For quite a few months now, I've spent my Fridays with you extolling the virtues of vinegar. Today I thought I'd explain why vinegar is a better choice when it comes to cleaning by exposing the dangers of common household chemicals. After reading this, you may be even more motivated to go back and read earlier Vinegar Fridays' posts to see how vinegar can be used to clean and disinfect your home, car, laundry, etc.
Cleaning solutions for glass and floors, as well as furniture polishes often contain ammonia.
Why is that a problem? Because ammonia can cause eye, nose and lung irritation, as well as causing skin rashes. Ideally, you should wear gloves, goggles and a mask before using ammonia.
Toilet bowl cleaners, disinfectants and, of course, laundry bleaches can contain bleach.
What is that a problem? Because bleach can cause skin irritations, as well as asthma attacks in asthmatics. Plus when it is combined with ammonia, the result is a toxic gas. So let's pretend you're cleaning your mirrors in the bathroom as you soak the dirt out of your toilet with a commercial bleach-based toilet cleaner. Next thing you know, someone in the house is calling 911. Should have used vinegar, I guess!
Next, let's move on to formaldehyde. What? Isn't that the stuff used to preserve the frogs we used to dissect in biology class? One and the same. So what's it doing in cleaning products?! Good question. It's also found in pressed wood (common in furniture, kitchen cabinets and paneling) and carpeting and it can make you sick! If you read the labels, you'll find formaldehyde lurking in disinfectants, furniture polishes and detergents. Yuck.
What is the problem? Well, formaldehyde may cause headaches...in my case, horrific headaches! It also causes nasal stuffiness, itchy eyes and nausea. Because I suffer from chemical sensitivities, it also triggers my Epstein Barr Virus Syndrome (EBVS) and fibromyalgia.
Glycols. These are commonly found in degreasers, dry-cleaning chemicals and floor cleaners.
What is the problem? Unless skin, eye, nose and throat irritation bother you, no problem at all!
Battling with some nasty soap scum on your tub and tiles? Just grab a cleaner with lye. It'll do the job. So....
What is the problem? Maybe there isn't one...unless you splash some in your eyes, which very well might result in blindness. Plus, the combination of lye and acid can create hazardous vapors.
A fresh smelling home is important to most of us. But if you have pets or athletic teens, this is not always the case. So you stock up on air and carpet fresheners. But make sure you read the labels first and avoid anything with napthalene.
What is the problem? While your goal is to make it easier for everyone to breathe in your home, napthalene actually makes it dangerous to do so! Headaches, nausea and confusion are just some of the side effects.
Finally, take a look at your oven cleaner and any pesticides you have. If petroleum distillates are listed among the ingredients, look out.
What is the problem? Petroleum distillates can irritate the skin. The problem can be avoided with proper precautions, of course. Wearing gloves is a must!
That's all I have for you today...now I must head downstairs and check out my dishwasher. I ran a cup of distilled white vinegar through a quick wash to see if it would help my problem -- I emptied it earlier and the filmy deposits on my glasses were nasty. I thought a dishwasher cleaning was in order.
Then I'm going down to the basement to get my wash out of the washer (where I used a distilled white vinegar rinse) and get it out on the line. Can't wait to smell the freshness of it later when I take it down. There's nothing like sun and fresh air to dry your laundry -- the smell is divine, stains are bleached out and the electric bill is just a bit lower.
Keeping it green with vinegar,