With the majority of people around the world practicing social distancing due to the Coronavirus epidemic, you're likely spending a lot of time at home. While there has been a lot of buzz about environmental toxins outdoors, there are also plenty of indoor toxins in your home that can make you sick. Damp environments which is a very common occurrence in the humid tropical South East Asian (SEA) countries like ours, are the perfect breeding grounds for mould. Which could lead to serious effects on your health; And if you're sensitive to toxins, you might mistake the symptoms for the common cold or even the flu. Which in this season could unnecessarily raise the alarm for something more serious.
So if you’re feeling a little under the weather at home or at work, it could due to the toxins in your environment. Here are some common indoor toxins to be mindful of and what you can do to minimize the risks.
1. Mould and Mildew
A lot of people are sensitive to mould and what makes it worse is that many people are unaware of it. A build up of mould in a small area can cause “nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation," as explained in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. If you live in a building well over 5 years that isn’t well ventilated, has experienced flooding or water damage frequently, or lack an exhaust fan or window in your bathroom, mould can grow out of control pretty quickly. Consider getting a dehumidifier to pull moisture out of the air.
Alternatively, another less costly and effective method to combat mould and mildew is to actively wipe down surfaces, particularly in areas like the showers. We recommend wiping it down with our alcohol-free organic Bacoff Bathroom & Shower Cleaner. This way you get to actively prevent several things with just one action. Firstly, remove dirt and grime build up in your toilet; Secondly, rid your toilet of any lingering germs, bacteria or viruses; Last but not least, regular application helps to inhibit the growth of mould and mildew.
We believe that timing is everything when it comes to mould and mildew with the simple rule that the sooner you catch it, the easier it is to fix. Once you have an infestation, you will be required to open up walls, roofs, and spaces to get it out. Thus, the best way to combat it, is to stop it before it starts. Take care of any leaks ASAP, clean your bathroom often, and try to open all the windows and doors in your home at least once a day to get fresh air circulating.
2. Dust Mites and Bed Bugs
Dust mites and bed bugs are probably one of those things which you ignore because you don’t see, but once you do know you would probably never be able to unsee it. It’s kind of like going to your regular “lorong” (alley) or “longkang-side” (street-side) food stall. You know it’s unsanitary, they probably don’t have water filters, and they may or may not reuse the oil. But hey the food is good and cheap, and the street rats only just proves how good the food is. However, once you catch a glimpse of them cleaning the plates and utensils with the same bucket of water during the lunch rush hour. You would probably never visit the stall again.
Similarly, this one is going to make you want to burn everything you own as soon as you finish reading. According to the CDC, dust mites and bed bugs are tiny little critters that you can't see; And, while they may be small, they can cause you a lot of problems. Researchers established that fecal pellets deposited by dust mites accumulated in home fabrics and could become airborne via domestic activities such as vacuuming and dusting, resulting in inhalation by the inhabitants of the home. In essence, you are very likely to be inhaling poop generated by a million bugs that are almost invisible to the naked eye.
Dust mites have an affinity to humidity, fabrics, and carpets. They feed off of your dead skin, and pet dander, and your mattress can hold anywhere from 100,000 to more than one million dust mites and/or bed bugs. Don’t believe us? Go ahead search “bed bug infestation” on YouTube or if you like here’s a link. If you want to rid your home of dust mites, don't give them an attractive environment in which to thrive. Wash your bedding regularly, including your pillows, in hot water and dry them in a hot dryer or under the hot 3PM sun. If you don't want to introduce even more toxic chemicals into your life, you can clean your fabric surfaces with our organic Bacoff Air & Fabric Disinfectant.
3. Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, are chemicals that are present in things like new carpet, new clothes, paint and even cleaning products, perfumes and air fresheners. It is one of the leading causes of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). If you've ever felt irritation in your eyes, nose, or throat, headaches, nausea, dizziness, and general malaise after getting that brand new cupboard, or even after you’ve sprayed your home with that floral air fresheners, VOCs could be to blame. Children and babies are especially sensitive to VOCs given that their vital organs such as the brain and immune systems are still developing. The general rule is that if a product smells chances are there’s VOC in the air.
If you're sensitive to VOCs and especially if you have children in your home, make sure to ventilate regularly and be sure to use natural and organic products when you clean your home. For solutions to cleaning your baby’s room and play area we recommend our Bacoff Nursery Sanitising Deodoriser and Bacoff Daily Nursery Cleaner, both chemical-free and made with organic food-grade ingredients.
Plants Are Your Best Defense
One of the best all-natural ways to keep your home toxin free is to get plants. Common indoor plants can absorb up to 85% of potentially harmful gasses and reduce the levels of indoor air pollution. The best plants to keep your breathing easy indoors include: Devil’s Ivy, Dwarf Date Palm, Peace Lily, Philodendron (removes formaldehyde), Spider Plant, Chrysanthemums, Boston Fern, Areca Palms, Pineapple Plant, Snake Plant a.k.a Mother-in-law’s Tongue, Aleo Vera, Flamingo Lily, English Ivy and Lady Palm just to name a few.
Additionally, as a general rule having a generous intake of fruits and vegetables in your diet helps to build up your immunity and resistance to harmful pollutants, bacteria, germs and viruses. So be sure to always eat your greens and replace that ice cream or kuih (bite-sized snack or dessert foods commonly found in Southeast Asia) for a nice helping of fruits for dessert. And if we may just one last time, especially during this Coronavirus season we recommend washing your fruits and vegetables with our Bacoff Organice Fruit & Vegetable Wash which safely cleans and sanitises 99.9% germs, wax and pesticides commonly found on the surfaces of fruits and vegetables.