Time to Come Clean: Your New Home Might Be Making You Sick
Begin your new home build or deep dive your quarterly cleaning with the best tips to eliminate toxins from your floors, walls and windows. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental health risks and can lead to many health issues.
Laurie Slater, owner of Home Perfect Design, said, “I am extremely passionate about this topic because I have experienced lifelong issues with allergies derived from toxic home elements I didn’t even realize existed until I was diagnosed. I hope to share some things I’ve learned along the way.”
Avoid volatile organic compounds (VOC) in new carpet, paint and finishes
According to the Environmental Working Group, the air inside our homes is 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air outside. Chemical Pollutants build up in the indoor air we breathe, released from products like carpet, paint and flooring materials.
Some people confuse “new carpet smell” with the off-gassing of the volatile organic compounds. Off-gassing is the process of volatile organic compounds and chemicals being emitted from new furniture or similar household materials. When inhaled, VOCs can contribute to many health problems including headaches, nausea and
even damage to internal organs. It’s important to select U.S. manufactured hardwoods versus imports from overseas, as the standards for green production and emissions can vary. Allow at least three days before moving your furniture into your home once new flooring is laid so that any lingering emissions can dissipate.
Checklist for healthier carpet:
- Made of wool
- Padding made from wool or felt
- Green Label Plus or Green guard low-VOC certification
- Low-VOC adhesive or fastener system
- No stain or waterproofing treatments
Just like in carpet, VOCs can also be released from paints and finishes. If you’re adding a nursery or child’s room to your home, it’s especially important to use hospital grade paint and keep the toxic emissions as low as possible. Fortunately, there are many eco-friendly paint brands in the market. Look for paints that are labeled “non-toxic” and check the label to ensure they contain no extra additives.
Checklist for healthier paint:
- Green Seal-11 certified
- Water-based latex
- Low or no VOC (less than 50g VOCS per liter)
- No “antifungal” paints
- No formaldehyde-released preservatives
Purify your air with proper filters and scents
Choosing toxic-free paint, carpet and finishes is just one step in keeping your air purified. You will continually need to make healthy choices for day-to-day items. While we all love a fresh-smelling home, plug-in air fresheners emit dangerous toxins into the air. Use only soy-based candles for a calm and welcoming scent in your home. Air fresheners can trigger allergies and often contain suspected endocrine disruptors, such as phthalates and synthetic musks.
In addition to changing your HVAC air filters, you should vacuum out the vents once a year, or hire a professional to get the job done. Portable room air cleaners can be used to clean the air in a single room or specific areas, but they are not intended for whole-house filtration. Drapes, blinds and shutters are breeding grounds for dust bunnies. Once a month, vacuum or dry clean your drapes, and dust blinds and shutters with wet rags.
Avoid dirty cleaning products
The irony is not lost. Not all cleaning products are created… well, clean. The ingredient list in your products can tell you a lot about what toxins you are bringing into your home. You can link to EWG environmental working group website. Don’t use highly-toxic cleaners that include ammonia or chlorine bleach. Avoid chemicals that can cause skin burns and lung irritation such as hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid, sodium or potassium hydroxide, or ethanolamines. The Environmental Working Group has a great resource of safe cleaning products to use.
A beautiful home goes deeper than your décor. It begins and ends with healthy materials and products that give you purer air and peace of mind that not only is your home reflective of your style, but it’s healthy, too.
Have you always dreamed of having a model home? Let Home Perfect Design in to collaborate with you and make your dream truly a reality. We will transform your life when we reinvent your spaces and help your curate home goods you never thought that you could afford.
We spend time with each client to learn more about your style and then design a uniquely tailored plan that reenergize your home and delivers comfort and elegance. We tend to call it perfection. Now known in the industry as resourceful, professional and dedicated, Laurie Slater, owner, proves time and again that she can take on any design challenge with enthusiasm and definite success. The client is her world. Design is her passion. Perfection is her mastery.