Category Archives: Cleaning

Chemicals To Avoid In Cleaning Products

Cleaning products are supposed to, well, clean, right? They’re supposed to get rid of grime, bacteria, and other things that are harmful to our health and the health of our children. That’s what cleaning products are supposed to do, but you’d be surprised by some of the things that are actually in the bathroom cleaner, furniture polish, and laundry detergent that you use regularly.

 Chemicals To Avoid In Cleaning Products

Buyer Beware!

After all, they do come with all these warnings and possible symptoms: keep away from children, watery eyes, do not swallow, chemical burns. Shouldn’t something that cleans our home be a bit safer than that? You’d think, but here are four things that are actually in your cleaning products, things that may actually contribute to indoor air pollution and chronic health problems.

Nonylphenol ethoxylates

This, however you pronounce it, is a common ingredient found in laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaner. It is banned in Europe (like many toxic ingredients found in American household cleaners), as it has been shown to disrupt the hormone system, to be toxic to aquatic life and to persist in the environment. It’s even been banned for any cleaning product manufactured after 2012 in California! To find this one, look for “nonylphen” or “nonoxynol” within the ingredient name.

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is found in spray and wick deodorizers as well as furniture polishes and wood treatments. It is a respiratory irritant and suspected carcinogen. It’s also found in cigarettes and is used to preserve dead things, like the things you might have seen and studied in middle-school science, or your relatives in a funeral home.

Methoxydiglycol

Also known as DEGME, and also banned in the Europena Union (at levels higher than three percent), methoxydiglycol is not only found in American household cleaners like floor, bathroom, and oven cleaner, but in concentrations up to 15 times higher than what is allowed by the EU. On top of that, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe says DEGME is “suspected of damaging the unborn child.” Don’t want to know what it could do to the rest of us.

Chlorine

Yes, chlorine and chlorinated phenols. This one may seem harmless, but it’s not the same stuff that’s in the neighborhood swimming pool. It’s found in toilet bowl cleaners, among others, and is toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems. Chlorine is also toxic because if it’s mixed with ammonia, which is found in bathroom cleaners and glass cleaner; it’s literally a deadly combination.

To Make This Even Worse…

Did you know that household cleaners are the only product in the United States that don’t have to list their ingredients, and if they do list ingredients, they don’t have to list them in order from greatest amount to least amount? This means that even if do take the time to inspect bottles for warnings, instructions, and ingredients, you might not be getting all the information you need to make a good decision. In fact, the generic brand of cleaning products found in Wal-Mart and Target don’t even have an ingredient list on them! The average household also contains anywhere from 3-25 gallons of toxic materials, most of which are in these cleaners, and most of which we might not even realize are there.

Guess what? There are Alternatives to All This!

Fortunately, you have more options than cleaning your home with these awful products, or living in filth the rest of your life. Basic ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and olive oil can be used to make your own cleaning products that are full of things that you can actually pronounce and recognize. Companies such as Seventh Generation, Full Circle, and Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day actually specialize in eco-friendly and human-safe cleaning products, stuff that will leave your home smelling like lavender instead of toxic fumes. To cut down on the amount of chemicals and toxins, purchase cleaners in smaller quantities, and throw out half-full bottles and such after a significant period of time. There’s no reason to have this stuff sitting around your house.

Be Aware and Be Healthy!

 

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

A Healthier Home with Houseplants

 A Healthier Home with Houseplants

Spider Plant helps remove toxins in the air

As the weather starts to cool down, you’ll likely be spending more time indoors. In fact, the EPA estimates that Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors. The air inside can contain 5 – 10 times more pollutants than the outside air.  Why?  Because the outside is exposed to wind, rain, and sun to naturally degrade the pollutants.  Our indoor environments are perfect breeding grounds for all of these elements to build up and grow in our homes.  Substances like dust, mold, pollens and other bacteria may make it hard to breathe and cause problems for those with allergies.

Luckily, there are easy, natural solutions to help you improve the air you breathe in your home. The first step to a healthy home is Dr. Doormat.  Another natural way to keep the air in your home clean and improve your family’s health is by simply investing in a few houseplants.

5 Health Benefits of Houseplants

1. Breathe Easier

Your body takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide each time you take a breath. Houseplants do the opposite. During photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen.  Adding plants to your indoor space will increase oxygen levels and make it easier for you and your family to breathe.

2. Prevent Illnesses

Plants also release moisture vapor into the air. The moisture vapor released into the air increases the humidity of a room. In the dry winter months, houseplants can help prevent respiratory illnesses, colds, coughs and sore throats. As an added benefit, your skin will stay hydrated!

3. Improve Allergies

A NASA study report showed that plants can remove up to 87% of VOCs (volatile organic compounds).  VOCs are introduced to your home from common objects like rugs, vinyl floors, grocery bags, inks, man-made fibers and paint.

