Cleaners and Lung Damage: The Scary Truth: It seems like we’re always discovering a new link between a health risk and a commonly found ingredient, especially when it comes to cleaning products. But what about the cumulative effect of our exposure to so many harmful chemicals over the course of our lifetimes? Recent studies have come out with some answers, and it isn’t good.
As dangerous as smoking?
You might want to brace yourself for this one: A recent study found the cumulative effect of cleaning products on respiratory systems to be as damaging as smoking twenty cigarettes a day. Shocking, right? Maybe not, when you consider how many common ingredients in household cleaners are linked to respiratory conditions like asthma and allergic reactions. Researchers found that the chemicals irritated the delicate mucus lining of the lungs, causing permanent damage and an overall decline in lung health.
It’s in the air
For many of us, air pollution conjures up images of big cities encased in smog thanks to gas-guzzling SUVs. While that was once true, in the last few decades, stricter air pollution regulations imposed on the auto industry has resulted in a significant decrease in tailpipe emisisions. So what’s crowding our ozone with toxic fumes now? According to one new study, chemicals from personal care products and household cleaners are major culprits. The study found that petroleum-based chemicals used in fragrances and paints emit pollution which can trigger asthma, cause permanent damage to our lungs and are linked to heart attacks, strokes and lung cancer. How much trouble can just a few spritzes of air freshener really cause? More than you might think, given 40% of chemicals added to consumer products wind up in the air. Knowing some of the worst offenders is a good way to start sourcing non-toxic cleaning products. Here are three tips to help guide you in selecting the safest ones for your home and family.
3 Tips for Selecting Non-Toxic Household Cleaners
1. Sniff out fragrance-free options
Fragrances are considered trade secrets, which allows manufacturers to hide literally hundreds of ingredients without disclosing them. And a product that contains fragrance will also likely contain phthalates, which are used to help fragrances last. Health risks for phthalates are startling and include cancer, human reproductive and developmental toxicity, endocrine disruption, birth defects & respiratory problems. As you scan labels, be wary of claims like “unscented” and “fragrance-free.” That doesn’t mean you’re safe. You also have to check the ingredient list, because sometimes manufacturers use masking fragrances to cover the chemical smell of their products. A fragrance-free product means it does not have an added fragrance, so technically, a fragrance-free product can still contain a scent, like an essential oil or floral water distillate, as long as the company didn’t use a fragrance to change the odor. Bottom line: At the end of the day, your best bet is to avoid all fragranced products – from household cleaning supplies to beauty and personal care products.
2. “Natural” does NOT mean non-toxic
Hay, arsenic and lead are natural and you wouldn’t want to ingest them, right? Natural and botanical ingredients can also be harmful, because even they can trigger allergic reactions. And so called “natural fragrances” can be just as toxic as synthetic fragrances. Terpenes, for example, are a natural fragrance emitted by citrus and pine trees (they’re actually the reason for the blue haze that gives the Blue Ridge Mountains their hue!), but they’re also linked to a host of respiratory issues like allergies and asthma.
3. Be a Minimalist
Even if you’re doing your best to find safer products, researchers say “to use as little of the product as you can to get the job done.” While finding non-toxic cleaning products will cut down on your exposure, a little goes a long way with any cleaning or personal care product. You don’t need to bring out the big guns for a little juice spill or use an entire palmful of dish detergent as you wash your dishes.
The Good News
The good news is you don’t need to choose between effective cleaning and your health when it comes to household cleaning products. Because now there’s Force of Nature, a revolutionary new product that has zero harmful chemicals, fragrances, dyes, preservatives, allergens or irritants. We took an industrial grade technology used in green cleaning, wound healing and eye care products and shrunk it down to a small household appliance roughly the size of a sports water bottle. It uses electricity to turn 3 simple ingredients – salt, water and vinegar – into a non-toxic cleaner as effective as bleach. It’s so gentle you can use it to clean things like pacifiers, baby toys, cutting boards and make-up brushes without even needing to rinse afterward.
