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Your home may be making you and your family ill without your knowledge. If you have been experiencing headaches, dizziness, stomach pain, or other ailments at home, but your symptoms disappear after you’ve been away, there is a good chance that your home is to blame. Home items that put people’s health at risk include hazardous cleaning products. If you want to reduce the home health risks affecting your family, you should opt for natural alternatives to traditional cleaning products. We share some below to help set you and your family on the path to better health.
If you are using an all-purpose cleaner that includes ammonia or bleach, you are putting your family’s health at risk. It is a good idea to read the labels for health information and warnings, and anything labeled as dangerous should be thrown away. Cleaning with natural ingredients is much safer for your family and pets.
A natural all-purpose cleaner can be made from vinegar, baking soda, and water. Combine 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1/2 gallon water. This cleaner is useful for removing stains on shower stalls, cleaning chrome bathroom fixtures, and washing windows and bathroom mirrors. When are you are finished cleaning, cover the mixture to store and keep until you need to clean again
Cleaning with microfiber cloths is a general substitute for using chemically-rich commercial cleaning products. When you clean with a microfiber cloth, you are removing foreign materials and getting a streak-free shine on mirrors, windows, glass, and other surfaces. Traditional cleaning rags do not capture dirt, and chemical cleaners leave behind residue that is harmful to your family and attracts more dust and dirt.
When you use microfiber cloths and water, you do not have to use soap or chemicals of any kind. You also can reuse microfiber; when cleaning, rinse with warm water, and when not in use, wash them in the washing machine to prepare them for the next use.
Unfortunately, many people turn to toxic bleach to kill and remove mildew. If you find mildew in your bathroom or basement, open the window and place a fan near it to circulate the air and let light in first. Then, decide which natural ingredients you want to use to remove the mildew.
- Vinegar and essential oils – White vinegar on a sponge or in a spray bottle with a brush or coarse scrubbing sponge will remove mildew. If you don’t care for the smell of straight vinegar, add essential oils to tone down the smell. For example, grapefruit seed extract improves the scent of the vinegar and has its own mildew-fighting powers.
- Tea tree oil – Two teaspoons of tea tree oil with two cups of water will remove mildew when you spray the solution onto surfaces where it is growing. You can also add a few drops of this essential oil to a vinegar solution.
- Baking soda and peroxide – If your vinegar and essential oils work but leave behind some mildew, attack it with baking soda. Make a paste of baking soda and water and work it into the surface of the tough spots or grout and scrub with a brush or sponge to kill mildew. If you then rinse with white vinegar, the residue from the baking soda will disappear. Another option is to use full-strength hydrogen peroxide on affected surfaces. Apply it to the area, let it sit for at least ten minutes, and wipe away mildew.
Of course, sanitizing your home is important to keeping bacteria, viruses, and germs at bay. Again, most people reach for harmful bleach when it comes to disinfecting the house. The natural alternative of white vinegar will disinfect areas of your home prone to germs, such as sinks, toilets, doorknobs, cutting boards, and counters. Undiluted white vinegar has more power to disinfect than diluted vinegar, so keep it in a labeled bottle and use it to wipe down the areas of your home that you want to disinfect.
While you may have grown up with parents using some of the most noxious chemicals available for home cleaning, you don’t have to use commercial products just because they did. Using natural ingredients and microfiber cloths will get your home just as clean, and you won’t have to worry about any side effects that put your family’s health at risk. Keep these things in mind if you clean your own home, or if you hire others to clean it, make sure they’re aware of your preferences and understand your concerns.
Charlotte Meier enjoys collecting resources and educational materials to share with people who wish to keep their homes safe. She operates Home Safety Hub, which provides resources on preventing injury and property loss.
Images courtesy of Pixaby by evitaochel