In order for a home to help our health and wellness it should be clean and free of dust, mold, excessive germs, pesticides and pests. Here are five recommendations for Healthy Cleaning:
Did you know that some of the highest readings of pesticide residue in country are found on carpets in Florida? Pesticides sprayed outdoors are tracked in on shoes and then stay in the carpeting. Establishing a no shoes policy is a great way to lessen the path of dirt from outdoors into our homes. Providing a bench and a basket of slippers at your entry for your family and guests will imply your rule.
Don’t clean with poison:
Ironically, commercially available household cleaning items, made from synthetic chemicals derived from crude oil, can be among the most noxious substances we encounter daily. Trade Secret Acts make it difficult to know what is in a product. Fortunately, you will now find non-toxic substitutes for nearly every application.
Be dubious of products which encourage germ paranoia, claim amazing outcomes, replicate scents found in nature and/or have a skull and cross bones symbol: Key terms: tough, kills bacteria and fungi, brilliant shine, sparkling, no scrubbing required, removes germs you can’t see, eliminates millions of germs, fresh scent, spray grime away, grime dissolving power etc.
Consider services and products that advertise: chlorine-free, petroleum-free, biodegradable, phosphate free, VOC free, solvent free, chemical free, toxin free, hypoallergenic, safe for children, unscented or scented with essential oils only.
Good judgement regarding scents:
Avoid services and products which are perfumed to mask smells. This does nothing to correct the problem and is just creating another problem by adding a highly volatile petro-chemical to the air. Plug in air fresheners, commercial pot pourri and dryer sheets are the worst offenders and are a cause of growing number of people suffering from chemical hypersensitivity.
Oxygen is vital air:
It is common knowledge that interior air is nearly always several times more polluted compared to the outside air. Outdoor air is rich in both oxygen and ions. Homes must be flushed out with fresh air as a regular cleaning routine.
Got carpets? Get HEPA:
It is difficult to keep a home with wall-to-wall carpeting truly clean. Carpets in North America are commonly manufactured with toxic chemicals, installed with toxic chemicals and cleaned and treated with more toxic chemicals! These chemicals easily disperse. but when in place carpeting becomes a reservoir that is prime dust, tracked in dirt and chemicals, spilt debris, mold and odor. A particle counter would readily reveal that vacuuming a carpet with a vacuum that is non-HEPA increase the amount of dust in the air after cleaning! If you have carpet regular, repetitive and very vacuuming that is thorough a superior quality HEPA cleaner combined with chemical-free steam cleaning will help. AFM makes a carpet that is non-toxic and shampoo system.
Common Household Products That Clean:
Baking soda cleans, deodorizes, scours, and softens water. It is noncorrosive and slightly abrasive and is effective for light cleaning.
Borax cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, and softens water. It is also effective for light cleaning, for soiled laundry in the washing machine, and for preventing mold growth.
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is effective in removing mold stains from nonporous surfaces. Purchase a 10 percent food-grade solution. (The solution most commonly sold off the shelf is only 3 percent.) Use protective gloves to apply. A 10 percent solution will bleach many types of surfaces. A 35 percent food-grade H2O2 is available through many health food stores. The container must be refrigerated and kept clean. The 35 percent solution will burn skin and must be carefully diluted before it can be safely used.
Soap (as opposed to detergents) biodegrades safely and completely. It is an effective and gentle cleaner with many uses. For hands, dishes, laundry, and light cleaning, use the pure bar or soap flakes without perfume additives.
TSP (trisodium phosphate) can be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions for grease removal. TSP is available in hardware stores. Surfaces cleaned with TSP should be neutralized with baking soda prior to the application of finishes. Fluids containing TSP should not be disposed of in septic systems or sewer systems because of their high phosphate content.
Vodka is effective for dissolving alcohol-soluble finishes. Use a high-proof (high alcohol content) product.
Twenty Mule Team Borox is a naturally occurring mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen and water. Borax is generally found embedded deep in the ground, along with clay and other substances. Uses: laundry booster, clothes softener, natural alternative to colorsafe bleach, toilet bowl cleaner, drain deodorizer, surface cleaner, oven cleaner, tile cleaner, degreaser etc.
Washing soda (sodium carbonate) cuts grease, removes stains, disinfects, and softens water. It is effective for washing heavily soiled laundry and for general cleaning.
White vinegar cuts grease and removes lime deposits. A safe and useful all-purpose cleaning solution can be made from distilled white vinegar and plain water in a 50:50 ratio. For window cleaning, add five tablespoons of white vinegar to two cups of water. The solution should be placed in a glass spray bottle. Glass is preferred because plastics are known to release hormone-disrupting chemicals into bottle contents. Vinegar has been used to clean and control mold growth, but the thin film of residue left on the surface may supply nutrients for new growth.
Green Seal is an independent nonprofit organization that has created environmental and health standards for industrial and institutional cleaners. Based on information provided by the manufacturers, Green Seal has recommended cleaners that meet the following criteria: 1) are not toxic to human or aquatic life; 2) contain VOC levels under 10 percent by weight when diluted for use; 3) are readily biodegradable; 4) are not made of petrochemical compounds or petroleum; 5) do not contain chlorine bleach; 6) are free of phosphates and derivatives; 7) do not contain phenolic compounds or glycol ethers; 8) are free of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, nickel, and selenium; 9) have acceptable pH levels; 10) work optimally at room temperature.
Toxnet: Database on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, toxic releases. Offers a database specifically on household cleaners.