So, I’m shopping for a new living room rug. I’m not a big fan of the natural wool rugs anymore since our living room gets so much traffic and it seems to shed at a steady pace even though I’ve owned it for over 3 years. Shopping online, I find rugs in numerous materials, especially synthetic blends and even washable ones!
The problem I discovered is, these materials give off gas (known as off-gassing) and have their own level of harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds)* or chemicals that can put you and your family at risk. These gasses can last for days or even weeks. After general home renovation projects the average time for VOCs to dissipate is between 2-8 weeks.
Fact: Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors.
What can you do to limit the amount of VOCs entering your home when it comes to furnishings, floor coverings, and other pieces in your home?
Here are a few tips:
- FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS - Whatever you buy, maintain it according to the manufacturer's instructions. They’re there for a reason. Products we purchase daily are made with thousands of new chemicals in recent years and most have not been studied for their effect on humans and pets.
- GO NATURAL - When it comes to furniture, try to buy solid wood or things made from natural materials. Cheap finds are not always your best bet.
- TRY SECONDHAND - If sticking to a budget is a priority and you’d still like to have quality furniture, try searching local used items platforms. A lot of times you can find new or barely used pieces simply because the owners are moving. Another tip: buy the floor model, it’s already had time to air out and sometimes is even discounted.
- AIR IT OUT - When in doubt, air it out! One option is leaving the furniture outside for a while after buying it. Heat also speeds up the off-gassing process. You can open up the doors or windows for a few minutes a day to help with this too, or use a dehumidifier if that’s not an option. That goes for not only new things like rugs or furniture but also using your electronics in a place where there’s decent airflow.
- PAINTING - If you're going to refurbish items in your home, or just update the wall color, try the Greenguard Gold Certified Harmony Paint by Sherwin Williams, used regularly at R4 Restoration. It has a zero VOC formula and contributes to reducing other harmful VOCs from carpets, cabinets, insulation, and fabrics with it’s Formaldehyde Reducing Technology.
Finally, you can get a free estimate from our team at R4 Restoration in Atlanta to disinfect and completely rid your home of VOCs with our all natural SteraMist™ application. We are one of the only providers of SteraMist in Georgia (Atlanta area) and the solution can be applied to any surface of your home, school, or office quickly and safely.
Using all these tips combined, and occasionally treating your area with SteraMist, can drastically reduce the build up of VOCs in your living space and make a much healthier home for you and your family.