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Asthma: How Your Cleaning Supplies Can Affect Your Health

Happy hump day, Moppers! We hope your week has been fantastic so far, and you’re fixing to sail through until Friday with nothing but clear skies on the horizon.

It’s been busy here on the ol’ Mop Up Your Mess homestead. We’ve been cleaning our little butts off, making sure all our clients are satisfied beyond their wildest dreams, and in the process we’ve been devoting some more thought to all those chemicals found in everyday cleaning supplies.

We’ve talked about them before here on the blog, but mostly just in general terms. Today we’d like to delve a little deeper and tackle a big issue surrounding all those chemicals, so you can have a better understanding of where we’re coming from, and why this is such an important topic for us.

Today’s word of the day is asthma, and here’s how all those cleaning products you’ve been using can have an affect on your respiratory system.

1. It’s Not Just for Kids

When we think of asthma, we tend to think of it as something that develops in children, but a growing list of studies are finding that regular household cleaning supplies are causing asthma to develop in otherwise healthy adults.

This is thanks to spray products such as glass cleaners, air fresheners, and furniture polish; most of which contain ingredients that can worsen, or cause, asthma. In a study of more than 3,500 people over the course of 9 years, it was found that those who used spray cleaners at least once a week had a 30 to 50 percent chance of developing asthma, where before there was zero. Of course this risk increased the more times people used spray cleaners, and increased further depending on the number of different cleaners used.

2. Industrial Strength Risks

Custodians, teachers, health care workers…these are all people that are exposed daily to cleaning supplies, and thus are afflicted by work-related asthma.

Chlorine bleach, spray cleaners, drain cleaners, disinfectants, carpet cleaners…the list goes on as to the number of products workers are subjected to. Studies have shown a direct connection between on-the-job exposure to these products, and the development of asthma, where before there were no previous traces of the disease.

Keep in mind that kids in school are also exposed to these products every single day while learning. Exposure over time can cause their already present asthma symptoms to worsen, or they could even be the cause of the disease.

3. The Culprits

There are a number of ingredients in cleaning supplies that are known asthmagens. These ingredients can either cause, or worsen asthma:

  • Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride
  • Alkyl Dimethyl Ethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride
  • Didecyldimethylammonium Chloride
  • Diethanolamine
  • Dioctyl Dimethyl Ammonium Chloride
  • Distearyldimonium Chloride
  • Ethanolamine
  • Formaldehyde
  • Glutaral
  • Monoethanolamine Citrate
  • Quaternium-15
  • Quaternium-24
  • Sodium Hypochlorite (Bleach)
  • Sulfuric Acid
  • Triethanolamine

Ingredients that pose the biggest threat include:

  • Bleach and Ammonia.
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds like benzalkonium chloride, which are added to antibacterial cleaning supplies, disinfectant air fresheners, and fabric softeners.
  • Ethanolamines, which are included as detergents in many supplies, but are more commonly used to control the acidity level (pH balance) in cleaning supplies.

These ingredients found in everyday cleaners work to cause asthma through frequent, long-term exposure, so while you may not notice the symptoms right away, if you’re using these on a daily, or even weekly basis to clean your home, chances are you’re going to develop problems over time.

We know this is a lot to digest, and while it may not always be the easiest information to understand, the harsh truth remains that household cleaners have a direct impact on your health thanks to all those chemicals found in them.

Asthma is just one of the leading consequences, but these chemicals have also been linked to cancer, as well as birth defects in babies.

If you’re unsure of what’s in your cleaning supplies, it’s best to just stick to something all natural, like the products we use here at Mop Up Your Mess, or take the time to make your own. They’ll be safer for the environment, and your health.

Enjoy the rest of your week, Moppers. We’ll talk to you again on Friday!

3 All Natural Cleaners You Can Make Right Now

Good morning, Moppers! It’s just another manic Monday, and while we wish it was Sunday, sadly we’re not The Bangles and this is real life…so Monday it is. We hope you all had a rockin’ weekend doing all sorts of things you love, even if it was just binging GLOW on Netflix, because that show is awesome.

We spent part of the weekend making some of our all natural cleaning products that we use to get our clients’ homes squeaky clean, and while we were chugging right along, we were also ruminating on how great it is to not have to buy cleaning supplies at the store. Not only does it save money, but of course it eliminates all those toxins you find in store bought supplies.

The best part? Most homemade cleaning supplies are super easy to make.

In fact they’re so easy that we’re going to tell you how to make three of your own right now, and although these aren’t the exact recipes we use, these cleaners will still make your home smell clean and fresh!

1. All Purpose Cleaner

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 15 drops of your favorite essential oil
  • Empty spray bottle

Simply pour the water, vinegar, and essential oil into a spray bottle, give it a shake, and you’re good to go. This spray works great pretty much anywhere in the home, but we’d steer clear of using it on polished wood, marble, granite, and stone, but only because of the acidity level in white vinegar which could strip the finish over time.

