You’ve improved your diet, and switched to natural beauty products, now it’s time to do the same for your home cleaning products
Have you ever thought about what the chemical nasties lurking in your home cleaning products could be doing to your health? Last year, a study by the French National Institute of Health found that common household disinfectants increase the risk of developing a potentially fatal lung disease by a third. Regularly breathing in strong cleaning chemicals increased the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – which is usually associated with smoking – by 32 percent. The world is waking up to the harmful chemicals we are unleashing in our homes. We’ve had clean eating, now it’s time for clean cleaning. Look out for any of the following in your household products, and banish them from your house…
You may have caught some of the social media campaign against Colgate last year, focusing on the fact it adds triclosan to its Colgate Total toothpaste. Triclosan is banned in soaps in the US but brands in the UK are free to use it. Check the ingredients and avoid anything to do with this antibacterial agent – it’s thought to promote antibiotic resistance, disrupt hormones, damage the immune system and some scientists say it does more harm than good. Simple soaps and detergents with short ingredients lists are best.
QUATS, like triclosan, are suspected of promoting drug-resistant bacteria. They have been found to be a leading cause of contact dermatitis, and there is evidence they can cause people to develop asthma. They are found in a lot of antibacterial home cleaners, so for this reason, it’s best to make your own. In a spray bottle, mix together quarter of a cup of white vinegar, 15 drops of tea tree essential oil, and fill to the top with water. Now you have a toxin-free antibacterial spray which can be used anywhere in the home – even your kitchen. QUATS are also often found in fabric softeners and sheets – ditch these products if you can.
This ingredient features in many multipurpose cleaners, and especially window cleaners. Using products containing butoxyethanol in a confined area, such as a small bathroom, could lead to you inhaling an unhealthy amount of this harmful chemical. It can cause a sore throat if inhaled, and at higher levels can damage the liver and kidneys. The problem is, the law doesn’t require for it to be listed on ingredients labels. Thankfully, it’s really easy to make your own window cleaner. Just make up a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water, and use a soft rag to buff.
Natural ingredients might work for wiping surfaces or glass, but surely to clean your oven you need some serious chemical clout? Not so, says Dean Davies, an oven cleaning expert and supervisor at Fantastic Services https://www.fantasticservices.com/professional-oven-and-bbq-cleaning/ Here are his tips:
• Use lemons – preheat the oven to between 200- 250°C. Get a baking tray and fill it with warm water, but not all the way to the top. Cut two lemons in half and squeeze the juice into the tray. Place the halves in there as well and put the tray in the oven. Let it sit in the oven for at least 30 minutes, or even more. Use oven mitts to take the tray out. The steam from the water and the lemon juice will loosen any burns, oil spills and residue and make them easy to remove. You can use the lemon halves to scrub the inside of the oven as well.
• Clean with baking soda and vinegar – make a paste of baking soda and water and, in a spray bottle, mix water with equal parts vinegar. Smear the paste all over the oven door and inside as well. The next step is to spray with vinegar water and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Use a cloth rag, or a sponge and warm water, to wipe off the mixture, then dry with paper towels.
• Remove foul smells – after baking fish, or other smelly foods, place a tray with water and essential oils in the oven. The most common combination is vanilla and citrus oils. Place the tray in the oven and set the temperature to the highest option. You can also turn the fan on. Keep it in the oven until most of the water has evaporated. It will leave your oven smelling fresh.
• Use a lemon and water mix – clean the inside of the microwave with lemon and water. Fill a dish with water and squeeze lemon juice into it and place it in the microwave. Set it to the highest level for five minutes and wipe the inside with a wet cloth.
• Use a toothbrush – scrub hard to reach places and the oven racks with a toothbrush. You can also clean around the oven switches and stove burners. Take note that sponges aren’t as effective as the bristles of a brush.
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