ASAP Most of us nowadays spend most of our time indoors unless we strive to travel or to just actually go outside often. Air pollution may make the easily squeamish paranoid to spend time outside for once but indoor air can become nearly as harmful if you don’t let your living space breathe and you don’t balance your immune system with outdoor elements. Indoor air can be even more harmful than outdoor air if left poorly maintained. Pests, bacterial and viral infestations, forgotten dirty and/or rotting items, dark and moist spots all caged in by walls and a ton of other factors to add to the box trap of possible disease ridden surfaces.
Of course this is not true for the aware, healthy and neat individual. Or the one who has mom. Spring cleaning can be intimidating and daunting but the reward is high as a kite. You have to know general cleaning first and slowly get used to it before you get more used to the occasional yet necessary spring cleaning. From here on you know your way around the kitchen and bathroom a lot more and can determine what chemical products are used to clean them and how their quality vs. harmfulness to humans are. You are now familiarized with the material that makes up the home and what chemicals and tools not to use on them.
Here is a list of some extra knowledge to make sure your indoor air quality is extra clean! After all your cleaning effort it would be nice to know there are ways to replace equipment and cleaning products that are actually harmful, with better alternatives.
1. Non-Stick Cook ware
Don’t worry you can still have cool non-stick cookware. Our daily exposure to aluminium is not very great at 30-5mg on average since it is a soft metal that is found everywhere. Once can still be cautious though as it is linked to Alzheimer’s disease, but probably it just worsens the disease if it is already developed in the first place. Most exposures to aluminum occur through ingestion or eating and drinking, with daily intakes generally low, averaging between 30-50 mg. For the typical person, drinking water, medicines and other pharmaceutical products are the main factors to aluminum exposures; although, aluminum cookware is also a potential source. They have even been claimed to pose risks to the nervous system. In short it is uncertain but seems like nothing too bad, though it is better to have the healthiest equipment as much as possible.
Alternatives to consider: move on to stainless steel pans, cast iron or anodized aluminum, which is less reactive than the regular aluminium. I must say every cook must have at least one cast iron pan.
2. Commercial Cleaning Products
The all-purpose cleaners often shown on every other commercial do indeed contain toxic many chemicals such as ammonia which is not only a dark and memorable irritant that can blind you but it can cause kidney and liver damage. There is also bleach which can burn skin and eyes and can irritate your lung tissue which over time can develop into ailments. The heaviest of cleaners to remove the toughest stains are hard to replace and are convenient in removing them but are so lethal with human contact, it can really burn tissue right away.
Alternatives to consider: there are many organic and non-toxic cleaning products in the market and if there are not that many brands at least on one or two will be present in a smaller scale grocery. Liquid dish soaps are pretty soft and the products today smell quite lovely, have less harsh chemicals and added moisturizers. You can choose to stick to that but if you want to e even more environmentally friendly organic dish soaps are out there too. Usually organic brands have an array of home alternatives considering of either beauty products or cleaning supplies and even a mixture of both. White vinegar is the cleanest smelling vinegar and even though it is strong it actually is an anti-bacterial and air disinfectant. Leaving out a small cup of white vinegar in a room overnight can clean the air depending on the bacteria level. After the smell of vinegar goes away, it really goes away and leaves the air seemingly more crisp. White vinegar is great for removing stains along with baking soda used together or not they are effective, getting a bunch of cheap and very sour citrus fruits and extracting their juice is also a good cleansing ingredient for the bathroom and kitchen. You can leave bleach and other natural cleaning products in the toilet bowl to disinfect.
3. Air Fresheners
A lot of us may have been sensitive kids getting sick or dizzy often growing up.Getting older we realize how to get healthier and make our home healthier as well, universal knowledge is strong within health and wellness and most health myths are disproven. Those sweet smelling yet artificial candy-like fresheners can make one nauseous easily especially in a confined space. They have been discovered to trigger respiratory problems, increase birth defects and are now linked to diabetes and cancer risks.
Alternatives to consider: try to live without airconditioning as much as possible, get your body used to it. Doing so will make you stronger and train your body to circulate and sweat properly. There are many fancy fans in the market that run on water and can even spray a very subtle mist.
