Suzanne's Blog

Suzanne Polsinelli
Thank you for joining us as we follow the latest news on chemicals, explore your most asked questions and share information that we have found to be helpful on our green journey. We will be exploring many topics that will help you understand more about toxins in your cleaning products but also health trends and sustainable community events. Take a minute to explore our Learning Center and join us on Twitter and Facebook as well. We look forward to sharing with you!
 
 

I hate cleaning my microwave! I can't tell you how many times I have heard that! I dreaded the microwave too until I figured out how to clean it so easily. Whether it is the microwave at home or the one in the break room at work, it all comes down to everyone putting off cleaning it. If you have stuck on explosions that will not come off easily and you have burned through the muscles in your arms trying to fix it, here is your solution. First don't use the scrub side of your sponge, it will scratch the surface and door and you will see it through the door front. Take a medium sized microwavable bowl and fill it with water. If you prefer a scent, you can add some essential oils. Some people like orange, lemon or cinnamon oil. You can even place some environmentally safe dish soap that has an essential oil fragrance. Run it to the point of a lot of steam and possible boiling. When you open the microwave, you will have a steamed interior and you can easily wipe out all of the food that is now soft! You will also smell the fragrance that you picked. I suggest using a food scent so that your next microwaved meal doesn't taste like flowers. Also, check with your manufacturer if you have a stainless steel interior, you may need to skip the oil on that surface. Enjoy a clean microwave with little effort to clean it!

 

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America www.aafa.org, 1 in 5 Americans suffer from allergies. That's over 50 million Americans. There are some great things that you can do to help relieve your allergies. Dust mites are a common culprit to those who suffer. Dust mites cannot survive in any extreme condition. That would mean that whether you choose heat (steam) or cold (freezing) both can get ahead of those pesky pests. 

Owning a hand held steamer can be a wonderful asset to your green cleaning arsenal. You can find them at most big box stores and the newer ones have a trigger that allows you to choose when to shoot steam. Once you check the manufacturer’s tags, you can steam fabrics, mattresses, couches etc. Also this can be a big asset for your glass, counter tops (not granite), and baths. Steam kills 99% of germs and will dissolve mold and mildew in the shower grout immediately.  

Your freezer can also be your best friend. If you don't want to steam something, pop it in a bag and throw it in the freezer. I leave mine several hours but normally use this method for those wonderful stuffed toys that hang out in our children's rooms collecting dust. Also, for my dry clean only fabrics I use this method as well. If you like to kill dust and have a wonderful scent, essential oils being diffused in your home or making a fabric freshener with them is a great way to kill dust and get a nice scent. Check with your oil provider to find recipes.  

Pets can leave behind many allergens, if you have a pet; baking soda is going to be one of your favorite tools for allergens. Sprinkle it on your carpet and allow it to settle for about 20 minutes. It releases the static that holds pet hair in the carpet. You can then vacuum and get a better cleaning deeper into your carpets. It will also neutralize your pet odors.  

Use these tools to get a jump start on the allergens in your home!

 

 

Getting a diagnosis for a child's health issue can be a huge relief for parents. Not knowing what is causing your child's condition is difficult. However, sometimes getting a diagnosis is just the beginning not the end. This was true for us as our child was diagnosed with asthma and allergies. We had a two year old that could not stop coughing and is having day and night misery for days on end. How do we fix this? Listening to the doctors was our first step. We wanted to be sure that when he was feeling like he couldn't breathe, that he was getting the rescue drugs that would give him the relief that he needed. We also administered maintenance drugs as directed. I began to wonder though what else we were missing. 

There was obviously a pattern of symptoms that directly corresponded to the cleaning products that I would use. I was finding that I was purposefully cleaning when he was not home.  It may be watery eyes, itching and tiredness maybe sometimes a cough. Every time he was very sick I felt I should clean more. I didn’t realize that the very chemicals, synthetics and fragrances in the products I was using were directly causing or enhancing his symptoms. Through a friend I found that the chemicals were probably the culprit. 

Any chronic disease or acute cold or flu can be amplified by chemicals. Just as you try to reduce the amount of germs in your home and life with harsh products, you are also reducing the immune system because of toxic overload. The effects of chemicals and synthetics can mimic those of normal illnesses. Does someone in your home always have a runny or stuffy nose? Cough? Don't chalk it up to having a cold or allergies too fast. Check your cleaning bucket first. The most common methods of exposure are through the skin and respiratory tract. 