There’s a lot to keep up with when you’re running a household. The vacuuming needs doing, the kids need some hosing down, the spring is on its way and therefore the curtains need changing, and so much more! Keeping on top of everything a day can throw at you can only be made more difficult when it comes to needing to clean; but then you don’t know what products and methods are safe or not
If you bring out hardy and effective methods now, you can spend less and less time on cleaning as you go on. Have a very relaxing Christmas and New Year as a result, basking in the surroundings of your hard work. So, below are a few tips on keeping your home safely clean for all the family.
Filtering the Air
Allergies can get a lot worse in autumn, and to stop sneezing and wheezing we usually take medicines or a good nap. Yet, if you have anyone in your family with allergies or other breathing problems, you can do simple things in your cleaning routine to help them.
Filtering the air is easy and effective to do, and clears away any nasty airborne particles that can further disrupt your lung use. Sometimes a bit of a spritz is good for the nose, but doesn’t make the air any healthier to breathe. Bypass this with a good purifier, or even make your own if you need to. You can brush up on your woodworking skill at the same time, but still be able to do this at a beginner level. If you’d rather something a little quicker, you can use beeswax candles or open the windows more often to let in some fresh air.
Remember, if you can’t keep on top of everything, try delegating roles out. This helps create a less stressful environment, and means you get to put your feet up, or get on with a good meal, or maybe some work 5 minutes earlier than usual. A healthier household comes out of this as a result!
Cleaning Carpet Stains
Carpet stains can come about from many things: an accidental spilling, maybe a cold made someone throw up, or just a bit of pen or crayon from the kids. However, depending on what made a stain, and we don’t always know what, bacteria can spread like crazy from them.
So it’s time to clean them up for good; no more water marks where they used to be. Creating a good disinfectant for the carpet is the first step, and then a good steam cleaner will be needed to keep it spick and span for longer. Pour the solution in the steam cleaner and voila, you have yourself an organic (as it’s home made, usually with vinegar and water) home cleaning product. Research what it is you want to mix together, as some cleaning products just won’t do the trick, and making the air worse in the allergy season alone is an especial no-no!
Bringing out the Big Guns
Sometimes our own home efforts don’t quite work, and that’s because of the hardiness of some bacteria you can have in your home. For example, mold. Whilst it’s natural, it’s not exactly healthy…
Mold creeps up on us all. It’s most likely to appear in the wetter seasons like autumn and winter, and therefore you’ll need to be more vigilant at this time than any other. In rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens, where running water is a theme, you can look up and notice black and green spots along the ceiling.
As a general rule to help combat this, try and change or clean a filter in these rooms often, usually after every 3 months or so. However, this isn’t going to make the problem go away if it’s already there. To tackle some serious protrusions you can find on the ceiling or in the bathroom, try contacting a mold abatement company to see if they can finish the job for you. They’re usually quick and effective, and use organic and safe products as they serve a versatile range of customers.
These were a few quick tips to help you help yourself in the allergy and wet season. Be sure to research further into what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to making homemade remedies for a certain cleaning problem. You don’t want to accidentally make a problem any worse after all, and therefore be totally safe with everything it is you do.
Easy do it yourself cleaning recipes to use in your home. They don’t have any chemicals that will aggravate anyone’s asthma or allergies.
1. All-purpose cleaner
Using cleaning products that don’t have harsh smells is a good start. You can also make your own using a few simple steps and inexpensive ingredients.
3 cups distilled water
1 teaspoon natural dish soap
3 cups white vinegar
A few drops of an essential oil of your choice (tea tree oil, lemon or orange oils are good choices)
Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and use the solution to clean countertops, floors and walls. A word of caution: Do not use vinegar solutions on marble surfaces.
2. Glass cleaner
3 cups distilled water
3 cups white vinegar
A few drops of an essential oil of your choice. I usually use lemon oil or lavender.
Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and use the solution to clean glass surfaces, including mirrors.
3. Furniture polish
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and use the solution to polish wood surfaces.
