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Archives: Make It Natural

Jan 28 2012

Author, Mysti Reutlinger Shares Crucial Information on Dangerous Chemical Cleaners

At Crucial Vacuum we know how important it is to keep our families healthy and breathing easy. Why else would we spend so much time cleaning and sanitizing? But lately there has been a lot of talk about the dangers of the chemicals found in common household cleaners and it got my attention. Am I doing more harm than good?

So I caught up with Mysti Reutlinger, author of “The Pantry Cleaner: Chemical Free Cleaning”, to pick her brain about the dangers of household cleaners and I was shocked by what she had to say.

CV: So, just to clear things up, what is chemical free cleaning as opposed to “commercial cleaning”? 

MR: Chemical-free cleaning uses natural products that eliminate germs, grime, and all the goo any child (or adult) could produce without adding any chemicals into the home.  

CV: What first sparked your interest in chemical free cleaning? 

MR: The short version; My youngest son.  My son arrived at 24-weeks in gestation. He was 1 pound, 7 ounces and 12 inches long at birth. He spent the first 115 days of his life in a Neonatal ICU and when he came home, he was on oxygen. I quickly noticed that he struggled breathing when I cleaned. Upon hours of research, including reading many medical studies published in accredited journals, I found the correlation between commercial cleaners and a host of problems occurring in people. 

CV: Your book is described as teaching us how to clean without the use of harmful chemicals that can lead to respiratory distress, loss of smell, and even cause cancer… are household cleaners really that dangerous? 

MR: In a word, yes. When we purchase food in a store that is processed and packaged, we have a list of ingredients on the side and can make reasonable decisions about the quality of the food in the package. Commercial cleaners (anything purchased) don’t have to follow the same regulations because their chemical formulas are considered “trade secrets.” Longterm exposure to some chemicals found in the most common of cleaning products leads to many disorders, diseases, and yes, even cancer.  

A study published in the October 2007 issue of American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine provides a good illustration. Over 3,000 people who did not have asthma or asthma symptoms at the start of the study were followed by researchers and their cleaning habits were evaluated. In the people who used commercial spray cleaners once a week, 42% had asthma symptoms at the end of the study. Those who cleaned more often were diagnosed with asthma and required medication. 

CV: I was shocked when I read about the damage that chemicals in common cleaners can do. Like disinfectants are toxic to our respiratory and circulatory systems? Isn’t that a bit ironic? 

MR: It is ironic. We want what is best for our families. We love them and want everyone to be safe. Cleaning shouldn’t be dangerous! 

CV: Is it safer to not clean at all rather than use store bought chemical cleaners? 

MR: Before there were commercial cleaners, people cleaned. They used vinegar, lemons, baking soda, corn starch, and regular lye soaps. Dishes were scrubbed and when someone was sick, rinsed with boiling water. Even without understanding the science behind having a clean home and eliminating germs and bacteria, our ancestors cleaned. Just like they knew what science has proven today, a clean home will keep our families from becoming sick. It is definitely not safer to live without cleaning. 

CV: I tried! But what about allergy sufferers? Don’t we need something more powerful to clear the air? 

MR: Allergy sufferers most certainly need clean air, not chemically-filled air.  

At one point in my life, I took prescription allergy medicines every spring and fall. I was convinced that the stuffy nose and burning eyes was a result of the seasonal plants growing and irritating me. When I changed how I cleaned, I still had the occasional stuffy nose and burning in my eyes, but I no longer needed medication to treat the symptoms.  

So now that I’ve got your attention, check back next week for Mysti’s tips for beginners like me who want to try their hand at chemical-free cleaning. Part two of our interview includes a couple simple chemical-free cleaner recipes, tips for getting rid of dust, and Mysti tells me what one item I should throw out today.

Jan 3 2012

Are You Steam Cleaning Yet?

Recently, my husband decided that we needed a steam cleaner. I resisted at first. Why did we need to spend all that money on something when a mop and a rag did just fine? But all the hype and infomercials must have gotten to him and he persisted. Eventually I caved, but I was convinced that I would be selling an unused steam cleaner at my next garage sale.

It isn’t often that I admit when I am wrong, but I have to give it to my husband on this one. I love that steam cleaner. As a mother to a baby and a long sufferer of allergies, I don’t know how I ever lived without my steam cleaner.

I know that steam cleaning has become the “hot” new thing to do lately. But if you are like me and are just catching on, or if you haven’t bought into the hype yet, let me break it down for you. Steam cleaners simply use water to produce super hot steam vapor, which works to remove dirt and stains from multiple surfaces throughout your house. The hot vapor is able to penetrate the porous surface of your floors and other surfaces to weaken the bond between the dirt and your surfaces.  The vapor is hot enough to destroy germs, dust, bacteria, mold, viruses and all the other gross things that you don’t want living in your home.

I specifically remember talking my husbands ear off about how we would never use our steam cleaner once the newness wore off. We brought it home and tried it out and were pretty impressed by what it could do. It left our kitchen floors squeaky clean. But I was convinced that it would never be used again.

And again, I was wrong. I am constantly finding new uses for my steam cleaner. Just the other day, I used it to clean the walls of my shower. I couldn’t believe how easily the soap scum and water spots came off with steam. I could have scrubbed until my arms fell off and never got my shower that clean.

I use my steam cleaner for everything from the typical jobs like floors and counters to steaming our baby’s new car seat before we put him inside. When we got new carpet, we steamed it before we let the baby crawl on it. When we bought a new mattress, we steamed it in case of bedbugs. I can’t believe how many times my trusty steam cleaner has been put to good use.

I don’t even bother buying harsh chemicals to use on my floors and counters anymore. Before being a mom I didn’t mind using chemicals to clean but now it makes me feel good to know that it’s safe when my little guy gets the urge to lick the kitchen floor.

Not to mention, the benefits that the steam cleaner has had on our allergies are remarkable. Dirt, dust, and all the other nasty things that clog up our sinuses stick to the rag on the steam cleaner like glue. It is very satisfying to know those particles aren’t floating around my house.

So I will say it one more time… I was wrong. Steam cleaning is where it’s at. Haven’t joined the rest of us in the wonderful world of steam cleaning yet? Lucky for you, Crucial Vacuum offers one of the best steam cleaners on the market along with an extensive line of steam cleaning products. Trust me, you don’t know what you’re missing.