Safe Spring Cleaning Tips
Conventional household cleaners are full of chemicals, many of which give off unhealthy fumes that can irritate the lungs or cause headaches. Some even contain chemicals that are linked to cancer and neurodevelopmental disorders.
In the United States, cleansers are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure they do what they say (e.g. brighten whites, get rid of soap scum, etc.), but there are no mandatory health tests.
To spring clean safely, follow these six tips:
Make Your Own Homemade Cleaning Products
You can use simple ingredients you might already have on hand to create safe alternatives to chemical-based products, including all-purpose cleaners, window spray, soap scum removers and more. View 8 recipes for homemade cleaners.
Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Whiten
Instead of chlorine bleach, use hydrogen peroxide to whiten and to sanitize. Clean your counters, table tops with peroxide to kill germs and leave a fresh smell. Simply put a little on your dishrag when you wipe, or spray it on the counters. After rinsing off your wooden cutting board, pour peroxide on it to kill salmonella and other bacteria.
Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water and keep it in every bathroom to disinfect without harming your septic system like bleach or most other disinfectants will (be sure you put the mixture into a bottle that filters out sunlight.)
Avoid Antibacterial Soaps
Antibacterial soaps kill good germs as well as bad germs, and contribute to the growing problem of bacteria becoming antibiotic resistant. Also, research shows antibacterial soaps are no better than plain soap in preventing infectious disease. It’s how you wash your hands that maintains good health. Rub hands together vigorously for at least 15-20 seconds. Don’t forget the spaces between your fingers, your wrists, and under your nails.
Clean with Pump Spray Bottles
Aerosols spray tiny droplets of chemicals around that linger in the air, irritate airways and persist in the lungs. Our body’s natural filters, like nasal hairs, are unable to keep out these miniscule droplets. Pump sprays are safer.
Avoid Dry Cleaning Your Clothes
Buy Clothes that don’t require dry cleaning, or use “wet cleaners” instead. If “wet cleaning” is not an option, hang dry-cleaned clothes outside or in the garage for a few days to air out the dangerous cancer-causing chemical, perchloroethylene, used to clean them.
You can also add a cup of peroxide instead of bleach to a load of whites in your laundry to whiten them. Remember, though, hydrogen peroxide is a bleach, so use with caution around colors just as you would with conventional chlorine bleach.
Take Off Your Shoes at the Door
Removing shoes before entering the home not only keeps your home cleaner by keeping dirt out. It also reduces exposure to pesticides, gasoline and other chemicals that can be tracked into your home.
Source: HealthyLegacy.org. For asthma triggers and more information, visit www.epa.gov/asthma/triggers.html
|About the Expert
Karen Majewski, RN, CNP
Adult Nurse Practitioner
Coordinator, Adult Asthma Education
Seeing patients at MetroHealth Medical Center and Beachwood Health Center, Nurse Practitioner Majewski practices with a focus on asthma and has clinical interests in the management of pregnant asthmatics and difficult-to-control severe asthmatics that need close monitoring and /or coaching.
She is Nationally Certified Asthma Educator and is available for individual counseling/education sessions providing patients with individualized asthma management plans.