While thoroughly cleaning your home may seem like a foolproof way to improve your indoor air quality, it might be doing just the opposite.
Many cleaning products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that when released into the air can cause serious health problems. Ingredients such as ammonia, chlorine, and bleach can be especially harmful.
If you do not choose your cleaning products wisely, your glistening countertops or freshly polished hardwood floors may result in irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, chest tightness, headaches, and other symptoms. Over time, exposure to VOCs could cause long-term health issues.
Potentially Harmful Cleaning Products
- Aerosol spray products
- Furniture and floor polish
- Air fresheners-
- Chlorine bleach
- Rug and upholstery cleaners
- Oven cleaners
- Detergent and dishwashing liquid
- Dry cleaning chemicals
8 Cleaning Products That Are Bad for Air Quality
The majority of people don’t realize that the air quality inside their homes is usually worse than the air quality outdoors. Dirt, mold, toxins, home fragrance, and even household cleaners can dirty up the air. Here are eight cleaning products that can compromise the air quality in your house.
1. Spray-on and foaming bathroom cleaners may cut through grime, but they also contaminate the air with volatile organic compounds — commonly called VOCs — and other toxins.
2. Pine and lemon scented cleaners often contain terpenes, which have been identified as a cause of respiratory problems.
3. Aerosol glass cleaning products can contribute to the development of asthma symptoms in children and adults.
4. If you’re using scented cleaners, which usually contain toxins, to scent your home, consider more healthful, natural alternatives instead.
5. Chlorine bleach is a popular household cleaning solution, but it emits gases that put toxic chemicals in the air, especially when mixed with other cleaners.
6. The artificial scents in some laundry detergents and fabric softeners have been known to cause headaches and aggravate allergies.
7. The fumes from degreasers and products containing ammonia are dangerous to humans and animals.
8. Some brands of antibacterial cleansers put carcinogens, such as formaldehyde, into the air.
If you’re worried that cleaners have compromised the indoor air quality where you live, consult an expert who can evaluate your home.
How to Avoid Harmful Cleaning Products
Read labels. Always read labels to check for harmful ingredients before purchasing cleaning products. You can cut down on VOCs by choosing products that say “low VOC” or “no VOC.” Many VOCs comes from the fragrances in cleaning products, so choosing fragrance-free products can also help.
Ditch the sprays. Cleaning products that come in spray bottles release more chemicals into the air. Using liquids or pastes instead of sprays will allow you to concentrate on the area in need of cleaning, dispersing fewer harmful particles into the air.
Go natural. Although a cleaning product may be labeled “green” or “natural,” it could still contain components that cause health problems. In many cases, a simple mix of soap and water can adequately clean a surface. Other alternatives include baking soda for scrubbing and white vinegar for cleaning glass.
Ventilate. When using household cleaners, be sure to keep your home well ventilated. Open windows and doors to allow for airflow and try to limit the use of cleaning products in small, enclosed spaces.
Ensuring your air conditioning system is properly ventilated is another must. Have a professional technician check your home’s ventilation. It’s also a good idea to have your air ducts professionally cleaned at least once a year and to change or clean your air filters every month.
For more tips, see our post on how to improve your home’s indoor air quality.
Improve Your Home’s Air Quality, Call Climate Design
In conjunction with making smart cleaning product purchasing decisions, having quality controlling devices installed in your HVAC system can greatly improve your family’s respiratory health.
At Climate Design, we strive to help you and your family breathe clean, safe air. Call today to discuss how our technicians can improve your home’s indoor air quality!