Why it’s time to update your family’s cleaning habits.
One of my favorite songs to start each new year is “New World” by Nas: “Welcome to the new world/ New beginning/ A new way to play/ A new way of living/ Cash is the past/ A new way of spending/ New life for man, children and women.”
When I think back to that song’s release, in 1999, I’m reminded of all the changes we’ve seen since the dawn of the century: smartphones, Uber and Lyft rides, the blockchain, social media, etc. But I also think of a few accepted standards that have remained the same. One that’s very familiar to me is the concept of “cleaning.”
In the year 2020, I still see people using brooms, string mops, feather dusters, paper towels and sponges to clean homes, offices, restaurants, gyms and more. For the cleaning solutions, they still spray bleach, ammonia and other known toxic chemicals. I’m sure you can guess the detriment all this causes for personal health. In fact, a study released in 2018 by the American Thoracic Society that compares the use of household chemical cleaners and their ill health effects to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Talk about a need for change.
So, to the question of why do we need to update our cleaning practices? I say the obvious: It’s for our own health … and it’s long overdue.
Superbugs Are Real
According to the Centers for Disease Control, superbugs are responsible for more than 35,000 deaths and nearly 3 million illnesses each year in the US. Instead of spraying more fuel onto the superbug issue, we must change what we use and find new ways to clean.
We’ve come to depend on modern cleaning chemicals to brighten up surfaces that have dulled over time or shine metal to a sparkle. The problem is these chemicals do a great job at that stuff, but not so much when it comes to sanitizing and killing germs.
You see, superbugs, like MRSA, Candida auris and C. diff, are pretty resistant to cleaning chemicals (even medications). When the chemicals don’t kill the germs they are supposed to, the germs learn how to survive the onslaught, and end up passing those survival tactics on to other germs through their DNA. Even after they die, and cell walls rupture–like an information bomb–the information and DNA contained inside the germ is dispersed for others to absorb, learn and resist. The results are deadly superbugs running rampant without anything to stop them.
It may sound counterintuitive — to use fewer chemical cleaners to combat germs and potential superbugs — but obviously what we’ve been doing to fight the problem has not been working as well as it should. The obvious change is to head in the other direction and start using fewer chemical cleaners. The science and the FDA back me up on this too. In May 2019, the FDA announced that:
“…the benefits of using antibacterial hand soap haven’t been proven. In addition, the wide use of these products over a long time has raised the question of potential negative effects on your health.”
Aside from the myriad of superbugs, there are many contaminants to deal with in the world we traverse daily. Exhaust fumes from the daily commute, EMFs from cell phones and towers, sick building syndrome at the office from toxic cleaners all act as adversaries against our health.
Some of these pollutants we cannot control in our personal lives, but why add these toxic chemicals to our environment and force ourselves to deal with them at home, at work, and where we play?
Like the study likening cleaners to cigarettes, many health issues are caused by toxic cleaners that people still use.
These ill effects include:
Asthma and other respiratory issues
OK, you get the picture of outdated cleaning routines. The good news is that a better vision for cleaning (call it the 2020 vision) is actually convenient, less expensive, and more familiar than you might realize.
The Simple Solution
Use natural cleaners! Vinegar, soap, essential oils and probiotics are great at cleaning and sanitizing. Using more natural cleaners doesn’t mean you go without either. You can still achieve the results you’re looking for and bypass the detriment to your health and environment.
For instance, instead of using bleach to whiten those yellowing whites, try an enzymatic laundry detergent. Rather than Clorox wipes, mix up a spray bottle with a basic soap and essential oils and use a microfiber cloth to pick up 99% of what’s on a surface. Use baking soda to scrub toilets instead of Comet or Ajax. Try vacuuming your floors instead of sweeping with a broom (your allergies will thank you).
These changes are simple, inexpensive and effective. And unlike other changes in life that can take a while to root, changing the cleaners we use has an immediate impact on our health and survival as human beings.
Just try it. You won’t break the budget. Your house will smell better. And over a period of time, there’s a good chance you’ll feel healthier than ever.
Happy cleaning and cheers to better health!
Written by: Lyndon Conaway