Most UK households have a variety of over 23 cleaning agents in their cupboard at any one time, people use an assortment of soaps, detergents, polishes, glass cleaners, bleaching agents, floor cleansers and drain cleaners when cleaning their home. Individuals like their home to be clean and germ free but is there a hidden risk associated with using such strong products?
Ammonia which is found in products like degreasers burns mucous membranes and contributes to asthma. If it is mixed with bleach, it creates a poisonous gas which can be deadly to small children and babies. Whilst manufacturers don’t ever mix the two consumers could easily mix them together by accident with their assortment of products at home.
From an environmental view we uses far too much product down the toilet and this in turn harms the environment but it can be a problem much closer to home. Take scent for instance, generally cleaning products use synthetic aromas in the household and these can trigger asthma and other allergic reactions. It is no coincidence then that allergies and associated diseases such as eczema are on the rise?
The issue is no one knows what it is in those cleaner fragrances that cause these symptoms along with headaches, watering eyes and sneezing. The chemical formulas of fragrances are considered trade secrets, companies aren’t required to list their ingredients but merely label them as containing “fragrance.”
How can cleaning be more natural? We have been fed marketing adverts about the efficacy of the brand names for years but have you ever wondered why cleaners are based on scents like lavender, lemon and pine – it’s because historically these plants and essential oils of them were used.
Natural cleaners are available to purchase both online and from supermarkets now and essential oils can be used effectively along with other natural ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar. Lemon or pine essential oil mixed with hydrolat or distilled water and some alcohol can make a great general surface cleanser. While the best oils for degreasing are the citrus oils even today orange essential oil is used to clear oil slicks on the sea because it is so abundant.
Our top tip is to work out how much per year you spend on cleaning products and then look at natural and simple alternatives to lessen the chemical load within your home.
Louise Mac – Anatomy & Physiology, Aromatherapy and CPD Tutor