1. If you’re doing a project that requires use of a high-VOC product, do it outside or in a well-ventilated area.
2. If you’re having your carpet cleaned, shop for a company that uses no VOCs.
3. Tightly cap VOC-containing products and store in well-ventilated areas. Keep all (including plant essential oils) out of reach of children and pets.
4. Never mix products, unless so directed on the label.
5. Select unscented products. Avoid room fresheners such as plug-ins and car deodorizers. Synthetic fragrances are a significant source of VOC exposure.
6. Rinse mops and sponges well before storing.
7. Choose zero-VOC paints or, even better, milk or clay paints or lime plaster. Many zero-VOC paints include VOCs in colorants.
8. To minimize formaldehyde exposure, avoid furniture made with particleboard or pressed wood. Instead, choose solid wood furnishings. If you purchase pressed-wood products, seal them with AFM Safecoat’s Safe Seal. When remodeling, choose exterior-rather than interior-grade pressed-wood products. Open windows and run a fan during and after installation.
9. Choose dry cleaners that use a healthier alternative to PERC.
10. Stand away from your car when refueling to minimize inhalation of fumes such as benzene, toluene and xylene. Never idle your car inside an attached garage.
11. If you use permanent or dry-erase markers, shop for nontoxic (low-VOC) varieties.
12. Make your own nontoxic household cleaners. All you need is vinegar, soap, baking soda, a few plant essential oils—presto! You’re ready to clean. Find recipes in our Guide to Homemade Cleaners.
Learn more about VOCs and lung health in Love Your Lungs.