What’s the 411 on VOCs?

January 5, 2016

For new homeowners, new parents, or anyone who wants a clean, healthy home finding the right cleaning products is an important step. Unfortunately, you cannot simply roll down the grocery aisle grabbing with sheer abandon. Some cleaning products contain chemicals that can be harmful to you and your family over time. By defining the issue and working with the options available you can create a safe and clean home without exposing you and your home to harmful products without breaking the bank.

What are VOCs?

Volatile Organic Compounds have low vapor and low boiling points, which can be dangerous because they are introduced to the air and human contact very quickly.

Cleaning products contain VOCs such as formaldehyde, benzene, and fossil fuels that can be harmful when ingested. VOCs are also created organically so plants can communicate with one another or transfer hormones. Not all VOCs are dangerous to humans and animals and law regulates those that are dangerous. Most toxic VOCs, however, are dangerous if used over long periods of time (like a cleaner or scrub) because toxins build in the body. The best way to avoid intoxication is avoiding the use of such products. Here are a few ways to find safe products and how to make your own.

How to Avoid VOCs

Read Your Labels

Be sure to read the labels of the cleaning products you buy. If you have a smartphone you can Google any ingredients that you have questions about. Some companies have renamed their ingredients so customers believe they are using all natural products. Be sure to research brands and possible alternative products before using them so you do not have to worry about any possible reactions externally or internally.

DIY Cleaning Products

Making your own cleaning products is a wonderful way to save money and tailor your cleaning products to your needs. Most cleaning products contain ingredients you have a home such as hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, vinegar, and Castile soap. You may also want to add essential oil to some if the smell does not agree with you. That way you don’t have to hold your nose as you scrub. You can also create a wonderful smelling vinegar by letting orange peels sit in distilled, white vinegar in a container for two a weeks. Then strain the orange peels and use as an all-purpose cleaner. Here is a recipe to get you started!

Soft Scrub

  • 1 part baking soda
  • 1 part hydrogen peroxide (or until it becomes a thick paste)
  • ½ part Castile Soap

Use immediately and do not bottle. It will expand.