Spring cleaning can be a great way to keep your home spic and span, and free of bacterial, viral, and fungal pathogens. But if you’re using toxic chemical cleaners, you may be doing your health more harm than good.
Unfortunately, many of today’s popular cleaning products can contain dangerous ingredient, some of which are not listed on the label.
In the United States, manufacturers are not required to disclose all of a product’s ingredients, which makes it very difficult to evaluate their safety.
A study published in the Environmental Impact Assessment Reviews journal analyzed best-selling brands of common household cleaners and found that every single sample contained toxic ingredients.
All together, the 25 products released vapors and fumes containing 421 chemicals including 133 volatile organic compounds, 24 of which are classified as toxic or hazardous under U.S. law. Almost half of the products contained cancer-causing chemicals and emissions — even those promoted as “green,” “organic,” or “natural.”
Fortunately, safer alternatives are available, notes Annie Bond, an expert on green living. Bond, author of several books including “Clean and Green” and “Home Enlightenment,” tells Newsmax Health 74 million people in the United States suffer from some sort of chemical sensitivity.
“Chronic, unexplained physical symptoms such as headaches, joint pain, digestive issues, skin irritations, fatigue and anxiety are just the some of the common reactions to toxic chemicals,” says Bond, who says she suffers from a damaged central nervous system due to environmental poisoning.
“Bit by bit, when you detoxify your environment and surround yourself with natural products, natural sounds and naturally produced food, you begin to enjoy better health and a balanced lifestyle.
“When you start spring cleaning, the last thing you want to do is pollute your home with toxic cleaning chemicals, so I have put together a spring cleaning kit that uses the most natural and least toxic ingredients.”
Here are the six basic ingredients she recommends:
Sodium percarbonate for whitening (Ecover’s Laundry Bleach is 100 percent sodium percarbonate)
Liquid soap or detergent
Bond says to choose a sunny weekend for your spring cleaning project and hang as many items outside as possible (throw rugs, curtains, bedspreads etc.) because sunlight kills dust mites and can be antibacterial.
Here are some additional safe and effective recipes for spring cleaning cleaners:
Window cleaner. Combine 2 cups water, ¼ cup vinegar, and ½ teaspoon liquid soap or detergent into a bowl. Pour into a spray bottle.
Soft scrub. Good for bathrooms, sinks and stainless steel. Place ½ cup baking soda in a bowl and add a few squirts of liquid soap, enough to make a texture like frosting. Scoop some of the mixture onto a sponge and scrub. Rinse well.
Heavy duty cleaner. Wear gloves and make a thick paste of the washing soda, layering onto the area that needs to be cleaned. Let the paste sit for up to eight hours and then rinse. Note that this mixture is very powerful and can peel wax off a floor.
All-purpose spray cleaner. Combine 2 cups very hot tap water, ½ teaspoon washing soda, and a dab of liquid soap in a spray bottle. Shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.
Lemony dusting cloth. In a glass jar, mix together ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, a few drops of pure, food grade quality lemon oil, and a few drops olive oil. Use with a soft cotton rag.
All-purpose whitener. Sodium percarbonate is a wonder if your want to whiten a sink, tub or even clothes without using bleach. Place a stopper in the tub or sink, add ¼ cup of sodium percarbonate such as Ecover’s Laundry Bleach, add a few inches water and let set for a few hours. Drain and lightly scrub with a sponge. Follow the directions on the box if you are using this product for your laundry.
It’s also important to remember to clean your equipment as well. Microwaving sponges that have been saturated with water for about two minutes zaps away 99 percent of the germs.
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