For starters, remove your shoes.
The holiday season comes with plenty of parties and house guests, which is why it's a good time to organize and clean your home. While doing so, it's important to make sure you avoid mixing products that can create hazardous fumes and keep out extra pollutants. Here, Rick Sachleben, Ph.D., a member of the American Chemical Society, shares a few tips.
1. Sample candles, soaps, and cleaning products first.
Usual ingredients that can lead to bad health reactions (such as asthma, allergies, and headaches) include Fragrance components in candles, countertop sprays, and fabric deodorizers can lead to bad health reactions such as asthma, allergies, and headaches. Before buying new cleaning products ask for samples. Try a patch test with soaps or lotions. Opting for unscented products with the shortest list of ingredients is also a safe bet, says Sachleben.
2. Air out new packaged home goods.
Off-gassing or out-gassing is the process of chemical gasses being emitted by an object, but even natural things like fruit go through it. "An orange off-gasses—it smells nice because it’s giving off a chemical. But people often use this term to refer to home goods, like carpet, cabinetry, and tiles, that contain coatings and adhesives that can give off harmful chemicals over time," explains Sachleben. Fortunately, product regulation has increased, which minimizes this effect. However, if your new shower curtain or hair dryer smells super strongly of a chemical, he recommends letting it air out near an open window or outside for a few hours.
3.Keep cleaning products with bleach and ammonia separate.
When mixed with acids and other substances,bleach can give off extremely toxic fumes. "Bleach should not be mixed with anything except laundry detergent," says Sachleben. "Combining vinegar and bleach is bad, but ammonia and bleach is much worse." To play it safe, he recommends storing the latter two products as far apart as possible to avoid possible spills or so that you're not tempted to combine them.
4.Leave shoes and groom pets outdoors.
When it comes to indoor air quality, Sachleben points out that there might be factors you haven’t considered. "People bring allergens in on their shoes and clothing and animals give off dust and dandruff from their skin and fur." In addition to using an air purifier indoors, ask guests to remove their shoes before entering and make sure pets get bathed and brushed outdoors regularly.