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That Lemony Fresh Scent Might be a Bad Sign
If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably made sure you’re stocked up on cleaning supplies. Everyone form the CDC to your family doctor has been recommending that hands and surfaces be washed and sanitized, obsessively. You might even have worn through the pattern in those old laminate countertops in your kitchen or rubbed those butcher block beauties to the point that there are divots appearing everywhere. If you don’t know how or what to clean, the CDC has a list of guidelines for how to clean. Note: Don’t shake that dirty laundry.
It’s obviously important to keep things clean. It keeps germs, bacteria, and viruses (we’re looking at you Coronavirus) at bay and your family healthy and happy. But all that cleaning can have an unfortunate side effect, other than dry hands. Dangerous chemicals (VOC’s) are released into the air when you spray disinfectant, wipe a surface with bleach, or even vacuum the carpet. The CDC lists out some of the common symptoms that these chemicals can cause and they don’t sound pleasant. VOC’s can cause burning eyes, skin irritations or rashes, nausea, headache, dizziness, and even fatigue. For with respiratory issues like asthma, the symptoms can be worse.
So, that lemony fresh smell you’re breathing in after wiping down the toilet may not actually be a good smell to have lingering around.
But fear not. This problem is easily remedied by items already in your home. That bath fan you only turn on right as you’re about to step into the shower does more than remove humidity, it removes VOC’s. It’s a good rule of thumb to turn it on before you shower or clean and leave it on for 20 minutes after you’re done. It might also be a good rule of thumb to leave it on all the time. If you have an older home, it’s likely your home isn’t built as tight as newer homes, so leaving the fan on 24/7 shouldn’t be a problem as you’ll get fresh air leaking in through nooks and crannies all over your home. If you have a new home that is built very tight, you should make sure you have means to bring in fresh air like a fresh air system – which is a system designed to bring in fresh, filtered air from outside and exhaust out dirty air - supply fan, or an open window.
The same applies to your kitchen range hood – assuming it vents to the outside and doesn’t recirculate. When frying up some bacon, searing a pork chop, or deep-frying chicken, you’re releasing tiny droplets of oil and smoke into the air. It’s hard enough cleaning it off the stove, imagine that stuff coating your lungs. Turn your range hood on before cooking and leave it on for 20 minutes after. The same applies to cleaning. To get all that grease and bacteria from raw meat cleaned up you’re probably using some fairly powerful cleaning supplies. Turn that range hood on full blast before, during, and for 20 minutes after you clean to make sure you’re not filling your lungs with harsh chemicals.
Keep cleaning. Ventilate your home. Stay healthy.