Household cleaners are among the most notorious contaminants of air, water and soil that humans and animals ultimately come into contact with. Asthma cases have in many instances been ascribed to continuous exposure to cleaner-related chemicals, some of which contain traces of carcinogens and developmental and reproductive poisons.
The American Thoracic Society warns against regular use of household cleaning sprays as they could lead to adult asthma, an assertion that has unfortunately not been proven. Nonetheless, it is always better to stay safe than take chances when your health and that of your family is at stake, especially when the risk can be avoided altogether.
Below are nine tips to help you choose the right cleaner and make the cleaning of your windows and house risk-free.
- Avoid FragrancesSynthetic air fresheners and fragrances are composed of chemicals that may be deemed safe by the bureau of standards but actually trigger reactions in some people. For individuals overly sensitive to allergens and households with small children, it is always advisable to avoid fragrances if you can do without them. Ventilate your house properly to air out fragrances.
- Avoid Cleaners With Hazard SignsYou should try as much as possible to avoid any form of toxicity in cleaning products simply because there are options on the market that hold zero harms. Products with “Poison” and “Danger” signs are considered extremely harmful while “Caution” and “Warning” are safer. The safest and most recommended are those without any of these signs. Read blurbs extensively before settling on a product, and avoid agents with undisclosed component compounds. Avoid switching brands frequently especially if one already works well for you and contains less toxic ingredients.
- Make Your Own Cleaning AgentThough homemade window cleaning products may not be as effective as their branded counterparts, they can make for an unhazardous option for daily use while the commercial scrubs wait for the intermittent thorough cleanliness sessions. One known way of preparing homemade detergent is mixing a few cups of white vinegar with an equal amount of water in a container and a few drops of essential oil. This may not be the best option in ridding tough and dry greasy stains but will work well in a constantly scoured and wiped window.
- Opt for Highly-Rated OptionsThere are numerous websites that rank products according to their price, eco-friendliness and knock-on effect history where you can learn about the most trusted products and add them to your shopping list. You can always do an in-depth study of a considered product and its ingredients and compare it with other options before making a final decision.
- Check the Logo and Expiry DateIt may be difficult to find an uncertified product in a Canadian shop, but it is always worth the time to take a look at the certification and eco-friendliness logo. Also, look at the expiry date to avoid exposing yourself to the more grievous perils of expired chemicals.
- Use Microfiber ClothsIf you are using a homemade or less toxic cleaning agent – which are typically less effective – you can utilize a microfiber cloth, which is designed to trap sticky dirt, dense grime and grease. It is less ruinous than a hard-brush and can be used to clean windowpanes and edges without worrying about scrubbing off the paint. They are unfortunately made of synthetic fibers made of petroleum, which is not a renewable source of energy. Nonetheless, they don’t belong to the same category as the conventional cleaners.
- Avoid Alkylphenol Ethoxylates (APEs)APEs are excellent cleaning agents due to the special ability to form a link between compounds that don’t readily mix, but are unfortunately a known cause of hormone disruption in human beings and animals. Some forms of APEs have already been banned in Canada as well as some parts of Europe from being used in the manufacture of cleaning agents.
- Ventilate While WashingRegardless of how safe the product you are using is, remember to keep your house ventilated during cleaning to expel toxicity. Harmful chemicals in small amounts may not be harmful immediately, but will sooner or later build up to amounts that can pose a viable threat to your health.
- Use an All-Round Cleaner for All CleaningThe dangers of inhaling two different forms of chemicals each day are undeniably graver than those of one. You can purchase an all-round cleaning agent to use for the windows, bathroom, living room floor and the entranceway instead of buying one for each. That way, if you develop an allergy, you may be able to point out the culprit. Also, using one detergent may prove to be significantly cheaper in the long run.
Since there are no rules in Canada requiring detergent manufacturers to disclose all ingredients used in their products, it remains the user’s responsibility to do research of their own before purchasing a window-cleaning detergent.