Baking soda and white vinegar can clean toilets and showers.
If you want some abrasion to remove a stain, try sprinkling some salt on the stain.
After you’ve squeezed a lemon for a recipe, rub the inside of the rind in your kitchen sink. The lemon will clean the sink and keep it smelling fresh.
These glass squirt bottles are good if your using essential oils.
People may be surprised about how many chemicals that may be in your home from your carpeting,paint,flooring and woodwork. There are things you can do to help from not using chemical cleaners in the home but also placing certain houseplants in different parts of your home. In studies done by and for NASA, many common houseplants were shown to absorb these chemicals and improve indoor air quality. Some houseplants improve indoor air quality better than others.
Some of the best are:
Mother In Laws Tongue
Plants with larger leafs are better for improving the air quality. You can get these plants at any garden center in town and even order them off the internet. Make sure you keep them healthy with watering and also read the guidelines for the particular plant you purchase as far as the amount of sunlight they need. Healthy houseplants work best. By placing one in each room or even just the main rooms that you use will help remove odors and improve the quality of the air.
featured photo source: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary/houseplant/boston-fern/
How to Keep Your Child’s Bedroom Tidy
Those with children will know that keeping your child’s room tidy can sometimes feel like a near impossible task. With clothes, shoes, toys and homework loitering in every available space, a quick spring clean can sometimes turn into a lengthy chore.
The spatial restrictions of smaller rooms generally mean there is not enough room to store or even put away clothes. If this is a scenario you’re familiar with then perhaps some new, space saving furniture could be the answer.
Specialised storage furniture is great for clearing away the clutter and these days you can find some beautiful, kid friendly designs. One particular brand to look to is the range from Kidspace Furniture. The current line features both bright and bold designs, complete with statement drawers, pull out fabric boxes and cube storage features.
These stylish designs will add a definite edge to your child’s existing room, whilst organising some of the clutter. Many of the featured designs come in several colours, meaning there is something to suit all children.
The Kidspace fabric storage boxes are a great option for those with lots of toys. Simply organise your favourite games, soft toys and books into the various fabric boxes provided and enjoy the benefits of a clean and tidy bedroom for a change!
Sticking to a certain colour scheme or, alternatively, creating a running theme is a great way to create an interesting and inviting bedroom space. You may decide to gear the bedroom towards an active boy with bright colours and statement designs. Alternatively, a girly girl may prefer something a little softer in style, complete with pastel shades and feminine embellishments.
Improving Your Life
The best thing about children’s bedroom furniture is the fact that it both organises and clears the room in question. Having a range of interesting areas to store both clothes and belongings will encourage your child to put his or her toys away – resulting in less work, and nagging, for you. Your child will also benefit from learning valuable skills about cleanliness and will be able to enjoy the time they spend in their bedroom to its full potential.
Many of today’s furniture options are available online and come flat packed. This makes the entire shopping experience a hassle-free process. Simply choose the pieces you desire, click on your virtual shopping basket and place your order. The hardest part of the shopping experience is waiting in anticipation for the order to arrive.
Here is a good recipe for home made carpet refresher. Every store sells the premade powder you can sprinkle on your carpets that is laced with chemicals and artificial scents, here is a better and cheaper alternative. This recipe has only a few ingredients and is very easy to make and store. This is the recipe I have used.
2 parts Baking soda
1 part Borax
Aromatherapy oils (some choices are lemon, Lavender, any citrus scent) I recommend a good quality oil with out chemicals added to it.
All you do is halfway fill a small mason jar up with baking soda and put a few drops of oils of your choice in with the baking soda. Shake the jar and reopen to see if the scent is as strong as you want. You can add a few more drops in. What I did was let the mixture sit overnight to absorb the scents and dry before using it on the carpet. Then take the lid and poke about 6 or seven small hole on top. Close the top and you can just sprinkle the soda mixture on the carpet. After sprinkling on the carpet leave it on the carpet for about an hour before vacuuming