A More Natural Home

Overuse of Chemicals in a Primary Immunodeficiency Home

A trend I’ve noticed in the PI community that I find troubling is the overuse of chemical products for cleaning. There are, obviously, some things that need to be cleaned and sterilized using commercial products - things like nebulizers and CPAPs come to mind, but many areas of your home can be cleaned thoroughly with natural products. There are many advantages to a more natural approach. I find that chemical cleaners cause breathing symptoms and make me feel quite unwell, especially the ones with heavy scents. 

This begs the question: What are the good/effective products for a clean, healthy, germ-free home? Here are some of my favorites: 

1. Castile soap - I use Dr. Bronner’s soap to make various cleaning agents - floors, surfaces, you name it. I have the kind with tea tree oil for added antimicrobial benefits. (http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/all-natural-cleaning-solutions/liquid-castile-soap

2. Microfiber cleaning cloths - I was shocked to learn that these bad boys can pick up and sweep away 98% of germs. It’s worth the investment, because no paper towels are going to be able to do this for you. (http://www.thekitchn.com/the-one-cleaning-tool-you-really-need-in-your-kitchen-239502

3. Air purifier/refresher - Plants! Some of the most beautiful and healthy additions to your home can be houseplants. They’re more effective and more efficient than most of the electronic gadgets one finds on late night TV. (http://air-purifier-reviewsite.com/blog/15-house-plants-you-can-use-as-air-purifiers/)

4. White Vinegar - I put that sh*t on everything. Well, not everything, but there are SO many great uses for vinegar in the household. Your house may temporarily smell like pickles, but it’s a short-lived smell and will leave behind a great freshness.

5. Air freshener - I like to put spices, like whole cinnamon sticks - on the stove to simmer while I’m cleaning other rooms or soon after. Sometimes, I will get creative and use fresh herbs like rosemary and lavender. You can also make room sprays by steeping botanical ingredients (lemon peel, basil, etc) in 1 c boiling water, straining it, then mixing with 1 tbsp of vodka and a few drops of essential oils (if that’s your thing).  

There are TONS of recipes for homemade cleaners, disinfectants, etc made from ingredients from your local grocery store. It can make a huge difference in your overall health at home to clean more naturally.... Plus it saves money! 

One thing to remember, things that are advertised as antibacterial or antimicrobial that are made from chemicals are usually not substantially more effective than their natural brethren and can contribute to antibiotic resistance. Triclosan is a great example. It’s a chemical found in many antibacterial soaps and even toothpaste, but regular ol’ soap and water is just as effective as products containing Triclosan. If it’s no more effective, what’s the point? 

There are also studies that have found that some of these products are actually counterproductive. You know those now-ubiquitous cart wipes found in almost every shopping destination? They actually might be making antibiotic resistant e coli that much worse. To read more, check out this article in Scientific American. (https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/scientists-discover-that-antimicrobial-wipes-and-soaps-may-be-making-you-and-society-sick/)

I hope this helps anyone that is looking for a place to start in a more natural home. Let us know in the comments section if there is something you use in your home.

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