Cleaning your house should not involve exposure to toxic chemicals, but many commercial cleaners on the market are toxic and do not contribute to good health. The idea of cleaning and disinfecting is to promote health, but using cleaners that are toxic or that lead to super bugs is counterproductive to this goal. This is basically using one poison to wash away another poison.
This is a simple (and cheap) matter to resolve. There is no need for any anti-bacterial cleaners or harsh disinfectants in your home, this includes anything you use to clean from dishes to bathroom. It only requires a few items to keep your house clean and fresh naturally, but first it is important to discuss what it means to have a clean house.
In American culture there is a germ phobia. We hear phrases like, “disinfect surfaces” to “kill germs on contact.” Anti-bacterial products are sold as if they are the answer to all our ills.
The problem is that this doesn’t take into account the very real issues of resistant strains of bacteria that are made worse by using super disinfectants and engineered anti-bacterial products to kill germs. Despite the commercials, not all the germs are going to die from this approach, which leaves the remaining germs to build immunity to the disinfectant and to create what are referred to as “super bugs.”
Kate Henry of the University of Canterbury says,
“Germs are comprised of bacteria, viruses and fungi/molds which are pathogenic to us. Germs are a tiny minority of the vast numbers of bacteria, viruses and fungi/molds, collectively called microbes, most of which are not pathogenic to us.”1
Basically if a microbe is bad for us, we call it a germ. Many microbes are beneficial to the point that we depend on them for our good health. Since Louis Pasteur, we have come to believe that all microbes are germs and are therefore bad for us, but modern science tells a different story.
There are germs everywhere – literally everywhere. Recently new discoveries are being made as to the value of microbes to our health and some things we have done as a result of Louis Pasteur’s findings, like trying to kill off pretty much any microorganism we come into contact with, is not to our benefit. In fact, using harsh chemical cleaners can have a number of negative effects on our personal health.
Our bodies are covered in bacteria and they should be. Not all bacteria are bad. In fact, some bacteria are downright necessary to our survival. When we use heavy duty commercial disinfectants, harmful germs are not the only microbes to die. Beneficial bacteria are killed as well. Further, the remaining pathogenic germs can become stronger and more difficult to kill in the future.
The immune system is prepared to kill germs and keep us from getting sick most of the time. Being exposed to small amounts of germs is likely to cause the body to build an immunity to them when the germs are not enough to overwhelm the body’s defenses, but are enough to alert the body to produce antibodies to kill them and be prepared in case of future invasion. Therefore, if we keep the dirt and grime from building up, the number of germs should be too small to do us any harm.
“There is an increasing body of evidence which highlights how the routine use of harsh cleaning products and disinfectants is having serious adverse affects on the environment, on biota and on people. The adverse effects on people include DNA damage, brain and immune system impairment, asthma and allergic reactions to products. Because routine use of harsh cleaning and disinfecting chemicals is not necessary and because they have serious adverse effects, we should be questioning our use of them.2,” Kate Henry.
This issue can impact preborn children as well. Numerous studies have shown that chemicals can cross the placenta and collect in the bodies of a developing fetus. Therefore, pregnant women should be very careful about what types of chemicals they are exposed to in their environment, including the cleaners they use.
What it all comes down to is that having a clean and healthy home does not mean trying to eradicate every germ possible with any means possible. What it does mean is that dirt, grime, and anything that germs live in should be cleaned up and washed away. When that is done, the germs are washed away with them and the house is clean.
It also does not mean replacing germs with toxic chemicals. Even though there is a time and a place for sanitizing our homes with disinfectant, there are healthy methods and supplies readily available to accomplish the task. It is easy to put together a do it yourself kit of effective cleaning supplies that won’t break the bank and won’t damage our health.
We don’t have to eradicate every microbe in our environment in the process. It is actually much cheaper and just as effective to keep a house fresh and clean using simple, inexpensive methods than it is to use harsh chemical disinfectants and engineered anti-bacterial solutions.
Here’s how to get going on the safe, effective, non-toxic road to a sparkling fresh home.
Getting started on having a naturally fresh and clean home will probably require a few purchases, but most people already have some of these items in their homes. To begin with, natural cleaning supplies do not come in containers made to use them as cleaners, so a canister and scoop along with spray bottles and other items can be purchased to put together a natural cleaning supply kit. Follow the link below for diy supplies.
To read other articles in this series click on the links below:
How to Safely and Effectively Disinfect Your Home
Recipe for Mildly Scented Vinegar and Essential Oil Cleaner
Non-Toxic Supply Kit For a Naturally Clean House
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Description: Having a fresh, clean and healthy home is not about killing as many germs as possible. The types of chemicals used to clean can have a profound impact on our health. It is possible to choose safe, non-toxic cleaners for less cost than conventional cleaners.
1Henry, Kate, Comparing the Current Chemical Cleaning Regime and Chemical-Free Cleaning at the University of Canterbury: A report and Practical Microbiological Experiment for the Sustainability Office, University of Canterbury, Page 4.
2Henry, Kate, Comparing the Current Chemical Cleaning Regime and Chemical-Free Cleaning at the University of Canterbury: A report and Practical Microbiological Experiment for the Sustainability Office, University of Canterbury, page 2.
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