Have you ever heard of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)? You’re not alone in perhaps not knowing what that is, but they are chemicals found in many things we use from carpet cleaner to surface disinfectant to air fresheners to paint. In reality, this does more harm than good as the release of VOCs from using these various chemicals pollute the very air we breathe in our homes/buildings. So with inadequate indoor air quality and the chemicals that are responsible for them, what can we do in fighting this? What can we do to make the air more breathable for ourselves so that what is indoors is as safe as what is outdoors?
Knowing what it is that is perhaps contributing to your poor IAQ is the first step. The second step is knowing what to do about it. The third and final, yet continuing, step is to actually do something about it. I’m sure you’ve heard of the term ‘green’ as it is being used to mean ‘environmentally conscious’, pertaining to the outdoors. However, your home or office is an environment as well and to keep it ‘green’ should be a top priority as it will help maintain a good level of IAQ which in turn keeps you, and all within the enclosed environment, healthier.
The 3rd Step
The methods to creating a ‘greener’ indoor environment share a madness that is logical and beneficial to anyone who walks within the walls of the building. These steps are nothing wild but far simpler than you might imagine.
- Alternative cleaning products – There are alternatives to your regular cleaning products that contain more natural ingredients that cause no harm to your immediate environment and indoor air. Look for those that use mostly water, herbs, fruits/vegetables and flowers, and do not contain VOCs such as chlorine or dispense chemicals through aerosol means.
- Baking Soda – it is one of the few household items that has multiple uses and, in this case, we should be glad. Use it as part of your air freshening arsenal by leaving open boxes at strategic points in your home. The baking soda absorbs air particles that may be hazardous to your health. It can also be used to clean and help whiten the tiles and porcelain within your bathroom and kitchen, mixing it into a paste with vinegar or water. It can also help to remove stains in your carpets.
- Vinegar – Vinegar is a natural solution you can use in cooking as well as cleaning. You can use it as is to clean most anything around the house or office and even mix it with baking soda. From your tiles to your carpet, vinegar is an all-natural solution to your cleaning needs.
- Houseplants – Strictly speaking, a flower a day keeps poor IAQ away. Indoor houseplants not only help provide oxygen with which to breathe, but they also absorb potentially hazardous VOCs and other IAQ pollutants. They can also, depending on species,help to freshen up your air.
- Re-usable Items – Use re-usable cleaning tools such as sponges and rags. This way you cut down on waste to the environment-at-large by not using one-time use products such as paper towels.
And last, but not least, open your window every now and then to allow fresh air inside. These steps are certainly doable and will help further any goals you may have in being ‘green’.