This year I moved into a new home in East Van. It’s lovely. It suits us so well. When we moved in I gave it a loving scrub; a spring-cleaning. Everything felt right in the world as I vowed to always keep it sparkling clean. Time passed and as it did so did my promise to keep it bright. Spots appeared, ignored on my stove, splashes on my mirrors, and mysterious splotches on my floors. Dust crept into each corner followed by spiders and cobwebs. Now with the change of the season comes another attempt to tackle and tame the mess that is bound to accumulate.
Change begins in your own home.
Healing the planet, one patient at a time – Dr Jozef Krop, MD
One of my basic treatment principles is to avoid environmental exposures. And what better place to begin than at home? Outdoor pollution accumulates in your air and your dusty corners. Mold builds irritating or downright dangerous colonies can grow in your damp places. Even the cleaners sold on grocery store shelves have lurking dangers. The following are some guidelines to create a home oasis where your health is fostered.
What’s in it?
Dust in your house will slowly accumulate many outdoor pollutants
Pesticides, herbicides, industry fumes, asphalt, engine exhaust, BBQ toxins, burning fuel, paint, sewage fumes, PCBs, other volatile substances
How does it affect your health?
Can lead to heart disease, asthma, and lung cancer in some people
In susceptible people leads to headaches, fatigue, achy, sore body
How to clean it?
A damp rag will collect plenty of dust, add a drop of soap in warm water to help clean off residue
A microfiber cloth will possibly collect more, I like these because they don’t leave streaks
A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter will suck up the dust and prevent its dispersal back into your home’s air
What to avoid?
Using aerosol spray cleaners or disposable cloths. These products will create more pollution!
What’s so bad?
The spores from the mold can be irritating or cause dangerous immune reactions.
How can it affect your health?
This irritation can look like seasonal allergies, stuffy nose, dry or irritated eyes, headaches, wheezing or worsening of asthma. In people with poor or compromised immune systems certain molds can become infectious.
How to clean this up?
Maintain a dry bathroom. Ventilate well and squeegee shower walls. If humidity is very high consider a dehumidifier in the damp season in Vancouver.
Try using hydrogen peroxide on troublesome moldy surfaces. Regular cleaning helps keep surfaces more manageable.
What to avoid?
Avoid bleach since its an environmental toxin.
More extensive information in cleaning mold up can be found at the centre for disease control.
Culprit #3 Cleaners
What is so bad?
Conventional cleaners are not required to label their products (which are proprietary). Thankfully some very dutiful watchdogs such as environmental working group in the US have blown the whistle to watch out for the worst products.
Many chemicals in off the shelf products are dangerous. Known carcinogens (cancer causing), endocrine disruptors (mess with healthy hormones potentially causing or aggravating PMS, early puberty or menopause, low testosterone, and many others), developmental or reproductive toxins (potentially causing common behavioural disorders and infertility), as well as known allergens.
What can I do?
With a small budget, a few ingredients and some elbow grease, creating a sparkling home oasis is easy and satisfying
- Baking soda
- Washing soda
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Re fillable spray bottles
- Microfibre cloths
- Biodegradeable dish soap
- Essential oils, such as tea tree, lemon
- Great resource for many green cleaners: Suzuki’s Queen of Green
- The only cleaner here that I don’t like and don’t use is the floor cleaner instead I use: equal parts isopropyl alcohol, white vinegar and water, a few drops of lemon essential oil for scent and a few drops of dish soap for grease cutting
What are your favourite natural cleaning tips?