When you begin your Spring Cleaning, think about:
Healthy Cleaning Products
Most conventional cleaning products are inexpensive and easy to use. Unfortunately, many contain chemical compounds that are dangerous to breathe and touch and that can contaminate soil and water once washed down the drain. But with a little knowledge and some willingness to experiment, you can find less-toxic alternatives that work for everyday cleaning and even tougher jobs.
It's also worth rethinking your idea of what "clean" means. Many of us associate fragrance or bleach with sanitation because we're so used to the odor of the chemicals in commercial cleaning agents. Yet a truly clean house smells air-fresh, not odor-laden. And be aware that many manufacturers of "unscented" cleaners use chemical fragrance to mask the scent of the active ingredients in their products. So while your laundry detergent might not smell like roses, it may be scented to smell unscented.
When it comes to germs, anyone who's taken high-school biology knows that microorganisms, including beneficial ones that live inside us, are omnipresent. Yes, we want to eliminate E. coli from countertops and bathroom fixtures; yes, we want to minimize the spread of viruses. But studies have shown that unless someone in your home is severely immunosuppressed, all you need is soap, warm water, and a little scrubbing to keep your family members from getting an infectious disease.
Even homemade or gentle store-bought cleaning products can be irritating, so always wear rubber gloves while cleaning and ventilate the area whenever possible. Also, test a new cleaner in a discreet spot before using on a big area. Label homemade cleaning solutions clearly and keep them out of the reach of children.
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