Cleaning professionals may actually be contributing to a facility’s poor indoor air quality. The chemicals used to clean the building could be emitting high levels of volatile organic compounds or VOCs, which leads to poor IAQ.

When purchasing chemicals, look for products with a “low-emitting VOC formula.” Many products tout a low VOC-content level, but this is not an accurate indicator of the level of VOCs actually emitting off of the product. Products listed with a low VOC-content level can still emit high and unsafe levels of VOCs. In addition, beware of labels indicating the product is VOC-free. Nearly all products emit even low levels of VOCs,

It’s also critical that chemicals are used according to their instructions. Janitors should be trained not to overuse, which will increase the amount of VOCs being emitted from the product. It is recommended not to apply the chemical directly to the surface as some of the cleaner will become airborne, possibly being inhaled by workers and tenants.