5 Mar
Posted in: Health, Home
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Avoiding Chemicals In The Home

Did you know that cleaning product manufactures are legally not obliged to disclose ingredients? Many of which contain harmful toxins which have not been tested for saftey or their effects on health. Most homes contain an array of toxic products with the average home today containing more chemicals than a typical chemistry lab at the turn of the century! Indoor chemical pollution is recognised as a significant health risk to children by the World Health Organisation with household cleaning products being linked to conditions such as asthma, eczema, fatigue, depression and headaches through inhalation, digestion and skin absorption of chemicals. Therefore it is important to avoid harmful toxins where possible and source out products that are not only safe for our use but also environmentally friendly.

Most anti-bacterial cleansers and soaps contain a chemical called ‘triclosan’ which when mixed with tap water has been found to  create chlorform, a dangerous chemical which has been linked with infertility, birth defects and hormonal disturbances. There are many natural products which contain plant based ingredients which are just as effective at killing bacteria. Tea tree oil contains anti-bacterial properties and can also be used diluted in water.  Most dishwashing detergents contain chlorine which can cause skin irritation as well as residual build up on plates which then enters hot meals and oven cleaning chemicals are amongst the most dangerous chemicals in the home, they are extremly corosive to skin and caustic to the eyes and lungs. There are also many carcinogens found in these products which affect the nervous system of adults, children and unborn babies when entered into the air from heating the oven. Once again look for natural safe products for cleaning your dishes, kitchen and bathroom!

Many people use air fresheners to rid their home of bad odour. Air fresheners actually dampen our sense of smell by coating the nasal passage and de sensitizing the nerve endings. They also contain a well known carcinogen called formaldehyde which has been linked to allergic reactions, headaches, depression, fatigue and immune system dysfunction. Infants are particulary affected due to their increased respiration and metabolic rate. Why not try and make your own air freshener with essential oils? Here is one of my favourites!

Natural Air Freshener

2 drops Eucalyptus Oil

7 drops Bergamont Oil

2 drops Cypress Oil

2 drops Lemongrass Oil

Mix  each essential oil  into an amber spray bottle filled with water and use in the toilet, for pet odours, carpet and throughout the house for a clean and refreshing scent which neautralises odours without any harmful side effects. Other great essential oils to use include  Grapefruit, Orange, Peppermint, Clove and Spearmint!

Natural Oven Cleaner

What you’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Spray bottle
  • Scourer sponge
  • White vinegar
  • A natural/eco washing up liquid

Step 1

Wait until night and then sprinkle a thick layer of baking soda over the oven’s floor so that you can no longer see the base. Do this whilst the oven is cold.

Step 2

Spray water over the baking soda so that it is damp, but not completely wet. Allow the baking soda to dry for about an hour and then respray until it is damp again. This allows the enzymes to absorb the residue on the bottom of the oven and break it down. Repeat the process once more and then leave it over night.

Step 3

In the morning, scrape the dried baking soda off the base of the oven. In a bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons baking soda, 4 tablespoons white vinegar and ½ teaspoon washing up liquid. Using the sponge, scrub the inside of your oven with the mix.

Step 4

Rinse the sponge in warm water and remove all the residue from the oven. Rinse the sponge again, and wipe the oven clean. Continue until the oven is completely clean.

Highly toxic chemicals are also found in the laundry, especially in laundry detergents which has been linked to allergic responses such as asthma and dermatitis. I remember as a child whenever I would go to friends homes and need to borrow clothes or my friends parents would wash my clothes they would often smell so strongly of synthetic fragrances that I just couldn’t stand to wear them. There are many natural laundry detergents available which use plant based ingredients. Have a look at the range next time your shopping for laundry products, you will notice they have a mild and pleasant scent that does not irrate the skin or airways.

There are now many natural eco friendly household cleaning products available which have no need to hide their ingredients as they are derived from plant based ingredients rather than petrochemicals and other dangerous substances. Next time your shopping make sure that you check the labels first and find products that will not only keep your home clean but will have no adverse effects to you and your families health and the environment.

Kate Harrison is a Melbourne based Naturopath and Mother. Kate specialises in Woman and Children’s health and has worked alongside other allied health professionals at Victoria’s first independent midwifery center, MAMA. (Midwives and Mothers Australia). Kate maintains a blog and social media platforms where she regularly writes health related articles which focus on educating the public about Herbal Medicine and Nutrition. You can follow Kate’s blog at www.kate-harrison.net

So, what do you think?