Keeping a clean house, purchasing new furniture, and even enjoying an infrared sauna are all great ways to improve or enjoy your home. But each of these activities can occasionally expose you to volatile organic compounds that, when inhaled, may lead to a number of negative side effects.

Today, let’s break down what volatile organic compounds are and how you can prevent them from accumulating in your home. 

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What Are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)?

Volatile organic compounds or VOCs are any compounds that can very easily mix into the air. Most VOCs have low boiling points, so they evaporate quickly relative to other compounds.

In fact, the majority of noticeable odors or pungent smells you detect are VOCs of one form or another. VOCs can include both man-made compounds or smells and natural compounds. Here are a couple of examples:

  • The flowery smell of growing plant life
  • Paint – this smell is due to formaldehyde, which only has a boiling point of -19°C
  • Carpet or vinyl flooring
  • Composite wood products
  • Dry cleaning chemicals
  • Burning wood
  • Foam products
  • Air fresheners
  • Cosmetics
  • Fuel oil and gasoline

These compounds are called “volatile” because they aren’t very beneficial for your health. In some cases, they may even be harmful. 

Do VOCs Have Health Effects?

Not all VOCs are necessarily toxic. But many of them are toxic if they are absorbed by or attach internally to your lungs. In fact, many of the most common VOCs, including formaldehyde, benzene, and more count as carcinogens: compounds that may lead to a higher than average risk for cancer.

When you breathe them in, you may develop a condition called Sick Building Syndrome, which is characterized by symptoms like:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
  • Worsening of asthma or other respiratory conditions
  • And more

VOCs are actually the reason many people may feel a little stuffy or uncomfortable when they arrive at a construction site or tour a recently finished house. While most VOCs clear out of the air easily enough, exposing yourself to too many VOCs or to VOCs for too long can lead to even more dangerous health side effects and risks.

In fact, many common household appliances like infrared saunas, washing machines, and more can bring extra VOCs into your home and lungs.

How to Eliminate VOCs from Your Home

Even though VOCs can be quite difficult to deal with, you can learn to reduce or eliminate them from your home through a few strategic methods.

For example, you can regularly open the windows and allow fresh air to flow throughout your home. This can be a great way to cleanse the VOCs out of your house, especially if you paint some part of your house once every year or so. This will also help to clear out chemicals that may accumulate in the air, like cleaning chemicals and fumes.

You can also practice these strategies to minimize your exposure to VOCs:

  • Try to buy as few chemically based products as possible, including detergents, adhesives, and deodorants. Aim for natural products instead;
  • Allow any new furniture, like dressers or mattresses, to “off-gas” before you bring them into your home. Let them air out for a few hours after purchasing them from a store;
  • Don’t use infrared saunas that include VOCs, as the heat from the saunas can cause the VOCs to evaporate quite quickly;
  • Don’t overuse products like lubricants, sprays, etc;
  • Avoid keeping any plastic containers near your stove, as the plastic could evaporate if it is exposed to heat for too long.

Ultimately, pay attention to your nose and air out your home if you start to feel dizzy or nauseous. Your body is your best VOC detector and it’ll tell you when it’s time to let some fresh air inside.


The Clearlight Difference

We care about our customers who purchase our infrared saunas, Clearlight takes steps to ensure our saunas are VOCs-free. We use third-party laboratory testing and air sample testing more than once throughout the process: before shipment, after shipment, and at maximum temperatures. Our results are carefully monitored so we have no VOCs that could harm you or your family, when our products are used correctly. 


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