4. CFL Light Bulbs
They do use less electricity but are not worth it for they are hard to replace and have a difficult time lighting up brighter in very cold weather.They have mercury in the bulbs and small amounts do leak out every day but imagine breaking a bulb. They expel UV lights which can damage skin cells at close range which is the final game ender.
Alternatives to consider: try opting for the more old school light bulb or LEDs until something safer comes along for you whom are extra paranoid for the environment.
5. Chemical Insecticides
and HerbicidesIt has been observed that these chemicals affect the reproductive health and kidneys of mice and can do the same to us. Bug repellents and killers contain a substance called cypermethrin, an irritant to the eyes, skin and senses. When its damage hits deeper in the body it affects the nervous system.
Alternatives to consider: Diatomaceous Earth, castile soap which is made of olive oil and salt with added peppermint is good for insects and straight vinegar for the weeds.
6. Chemical Fertilizers
The run off made up of chemical and soil soup wastage is toxic and not even needed. Alternative fertilizers are the way to go and make sense to choose over chemical. This chemical soup eventually ends up in streams, rivers and the ocean, killing wildlife and destroying water quality.
Alernatives to consider:organic substitutes such as homemade compost, and convert as much of your garden into a vegetable garden with as much variety, throw in flowers and anything else because the plants will enrich the soil.
7. Fabric Softeners
The rosy or lemony smelling softeners, bleaches and dyes we use contain substances include benzyl acetate (linked to pancreatic cancer), benzyl alcohol (an upper respiratory tract irritant), ethanol (linked to central nervous system disorders), limonene (a known carcinogen) and chloroform (a neurotoxin and carcinogen) and others are A-terpineol, ethyl acetate, camphor, chloroform, linalool and pentane. Fabric cleaners have so many potent chemicals that over time can negate function of the central nervous system, anything linked to respiratory problems such as inflammation and cancer risks.
Alternatives to consider: wool dryer balls for fluffing up clothes. You can even add ½ or a full cup of strong white vinegar with the chemical laundry soap so that it gets neutralized. If the brand of commercial soap you are using is not enough to take away the vinegar smell add some light coloured aromatic oils.
9. Some Antibacterial Products
Bacteria gains resistance and mutates or evolves like you and me so these products can do more harm than good, unless you are in a controlled environment like a hospital. Harsh chemicals are found in soaps too and should be used with caution especially for more sensitive skin. The oils and cleaners in more regular soaps strip the dirt away and with what amount of moisturizer they have lay over a layer of oil for protection. Harsher soaps can be used but not every day and not everywhere for sure.
Alternatives to consider: wash with plain soap and water.
10. Plastic Shopping Bags
Only 2% of plastic is recycled in the US and 98% along with 4 other high plastic-producing countries are dumping it all in the sea making that beautiful blue haven a landfill of suffocating plastic, oil and killer chemicals and minor bits of debris that can’t rot. Ever or nearly ever.
Alternatives to consider: reusuable bags are sold all over for cheap in cuter and more diverse designs. Cotton or a woven hard grass works and so do sturdy net bags.
11. Plastic Bottles
Besides plastic being unable to decompose it takes more water to create the bottles than the water inside them for sure.
Alternatives to consider: stainless steel or glass bottles, plastic bottle cannot be totally avoided so choose a good few and replace every now and then.
12. Scented Detergents
Almost all detergents contain fragrance, even those that are listed as unscented, usually have a masking ingredient to cover the scent. 95% of the chemicals used in fragrances are made from petroleum products. Many are known to cause cancer, birth defects, and damage to lungs, brain, and nerves. Fragrances are not regulated by any government or health agency. There is no law that requires fragrance ingredients to be put on product labels.
Healthier Options: there are detergents brands out there like Seventh Generation Free and Clear, Country Save Unscented or Planet Unscented that could be ordered online or you could make your own with Borax, arm & hammer washing soda and a soft, unscented soap.
13. Perfumes and Scented Soaps
When you do a lot of laundry yourself you are at risk for exposure to these chemicals especially if you don’t take care of your exposed skin and face.You can create your own fabric conditioners out of the many natural cleaners we have mentioned with melted, unscented, soft soap.