Current cleaning trends raise questions – are they necessary or unnecessary?

Factors with an impact on the quality of indoor air provoke much discussion. As a health organisation, the views we have expressed have not changed for years. At the same time, we have monitored the commercial markets, where new solutions arrive nearly every year that claim to improve the quality of indoor air.

Cleaning in offices and public spaces is one interesting area. New product and service suppliers have entered the markets with the aim of having an impact on the quality of indoor air. We have received questions about antibacterial agents, ecological washing, processed water, fragrances, ionising equipment, air purifiers designed to kill viruses, detergents and cleaning methods.
It appears that cleaning needs to be increasingly easy, fast and simple. At the same time, people’s awareness of chemicals, sensitivity and allergies is increasing. For example, sensitivity to fragrances has long been a fact, but it has only been taken seriously in recent years, and people are now talking about it more. This means that odourless cleaning agents and detergents are extremely important. Public spaces are also areas where fragrances should be avoided, and odourless agents should be preferred. These actions also improve accessibility. A third of all Finnish people react to fragrances from time to time, while half a million people experience serious symptoms due to fragrances. Fragrances can trigger headaches, nausea and much more serious disorders. Currently, sensitivity to fragrances cannot be diagnosed, as its causes are still unknown.
No tricks are needed for high-quality cleaning. Bacteria and microbes must not be eliminated from our environment, and different anti-agents are unnecessary in normal cleaning. When using natural detergents, take a look at the label and see what the product contains. After all, many natural ingredients can cause skin sensation or irritation. Old methods have never stopped working. Micro-fibre cloths, removal of dust from tall surfaces and regular cleaning, combined with good and properly maintained ventilation, have an impact on the quality of indoor air. This means that not all indoor air problems can be solved simply by wiping surfaces or purchasing an air purifier.
Take a critical approach to trends. Some are just fine; some are simply unnecessary, producing no benefits for those suffering from allergies. Do not buy just any air purifier, as some devices may also produce ozone. Study the properties of different devices and various test results before making your decision. Not many devices meet the criteria for allergies.
Old methods still do the job. The quality of indoor air has an impact on our wellbeing – let’s take good care of it. A fresh and clean interior area helps us all.

Author Niki Alanko works as a director in the Allergy, Skin and Asthma Federation. She is responsible for the supervision of interests in cooperation with the industrial sector. Twitter: @ala_niki

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