Bonafide Green Living: Reducing VOCs in Your Home
VOCs are always a concern when it comes to maintaining a clean, healthy home—they are found in lots of items you use every day, like household cleaners Luckily, we can do a lot to reduce our exposure to VOCs, and using Bona cleaners also limits our exposure to these materials. Making a few, informed changes in our routine can do wonders for reducing VOC exposure.
What are VOCs?
VOC stands for volatile organic compound. These are carbon based materials that evaporate and get into the air we breathe at low temperatures. Room temperature is enough for these compounds to get into the air. Since VOCs get into the air so easily, it is the most prominent way we are exposed to these materials.
What products contain VOCs?
VOCs can be found in a range of materials, many of them common household items and cleaners. VOCs can be found in paint supplies, cleaning products, building materials, cosmetics, aerosol sprays, craft supplies and air fresheners. Simply put, if something has a smell to it, it most likely contains VOCs.
Effects of VOCs
Effects of VOCs are connected to the length of exposure. Light exposure to VOCs can cause eye, nose and throat irritation. It can also lead to headaches and nausea. More concentrated exposure to VOCs can increase the risk of cancer and damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system.
Reducing VOC Exposure
Because of all the time we spend in our homes, reducing our exposure to VOCs becomes extremely important. While the effects of VOC exposure can be harmful, eliminating prolonged exposure only takes a few informed steps.
Increase Ventilation in your Home
The biggest problem with VOCs in the home is these materials linger in the air, without a way to properly dissipate. Simply opening up your windows while you clean can greatly reduce VOC exposure.
Use Green Products
Actively seek out low VOC cleaning products and alternatives to help make your home clean and healthy. Look for products that are certified by a third party like GREENGUARD and are labeled as child friendly cleaners or cleaners that have low VOC or zero VOC content. Bona provides many products that are effective alternatives to more common cleaners that contain VOCs. Hypoallergenic products (like Bona Free and Simple cleaners) can also have low to zero VOC content.
Use Exhaust Fans
Long term exposure to VOCs increase without proper ventilation in your home. Using exhaust fans helps eliminate airborne VOCs. Remember to only use exhaust fans when needed—long enough to eliminate the smell. Excessive use of exhaust fans can actually create a space that draws in unwanted air.
Switch to Solid Wood Products
Many furniture products that contain particle board or treated wood probably contain VOCs. If possible, switch to wood furniture made from solid, untreated wood.
Get Rid of Carpet
New carpet is often treated with chemicals that contain VOCs. The VOCs in carpet can last for years and can act as a sponge for other household contaminants. Installing hardwood flooring or other alternative flooring can greatly reduce VOC exposure.
Use and Store VOC Products Properly
When using products containing VOCs, try to buy just enough to avoid prolonged storage. If you need to store materials like paint supplies and other building materials, it is best to store them outside of the main living space like a detached shed or garage.
While VOC exposure can seem inevitable, prolonged exposure is avoidable. Be sure to make informed judgments on the products you use in your home and follow simple steps to keep your home clean, beautiful and healthy.
Bona products are environmentally friendly and safe to use in your home. Take a look out our environmentally friendly cleaners and low VOC floor products and find the best product for you.
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