Healthy Cleaning

Sometime after getting pregnant with Silas someone somewhere started changing my mind about keeping things clean. I got a bit educated on what those cleaners are actually doing to our bodies and even worse, what happens to us when we live in such a bacteria-free environment.

I think it started because I’m so sensitive to smells. Those fake smells are SO harsh, people don’t realize it because we’re saturated in them. The media wants us to spray Febreze around our house all the time (BTW it has been known to kill your pet birdies so umm…what’s it doing to our kids?) and EVERYTHING seems to have a fake scent! It drives a person like me CRAZY because a lot of those smells give me a headache!! I know people who get really bad asthma attacks from the smells too. That nice perfume you wear outside or that smelly dryer sheet you just used can cause people you pass by in public (like me) a lot of harm!

What’s wrong with the smell of my couch?? I think it smells way better than it would smell if I stuck febreze on it!! AHHH.

Since being away from these cleaners I’ve really begun to notice a difference between what the all natural ones and what the really chemically ones do to your body. If someone gives me some clothes that have been washed in say Sunlight or Tide I will get hives on my arms from looking through them. If they’ve used a dryer sheet them I’m sneezng and sneezing, I have a headache and my asthma starts getting noticeable. I never had those things happen to me before but once I’ve been purged from those things for quite some time, I really see the effect. Did you know that vinegar is an excellent fabric softener (amongst being a great cleaner and deodorizer)? Did you know that I never use dryer sheets and I NEVER have a problem with static cling? (living in the rainforest where I do, you don’t need it at all!! There’s natural and res-useable alternatives you can use in drier climates)

Whenever I am around harsh chemical cleaners like Mr. Clean, Fantastic, Chlorox, etc. I get a headache and my sinuses start to burn. Like I said before, I never noticed it when I was used to it but not that I’m away from it, man it burns BADLY.

This worries me because all the commercials are telling us that we need these things to keep our homes “safe” for our kids. Trust me, since making the switch, my asthma has never been better and I get sick less or the same amount as when I was using those harsh cleaners.

If I’m so sensitive to those things then how are the babies and children feeling when they’re around them? What are they really doing to us? The scented baby wipes and diapers almost killed me when I used them on my children. The worst headaches from those things and oh the SNEEZING!! I use Huggies Nature Clean and they don’t smell…bums don’t need need to smell pretty now do they?

Another MASSIVE side effect from this whole hygenic thing that people are caught up on is all the allergies that people have. We think we’re protecting ourselves and our kids by getting rid of all the scary germs but really, we’re giving them problems like weak immune systems and allergies. My son has a life threatening allergy and the #1 reason people are giving is because of this whole hygiene issue!!

Let’s not forget about our lovely planet that we’re harming in the process as well!!

I encourage you to take a look at what you have been using to clean your house. Do you feel good about using those cleaners around your little ones? Does everything you use have a fake scent? Can you believe that not fully killing 99.9% of the germs is actually good for you (washing and rinsing usually gets rid of most germs btw)? Do you feel good about what it’s doing to our environment? Are you giving into the fear mongering that the media is doing to you?? It really is an injustice to use and our children!!

Have a look in your local grocery store for some alternatives. If your kids suffer from allergies or asthma I’d recommend that Nature Clean line because they’re all hypoallergenic products and they work smashingly (and yes some of them have a nice scent but it’s natural!!). There’s natural air fresheners too if you must, Method makes a bunch of them. Method is really inexpensive too but not the best if you’re looking for hypoallergenic. I do use their dish soap and it’s nice, very bubbly unlike some other natural dish soaps that don’t bubble (that doesn’t mean it’s not cleaning though!!) Method also makes disposable cleaning wipes to replace those other ones that they tell you to wipe down your toys and cribs with…AHHHHHHH!!!

Maybe we should be ok with the normal smell of things. I think my furnishings look great without pledge…a little water and a microfiber cloth takes the dust right off. I don’t need to smell like a lavender bouquet to be happy. I seriously was never so enlightened to it all until I got rid of it all. We always used Sunlight on my clothes and I never got a hive from it! I was sick a lot though, I had a lot of sore throats and my asthma was worse.

So there, nothing factual but if I still haven’t changed your mind then I can lay down some harsh facts for you. Like that Febreeze contains zinc chloride which is the harsh chemical that has killed peoples birds and even dogs!!