2. Marble/Granite/Stone Spray

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon Castile soap
  • 3 tablespoons rubbing alcohol
  • Spray Bottle

Because the all purpose cleaner recipe above doesn’t cover marble, granite, or stone, we thought we’d show you how to make your own cleaner specifically for those areas of your home. If you’ve got quartz countertops in the kitchen, or onyx counters in the bathroom, this spray will work to clean them right up, while preserving their finish.

All you have to do is combine everything together into a spray bottle (preferably with a funnel), give it a shake, and clean until your heart is content. If you’re using unscented Castile soap, feel free to drop in 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil to improve the smell of your cleaner.

3. Sink Scrub

What You’ll Need:

  • Mason jar, or any container with a lid
  • Castile soap
  • 2 cups of baking soda
  • 15 drops lemon essential oil

This all natural sink scrub works great whenever your kitchen sink needs a little extra TLC, and it’s super easy to use.

Place the baking soda into your mason jar or other container, and add the essential oil (you can use whichever scent you like, but we prefer lemon). Stir it around with a spoon or butter knife, close the container, and give it a shake.

When you’re ready to use it, just wet your sink, sprinkle the mixture all around, and add a couple of drops of Castile soap. Use your favorite sink-safe scrubber to get everything nice and shiny, then give it a good rinse, and voila! A clean sink.

See, we told you they were easy to make. Now you have three, all natural cleaners at your disposal that you can use whenever you want, free of harmful chemicals like the ones found in store bought cleaners.

Also, if you’re having trouble finding Castile soap and don’t want to order it online, it can be substituted with regular dish soap for the purpose of the recipes above. Though we prefer Castile, dish soap will work in a pinch if you run out of something and need to make a new batch right away.

Enjoy your new cleaners, Moppers, and we’ll talk to you again on Wednesday!

Dishwashing Tips for People Who Hate Doing Dishes

Good Friday morning, Moppers! Congrats on successfully making it through another week. We hope you’ve all been enjoying your summer so far, and have gotten a chance to soak up some of that sun.

One thing we’ve been soaking in this week is dishes, because the dishwasher is on the fritz, so that means doing everything by hand. First world problems, right?

Of course some people prefer the hand washing method, and that’s totally cool. There was a time, in the dark ages before we had a dishwasher, that we enjoyed it, too. It’s just been so long, and we’ve so gotten comfortable with a dishwasher in the house that doing them by hand feels like we’re back in St. Olaf with Rose and the rest of the Golden Girls.

Alas, after a couple of washes we were right back in the groove and found that doing dishes by hand isn’t so bad. In fact, we could get used to this, and it’s all because of a few helpful tips we remembered that makes things go by so much quicker.

Therefore here are some dishwashing tips for people who hate washing dishes.

1. Wash as You Cook

Waiting for the water to boil? Perhaps you’re waiting for the oven to heat up. Either way, take advantage of the wait time by doing a few dishes in the interim. This will help keep things fairly organized, and prevent build-up, meaning there will be less dishes for you to do after you’ve slaved in the kitchen all day…and who doesn’t like less dishes?

2. Are You Not Entertained?

Are you staring down a sink full of dishes and dreading the thought of standing there with your hands in sudsy water until everything is clean? Make the time go by faster by putting on some music to groove to, or catch up on your favorite TV shows on Netflix by keeping your laptop or tablet close by so you can watch while you wash. By doing something you enjoy while doing something that is less than ideal, the time will fly right by, and those dishes will be clean before your computer can ask, “Are you still watching?”

3. One Pot is All You Need

If you live alone, or if the fam is out of town for the night, stick to preparing meals that can be cooked in one pot. There are loads of recipes out there for skillet meals, pot meals, and crock pot meals that require minimal dishes, meaning less work for you, and a yummy dinner you can eat right out of the same appliance you cooked it in. Can’t go wrong with that!

4. Want to Play a Game?

Sometimes we’re just too burnt out to do dishes in the evening, so we leave them until morning. The thing is, who likes waking up to a sink full of dishes? Nobody! Compete with yourself by seeing how many nights in a row you can go to bed with a clean sink. Mark it on the calendar, or in your favorite organizational app, and you’ll be surprised by how much of a fun challenge it can be to actually do your dishes.

5. Tag Team Champions

Enlist the help of your significant other to help with the dishes. This can be done two ways: either you wash and they dry (or vice versa), or you wash the dishes while you cook, and everything left over at the end such as plates, cups, and utensils, can be handed off to your partner to wash. This will help to take some of the load off, allowing the both of you to kick back and relax sooner, rather than later.

We’ve been reminded this week that doing the dishes doesn’t have to be just another chore. It can be a fun activity to do with someone you love, or it can be a chance to dance while no one is watching. However you do your dishes, be it by hand, or loading up the dishwasher after a home cooked meal, make the experience a little more enjoyable. Get creative, shake your booty, or just catch up on that last season of Gossip Girl you missed.

You know you love me. XOXO.

Enjoy your weekend, Moppers! We’ll see you all again on Monday.

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