Friday, January 16, 2009

To clean or not to clean

When you have a skin sensitivity to normal cleaners, what are your options? Sometimes, where there is a skin reaction, there is also an allergic reaction in your sinuses, burning in your throat, and tearing in your eyes.

Chemicals do a phenomenal job in our modern world. Without chemicals, we wouldn't have many of the things that we take for granted. That "new car smell" is outgassing of chemicals from the manufacturing process. Carpeting and furniture have a new smell as well, and the reason behind the smell is the same. And in our homes we find a myriad of chemical laden items, from the paint on the wall, to refrigerators, circuit boards in all our electronic devices, fertilizers, pesticides, and perhaps in many cleaners as well.

When you have allergies, is our chemical world partly to blame? I'm not a doctor or a chemist, so I will pass on that question. What I will comment on is how my body reacts to various things around my house.

I had worked in a chemical plant running machines when I was in my early 20's and my body always reacted in a certain way when I was at work. While at work, my throat would get tight, my eyes would burn, my sinuses would run. Yeah, I know, fun stuff. What is funny to me is I get that exact same feeling from almost all name brand or store brand household cleaners.

In my quest for cleaner cleaners, I found some that I like. One thing that I've learned is not everybody reacts the same to cleaners or even body soaps. Things that irritate my body have no effect on another family member, or visa versa. I liked Melaleuca laundry soap, but Lisa broke out everytime her clothes were washed in it. The kids love the smell of super scented Tide laundry soap and Irish Spring body wash, and I'd have to leave the house until the vapors dissipated.

The cleaners that we have all fallen in love with come from Veriuni. You can go to for a lineup of their all natural cleaners. At first glance, it appears like their prices are a bit high. However, these cleaners are all in their concentrated form and when mixed with water, go a bit farther than many other brands. What I really like is all the ingredients are spelled out right on the label.

It makes one wonder what possibly could be in various cleaners that could cause reactions like I have. When I worked for the chemical plant and in the printing business, we had what was called an MSDS which means Material Safety Data Sheet. These aren't supplied to the consumer because anything that could cause problems are in such small quantity as to be deemed safe. Just for fun I did a search for the MSDS of cleaners to see what kind of goodies are in the formula. Much to my surprise, I even came across one household cleaner that employs heavy enough chemicals to be considered toxic waste in California. It was a real eye opener. Not every cleaner or body wash had bad chemicals. Bad is a relative term which for me is something that causes me to have an allergic reaction.

You can Google the MSDS of your favorite cleaner by typing in msds and the name of your favorite cleaner. There isn't much government oversight as to the accuracy of the MSDS, so don't be surprised if everthing isn't broken down in detail. If you have little children, take into consideration that the MSDS is based on a healthy adult. Also, that great pine scent after cleaning is an indication of residue on the surface that was cleaned, and sensitive baby skin may get irritated.

So when you clean you house, if you do a spray and run until the air clears, consider using an all natural cleaner. Your local store might have some good ones or checkout Veriuni because they are really that good.

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