Friday, August 17, 2012


Avoiding Harmful Effects to Your Health from Cleaning Supplies

            There is no doubt that it is important to both our health and psyche to keep our surroundings clean. It is important to be able to kill harmful fungal spores and bacteria that can make us sick and to clean up spills that can allow insects and other animals to reproduce. Due to this, some companies have spent years convincing us that we need their products in order to stay healthy. The harsh reality is that we don’t need their products to keep a clean house (baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice are all very effective cleaners) and their products are actually very harmful to our health. For example, mixing baking soda and vinegar produces water, carbon dioxide, and a tasty salt called sodium acetate (a key component of salt and vinegar chips), while mixing bleach and ammonia produces a very toxic gas known as chloramine. Even some of today’s green products can be harmful to your health, so it is important to tread carefully when picking out cleaning products. Should you still choose to use “regular” cleaning supplies instead of switching to baking soda and vinegar, know that there are some things you can do to avoid their harmful effects.
           The main thing to do to avoid harm to your health is to make sure that you NEVER mix cleaning products together to get a “better clean.” First of all, this will not give you a better clean, and secondly could produce some very dangerous chemicals.
Also, it is important to make the area you are working in as well ventilated as possible. This means doing things like, keeping the bathroom door open and the fan on when you clean the bathroom, and keeping windows and doors open to create a cross breeze when possible. Remember that when things are warmer they volatilize more, meaning more of the chemicals can enter your body through your lungs.
If ventilation is not an option consider getting a filter respirator. They may look funny, but they do a very good job of keeping noxious gasses out of your lungs.
Always wear gloves when handling cleaning supplies as they are designed to break down organic matter (which you yourself are composed of). In addition to this it is also a good idea to wear goggles to avoid getting chemicals in your eyes. If you were to get any cleaning chemicals on your body you should wash them off with water for 10 to 15 minutes. Should you get them in your eyes, wash your eyes with water for 15 minutes and then consult a poison control center. Should you swallow some chemicals call the poison control center IMEDIATELY!
In addition to this it is important to make sure that you do not spray any cleaning products around your food because small amounts of the products will get on the food.
In the end however, the best way to make sure that you are not harmed by the cleaning supplies you use is to really make sure you know what chemicals you are using and to try to use safe alternatives rather than those dodgy products with multi-million dollar marketing campaigns that don’t even have to list their ingredients on the labels.



Works Cited:
"Cleaning Supplies and Household Chemicals." Lung.org. American Lung Association, n.d. Web. 17 Aug. 2012. <http://www.lung.org/healthy-air/home/resources/cleaning-supplies.html>.
"Why You Shouldn't Mix Bleach and Ammonia - Bleach and Ammonia Chemical Reactions." About.com Chemistry. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Aug. 2012. <http://chemistry.about.com/b/2010/08/20/why-you-shouldnt-mix-bleach-and-ammonia-bleach-and-ammonia-chemical-reactions.htm>.
"Google." Google. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Aug. 2012. <http://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHFA_enUS487US489>.

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