How to Keep Your House Clean and Not Toxic

Healthy Living Steward Health Care

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Be it at home or at nursery school, both parents and childcare providers struggle to win the infectious disease battle – or at least declare a standoff – through regular use of powerful cleaning and disinfecting agents. While these cleaners may protect your child by defeating the germs, they may also pose potential health risks because of the sometimes toxic ingredients they contain. And while you cannot control the toxins that permeate public facilities, you do have a say in the how you choose to keep your own home clean.

The good news is that safer cleaning products are available, and you can also employ safer cleaning techniques to protect yourself, your family, and even your pets.

To start, be sure to read all labels well. Do not assume a green bottle labeled “natural” is toxin-free.

Also, consider the following pointers to avoid purchasing toxic cleaners:

  • Consider products with:
    • Citrus or plant-based oils: orange and lemon for degreasing; tea tree and eucalyptus for disinfecting; and olive for polishing
    • Enzymes to break up drain clogs
  • Choose products that list ALL of their ingredients.
  • Make your own cleaning products from non-toxic ingredients such as baking soda, club soda and white vinegar.
  • Focus on cleaning; disinfect only when necessary. Good cleaning habits will mean you won’t need to disinfect nearly as often.
  • Do not use chemical carpet cleaners.
  • Use chlorine bleach sparingly. Consider using fragrance-free, non-chlorine bleaches containing hydrogen peroxide instead.
  • Choose unscented cleaning products. Sometimes fragrances are added to mask the smell of toxic cleaners. Furthermore, fragrances themselves can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
  • Be wary of concentrated cleaners that advertise safety only when used under certain conditions.
  • Avoid cleaners carrying a “danger” or “warning” label.

Manufacturers of cleaning products are required to prepare a Material Safety Data Sheet containing information about a product’s health, fire, reactivity, and specific hazards, from a score of 0 (minimum) to 4 (severe) in each category. For household cleaning products, avoid any product with a score higher than 2 in any category. Visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Household Products Database website to find this and other helpful information on household cleaners.

To find a doctor or schedule an appointment visit Steward DoctorFinder™ or call 1-800-488-5959.

To find a doctor or schedule an appointment visit Steward DoctorFinder™.