Spring Cleaning | COVID-19 & Other Toxins – PT.2

Spring Cleaning for Your Indoor Air

Quarantine has forced many of us indoors more than we would like to be this Spring.  On those days where we have warm weather, doesn’t it feel great to open all the windows and let in the fresh air? It’s like you can just feel all the stale, stuffiness in a home float away on the breeze.

Your instincts are correct. Combine poor ventilation with an increase of people cooking, cleaning, taking showers, and even breathing out carbon dioxide and you’re compounding your exposure to airborne toxins. Manual ventilation, like opening your windows, can certainly help, but it’s not a holistic solution for maintaining a healthy indoor air environment. 

How to manage indoor air pollutants beyond manual ventilation

First, start with source control. Find out what is causing toxic air in your home and eliminate it at the source. Simple things like keeping a tidy house can make a big difference. With the threat of covid-19 an uptick in cleaning, mopping, and disinfecting with a variety of products can keep viruses, germs, pet dander and dust mites down, but can also trigger harmful off-gassing VOCs.   It should go without saying that smoking inside is a significant allergy and asthma trigger.  However, second-hand smoke also comes from indoor fireplaces, incense, and candles – these build up exponentially during the winter months when windows are closed. Being cooped up has also sparked home improvement projects, as a result be careful with toxins from paint and building materials as well. 

Second, keep your home well ventilated. The idea that fresh air is good for preventing infections is not new.  And yes, opening your windows can help passively vent some offending pollutants in your home – but that can also let them in. Things like pollen and wildfire smoke are best shut outside. Use your bathroom and kitchen fans, especially during humidity-making activities like taking a shower and cooking. The EPA recommends indoor humidity in the 30 to 60 percent range. Houses with a high-humidity problem should consider a dehumidifier to keep moisture in check. Humidity creates a breeding ground for mold in your home.  For persistent problems like mold and mildew, seek professional help.

Third, check your properties air filters. Your HVAC filter plays a big role in keeping your indoor air clean, especially when you can’t open your windows because of seasonal allergies or smoke. According to the EPA, “Most air filters have a good efficiency rating for removing larger particles when they remain airborne. These particles include dust, pollen, some molds, animal dander, and those that contain dust mite and cockroach body parts and droppings.” Consider upgrading to a higher MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) filter able to trap and collect finer particles of pollution and other airborne contaminants. 

Also keep in mind, no system has been proven to filter COVID-19 as of yet—as it is a new virus. This is why proper disinfecting procedures are required, wearing masks, gloves, and following procedures to regularly disinfect are all key factors in reducing the spread of any contagion.  For peace of mind, seek professional disinfecting services that include a fogging method using EPA-approved disinfectant that coats hard to reach areas including airborne pathogens. 

Spring is a great time to get an IAQ test! (see how we are facilitating this service safely during Covid-19 crisis)

Curious about what is really going on with air quality in your home? A quick and thorough Indoor Air Quality Test and consultation from Certified Indoor Environmental (CIE) can help you identify sources of pollution and provide you with a plan to reduce toxins through cleanup, proper ventilation, and appropriate air filtering technologies.

  1. Start with our comprehensive Interior Inspection & Indoor Air Quality Testing
  2. If mold is detected, CIE will go to the source, correcting moisture levels and removing mold (not encapsulating it) from the structure
  3. CIE finishes with a 5-year warranty against future mold growth
Learn how CIE can help you with their proven three-step disinfecting process
  1. We apply a cleaning solution to remove biofilm and then apply disinfectant to coat high touch surfaces.  We allow ten minutes dwell time to maximize product effectiveness and then wipe each surface clean.

  2. Our fogging method delivers disinfectant to areas that are difficult to reach including airborne pathogens.  Fogging also prevents cross contamination due to its automated process.

  3. Finally, we swab and test* surfaces to ensure all areas are cleaned to industry standards.  We offer immediate results and a report will be sent within 24 hours.  *There is not an on-the-spot test that will specifically test for the presence of COVID-19, however you can test to see how well you have done your job.  ATP is routinely utilized for testing the effectiveness of cleaning in healthcare.  This will give a good indication of how clean these surfaces are in general and could offer some comfort to customers who are distressed by the current situation.

For more information about Certified Indoor Environmental’s Disinfecting services please click here.

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