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PRODUCTS FOR A HEALTHY HOME

Congratulations... you have a new, very healthy home. Now the question is, how do you keep it healthy? Just remember to keep things in balance. The following four areas need to be addressed: 1) dust (and the accompanying dust mites); 2) toxic chemicals; 3) moisture (and the resulting microbes); and 4) ventilation.

MOVING IN:

You have done an excellent job of creating a healthier home for your family. Do you really want to bring all those toxic cleaning supplies and old musty and dusty boxes of grandma's grammar school papers into your new closets? No "buts" about it. It's time to examine the "stuff" that you will be putting into the new house with the same scrutiny you examined everything else you put into building the house.

If old boxes from your present basement, attic or garage have gotten wet or smell musty, throw them out and put the contents in new, clean boxes. If the contents of the boxes smell musty, throw them out or wash them. If old papers and photographs are dusty or musty, clean and store them in new air tight containers. Pay close attention to old shoes and clothes that may have visible mold or are smelly. Bedroom closets with old sweaty shoes and work clothes and little or no ventilation become breeding grounds for mold, mildew, and other sources of biological contaminants. Bottom line - don't bring mildew or dust containing items into your new house.

CLEANING PRODUCTS:

Common household cleaning products can be hazardous to your health. Oven cleaners, drain cleaners, rug cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, metal cleaners, laundry detergents, spot removers, bleach, mildew removers and floor wax are all products that usually contain hazardous ingredients. A hazardous ingredient is one that is either toxic (poisonous), caustic (causes burns), chemically reactive, or flammable. The degree of toxicity or hazard varies greatly from one product to another. The best way to tell how hazardous a product is, is to read the label. If it warns "do not breathe while using this product", or use only with adequate ventilation, or use eye protection, gloves or a mylar body suit; you can be fairly sure it's bad stuff.

Most cleaning jobs can be done with safer nontoxic or less toxic products. Six "green" ingredients that have a long history of successful use are baking soda, washing soda, vinegar, salt, vegetable oil, borax and tea tree oil (a natural fungicide). There are now several safer commercial cleaning products on the market. For the really tough jobs, small amounts of heavy duty cleaners may still be required. Store the ones with warnings in plastic bags closed with a wire twist, and store them in the garage in a remote spot where your green friends will not see them.

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Written by: Columbia Design .


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