 A Healthier Home with Houseplants

Peace Lilly helps remove mold and purify the air for allergy sufferers

Many houses also have pollen, dust and mold trapped inside.  When your windows are closed during colder months, these particles can’t escape and can aggravate allergies and cause colds.

Air purifying plants pull VOCs into the soil and convert them to plant food. You’re left with cleaner and healthier air to breathe in your house.

4. Elevate Your Mood

Some studies suggest that houseplants can improve your mental health, too.  Many companies put plants into offices to prevent fatigue, improve attentiveness and lift workers’ moods.

Plants are also used to help those suffering from depression. When patients feel sad or lonely, caring for another living thing helps them feel more of a sense of purpose in life.

5. Sleep Better

Most houseplants only produce oxygen during the day, but several will also produce oxygen at night. Higher levels of oxygen make it easier to breathe and promote deeper levels of sleep.

Choose the Right Plant

Not all plants will produce health benefits for your family. In fact, some are poisonous to children and pets and should be avoided.

The following plants are non-toxic and will purify and humidify your home’s air.

  • Spider Plant: Great for living spaces, this plant purifies air quickly and removes toxins.
  • Dragon Tree: This plant is also ideal for living spaces. It purifies air and removes toxins.
  • Gerbera Daisy: Releases oxygen at night and purifies the air by removing toxins. Place this plant in your bedroom to improve sleeping.
  • English Ivy: Removes toxins, especially those found in offices and studies.
  • Boston Fern: Humidifies the air in your living spaces.
  • Snake Plant: It has a scary name, but the snake plant won’t bite. It will purify the air and remove any toxins associated with fuel-burning appliances and fireplaces.
  • Peace: This plant removes mold and is ideal for bathrooms or damp areas in your home.
 A Healthier Home with Houseplants

English Ivy is perfect for removing toxins

Any amount of houseplants in your home will improve your air quality and mood. However, in order to get the full benefit from houseplants in your indoor space, experts recommend that you place one large plant (8-inch diameter pot or larger) for every 100-150 square feet.

If you’re looking for more ideas on how to purify the air in your home with houseplants, try the book How to Grow Fresh Air.

This is a subject that is very dear to me since I have had allergies all my life and collect houseplants.  It’s amazing how powerful mother nature is.  To think that  our forests are designed to be the clean up crew for the atmosphere and our rain forests are being threatened by human interference.  I guess that makes me a treehugger.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

7 Tips To Keeping The Car Clean

We practically live out of our cars.  

Here are 7 common sense tips for keeping the car clean.

Once upon a time in this great nation it was a luxury to own a car. When suburban sprawl, soccer games, cheerleading practice, football camp and sleepovers became the norm, what was a luxury became a necessity. While plenty of urban parents and children pack up equipment and coolers and take public transportation, the majority of the soccer moms are packing as many players as they can into their car-pooling auto.

 7 Tips To Keeping The Car Clean

Gearing up in the family SUV

The term auto is used loosely. More than likely the suburban mother of today is driving an SUV or van – the 2012 version of the old station wagon from the days of Leave it to Beaver. While fathers still drive their sporty cars to work, the work car is driven by the moms.

Whether a soccer mom or working person, we all seem to live in our cars. Think about all the time spent in stop and start commuting traffic. Then comes the taxi team hauling everyone and his brother to practices, recitals, play dates and maybe camping trips. Do not forget the daily trips to the super market, mall and big box stores. How does anyone make time for themselves? Usually, lunch time or break time means eating on the run.

 7 Tips To Keeping The Car Clean

The Family Taxi

How many carloads of rambunctious cheerleaders have passed through the Golden Arches after a game. After everyone orders their favorite super-sized meal and devours as much as possible while still talking and waving their arms around, there are more French fries on the floor of the car than ever hit the collective mouths. Mom ordered her favorite, too, which means not only fries on the floor, but spilled cola on the arm rest and crumbs down the front of her shirt.

This is life in America. We love it. So do all the germs and bacteria that hide in your car when you close the doors for the afternoon or evening. Your auto becomes a rolling lab specimen. In the hot, closed environment all the bad bacteria grow and flourish. And when the next person or group of children enters the car, they come in contact with all these vermin. Are the sniffles, flu bug or allergic reactions too far away?

It is virtually impossible for Americans to maintain the interior of their vehicles so they are germ free.   Here are 7 common sense ways to eliminate some of these invading microorganisms and viruses before they can do damage.

  1. You’ll need a garbage can, vacuum cleaner, paper towels, non-toxic, odor free cleaning spray and a litter-bag.
  2. Pull all the car mats out, shake and vacuum at least once a week and then believe it or not you should be able to wash those mats in a front-loading washing machine, and hang to dry.  Only as needed of course.
  3. Open all the doors, empty all the trash under all those seats and start cleaning.

