unnecessary Chemicals
The following are sources of VOCs; 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 of High VOC levels
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 Fresh Air 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. See how we’re solving fresh air problems.
To get a fresh air ventilation system installed in your home, contact a local Healthy Air Professional. Simply input your zip code, select HVAC, and find a dealer that installs fresh air ventilators.
Use Homemade Cleaners and Natural Fresheners
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
Plus, try this recipe for a Natural bleach alternative for laundry and other cleaning:
- 6 cups water
- 1/8 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
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, and they work on odors, too.
Whole Home: Fresh air from the outdoors is a great way to flush out unwanted smells and VOCs. A ventilation system makes the process easy.