At MumNet, we know keeping your home safe for your little ones is always top of mind. And we work hard to create safe and healthy spaces for your kids while they’re in our care, too. This week on the blog, we invited environmental health expert (and mom), Emma Rohmann from Green at Home, to share with us some insights about keeping your home cleaner and healthier this winter.
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With cold and flu season upon us, you might be adding a little more "umph" to your cleaning routine at home. Unfortunately, this can sometimes come with unintended consequences - especially if you’re relying on antibacterial and other conventional products. Let’s take a look at how you can easily make your cleaning routine healthier this winter.
The problem with conventional cleaners
You might be surprised to learn that companies are not legally required to disclose ingredients on cleaning products. On top of this, terms like “natural”, “organic”, “safe”, and “non-toxic” don’t have any legal definition and are frequently misused.
Studies have shown that indoor air quality actually decreases - even after using some products labelled as “green.”
Cleaning products often include chemicals that: can make asthma worse; irritate the lungs; are potential carcinogens; contribute to antibiotic-resistant superbugs; decrease immune function; and are known hormone disruptors.
How to clean your home naturally
The problems aren’t meant to scare you, but hopefully you’re now wondering what can you do to choose better products. The good news is that switching to healthier cleaners is now easier than ever.
The first step is to simplify. You really don’t need a different product for every single surface in your home!
Next, take a look at the products you’re using. If you’re already using products that are labelled as natural or green, download my “How Healthy Are Your Cleaners” list and discover which 12 popular brands are actually green, or just greenwashing. If you’re using conventional products, you can try searching them in EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning to see how they score.
Another great option to reduce toxins in your home, while saving money, is to make your own cleaners. These recipes are super easy to make and work surprisingly well!
Finally, if you’re looking for some disinfecting power, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide (first one, then the other) can help reduce germs in your home – without the harmful side effects of conventional antibacterial products. But when it comes down to it, a little soap and water goes a long way for most households.
I hope this helps you take stock of your cleaning routine, and start making simple changes to create a healthier home for your family this winter!
Emma is an environmental engineer, mom of 2, and founder of Green at Home. Through online programs and consultations, she helps families create healthier homes by reducing hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and indoor air pollutants. She is a David Suzuki Foundation Queen of Green Coach and guest lecturer at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine on Hormone Disruptors and Fertility. You can find her over on Facebook and Instagram (@emma_greenathome) or at greenathome.ca