Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Spring Cleaning!

Yes, its that time again! Where everyone thinks they should clean out their house after being cooped up all winter! Although winter hasn't exactly left Seattle yet since it snowed last week!!! Ugh.

Anyway, I don't look as good as this gal when I clean (who wears heels when they clean??) but I do admit I get the same Itch to clean when spring rolls around. I think its because I can SEE the dust and grime because its light out when I come home!

In LIGHT (hahaha) of it all, I have a few tips for your spring cleaning. Or should I say Alternatives to your cleaning process!

Starting with the products you clean with...
I highly recommend you clean with safe, natural products as much as possible. People you gotta get over that because it smells like bleach it must be clean--ick. While in some cases you might have to resort to bleach for things like Mold or mildew, consider other options like vinegar or bleach alternatives instead. Avoid bleach because it isn't safe to send down the drain....remember just like they said on Finding Nemo, "All drains lead to the ocean." Its true. Or in some cases what you dump outside for example could end up in your drinking water.
It isn't hard anymore to find a natural alternative to cleaning. Store shelves are starting to fill up with natural options--even Clorox has a Green version of their products now.

Consider your storage options...
A lot of stores this time of year might put their Rubbermaid containers on sale so you can clean and organize your junk. How about instead you get rid of your junk?
Why are you holding onto those clothes or some random knick knacks that are just sitting in a Rubbermaid container? Do we really need more storage for more stuff? Save your money and get rid of it. But don't toss the good stuff! Truly on man's junk really IS another man's treasure. Just ask all the people on Craigslist. Or consider other sites like eBay, Freecycle (all free stuff), 2Good2Toss (only avail. to Pierce county residents) and anything else I may have forgotten.
Why not make a buck off that junk while you are at it? Its worked wonders for our house and I enjoy seeing my junk go to some random person who thinks its the BEST deal in the world.
Or just have a yard sale. Who knows, maybe you'll earn enough money to fund a vacation this summer!

Air fresheners! Oh those air fresheners!! They smell so good sometimes don't they? But sometimes don't they smell so fake you almost feel sick?
Consider this information from Delicious Organics,

"Air fresheners seem to work on the room and clean the air but actually
they work on us! They basically interfere with our sniffers. The
chemicals coat our nasal passages with a film that deadens the nerve
endings. They mask the problem instead of taking care of it and fool us
into thinking the room is fresh and clean.

The ingredients are troubling and may include things like
formaldehyde, artificial fragrance, benzyl alcohol, camphor, ethanol, and naphthalene, among others. Aside from causing asthma and
allergies, many of these chemicals are known carcinogens that lead to cancer and
birth defects. Many attack the central nervous system which can lead to
Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, or SIDs in infants. Sound
clean to you?
Air fresheners and room deodorizers actually create
pollution. When used in a confined area, like our homes, places of work,
or cars, they create an intense amount of toxins in a small area. Children
are particularly susceptible to poor air quality which can lead to a host of
diseases and premature death. The EPA ranks poor indoor air quality among
the top five environmental health risks to the public. Pollution indoors
is oftentimes worse (sometimes up to 500 times worse!) than the pollution
outdoors! Sure, tobacco smoke indoors is a horrible contributor to that,
but aside from that, indoor pollution is primarily the cause of all the things
we use to
clean our homes and make our homes smell good. In aerosol form the dangers are multiplied because of the
micro-particles that are created of the chemicals. "

Ummm does that sound scary to anyone but me? Yeah, I have since rid by house of this stuff, but I made the poor decision and gave them to someone else who LOVES Plug-Ins & stuff. The more research I've done on this it has since made me realize I should have never given them to her!

What about candles? Those can't all be bad right? Well Delicious Organics say this about candles, (excluding all based soy or bees wax candles)

"Scented and Aromatherapy candles are no better at clearing the air. Traditional candles are made of paraffin wax, a by-product of the gasoline industry, a petrochemical. The fragrance is either artificial, once again a petro-chemical and many not suited for combustion, or a pure essential oil which, when burned, no longer offers the therapeutic effect and actually converts into unhealthy byproducts. Scented paraffin candles usually contain metal or lead core wicks creating unsafe lead concentrations when burned. 100% of the lead that is inhaled when the candle is burned ends up in the bloodstream which can be particularly damaging to children. What is not inhaled immediately attaches to furniture and walls to be inhaled or ingested later. The black soot created from burning traditional, and especially scented, candles is toxic. According to the American Lung Association - "scented, paraffin candles cause lead poisoning and using slow burning paraffin candles cause poor indoor air quality, and a serious health concern." Once again, instead of freshening the air, they work to mask the odor while adding poisons to the air we breathe in the comfort of our own homes.

So what CAN we do to help "clear the air" or freshen our homes?!
  • Open a window. I know seems obvious right, but truly this IS the best thing you can do for your home to help rid smells and allow some fresh air in.
  • There are natural based air fresheners out there, you just really have to read the labels.
  • I used Vinegar to clear the air in a room. Just leave a small bowl of vinegar out of the way and it really works.
  • simmer on the stove cinnamon & cloves or lemons w/ water
  • Put a little essential oil on a light bulb (just a drop on a cool bulb)
  • If you love candles stick with beeswax candles!
  • Use plants to help clear the air! plants can help rid your air of carbon dioxide naturally (especially a spider plant)

So think before you clean and toss! And when you are done cleaning, don't spray your room down with some Pledge or Lysol; it ain't helping you.

For more information about Air fresheners check out these other sites: GreenLiving, the EPA's Study on Fresheners, Pure n Natural and Science Daily.

Picture courtesy of this site here.


The Young Family said...

OK Marcie you have gone too far now. You are now messing with my air freshners! I admit the stuff is convinving - but I so loooove my airfreshners from Bath and Body..... I can handle the other stuff but I am not ready to rid my life of the smell of cucumber and melon, or black rasberry. I'll think about it does that count? ha ha ha I know it doesn't. One step at a time right? I recycle like a crazy woman it probably drives my family nuts, I actually go through the recycle to make sure everything is "correct"... Man messing with airfreshners - what is next? My SUV?


you know I love ya!

Lori said...

I love this post! i will be using these tips when i start the spring cleaning at the end of the month! Any tips on carpet cleaning with a carpet machine? Do they have a green option for rug cleaner?

Cagle Clan said...

Oh wow, I am so glad I read this! I wish I would have known sooner being pregnant and all. Glad I found this out before my baby was born, especially due to the link to SIDS!! I will be throwing away ALL my air freshers!
So glad I happened to come across this very important info.

Cagle Clan said...

Oh and thank you for posting it!!!

Anonymous said...

I knew air fresheners were bad due to the chemicals (I hate that commercial with the woman spraying air freshener and wholeheartedly sniffing after it and breathing it in, as in, "Oh, it smells so nice!" !!!), but I hadn't heard about them deadening our sense of smell. Good to know.

MKD said...

Emily! Yes, your SUV will for SURE be a target in a future post! LOL! You knew it was coming didn't you? I need to post my hummer picture w/ the ironic license plate...Thanks for reminding me!