How Deep Cleaning Affects Air Quality and Employee Health

Workplace deep cleaning is not just about making your work environment look clean and visually appealing, it’s also essential for maintaining a healthy and safe working environment. A well-maintained workplace makes a comfortably neat space, boosts employee morale, and protects their health. One key aspect of a healthy work environment is air quality. Poor air quality is attributed to various respiratory problems, allergies, and other illnesses. This is why it’s crucial to understand the importance of deep cleaning and its impact on air quality in the workplace. In this blog post, we’ll dive into how deep cleaning can improve air quality and positively impact employee health. From removing allergens to eliminating toxic chemicals, deep cleaning is a step toward creating a healthy and safe work environment for everyone.

Indoor Air Quality Affects You

Fact – the air you breathe affects how you feel. Our lungs, which function as our body’s air filtration system, are controlled by a specific part of the brain that takes care of the automatic process of breathing. Every day, it is estimated that the human respiratory muscles pump air up to 20,000 times, and each breath exchanges around 500 milliliters of air. That means an average adult filters air of about 10,000 liters a day. Awesome, right? Well, not so much. The problem is most of us don’t breathe clean air.

Our outdoor air is contaminated with visible and invisible particles, ranging from dust, chemicals, and even bacteria. The human body learns to adapt and deal with these outside pollutants, and it does an excellent job in filtering air, from the nose to the mouth, all the way down tubes that connect to the lungs. Also, our body’s immune system responds by generating inflammation to expel these foreign bodies to protect the lungs.

However, despite the efficient air filtration system of the human body, some outdoor air needs to be cleaner. Often, these pollutants lead to irritation and even illnesses.

And indoor air is similar too. As a matter of fact, experts say it is even worse.

Pollutants ranging from fungal spores, to cleaning supplies such as chemicals, certain paints, varnishes, etc., have been shown to be harmful to humans. Not to mention the usual effects of dirt, dust, and various allergens being circulated by the HVAC system.

And factor in that fact that an average American spends 90% of their time indoors, where the concentration of foreign bodies and air pollutants are 2 to 5 times higher than the typical ambient air outdoors, then you have the perfect recipe for respiratory disaster. There is even a phenomenon called “sick-building syndrome,” where building occupants experience comfort-related effects or acute health problems that seem to be related to the time they spend inside the building (more on this later).

Workplaces, especially those located in more industrial areas, suffer from the effects of poor indoor air quality. As the health and well-being of employees decline, their performance suffers as well.

What affects indoor air quality?

Indoor air quality is influenced by a lot of factors, including:

Allergens and Bacteria

Common allergens such as dirt, dust, grease, and grime build up over time. While regular cleaning, such as vacuuming and mopping the floors and wiping hard surfaces can help, hard-to-reach areas, such as ceiling fans, cabinets, window sills, etc., don’t always get the love and attention. Thus, allergens can accumulate in these areas, making them breeding grounds for bacteria.

And with many different people using these areas, coming in, out, eating, walking around, talking, etc., the workplace becomes a hotbed for bacteria to thrive. And in communal spaces and shared areas, these bacteria are passed around from one person to another.

Building materials

Furnishings and various building materials, especially those made from synthetic materials such as particleboard and insulation, release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. The same thing to carpets, draperies, and upholstery (furniture) – not only do these things release VOCs, but they also trap allergens and dust.

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Excessive moisture provides an ideal environment for mildew and mold growth, both of which are allergens that release irritants into the air that can easily cause respiratory problems such as coughing, sneezing, and wheezing, as well as various allergic reactions like eye and skin irritations.

Moisture also provides a suitable environment for bacteria and viruses to survive and thrive, which can cause respiratory infections like flu, pneumonia, and more.

Moreover, moisture can trigger the release of VOCs into the air, especially in synthetic materials like insulation, particleboard, etc.

Also, moisture can increase the population of dust bunnies or mites, which are common indoor air allergens. Some people are extra sensitive to this allergen, which can lead to health complications. Also, pests like cockroaches, rodents, etc., thrive in a moist environment, and their wastes can contribute to indoor air pollution.

Air ventilation

Poor indoor ventilation increases the presence of indoor air pollutants, especially in well-sealed buildings, which is what most office spaces use today. Inadequate ventilation in these places causes high levels of carbon dioxide.

Outdoor air pollution

Air pollutants from outside can enter the building through the doors, windows, and ventilation systems, bringing in allergens and foreign particles from the outside and affecting the air quality inside. This is especially common in highly urbanized areas and cities with high traffic and air pollution levels.

