Winter Cleaning: Avoid The Toxic Trap

Winter cleaning is critical to help avoid getting sick

Cleaning professionals know that regular cleaning in the winter is just as necessary as it is every other time of the year. In fact, it might be more even more critical. It’s a commonly-held myth that being cold or chilled leads to people getting sick, which is why illness seem so much more common in the winter. However, studies have shown that this isn’t a factor. Preventive medicine expert William Schaffner of Vanderbilt School of Medicine in Nashville explains that being wet and cold isn’t what makes us sick, it’s viruses that cause us to become sick1.

What does have an impact is that people spend more time indoors, which increases their chances for exposure to respiratory viruses, which are more easily transmitted within a radius of three to six feet. This means that cleaning with a product that can act as a good sanitizer and virucide is essential as part of a regular cleaning program. Look for products that display the EPA logo. The EPA regulates whether products deliver kill claims.

The other important factor to remember here is that, especially in parts of the country with harsh winter weather, buildings can be closed up for months. Most buildings cycle the same air through the building all winter, relying on filtration systems to clean the air.  Many factors that contribute to indoor air quality including regular HVAC maintenance. If you want to dig into the topic further, be sure to check out the EPA’s robust resources on the subject here. That being said, if you’re cleaning with products that included harsh products like chlorine, ammonia, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs), then you’re actually polluting the air. The EPA warns that exposure to such pollutants can lead to nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and more2.

Cleaning staffs are the first affected, of course, especially after consistent and prolonged exposure. But this also impacts the health of everyone in the building that’s being cleaned. Cleaning in the winter is critical—but if you choose the wrong cleaning product, you’re creating a more toxic environment. Look for products that use lower toxicity ingredients.

if you're looking for a better alternative to your current cleaning products, contact an EnvirOx consultant. We'll be happy to answer your questions, give a cost comparison, or set you up for a free trial or demo.


  1. Sohn, E. (2017). Why Do We Get Sick In Winter?.  Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from:
  2. EPA. (n.d.) Volatile Organic Compounds Impact on Indoor Air Quality. Retrieved from:
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