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Spring Cleaning: A Healthy Start to a New Season

Spring Cleaning: A Healthy Start to a New Season

Cultures for centuries have engaged in some kind of spring-cleaning tradition. 

In ancient Persia, a festival that fell on the spring equinox was celebrated by thoroughly cleaning homes and getting rid of old items. It symbolized a fresh start.

The Jewish holiday of Passover is preceded by a thorough cleaning of the home to remove all traces of leavened bread.

The term “spring cleaning” was popularized in the U.S. and Europe during the 1800s, when spring’s arrival was seen as an opportunity to open windows, air out homes, and give them a thorough cleaning after the long winter months.

Bear in mind that this was also a time when homes used coal and wood for winter heat, leaving behind a lot of soot, dirt, and grime. So spring cleaning was a key part of maintaining a clean and healthy home.

Today spring cleaning remains a popular tradition and is often seen as a chance to refresh and declutter the home, get rid of unwanted items, and prepare for the hot summer months ahead.

Additional Benefits of Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning offers other benefits besides having a clean and organized home, such as:

1. Reducing stress. Clutter and a chaotic environment can cause stress and anxiety. Spring cleaning reduces stress by creating a more organized, calm environment.

2. May improve indoor air quality. (See caveat below about VOCs.) Cleaning and dusting can potentially remove allergens, dust, and other pollutants from your home, improving indoor air quality and cutting the risk of respiratory problems.

3. Boosts mood and productivity. Can also boost productivity and help you feel more motivated to tackle other tasks.

4. May help identify and address safety hazards in your home, including broken or damaged items, electrical issues, or tripping hazards you may have not noticed.

5. Creates a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, improving overall wellbeing.

In a nutshell, spring cleaning can offer an opportunity to improve your physical and mental health and create a safer, healthier, and more organized home environment.

However, there’s a hidden danger lingering in the spring-cleaning process…

Dangers in Conventional House Cleansers

Buyer beware!

Conventional house cleaners often contain harsh chemicals and toxins that can pose a danger to your health… and the environment. This may be especially risky if you’re already contending with a significant health issue.

Some of the potential health dangers with conventional house cleaners:

1. Respiratory problems.

Many conventional cleaners contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs)… not to be confused with organic as in food. These are dangerous compounds.

VOCs are chemicals that easily evaporate into the air at room temperature. They’re found in paints, solvents, adhesives, cleaning agents, and air cleaners.

VOCs  and other respiratory irritants can trigger coughing, wheezing, and other respiratory reactions. Long-term exposure to these chemicals can also boost your risk of developing asthma or other respiratory conditions.

Exposure to high levels of VOCs can trigger a number of other health complaints including headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Long term exposure can lead to serious problems such as asthma, liver and kidney damage, and some cancers.

2. Skin irritation.

Some cleaning products contain corrosive or acidic ingredients that can cause chemical burns, skin damage, skin irritation, rashes, and other allergic reactions.

3. Poisoning.

Conventional cleaners can be toxic if ingested or inhaled in large quantities. Children and pets are especially vulnerable to accidental poisoning.

4. Indoor air pollution.

Conventional cleaners can release toxins into the air, contributing to indoor air pollution. This is a significant risk for children and the elderly who spend more time indoors.

5. Environment hazards.

Conventional cleaners release toxins into the environment during use and disposal. Some chemicals persist in the environment for a very long time and produce harmful effects for wildlife and ecosystems.

To minimize these risks, consider using natural, non-toxic cleaners made from safe ingredients you probably already have at home, such as vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils.

Alternatively, choose cleaning products that are low in VOCs, labeled “low-VOC” or “VOC-free.” Proper ventilation can also help dissipate VOCs more quickly.

Find Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products… But Watch Out for Green-Washing

To find safer cleaning products you can look for eco-friendly or green cleaning products that are certified by reputable organizations.

But watch out for greenwashing.

Greenwashing is a marketing tactic used by companies to make their products look more environmentally friendly than they actually are… by using misleading or exaggerated claims about sustainability or environmental impact with the aim of attracting environmentally conscious consumers.

Here are some tips for avoiding greenwashing:

1. Look for third-party certifications. Some examples of reputable certifications include USDA Organic and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.

2. Read the entire label. Don’t just rely on vague language like “green,” “natural,” or “eco-friendly.” Look instead for specific info on the product label that explains how it’s environmentally friendly, or what makes it sustainable.

3. Do your own research on the company, its environmental policies and initiatives.

4. Be skeptical of marketing claims that sound too good to be true… such as claims to be “100% sustainable.”

By being skeptical and doing your own research, you can avoid parting with unnecessary money and make more informed decisions about your purchases.

Non-Toxic Household Cleaners You Can Make at Home

Yes, it’s true that there are actually simple recipes for non-toxic household cleaners you can make at home. Here they are:

All Purpose Cleaner

  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 1 part water
  • A few drops essential oil, if desired, for fragrance

Mix all in a spray bottle. Shake well before using.

Glass & Mirror Cleaner

  • 2 c. water
  • ¼ c. white vinegar
  • ¼ c. rubbing alcohol

Mix all the ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray on mirrors or glass surfaces and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth or newspaper.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • 1 c. baking soda
  • 1 c. white vinegar

Pour baking soda into the toilet bowl, and then add vinegar. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, then scrub the bowl with a toilet brush. Flush to rinse.

Furniture Polish

  • ½ c. olive oil
  • ¼ c. white vinegar
  • A few drops of essential oil

Mix all ingredients. Apply to furniture with a soft cloth and buff till shiny.

These recipes are simple, effective, and affordable. By making your own non-toxic cleaners you can keep your home clean without exposing you and your family to toxic chemicals.

And that lets you truly enjoy the benefits of spring cleaning your home without compromising risks.  

Episode #60 – Watch the video on YouTube now . Prefer audio only? Listen on Spotify now 



Spring Cleaning: A Healthy Start to a New Season

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