Here in the air cleaning business, we use a variety of terms, many of which may or may not be common to the average person. While wading through some information this week I ran across one of these terms often enough where it caught my interest and even I wanted to make sure that I had the best understanding of the definition and what it all encompasses. Therefore, in an effort to share my new found wealth of knowledge, here is your first lesson in CleanAir4Life Terminology 101.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Sounds scary, right? It is a little bit, but also manageable. Volatile Organic Compounds (which from here on out I will most likely shorten to VOCs to save my hands from cramping) include a variety of chemicals that are emitted from certain solids or liquids and may have short- and/or long-term adverse health effects. These are found in common items such as paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluid and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers and photographic solutions. This is by no means an infinite list, but organic chemicals are used as ingredients in these products and VOCs will be released as these products are being used and also to some degree while in storage.
The thing that is scary about this type of air pollution is that it is on average 2-5 times higher indoors than out, meaning that the very space you live and breath in the most is, to some extent, toxic and volatile. Common health effects from frequent or ongoing exposure to these kinds of items include: eye, nose, and throat irritation (maybe not just the common cold or allergies after all?), headaches, dizziness, nausea, damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Some VOCs are known to cause cancers in animals, while some are suspected to do the same in humans. The nature and extent of the health effects will depend on factors such as the level of exposure and the length of time exposed.
So, what’s the best way to reduce exposure to these VOCs imposing their way into your house?
- Use household products according to the manufacturer’s directions and never mix products unless directed on the label.
- Make sure you provide plenty of ventilation when using products that commonly emit VOCs.
- Throw away unused or little-used containers safely or simply buy in quantities that you will be able to use up soon.
- Keep out of reach of children and pets–the 2 creatures that will be most interested in something potentially harmful.
- Try to substitute products that are healthier for the environment and your breathing space.
- Invest in a good Air Purifier to suck these nasty toxins right up out of the air in your home or workspace. (I think I might know a place where you can find some good ones). 😉 Visit CleanAir4Life or call 888-411-0964 to find an Air Purifier that will be the best fit for your needs!
Hello All. I bet your winding down from a wonderful summer of activities. Of course, after all, the kids are back in school, the days are starting to get a wee bit shorter (sad face) and the weather may (or may not) be starting to cool off in preparation for Autumn. However, now definitely is the perfect time to squeeze in that last weekend camping trip before summer is gone for good. So, to go along with our newsletter on some last minute camping items, I am going to include some food safety tips for when a refrigerator just isn’t gonna be found i.e. out in nature.
Rule #1: Cleanliness is next to godliness right? So even when you’re out in the grubby outdoors (yes, I said it. The outdoors is dirty), make sure you are washing your hands as frequently as possible, especially before handling food and after handling raw meat, using the bathroom, or touching animals, basically the same rules that apply in real life too. Also, always rinse off raw fruits and vegetables before eating. You never know what kind of pesticides or bacteria can be lurking on the surface.
Rule #2: Separate the Cooked from the Uncooked. Yes, cooler segregation. But nobody will be angry about it because nobody will have food poisoning. Always wrap raw meats securely and place them on the very bottom of the cooler where they will not be able to drip any leaking fluid onto other foods and ideally, yes, use a completely separate cooler. And of course make sure you’re washing everything that has come into contact with the raw meat as you’re preparing to cook it.
Rule #3: Cook your food properly to kill any harmful bacteria. To be 100% sure that your meats have been cooked to the proper temperature, bring along your handy dandy food thermometer. It’s small, lightweight, easy enough to pack. Better to be safe than sorry! Make sure to test all meat to their proper internal temperature requirements. And remember, not all meats are created equal! Poultry needs to be cooked at a higher temperature than say, ground beef. Know your temps, or bring along the cheat sheet that came with the thermometer.
Rule #4: Keep the food cold that’s supposed to be cold. That means the meats, raw or cooked, and things like dairy products and pasta/potato salads. These items should be kept in an insulated cooler with freezer packs or ice to keep it all at fridge temp. Put leftovers back in the cooler immediately after eating, and definitely don’t leave it out for more than two hours. Keep your coolers out of direct sunshine and avoid opening them too often. And just like the unidentifiable objects you may find in your fridge back home on cleaning day, if you’re not sure if it is still good, when in doubt, throw it out!!!