Here are some common ingredients of commercial household products:

Ammonia Fatal when swallowed
Ammonium Hydroxide Corrosive, irritant
Bleach Potentially fatal if ingested
Chlorine Number one cause of poisonings in children
Formaldehyde Highly toxic; known carcinogen
Hydrochloric acid Corrosive, eye and skin irritant
Hydrochloric bleach Eye, skin and respiratory tract irritant
Lye Severe damage to stomach and esophagus if ingested
Naphtha Depresses the central nervous system
Nitrobenzene Causes skin discoloration, shallow breathing, vomiting, and death
Perchlorethylene Damages liver, kidney, nervous system
Petroleum Distillates Highly flammable; suspected carcinogen
Phenol Extremely dangerous; suspected carcinogen; fatal taken internally
Propylene Glycol Immunogen; main ingredient in antifreeze
Sodium hypochlorit Potentially fatal
Sodium laurel sulfate Carcinogen, toxin, genetic mutagen
Sodium tripolyphosphate Irritant
Trichloroethane Damages liver and kidneys

** taken from http://www.healthycleaning.com/whycleanhealthy.html which is a site I encourage you to check out. They have all the facts that you need to know to change your mind!

According to the U.S Poison Control Centers, “A child is accidentally poisoned every 30 seconds and more than 50% of all poisonings occur at home with children under 5 years of age” .

I encourage you this week to switch at least one of your cleaners and see what happens!!

21 comments

  1. Yay for natural cleaners!!! Preach it sister! I completely and totally agree. And I don’t agree with killing 99.9% bacteria either…because we end up killing the good and the bad bacteria. I recently switched to vinegar and baking soda to clean my tub and let me tell you…it was so so easy! (Spray dry tub with vinegar and use baking soda on scrubby.) I don’t think my tubs ever been this clean! And it was easier to wipe off the soap scum and it stayed cleaner longer than it ever did with the yucky cancer-causing Comet.

    PS Febreeze smells TERRIBLE when its wearing off, like a yucky musty smell. Blech!

  2. Fantastic post! I completely agree, and you’ve given us such a great list of resources!

    My friend distributes Shaklee, and I’ve just started trying out their non-toxic cleaners. So far, so good! They’ve been around since the ’70s, and “green” since before it was hip. Oprah has featured them four or five times in the last year. Their stuff seems a bit on the spendy side, but it’s super concentrated. I’m still trying to decide if it works out to be as cost-effective as they claim it is, but in the meantime, there is no toxic poison in our home, so yay for that!

  3. Jenivere – I just saw on your blog that you bought some of those!

    Jennie I get the non-chlorine bleach at Super store, it’s their Green brand. If you don’t have an avatar it gives you a cute little monster avatar 🙂

    shonebrightly – thanks for your comment 🙂 I’ll looking in the that Shaklee stuff too. I think paying a little more is OK. The more we do it, the cheaper it’ll become right? Investing in our children’s future and the future of the planet is worth it to me!

  4. I think there are Shaklee distributors around, and you can have a Shaklee ‘party’ (kinda like tupperware). Do you know if that’s true? If so…let’s do it!

  5. Malaleuca is great. I would highly recomend looking at their website and also ewg.org it is an amazing website.

  6. You should look in Norwex, it’s pretty fantastic as well. They do the party thing, and their hostess program is pretty much top notch.

    A word about the dryer balls – they’re usually made of PVC, which isn’t terribly safe environmentally. PVC off-gasses (which goes into your fabrics), plus the manufacturing process of PVC is really bad.

    To be honest, if you’re in a really dry climate like the prairies, you’re pretty much stuck with static (in the winter anyway) unless you hang every thing to dry. It was really hard for me to switch at first, but I’m used to it. I hang everything up, and then tumble it all when it’s almost dry for a few minutes. It softens the clothing up but doesn’t dry it out so much that everything starts to stick together.

  7. We were disappointed to read your recent comments concerning the use of Febreze® around pets and children. Our entire line of Febreze® Fabric Refresher and Air Freshener products is safe for use around both humans and pets when used according to label instructions. As with any cleaning product, care should be used when using Febreze around pets and pet areas. Our formulas are extensively tested for inhalation safety, and we also complete a voluntary pet safety review with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) prior to the launch of any new product in our lineup to ensure safety.

    Thanks.

  8. Marisa – I’m sure there’s lots of tests that any products have to go through. It still makes me feel sick and there still has been accounts where animals have fallen ill. I’m sure it’s up to the standards that they give but I just don’t think those standards are very high.

  9. I was going to intorduce you to Norwex, but Kait beat me to it. That’s what I use. The rags are a bit pricey, but I haven’t found anything that cleans windows, granite counters or stainless appliances better than Norwex rags. If you have a “party” you get lots free. (well, that is if your friends and relatives get sucked in too.)

  10. YAY!!! Ever since having kids I haven’t used any of those nasty chemicals to clean my home either. I use Norwex products as well as Superstore’s Green selections. It’s so wonderful not to have 100 different smells in my home! Thanks for the post.

  11. Shaklee ROCKS!

    Also, if we are to start liking the normal smell of things… does that mean that I can stop wearing deodorant? I HATE deodorant. If only we could get everyone to agree!

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