For people who are highly reactive to environmental factors, the bathroom can set off a barrage of allergic symptoms. The combination of mildew and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that leach from plastic, vinyl and other man-made materials in the enclosed space of the bathroom can send allergies, breathing problems and even headaches into high gear. If you react strongly to mildew, musty odors or that chemical smell from manufactured products, here are four bathroom upgrades that can help reduce the effect.
1. Natural stone sinks and vanities
Sinks, vanities and countertops made from laminate, polymer resin or acrylic can release VOCs. The concentration of VOCs can be higher in the confines of a small room such as the bathroom. Replace fixtures manufactured from synthetic materials with those made from natural stones like granite, marble and quartz or other organic materials.
2. Natural floors
The bathroom floor can be a hotbed of allergens for people who are especially sensitive. Vinyl flooring is often treated with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to make it stronger and can outgas (leach) these fumes for many years. Carpeting can also contain VOCs and can trap dust, moisture and mold. Replace these types of flooring with tile or stone – these are organic, non-porous surfaces that won't trap moisture or dust particles and won't emit irritating gasses or chemical odors.
3. Shower enclosures
Replacing a traditional tub/curtain combo with a shower enclosure can be one of the most effective ways to reduce environmental irritants in the bathroom. To make your bathroom as irritant-free as possible, install a frameless glass enclosure. While tile is a natural material that works well for flooring, which stays relatively dry, the constant moisture of the shower can encourage mildew growth in the grout between the tiles. Glass is seamless and therefore does not have the many crevices that can harbor moisture and mildew. Additionally, a frameless glass enclosure eliminates the grooves and spaces that can also trap water and encourage mildew growth. Most importantly, enclosures and doors eliminate the need for cloth or vinyl shower curtains, both of which can have strong chemical odors from the PVC or the moisture-resistant coatings. As an added bonus, glass shower doors can easily be cleaned with baking soda and vinegar, so you won't need harsh, strongly scented or chemical-laden cleaning products.
dFor those who are highly reactive to environmental irritants such as VOCs and mildew, it's extremely important to keep the bathroom free of PVC and moisture traps. Switching to stone, wood and glass can make a significant difference to those who react strongly to the scent of chemicals, musty odors or the presence of mold spores. Whether you were already planning to remodel your bathroom or simply need to reduce the environmental irritants in your home, these three upgrades can help reduce your symptoms and create a healthier environment for everyone. Contact a business, such as South Jersey Glass & Door, for more information.