Doing a little DIY project at home? Or maybe you’re undertaking a full-scale home renovation. Whatever it is, it’s good to be clued up on the types of pollution that can occur, so you can finish that exciting home project while staying completely safe.
Volatile organic compounds are chemicals found in several popular household products and building materials such as paints, primers, solvents, vinyl flooring, carpets and insulation. They release particles into the air which can cause you to feel a little sick, dizzy, or to have a sore throat. They’re not particularly harmful in short bursts. But if you breathe them in over a long period of time, they can have more harmful consequences.
This chemical can be found in primers, adhesives, textiles such as rugs and carpets, and in composite wood furniture. It can cause light illnesses like headaches and irritation to the eyes and throat. However, like VOCs, if they’re breathed in over a long period of time, they can be more harmful.
Dust from cutting materials such as wood, brick and stone is a common indoor pollutant. It can make your eyes and throat itchy as well as making it harder to breathe. If breathed in over a long period of time, it can be particularly bad for your lungs.
For large scale renovations, industrial air cleaners should be used to properly remove any pollutants. But a good air purifier with a HEPA filter is just the ticket for normal DIY jobs and decorating. The purifier will trap the bad stuff to make sure the airflow is fresh and clean.
Keep your home well ventilated by letting fresh air in through your windows and doors when painting and using solvents. Use extractor fans in your kitchen and bathroom to keep the humidity levels right. Make sure when installing that new log burner that it has the right filter to get rid of toxins that are released by fuel burning. Finally, when that new furniture arrives, make sure to ventilate the room they’re in so any chemicals can air out.
Store DIY and building materials in safe areas out of the way in the garage, shed or an outhouse. This way it’s not around you or your family. Also, make sure to get rid of any used materials such as paints, primers and adhesives that have been left open for a long time. You’ll need to dispose of these responsibly, so check your local council’s website if you’re not quite sure how.
A dehumidifier will help keep the levels of humidity in your home just right by sucking out any moisture from the air. They’re ideal for when the temperature is hot and muggy as pollutants like formaldehyde can thrive when in high humidity levels.
If you want to keep on top of dust mites in your home, then you’ll want a good steam cleaner. They’re great at removing even the finest of dust particles along with other allergens and irritants. Plus, you can use them to keep your lovely soft furniture grub free.
One of the best ways to keep you home pollutant free is by using non-polluting alternatives. While this is pretty unavoidable with building repairs and renovations, you can get low VOC-emitting paints, primers and solvents for when you’re decorating. Also, you can choose furniture with low levels of VOCs and formaldehyde – you can find this info on labels and product descriptions. And why not try using steam or other natural products such as vinegar to clean your home and choose electric heaters over fuel-based heaters like gas or wood burners.
Cleaning and ventilating your house can help improve the air quality in your home. Alternatively, a good air purifier will filter out all the pollutants from the air, so you only get the good stuff. For more in depth advice, check out our article here.
You need to ventilate your home so that the VOCs can air out. Open windows to circulate air, turn on extractor fans and where possible use an air purifier to clean the air.
Most tend to stick around for about 6 months, but some can stay around for years.
We wouldn’t really recommend it, as the fumes can make you feel unwell.
A VOC is a chemical compound found in paints, primers, solvents, vinyl flooring, carpets and insulation.
That new carpet smell is from a chemical known as a VOC. Carpets tend to release a low count of VOCs so there’s nothing to worry about. But if you want to get rid of the smell, just keep the room the carpet’s in well ventilated.
It stays in furniture for around two years.
The main ones are carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and formaldehyde.
The least toxic options are real hardwood flooring, polished concrete and tile.
It can last anywhere between 4-5 days or a few weeks.
High humidity helps the growth of mould as it thrives on moisture. This means humidity can have a big effect on the air quality in your home. If your home is particularly humid, a dehumidifier will help suck out some of the moisture to keep the levels just right.