Your home is your haven — a place to relax at the end of a busy day and enjoy time with friends and family.
So it might come as a surprise to learn that your home can also be a potential health risk. The products you use in your home could be affecting the quality of your air, leading to high levels of pollution.
It’s a worry, but you can improve your indoor air quality with some easy tweaks and changes.
How many cleaning products do you have in your cupboards? We all love to keep our homes clean, especially with viruses like Covid-19 around. But do you really know what chemicals are in your everyday cleaning products?
Most household cleaners contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
These gasses cause a range of health issues, and research from EPA states that “concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to 10 times higher) than outdoors.”
Follow these top tips to reduce the toxins in your air from cleaning products:
- Swap your chemical cleaning agents for old-fashioned boiling water
- Keep windows open during cleaning
- Look for products with the Safer Choice label
Do you enjoy spending time doing crafts?
Next time you start a crafting session, open the windows or craft outside. Even non-toxic craft supplies can emit toxins into your indoor air.
Glues, paints, and marker pens all release gasses into the air. And you should never use aerosols and spray paints indoors.
Keep crafting safe by:
- Looking for non-solvent based craft supplies
- Always choosing non-toxic products but be aware of their contents
- Crafting outdoors where possible
- Swapping oil-based paints for water-based
It’s lovely to hand delicate items over to a professional for cleaning, but the chemicals your clothes pick up on the way aren’t so nice.
Many dry cleaners use a chemical known as perchloroethylene, which gradually vaporizes from the surface of your clothes into the air, causing potential health issues.
When getting clothes dry cleaned, always leave them hanging in a well-ventilated space for a few days after collection — preferably in a garage or undercover outdoor area.
If you smoke indoors, it causes discoloration to your décor and poses a danger to the health of your family and friends.
Worrying statistics show that nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20-30%.
Children are at even more danger from secondhand smoke, with the risk of causing asthma, respiratory diseases, and sudden death syndrome.
The simple way to avoid these toxins causing harm?
Chimneys and Open Fireplaces
Another form of toxins in your indoor air comes from open fireplaces and log burners. Although they make a nice feature, they emit smoke particles into the air that can raise cancer risk, according to the EPA.
If you enjoy an open fire, stick to these simple tips:
- Never burn plastics or household waste
- Burn seasoned dry wood
- Clean your chimney and flue regularly
Candles, diffusers, and plug-ins — most homes have an array of beautifully fragranced air fresheners.
If you love the smell of a freshly scented home, you might want to switch from chemically produced fresheners to natural alternatives.
Manufactured products contain high levels of VOCs and pose a risk to your health . Air fresheners that contain pine or citrus scents also contain terpenes that can disrupt your hormones.
If you have odors in your home, the best way to eliminate them is by opening the windows regularly.
Or opt for a beautiful fresh flower arrangement or bunches of sweet-smelling herbs to freshen up your home.
Teflon Coated Non-Stick Cookware
Although Telfon no longer uses harmful chemicals known as PFOA and PTFE, you may still have old pots and pans coated in the non-stick material. So it’s worth going through your cookware and getting rid of any pre-2013 Teflon pans.
Why the concern?
When heated to a very high heat, Teflon releases toxic fumes into the air. These fumes can cause headaches and flu-like symptoms.
There are many alternatives to non-stick coating out there, including ceramic and stainless steel. If you continue using non-stick pans, always cook over low heat and keep your kitchen well ventilated.
Improve Your Indoor Air Quality With An Air Scrubber
If you’re worried about your indoor air quality, installing a ventilation system and air scrubber will put your mind at ease.
Air scrubbers remove pollutants from the air, including VOCs and other harmful toxins. They also increase the lifespan of your HVAC system, making the initial investment worthwhile.