Here is a great guest post from Michael Hayes, Founder of Empire Maids Nyc. A very interesting topic, and one we probably don’t think about that often, but really should. Enjoy!
Eating healthy, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep; is this really all it takes to stay healthy? Will this recommended and widely talked about lifestyle protect you from external factors that pose a threat to your health? While the easy answer is ‘yes’, the truth remains unchanged; there are far too many potential health hazards around us to lead an entirely ‘healthy’ lifestyle. What might these be? That’s what we’re here to discuss.
Within the walls of your very home, we can name at least eight types of products that are toxic and have ill effects on our health. On the other hand, we’ve got an Alternative for each of them that is 100% safe to use and will take you one gigantic step closer to leading a healthier lifestyle! Read on.
- Liquid Hand Wash
As convenient and effective as they are (as opposed to washing your hands with bar soap), liquid hand wash solutions generally contain ‘triclosan’; an antibacterial agent. While you may believe that this is a good thing, the harmful effects lie in its ability to promote drug-resistant bacteria. Excess usage of this Chemical can make our systems immune to antibiotics and other antibacterial treatments. For a safe and highly recommended alternative, purchase liquid hand wash solutions that include natural ingredients and no antibacterial chemicals.
- Window Cleaner
The toxic chemical to look out for here belongs to ‘glycol ethers’; a group of strong solvents. Some of the symptoms related to inhaling these toxic fumes include throat soreness, liver and kidney damage and drowsiness. Do away with these harsh chemical cleaners and try a solution of water and vinegar to clean your glass panes. Use crushed sheets of newspaper to wipe and the results will pleasantly surprise you!
- Ammonia-Based Products
While ammonia certainly aids in cleaning, the harmful side-effects it causes are not worth it. Particularly for elderly individuals, asthmatics and people who have breathing difficulty, ammonia can leave you feeling breathless, trigger coughing fits and affect your lungs. Replace ammonia cleaners with vodka for surface cleaning, while toothpaste is a great alternative for polishing purposes.
- Air Fresheners
It doesn’t get worse than this; contaminating your indoor air with a product you believe is doing nothing but making your home smell better. Like air fresheners, most fragranced products contain ‘phthalate’ which interferes with endocrine levels. As an alternative, consider lighting scented candles and creating more ventilation in your home to bring in fresh air while allowing stale air to go out.
- Upholstery Cleaners
The strong smell that lingers after using upholstery cleaners is owed to the presence of ‘perchloroethylene’. Prolonged exposure to these fumes can cause dizziness and headaches, while the chemical is also listed as a potential carcinogen. To avoid this toxic agent, consider castile soap and water to clean your upholstery, or other natural-based products on the market.
- Fabric Softener
Households across the world use dryer sheets and fabric softener to reduce static on clothes and make them feel soft. The chemicals present in these products cause skin irritation, as well as promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. The alternative, however, is 100% safe, economical and easy to use. Depending on the load, add 1/4 – 1/2 a cup of white vinegar to your laundry and you’ll never need to use dryer sheets and fabric softener again!
- Oven Cleaners
Most oven cleaners that offer exceptional cleaning results contain sodium hydroxide. Yes, this compound aids in cleaning efficiently, however, prolonged contact on your skin or inhalation of the fumes can cause negative effects on your health. The best alternative for cleaning your oven naturally is with the help of baking soda, vinegar and water.
- Chlorine-Based Products
You can find chlorine in toilet bowl cleaners, laundry detergent and other harsh cleaners. Excess usage of such products that expose your skin to chlorine and the fumes they exude can cause skin irritation, respiratory issues and thyroid problems. To substitute chlorine-based products, stock up on borax powder, bleach powder, baking soda and vinegar. These ingredients can be used in a number of ways to mimic the effects of chlorine.
While it’s near impossible to completely keep toxic chemicals at bay, you can begin to “detox” your home with these simple alternatives. The positive effects on your health are guaranteed to be evident in the long run!
Michael Hayes is founder of Empire Maids NYC, a housecleaning service in New York City. He can be reached at hello(at)empiremaids.nyc.
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