08 Apr How healthy is the air in your home?
With many of us adjusting to a new normal of life at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of our home has never been more important.
Many are heading to Bunnings stores for DIY supplies. Chemical cleaning products and sanitisers are in use more than ever. Heaters are on and windows closed as the cooler weather sets in. But what is all of this doing to our indoor air quality and what impact does it have on our health if we are spending such long periods of time indoors?
Those DIY jobs that have been on the to-do list for a long time may finally get done, however, paints, solvents, sealants and building materials may contain high levels of toxic chemicals.
VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are carbon containing chemicals that have high enough vapour pressure to be a gas at room temperature and they are often found in the DIY products people are stocking up on. VOCs in the home can cause varying problems from unpleasant odours to physical symptoms such as headaches and nausea or skin and eye irritation, with children, the elderly and pregnant women being most susceptible.
If you are undertaking a DIY project during this ‘stay-at-home’ period try to choose products that are low-VOC, wear suitable protective equipment and ensure ample ventilation if the project is indoors. Some products can continue to off-gas for days or even weeks after application, so an air purifier may also be a good option.
It’s understandable and absolutely necessary that people maintain a high level of personal hygiene with frequent hand washing and cleaning of high use surfaces during this time. However, it is not necessary to use anti-bacterial products in excess (particularly as we are dealing with a viral disease, not a bacterial one). Conventional cleaning products often contain a range of chemicals known to be allergens, skin irritants or hormone disruptors and overusing them in the home may pose their own health issues.
The most effective thing you can do is wash your hands thoroughly (for 20 seconds) with soap and water, obey social distancing requirements and clean your home with more natural options where possible. Laudy Cincotta, of Clean Fresh Group, has put together a great resource on cleaning, sanitising and disinfecting during this COVID-19 pandemic, which you can read here:
With more time at home, it’s a great opportunity to get the dust load of your home under control. Dust can be a carrier for a vast range of contaminants including dirt, dead skin cells, insect particles, mould spores, bacteria, viruses, pollen, pesticides and dust mites. High levels of dust can increase symptoms of allergy, asthma and hay fever.
It’s a good idea to take shoes off at the front door and wear a suitable pair of indoor shoes inside (such as slippers in the colder months). Give the home a good dusting using a damp microfibre cloth followed by drying with a dry tea towel and give carpets and soft furnishings (such as couches and curtains) a thorough vacuum using a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA filter.
Be sure to continue to ventilate your home daily by opening windows to flush fresh air through the home and aim to keep relative humidity levels below 65% (you can monitor this with a cheap hygrometer). An air purifier may also be a great investment for your home and your health at this time to help reduce indoor air pollutants, odours and contaminants.
Get in touch to book in a healthy home consultation or for special offers on air purifiers.