The biggest issue of indoor air contamination following a major construction or renovation project is fumes and smells from formaldehyde.
Formaldehyde can cause respiratory and nervous system problems such as cough, sore throat, chest tightness, dizziness, nausea, weakness, difficulty breathing, drowsiness and other symptoms. Long-term contact is linked to more serious conditions including nasal cancer, throat cancer, skin cancer, leukemia and other cancers. Excessive formaldehyde indoors is quite harmful on the human body, so be sure to take appropriate measures to reduce the effects of formaldehyde.
Though the amount of formaldehyde or other toxic gas from a renovation project is not high enough to pose serious health issues, here are some handy tips to eliminate it and other unpleasant smells after a big renovation :
The easiest way is to ensure good ventilation. Leave some windows opened, and the doors as much as you can, for as long as it takes for the smells to be gone. With windows, be sure to consider the effects of the sun and rain on items like a newly installed wallpaper, fresh coats of paint as well as delicate furniture nearby. Determine the most ideal window positions where you can leave them opened overnight.
2. Water absorption method
In the renovated new house, place a few pots of clean water at various spots. Add vinegar, scallion and/or orange peels into the water. Other than helping to absorb indoor residual odor, the evaporation process has the additional effect of protecting the walls and coated surfaces. Change water twice a day.
3. Plant absorption method
Some common plants like cactus, aloe vera and orchid can help to remove harmful air indoors. In addition to adding a touch of decor, they can clear the air of harmful substances, especially formaldehyde. Studies have shown that Sylvatica and Chlorophytum (spider plant) can absorb more than 80% of indoor harmful gases. Aloe vera is also a good choice to absorb formaldehyde – a pot can absorb as much as 90% of formaldehyde from a 1 cubic metre space. Agave, chinese evergreen, daisy, etc. can also absorb trichlorethylene in the air.
4. Activated carbon absorption method
Solid activated carbon has the characteristic of having many pores and a strong adsorption and decomposition action on Formaldehyde and other harmful airborne substances. The smaller the activated carbon particles, the better the absorption. Activated carbon also has the catalytic properties such as regulating and inhibiting the spread of epidemic pathogens, as well as detoxification, dehumidification, sterilization, purification and other functions. The only downside of this solid activated carbon is that when they are used to a certain degree, they become saturated and need to be replaced in time.
5. Traditional (aka non-scientific) method
After renovation, place used tea leaves, grapefruit skin, onion slices and pineapple pieces in the room to remove harmful and unpleasant smells.