As the cases of allergies, asthma and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) rise, a growing number of people are taking a hard look at the cleaning products under the sink.

As the cases of allergies, asthma and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) rise, a growing number of people are taking a hard look at the cleaning products under the sink. Though the science demonstrating the link the chemical cleaning agents and these problems is painfully slow in coming, preliminary studies show that the chemicals found in common cleaning products can irritate asthma and MCS while creating a variety of respiratory symptoms for anyone exposed to them.

Since it’s not like you simply stop cleaning the kitchen or bathroom, what are the alternatives? There are certainly “green” or more “natural” solutions to household cleaning, and many of these are both effective and safe.

Throughout history, the acidity of things like lemon juice and vinegar has made for an ideal cleaning agent in and around the home. From removing hard water scale and cleaning windows to shining copper cookware or cleaning out the refrigerator, lemons and white vinegar not only clean but also kill germs. Both are natural sanitizing agents, and neither leaves any harmful residue.

In addition to these two items, you can also use baking soda to clean around the home. Not only will it absorb odors, in places the refrigerator, but baking soda can help deodorize carpets, remove scorched or burned food on pans, and degrease naturally.

In addition to the natural cleaning agents, there is also one home appliance/cleaning tool that can clean and sanitize without harmful chemical residues. Better still, certain types actually disinfect and remove the residue left from previous uses of chemical cleaning agents.

Steam cleaners use only two basic ingredients to clean and sanitize throughout the home – water and heat. The principle of turning water into superheated vapor steam is fairly simple but the health benefits can be potentially far reaching. Steam cleaning not only removes the grime, grease, and dirt that you see, but it also kills the bacteria and viruses that plague your kitchen bath.

Additionally, steam cleaners remove chemical residue that may be left over from previous cleanings and even release trapped odors. All surfaces have pores and to some extent, retain odor molecules. This is why a home with a dog may not normally smell like dog, but after steam cleaning you may get that “wet dog” odor. This is because the steam is unlocking trapped odors, even in hard flooring like linoleum, tile or laminate.

None of this is to say that chemical cleaners don not work. They do work, but often people do not use them correctly. Nearly all chemical disinfectants require some amount of “dwell” time for the solution to truly kill microbes, but more often than not, people simply spray and wipe.

Steam cleaners require no dwell time to kill pathogens, and more than that, they can remove the powerful biofilms that often shield and protect germs from the sanitizing power of conventional cleaners. (Think of a biofilm as a plaque-like armor that often covers microscopic colonies of germs).

Ditching the chemical based cleaners does not leave you without effective cleaning options. Whether it is a natural cleaning agents or a device that introduces no reaction inducing chemicals to your indoor environment, there are alternative options available that can clean and sanitize as good as or better than traditional household cleaners.

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