Children tend to have their hands in their mouths and spend time on the floor. How common is it that you wiped your high chair down with cleaning products or dish soap? All contain toxic chemicals. Pound for pound, children's exposure is higher than adults because even though the amount of exposure equal, the children have less body mass and increased fat content. Toxins can be trapped in their fat cells. Their immune systems are still developing therefore they are the highest risk in the population for chemical exposure symptoms.  

Visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services database or EWG.org is great as well. Start exchanging a few products at a time for a more healthy alternative, then move on to the next set. For example, change over your bathroom products all at once then move on to kitchen, personal care, etc. Your health benefits will increase and you will start to notice the family making a change for the better! We sure did! 

Visit our learning center for some safer alternatives.

AHHHH, love that smell! From your favorite personal care products and perfume, to your laundry soap, dryer sheets, dish soap, bathroom cleaners, hand sanitizers, scented plug-ins, and everything in between has a fragrance. We do love our smells don't we? I know that I do. Scents stimulate a part of the brain that stores the memories that are important to you. But what if that wonderful natural smell that you remember from mom baking cookies when you were young, is now the same smell in your new candle that is making your body fight to be healthy?  

Fragrance is a very general term used in labeling and is considered to be a registered trademark. Because it is a trademark, the producer is not required to disclose the ingredients in the fragrance. You could have 80 chemicals making up a fragrance and the label will not tell. I could go on and on about the harmful ingredients that are in fragrances and what they do to your body. Also, that when you combine them with the chemicals in the fragrances in other products you use, you get a dangerous cocktail. Think about your daily routine and your household while considering the amount of fragranced items that you use. You get the idea that you are combining some pretty bad chemicals and synthetics.  

A very easy way to deter this is to start by considering all of the fragranced products that you use or come into contact daily. If it says "fragrance" or "parfume" on the back, it is a chemical cocktail. Start looking for products that state "fragranced with essential oils". These are usually from companies that are more Earth conscious like Young Living, Seventh Generation, 365, and Mrs. Meyers Clean Day. You will not find a product that is full of chemicals yet the company cares to fragrance with essential oils. Don't let the labels that state "naturally fragranced" fool you, they are full of chemicals just the same as the others. If a company will not disclose it's fragrance there is a reason. Pick a different product.  

Start to consider what fragrances you could change. You will find that most essential oils will give you the same scents that you know and love.  Even if you can't fully move to a non-toxic product right away and would prefer to change over slowly, you can still choose a non-fragranced item. This would save you from exposing yourself and others to thousands of chemicals every day. You are not only affected by what you choose but by what others choose as well. Have you experienced someone wearing way too much cologne or perfume? Your eyes water, you cough, it is miserable. Your body is reacting for a reason, it is in toxic overload. Consider your choices each day to make your environment more appealing to you and those around you.

 

 

Do you ever ask yourself, "What is my toxic limit?" There is a swarm of evidence that says that there are synthetic chemicals in all industries and are the norm in the production of products and services. We hear about synthetics in food, the farming industry, and in our plastics but what about in our everyday contact with thousands of products? A one size fits all blanket will not do when it comes to trying to determine what will take you over your threshold. 

There is a long list of things that will contribute to the amount of chemicals that you can sustain in your body. Your DNA or genetic makeup, height and weight, fat to muscle ratio, sex, and age all have to be factored. As well, you would also have to consider lifestyle. What is your profession? Where do you live? Do you smoke and drink? Do you exercise? Do you use electronics multiple times a day? What products do you use on a daily basis? Do you spend a large amount of time indoors? 

As you can see the exposure can add up very quickly. Your body can only handle so many toxins before it begins to show changes of health. Do you wonder why you could do something 10 years ago but all of a sudden it is bothering you? Your genetic history can tell a long tale about how well you are going to hold up under certain exposures. Your body height and weight will also play a large factor in how your manage toxin levels. Many toxins store themselves in your fat cells and cannot be processed out very readily. Your fat to muscle ratio can play a large part in how many toxins your body holds.  

According to the EPA indoor air is two to five times more toxic than outdoor air. The closed space indoors carries a lot of synthetic exposures. Cleaning products in and of itself are a toxic overload for your family. Your air fresheners, candles, electronics, personal products, clothing, carpet, furniture and food pile on toxins as well. You are exposed 24 hours a day. 

We can't completely eliminate all toxins but we can reduce the amount of exposure that you and your family have. Making small changes in your habits can make huge changes in your health. Just the reduction of chemicals that are present in perfume or cologne and personal products alone will bring your toxic load down tremendously. Considering a change in your habits is something that only you can control.  Think about your contribution to the environment and your contribution to yourself. Remember even reducing one thing will help you feel much better.  

We will be exploring many of these topics in our ongoing blog posts. Join us!

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