Well, I hope these tips will be super helpful for you in the future. As most common sense things go, it all makes sense, however, sometimes we may forget a thing or two and a good old-fashioned reminder never hurts. And in a pinch, make sure you pack hand sanitizer at the very least to aid with Rule #1. Happy camping!
Eating clean is the practice of avoiding processed and refined foods and instead, focusing your diet on whole and organic foods. This is not meant to be a fad diet to help you quickly lose weight, but instead, a way of life to help you feel healthier, have more energy, and help your body to make the most out of what it consumes. You can also personalize your clean eating to benefit YOUR body the best, whether its to get proper nutrition, help prevent and manage diseases, shed some extra pounds, detox, and just all-around feel better and healthier.
Here are a number of ways that we’ve compiled to help you start eating clean to a happier and healthier lifestyle!
- Begin by Choosing Whole Foods – In order to consider something to be a whole food, you have to determine what the ingredients are. Clean, whole food is food that is in it’s purest, untainted form: whole fruits and vegetables (preferably organic), whole grains, grass-fed and free-range meats, low fat dairy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds. Check your labels, or buy from reputable local vendors or farmers markets to ensure freshness and cleanliness. Whole food will have only one or two ingredients, and you’ll know what they are.
- Cut Down on Your Processed and Refined Food Intake – Learn to read food labels, specifically the ingredient portion. Refined products are stripped of beneficial fiber, vitamins and minerals. Any food product with a long list of ingredients tends to be human-made and processed in a lab or manufacturing plant. If you aren’t sure what an ingredient is, let alone can’t pronounce it, think twice about putting it into your body; it probably shouldn’t be there.
- Eat More Fruits and Vegetables – They are good for you! Fruits and Vegetables will add a lot of flavor to your cooking without the unnecessary salt and fats. Plus, they’re chalk-full of nutrients and antioxidants, are low in calories, and can help lower your risk for certain diseases. Hello healthy organs! Also, choose organic whenever possible. Organic fruits and vegetables will be fresher and won’t be coated with chemicals and pesticides. Yes, they do tend to be a little more expensive, but the benefits are worth it. At least attempt to buy organic when selecting fruits and vegetables from the Dirty Dozen list, a list that contains products that have the largest amount of pesticide use.
- Eat 5-6 Times Per Day – Eating 3 meals and 2-3 small snacks throughout the day will keep your body energized and burning through calories efficiently all day long. When choosing your meals, include a lean protein, plenty of fruit and veggies, and a complex carbohydrate. With grains, choose products that specifically say “whole” wheat or grain to ensure it still has all the great benefits and that it hasn’t been refined or stripped of the good stuff. And snacks don’t have to be high in sugars and saturated fats. Make your own trail mix or have some fruit. This also brings me to my next point…
- Cook Your Own Meals – Because you know what? You’ll know exactly what’s going into them. And it’s really not that hard. A little prior planning and preparation will get you far in maintaining a clean diet. Clean, whole foods do not need much work to prepare besides a little chopping or sautéing to make a satisfying delicious meal. And it’s easy to tailor most recipes to swap out healthier ingredients or use whole wheat flour instead of white flour, etc. There are many resources out there for healthy, TASTY recipes that your family will love!
- Drink More Water – Seriously, do it. Your body is made up of water; it uses water to do the majority of it’s functions. 60% of your body IS water, so make sure you’re hydrating it with at lease 2 liters per day. Choose water as your main beverage during and in between meals to help circulate oxygen and whisk away toxins as well as improve the function of every vital organ system.
By incorporating these tips into your everyday diet, you WILL notice a change for the better. And should you ever relapse for a minute, your body will tell you about that too. Because our bodies are miraculous things; once they get used to eating a clean, natural diet, the processed foods will make you feel not so good. It’s your body’s way of telling you that that’s NOT the kind of food it needs. Listen to what your body says, pick whole foods, make your own meal concoctions and drink lots of water. Cheers to a cleaner, healthier you, 4Life!
