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Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy Lifestyle

Deodorize Your Home Improvement Project

person painting with a brush - cc0 via pexels.comPainting, furniture repair, tiling, and other home projects can leave a house smelling like chemicals.   Even new drapes or furniture can leave a chemical smell in the room.  These unpleasant smells are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). And they do more than simply make you light-headed.  They can be harmful.

Most naturally-occurring volatiles are safe at low levels – in fact, just about everything that has a scent is a VOC.  Even essential oils are volatile organic compounds. At very high concentrations, even the most benign organic compounds can become highly irritating.  Think jalapeno dip versus pepper spray.  And some like benzene are very dangerous.

Studies have found that levels of several organics average 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors. During and for several hours immediately after certain activities, such as paint stripping, levels may be 1,000 times background outdoor levels. EPA: Volatile Organic Compounds’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality

Sprays and room deodorizers simply cover up the smell – they do nothing to reduce VOCs and may even add their own dose in.  The best way to reduce exposure to harmful VOCs is to avoid bringing them into your house to begin with.

For interior painting, you may be shocked how much VOCs are released by some products.  We recommend starting at Home Depot’s Eco Options page (complete with a VOC calculator).    However, be advised that adding colorants to low-emission paints can raise VOCs.  If you are doing a nursery or child’s room, we recommend considering Lullaby Paints.

For home projects, building materials, furniture, and other interior products look to GREENGUARD products that are certified to be low-emitting.

Reducing Room Odors After the Project

Once your home project is complete and its time to close the windows, you still may have a chemical or plastic-y smell lingering. Your best bet?  Charcoal.

Charcoal is an excellent room deodorizer because of its large surface area. You can use activated carbon or expensive bamboo charcoal, but ordinary cooking charcoal is usually enough to remove odors from a freshly-painted room.  Make sure NOT to use charcoal labeled “fast-lighting” or containing an accelerate. Green alternatives like Coshell Coconut Shell briquettes make a great environmentally-friendly solution – and of course, any charcoal solution can be recycled in the BBQ.  Any absorbed volatiles will burn off long before cooking starts.

  • Lightly crush whole pieces of wood charcoal into small pieces.
  • Spread the charcoal out on a painter’s cloth, baking sheets, or other container.
  • Raising the humidity helps – if you have a dehumidifier, run it on low in the room.
  • Leave in place there overnight. The charcoal will absorb the odors and fumes from airborne solvents.

Once you’ve given your air the charcoal treatment, diffusing essential oils high in terpenes can reduce any lingering odors or mustiness.  These levels of natural volatiles are of course perfectly safe. Diffusing rosemary, cedarwood, eucalyptus, and lavender will noticeably reduce those leftover DIY smells effectively.

we have no business relationships with any companies mentions in this post.


Healthy Lifestyle

Springtime Honey Safety

raw honey and honeycomb

Raw honey and honeycomb

As scratchy throats and snuffy noses increase this spring, we’ve noticed multiple recipes and remedies involving honey. And lots of questions about honey safety, raw versus filtered honey, etc. Honey is a popular addition to some facial recipes, homemade creams and lotions. A drop of lavender or lemon essential oil added to honey can be a great treat and effective throat soother. We wanted to pass along some honey facts we’ve discovered while researching combining essential oils with honey.

No Safe Honey For Infants

All honey is dangerous to children under the age of one because of the presence of botulism spores. Adding an essential oil or heating in a microwave does not make honey any safer.

That’s not how raw honey and botulism work. Bees visiting flowers and plants bring botulism (Clostridium botulinum) spores back to the hive. These spores remain lodged in the honey but cannot germinate or produce toxins.When you eat the honey, you eat the spores. Filtering and pasteurization does not kill the spores — so there is not safety benefit between raw and pasteurized honey. Even boiling honey does not destroy the spores.  These spores do not cause a problem for most people, because they are destroyed in the stomach. But if you are an infant or have a compromised immune system, the spores can germinate and start producing toxins. 1 Continue Reading