Cleaning is supposed to make our home healthier; that’s why we spend so much time stressing over it, right? But a study of 14 Canadian households by Environmental Defence revealed that when cleaning, regardless of the type of store-bought cleaners used, the VOCs rise in the house.
VOCs, also known as volatile organic compounds, are chemicals that contribute to indoor air pollution. The VOCs in many cleaning products are linked to respiratory illnesses and can impact both the developing fetus when pregnant mothers are exposed and children who are still growing.
So, while this information may be all you need to retire the spray bottle and broom for good, before you concede cleaning defeat, there’s a simple thing you can do that makes a big difference.
Open the windows.
Yep. That’s it. The report suggests that the healthiest way to clean your home is by opening windows (or using ventilation fans) while cleaning and leaving them open for up to an hour afterward.
Now that you have the most important step to healthier cleaning handled, here are five more tips to green your cleaning routine:
The Environmental Defence study revealed that the VOCs found in homes using green cleaners were significantly less than conventional cleaners. Use the EWG database to see how your products rate and decide if it’s worth swapping them out for something better.
If you’re into homemade, making your cleaners couldn’t be easier. Castile soap, vinegar, baking soda are the staple ingredients to make a ton of green cleaning recipes that work, including this glass top stove recipe.
Children spend hours playing on the floor. Vacuum carpets regularly with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter, or wet mop bare floors to get rid of dust and toxicities that may be tracked in.
I’m not advocating for children to have no chores, but try to choose ones that don’t involve using cleaning products. Kids are still developing, so it’s worthwhile to limit their exposure to VOCs. Rather, have them contribute to cleaning in an age-appropriate way by vacuuming, sorting laundry, putting away dishes, or even wiping things down with a damp rag.
The healthiest way to clean your home is always to open the windows. After that, choose to focus on one eco-friendly green cleaning tip at a time until they become part of your routine.