During the holidays, your home may see more foot traffic than usual. You may be compelled to scrub down both before and after the festivities. But before you channel your inner Cinderella, consider the products you are using to clean.
If you use conventional cleaning products on your floor, you may be splish-splashing potentially toxic chemicals across the largest surface area of your home. The Environmental Protection Agency evaluated 62 hard floor cleaners and 29 (45%) received an F and 23 products (37%) received a D. It’s 9th grade all over again, and Mom is NOT impressed with this report card.
Some floor cleaners include a surprisingly toxic ingredient list – people exposed to heavy-duty cleaners often experience eye irritation, dizziness, loss of concentration, fatigue, wheezing, coughing, asthma attacks, respiratory infections, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
To limit your need to mop in the first place, the key is good regular maintenance. Dirt on the floor can abrade the surface making the floor even harder to clean. Set yourself up for success by utilizing these steps:
- Place doormats at the entrance (not only will it reduce the amount of dirt you’re tracking in, but lead and pesticides as well).
- Ask visitors to remove their shoes when they enter.
- Plan regular sweeping, vacuuming or dust-mopping.
When it comes time to mop, there are safer alternatives than are just as effective at removing dirt and grime as your beloved Swiffer (cover your ears, EWG gave them a D) without all the harsh chemicals.
A half a cup of Aunt Fannie’s Floor Cleaner Vinegar Wash mixed with 2 gallons of water is all you need to get to work. The next time your toddler decides to reclaim his fallen snack from the kitchen floor, you can breathe a bit easier and so can he, literally. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality concluded that switching to vinegar cleaning could improve the air quality in your home by up to 500%. Better still, vinegar kills 99.9% of the bacteria that causes foodborne illness (think Salmonella, e.Coli and Listeria). It’s a small change in your cleaning routine that could make a big difference in your family’s health.
Note: While vinegar can tackle a majority of the household, there are some areas to avoid. Do not use vinegar to clean stone countertops or stone floors. Also, while some wood floors LOVE vinegar, others don’t, so it’s important to test a small inconspicuous spot first before you tackle the whole room.