Fall Disinfecting

September 2010

September is here!  Summer is winding down, the new school year has begun, and autumn weather is quickly approaching.  For many of us, the first sign of autumn isn't just a yard full of leaves.  It's the sneezes, sniffles, asthma, and a variety of germs that follow, especially if you have children.

It is well-known that diseases and infections enter the body through mucus membranes on the face, and according to Dr. Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona, children touch their ears, nose, mouth and eyes more than 20 times an hour, which is why there is no time than the present to clean and disinfect.

According to Dr. Edelman, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association, the back-to-school months of September and October are when asthma attack rates and related hospitalizations are at the highest for children.  Children with asthma and their caregivers must take extra precaution to prevent asthma episodes during the autumn months.  As part of this plan, parents should try to minimize dust and other airborne particles around the home that may trigger allergies and asthma.

Routine cleaning with soap and water is the most useful method for removing germs from surfaces.  Some items and surfaces should receive an additional step, disinfection, to kill germs after cleaning with soap and rinsing with clear water.  Disinfecting works by oxidizing  the germs and breaking down their cell walls, or otherwise, deactivating them.  Proper disinfection provides an additional safeguard for areas where people come into contact with contaminated surfaces.

Disinfectants are supposed to make the world safer by killing germs on commonly used surfaces.  However, continued and repeat exposure to toxic disinfectants can cause health problems.  Products that contain chlorine can cause eye and skin irritation.  Extended exposure can cause respiratory irritation and distress.  The effects can be increased if chlorine is mixed with other cleaners.  Other disinfectant chemicals like ammonia can burn the skin and cause blindness if it gets into the eyes.

Natural disinfectants can be just as effective as chemical disinfectants and are safer for the environment.  Natural disinfectant alternatives are also safer for use around pets and children as the ingredients are all derived from natural ingredients.

If you want to disinfect your home but don't want to subject your family to toxic chemicals, try these two homemade recipes:

(1) Combine two tablespoons of borax, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 2 cups water in a spray bottle.  Cover bottle and shake until the borax is dissolved.  Add twenty drops of either tea tree oil or thyme essential oil.  Shake again and spray.

(2) Mix 2 cups white distilled vinegar with three drops tea tree, thyme, or eucalyptus essential oil.  Spray.  When making homemade cleaning products, please make sure to label the bottles.

Preventing cross contamination and properly disinfecting surfaces goes a long way in keeping homes and families healthy.  Cleaning your home with nontoxic natural homemade green cleaners will save you money, plus they are better for your family and the environment.

For more information on healthy green cleaning and homemade cleaners, please visit us at blog.maidbrigade.com.


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