Grandma had it right all along

March 14, 2012

Have you vacuumed your mattress lately?

It's time for spring cleaning, and yes, a thorough mattress vacuuming is among the tasks recommended by Dr. Ty Prince of the Allergy, Asthma, and Sinus Center. It's ironic, then, that those of us who clean to reduce allergens are actually stirring them up in the process and likely to suffer the effects during the cleaning process.

While you may spend lots of money on a high-end vaccum cleaner, then more to equip it with a HEPA filter bag that will trap tiny particles before they become airborne, a damp mop is apparently just as effective and more hygienic for allergy sufferers.

Household cleaners may contain potential carcinogens. According to this article, they are not as well-regulated as you might imagine. And a particular danger is the way we may combine cleaners – say, using a disinfectant on a sink then hitting it with a chrome cleaner for sparkling faucets.  But if you look for this (DfE) label on products, it means they're tested and produced with the lowest risk to humans.

Reports on household cleaners and air fresheners this week may have you reaching for vinegar and lemon juice instead.

Still, after the reports this week about endocrine disruptors (bad stuff) hidden in many household cleaning products that are labeled “green” or “natural” it's difficult to be too careful. “In other products, the highest concentrations of the tested compounds were in fragranced products such as perfume, air fresheners, and dryer sheets, as well as in sunscreens,” the report said. So, maybe it's better to smell nothing than a manufactured "clean" scent?

Got tea tree oil? It's one of the modern solutions to green cleaning, an ingredient in homemade disinfectants, according to this website. And other everyday, nontoxic products like vinegar and baking soda can do the job of many of the mass marketed cleaners found in supermarkets. Maybe Grandma was right after all?

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Published: March 14, 2012

Author: Allison O'Leary Murray

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Word Count: 316

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  1. Spring cleaning allergy concerns
  2. a damp mop
  3. ASK AMY
  4. Spring Cleaning for a Healthy Home | It's Our Environment
  5. Study finds worrisome chemicals in wide range of consumer products
  6. How to Make Your Own Cleaning Products - DIY Environmentally ...