Eating healthy and working out are important, but your household cleaners are hiding hidden dangers to your health
How often do you wipe down your countertop and tabletop? If you’re like me, the answer is several times each day – after all, this is where you prepare food, where your family gathers, and unfortunately, where germs fester. But how much time do you spend selecting your go-to cleaning spray?
Traditionally, many consumers relied on all-purpose cleaning sprays like Formula 409, Lysol, and SOS to rid their most-used surfaces of germs and grease. And unfortunately, many of these cleaning sprays contain harmful chemicals that can be doing long-term damage to your health. If you’re still using them, it’s time to stop and find a replacement that you can trust to both clean your surfaces and keep your family safe.
If you’re not an obsessive-compulsive daily cleaner, you may feel that you’re in the clear when it comes to feeling the effects of chemicals in your cleaning products, but that’s just not true. The University of Bergen in Norway analyzed 20 years of data and found that even once-weekly exposure to chemicals in cleaning products resulted in devastating effects on health. In fact, the lung capacity of those exposed to cleaning products once a week was comparable to the lung capacity of people who smoked a pack of cigarettes a day over the same span of time.
If that’s not enough to get your attention, I don’t know what is.
And if you’re still thinking that a cleaning spray can’t be as dangerous as a liquid, gel, or wipe because you don’t directly touch it, think again. The same study found that there was no significant change in results based on the delivery method of the chemical compounds. Inhalation and skin absorption are equally dangerous.
So what’s an average consumer to do?
Start With Research
Once you know better, do better. Start by researching what you’re spritzing around your house. Familiarize yourself with ingredients that are known to be harmful, as well as label terms that may be hiding hidden dangers. Plenty of well-known “clean” brands can hide a variety of chemicals under ambiguous names like “fragrance” and “preservative.”
As a baseline, make sure to avoid: Chlorine Bleach, Ammonia, Formaldehyde, Phthalates, Abrasives, Phosphates, Parabens, and Quaternary Disinfectants. These chemicals should be avoided at all costs based on how they negatively affect your respiratory system, cause skin irritations and allergies, damage the environment, cause cancer, and lead to developmental and reproductive toxicity.
Don’t Be Fooled by Marketing
We’re lucky to live in a time with a myriad of options for all-purpose cleaning spray, including plenty of better-for-you alternatives. But you may be surprised to hear that there are ZERO government regulations on labeling a product as “clean,” “natural,” or “green.” These are all marketing terms meant to earn your trust.
Sustainable Earth by Staples Multi-Purpose Cleaner may sound like a great choice as you look for your new, “clean” go-to spray, but you may be surprised to hear it is equivalent to bleach in terms of health effects. Even the most of the well-known brands like Seventh Generation, Honest Company, Green Works, and Method found at grocery stores don’t always hit the mark when it comes to safety. Even if many of their products are great choices, they miss the mark on other products. This can make it hard to trust an entire line of products as a solution. You may also be put off by the price difference between healthy alternatives and traditional cleaning solutions.
As you delve into the “clean” market, be sure to consider Melaleuca products like Tough & Tender 12x All-Purpose Cleaner, which are highly ranked, plant-based, safe to use on all surfaces, and customer favorites. If you’re working on a strict budget, you’ll be pleased to find that their 12x concentrated formula adds up to huge savings over time.
How to Get Started
Learning that you should replace all of your cleaning products can be overwhelming. Not only do you need to find dozens of replacements and invest heavily in both time and money, but it can be difficult to pinpoint where to start. Most experts recommend replacing one item at a time, starting with your most-used cleaning solutions – like your all-purpose cleaning spray.
Pay special attention to natural or botanical ingredients that are known allergens; plant-based does not necessarily mean the best choice.
While you may be tempted to stick with your old faithfuls, consider the long-term health benefits of switching products now. Especially if you have children, this is also a great way to influence their purchases in the future. After all, how did you choose that spray in your cabinet? Chances are your mom used it when you were young.
It is always the right time to make a choice that will improve your health!