Occupant activities

Cleaning chemicals such as wood cleaner, glass cleaner, pesticides, synthetic air fresheners, smoking, etc., can all contribute to indoor air quality.

How poor indoor air quality affects your health

Poor indoor air quality can cause multiple adverse health consequences and well-being, including:

Reduced productivity

As discussed earlier, poor indoor air quality affects the health and well-being of the people using the facility, and, thus, affects their performance.

Sick building syndrome

SBS is a condition where building occupants (employees or residents) experience health complications and discomfort attributed to the time spent inside the building. These are often caused by inadequate ventilation, chemical contaminants, including those from outdoors, bacteria, mold, pollen, etc.

  • Symptoms often include:
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • Dry skin, hair, and eyes
  • Nausea
  • Concentration difficulties

While there is no specific identifiable cause of the symptoms, they seem to improve after leaving the building.

Moreover, SBS can be prevented or mitigated by improving indoor air quality, ensuring adequate ventilation, controlling indoor humidity levels, and deep cleaning.

Allergic reactions and irritations

Exposure to air pollutants, such as VOCs, and particulate matter, can cause eye and skin irritations, such as red eyes, itchy eyes, and skin rashes.

Indoor allergens such as dust mites, mold spores, pet dander or pet hair, etc., can trigger allergic reactions in certain people, leading to various respiratory complications such as itching, runny nose, sneezing, and even shortness of breath.

Respiratory symptoms

Coughing, sneezing, wheezing, shortness f breath, etc., are common effects of indoor allergens and pollutants. People with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as allergies and asthma will experience the worst of these symptoms.

Cardiovascular health, neurological symptoms, and even cancer

Regularly experiencing the negative respiratory effects of poor indoor air quality leads to cardiovascular health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and even stroke.

Moreover, continuous exposure to harmful air pollutants such as lead and mercury (from certain paint and other synthetic building materials) can cause neurological symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and memory loss.

Air pollutants such as second-hand smoke, radon, etc., increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as leukemia and lung cancer.

What to do to improve indoor air quality

Clean regularly

Keeping your work environment clean and free of allergens and dust is the easiest way to improve indoor air quality. Daily cleaning, such as vacuuming, mopping, wiping down surfaces, and disinfecting, especially in large offices with multiple people working daily, is an absolute must. The same goes for the daily disposal of the rubbish.

Keep the air-conditioning system and vents clean

The air-conditioning and heating system, as well as the vents, traps dirt, dust, and various allergens. Moreover, blocked vents reduce airflow. Thus, regular maintenance of your office’s HVAC system can also greatly help in maintaining good indoor air quality.

Get indoor plants

Plants don’t only absorb carbon dioxide from the air; they can also trap indoor air pollutants, such as VOCs, while simultaneously releasing the oxygen that is beneficial for indoor air quality.

Moreover, plants can improve indoor humidity levels by releasing moisture into the air (transpiration), helping mitigate respiratory problems and other health issues related to dry air.

Get deep cleaning services from the cleaning experts

Getting a deep clean is by far, the most effective thing you can do to improve air quality in your workplace. Deep cleaning services include thorough cleaning of all surfaces, from high touch surfaces like door knobs, light switches, elevator buttons, etc., to hard to reach areas that are often overlooked in regular cleanings, such as ceilings, ceiling fans, light fixtures, top of cabinets, underneath the kitchen sink, refrigerator coils, inside drawers, etc.

Dedicated cleaners are highly skilled and equipped with the right tools, cleaning products, and cleaning supplies to perform an exhaustive cleaning service. They can remove dirt, and dust, remove stains caused by mold and mildew, etc.

Good commercial cleaning services will also leave your work neatly organized. Not to mention they can also leave you with deep cleaning tips you can perform to keep your workplace clean, such as the use of natural solutions like baking soda (how to sprinkle baking soda), using a steam cleaner, and cleaning your vacuum cleaner for an efficient clean. Also, they can teach you the right way to clean specific areas in your workplace (office kitchen, bathroom, etc.) and more.

Call the experts

If you are looking for professional deep cleaning services, then Cleanworks is right for you. Cleanworks’ deep cleaning services are the most comprehensive and exhaustive deep cleaning in Australia. Not only will it clean, disinfect, and sanitize your workplace, but its deep cleaning services can also transform your space into a comfortable, healthy, and productive environment.

Call us today and get a free quote for your next deep cleaning services needs.

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