     7 Tips To Keeping The Car Clean

    The cars takes a bath

  4. One major helpful tip:  Before and After you vacuum, clean the head of the vacuum cleaner with a sanitizing spray or solution.  This prevents the transfer of virus’s and other nasty germs from being spread around.   If you use a public car wash, make them use a spray or sanitizer or your car will be dirtier after they vacuum.
  5. Once a quarter have the floors shampooed at a professional car wash.
  6. Purchase a good size container of anti-bacterial wipes. Make it a game for the kids. Once they are secured in their seats have them wipe that portion of the seatbelts that they touch. They should also wipe the door handles before they touch them the first time. Don’t forget to wipe the steering wheel as well! Keep a litter-bag in the car for all the used wipes and pitch in the trash when you get home.
  7. Buy a large size container of anti-bacterial spray. You may wish to spray the seats and floors when you know the car will not be used any further for the day or evening. When you spray the interior and close the doors, while the car sits unused for seven hours, all the bacteria on the seats and floors will have been killed.  Air out in the morning before the family climbs aboard for another day.

You have not eliminated all the germs in the car, but you have made great strides in reducing your family’s exposure to harmful virus’s and toxins tracked in on our shoes.  It’s always a pleasure to drive a clean car.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Is Cleaner Better For Allergy Sufferers?

 Is Cleaner Better For Allergy Sufferers?

The Joys of Vacuuming!

Some experts believe that exposure to a little dirt and germs help build up your immune system, so you don’t have to endlessly dust and bleach.  But experts also say you should follow some basic guidelines to defend against the irritants.  For starters, try to vacuum once or twice with a model that has a HEPA filter; this will trap pollen particles and other irritants instead of sending them back into the room at the other end of the vacuum cleaner.  I always recommend using your own vacuum cleaner, never allow a cleaning service to use their company vacuum that travels from one dirty house to another.  Some machines will allow a double bag

To reduce other irritants in the bedroom wash your bedding once a week in hot water and use dust mite covers on mattresses, pillows and box springs.  Sheets need to be changed once a week and washed in hot water.  Dust mite covers should be washed every other month or quarterly if you just don’t have time.

Did you ever feel like the dust is endless and you can’t keep up.  Equip your furnace with a heavy duty filter.  Use one with a rating between MERV 8 and MERV 11 and change it at least every two months.

 Is Cleaner Better For Allergy Sufferers?

Dirty air ducts help re-circulate the dust and animal hair throughout the house.

If you have moved into a new house that may have been occupied by a pet before you, make sure the air ducts are sucked out.  That way lingering cat or dog hair will be sucked out and not allowed to recirculate through the air conditioning or heating system.   All of these steps are basic steps to protect an allergy sufferer from obvious irritants that may impair their ability to breath.

To avoid tracking allergens through the house in the first place wipe off on Dr. Doormat.  This provides a control site to stop dirt in it’s tracks and reduce further exposure.  We keep a shoe rack in our home and remove shoes after a good wipe at the main entrance.  So this brings us back to the original question. Is cleaner better for allergy sufferers.  Yes, providing you are using cleaning supplies that do not contain harmful toxins and fragrances to cause more aggravation than if you did nothing.  A little cleaning every day can go along way to making the task a breeze and keep things under control.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Navigating Through a Sea of Household Chemicals

 Navigating Through a Sea of Household Chemicals

Read the ingredients!

Standing in the aisle of the grocery store, trying to pick out cleaning supplies, can be as challenging and stressful as picking out toothpaste these days.  There are dozens of choices and it can be a daunting, if not overwhelming experience.  Whether you have young children, older children, pets, or just you in the house, you need to be aware and educated.

Are All the Chemicals We Buy to Clean Our Homes Safe?

Where to begin?  I have often scratched my head and thought about my role as a Mom.  In today’s world, we have to be a psychologist, chauffeur, chef, nutritionist, teacher, IT manager and now chemist.  I came across this article written by the Health Information Center at the Cleveland Clinic (216) 444-3771 or toll-free (800) 223-2273 extension 43771 or visit www.clevelandclinic.org/health/.

http://www.clevelandclinic.org/health/health-info/docs/3300/3354.asp

For all of us on the go, I believe this is a great resource to help guide us through the often dangerous and toxic ingredients in everyday household products.  The ingredients are not going away so quickly and we do have choices.  The key is understanding what’s lurking inside the products we’re buying and  understanding how to properly store, use and dispose of them.  Share this with friends and hopefully we can all keep our loved ones safer and healthier in our homes.

 Navigating Through a Sea of Household Chemicals

Does this look familiar?

 

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.