The days are getting longer, the temperature is warming up, and ’tis the season to clean! But why pollute your air as you clean your house? Most household cleaners are loaded with chemicals that will do your sinuses and lungs no favors. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Therefore, I have compiled a small list of a few cleaners and common household items that can be made with simple ingredients that will keep your house, and your air, clean:
For kitchen cleaning, I like the idea of a Citrus Degreaser–deep cleaning, grease removal without the harsh fumes and residue. Try 1/2 cup Lemon Juice, 1/4 cup Baking Soda, and up to 10 drops of Citrus Essential Oils. This creates a paste to spread over the area which you can then wipe with a damp cloth. Also, in an effort to keep your sink drains free and clear and smelling fresh, use plain boiling water (or hot water if the pipes are plastic) to remove heavy food or grease buildup. Follow with a generous use of white vinegar to disinfect and a few drops of tee tree oil, a natural disinfectant, to add a fresh smell. Baking soda, followed by vinegar will also help clear up drain residue via a natural chemical reaction. Just make sure to follow up with the boiling or hot water as well to rinse it down!
- Living Areas
Dusting/Wood Furniture spray can be made by combining 2 tsp Light Olive Oil, 20 or so drops of your favorite smelling Essential Oil (Lemon and Lavender are my favorites for a fresh smelling home), and 1/4 cup Vinegar in a 16-oz spray bottle. Top off with warm water and just make sure you shake it before each use to recombine the ingredients. For stagnant smelling carpets and rugs, make your own deodorizer using 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Baking Soda, and 10 drops Essential Oils. Combine and store in an airtight tub. Sprinkle on when needed, let sit for a bit, then vacuum the area to complete.
Being surrounded by three boys at all times, I feel like I am always having to do some heavy-duty, hard-core laundering, so why not be effectively environmentally-friendly as I’m forever washing grass, mud, and blood-stained clothing? When afore-mentioned Stain-Removing begins, I let them soak for at least 20 min to overnight in a mixture of 1 cup Hot Water, 1/2 cup Baking Soda, and 1/2 cup Hydrogen Peroxide. Test first on a small area of clothing for any discoloration, but otherwise make this concoction as you need it because it will lose its potency when being stored over time. And for a Powdered Laundry Soap, combine 1 bar Castille Soap, grated, 2 cups Borax, 2 cups washing soda, and 1 cup baking soda. Store in a covered jar and use 1/4 cup per load.
Scum and Mildew buildup = DISGUSTING. Make a solution for disinfecting the hard surfaces in your bathroom and slaying mildew. Mix 12 oz. of water and 2 tsp. of the tea tree oil that you already have from earlier in a spray bottle and spray on counters, toilets and other surfaces before wiping away. Pre-treat heavily soiled surfaces with white vinegar before disinfecting.
Well, I hope this has been most helpful in assisting your cleaning supply in anti-toxicity levels. Your body will be thanking you. Also, don’t forget about the many benefits that CleanAir4Life‘s air purifiers will administer on you, including, but not limited to: removing unpleasant odors, pet dander, dust, outdoor allergens and unwanted smoke and chemicals from the air and killing and eliminating mold spores, viruses, and bacteria from your home. Spring Clean Your Home and Your Air!
If you have any questions about our air purifiers or other suggestions for non-toxic, chemical-free home cleaners, please let me know! We love hearing from you!!!
They’re adorable aren’t they? With their lil noses all covered with snow and the way they bound and frolic and sniff around in fresh snow with the curiosity of a toddler. The way the snow sits on their fur like a little dusting of post holiday cheer makes you stop and actually enjoy your crisp, chilly walk outside with the enthusiasm to match your pup’s own.
It’s all well and good til you get inside, the snow melts into little water droplets and suddenly, Santa’s Little Helper morphs into wet dog stank, obviously one of the most lovely smells to have rubbed into your carpet and furniture. Even with a quick towel rubdown, your beloved man’s best friend smell can linger around your living space well into Spring and beyond.
Did you know that many of our air purifiers have the capabilities to filter that smell right out of the air and help lift the smell off your furniture and carpets as well? Your little buddy can’t help smelling wet and stinky sometimes, but you CAN help your whole house from smelling like that by actually removing the odor instead of covering it up with Febreze.
Check out some of our air purifiers that have been proven to specifically reduce the odor molecules that stink up your breathing space: http://www.cleanair4life.com/categories/shop-by-concern/odor
You’ll be glad you did!