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The Harsh Truth: 5 Toxic Chemicals Found in Everyday Cleaning Products

We’re halfway through the week on this glorious hump day, and hopefully you’ve managed to make it through relatively unscathed so far. It’s been a busy one here on the ol’ Mop Up Your Mess home front. Lots of new and exciting things are coming down the pike, so stay tuned for all that later on this summer.

For now we wanted to touch on something that’s been weighing heavily on our minds. As a cleaning company, we’re committed to making your home or business shine, but we’re also committed to the health and safety of not only our employees, but our clients as well. That’s why we only use all natural ingredients in our cleaning products.

Now, you might not think those household cleaners you use are that hazardous, but truth be told they’re loaded with chemicals that at first glance might not seem like such a big deal, but if you dig a little deeper you’ll find out that those seemingly benign ingredients can cause big problems for you and your family.

Here are just five of those toxins, and their harmful effects.

1. 2-Butoxyethanol

Boy, that’s a mouthful, right? Found in most kitchen, window, and multipurpose cleaners, 2-Butoxyethanol gives a lot of cleaners their “sweet” smell, and it takes no prisoners. Not only can it cause a sore throat when inhaled, at increased levels it acts as a contributor to narcosis, pulmonary edema, as well as severe kidney and liver damage.

There are standards in place for this chemical being used in the workplace, but if you’re cleaning at home in an unventilated area, you might actually end up with higher levels of 2-Butoxyethanol in the air than is found in most work areas, and that’s not good for anybody.

2. Ammonia

A compound of hydrogen and nitrogen, ammonia is found in many glass cleaners because of its streak-free properties. It can also be found in polishing cleaners, the kind you might use on your bathroom sink, or jewelry.

Long-term exposure to ammonia can result in asthma and chronic bronchitis, and while you might not think a little of it can cause a lot of harm, keep in mind that when cleaning your mirrors or windows, you’re almost always inhaling ammonia, and it’s not something that waits around to go to work. Sore throat, watery eyes, and breathing problems can be triggered with just minimal exposure.

Oh, and when mixed with bleach it can create a poisonous gas. Is that something you really want to be inhaling? We didn’t think so.

3. Sodium Hydroxide

This is a nasty chemical that can mainly be found in oven cleaners, and products you use to unclog your drains. You may know it by its other name: lye.

Upon contact with your skin or eyes, it can cause severe burns that eat through your flesh. Nasty, right? Not only that, but when it’s inhaled, sodium hydroxide can give you a painful sore throat that lasts for days. The kind of sore throat that no lozenge or cough syrup can fix. Double nasty!

4. Phthalates

Known as endocrine (hormone) disruptors, phthalates are found in fragrant dish soaps, air fresheners, and even toilet paper. There’s no law requiring it to be on the label, but if you notice the word fragrance in the ingredients list, chances are that’s phthalates.

What’s the big deal? Well, as a hormone disruptor, men who have increased levels of phthalate compounds in their blood have been known to have a reduced sperm count, which can cause all kinds of problems if you’re trying to have a family. As a chemical we’re mainly exposed to it through inhalation, but it can also get into our system through skin contact with products such as scented soaps, and because our skin has so barriers against toxins, any exposure is bad exposure, no matter how little.

5. Triclosan

Think those soaps labeled antibacterial are good for you? Think again! Triclosan is found in any number of hand soaps and liquid detergents that have the antibacterial label on them.

Basically what that means is the more you use them, the more they encourage the growth of drug-resistant bacteria, meaning over time your body will pretty much render any antibacterial properties useless, as well as build up a resistance to antibiotics that you might need to take when you’re actually sick and have to go to the doctor.

There is absolutely zero evidence that triclosan provides any benefit to your health over using products that do not include antibacterial on the label, but there is mounting evidence that, like phthalates above, it can act as a hormone disruptor.

Think about it. Those are just FIVE ingredients that are found in everyday cleaners that can cause you short-term, and long-term health problems. Products that you might use everyday, or once a week. Products that are found under your sink, where your kids and pets can get to them.

How bad is that?

It’s time to ditch those chemicals in favor of all natural cleaners that are not only safer for your family, but safer for the environment as well.

Here at Mop Up Your Mess you’ll never find harsh chemicals in anything we use, because out products contain nothing but the best for you and yours. Made from all natural ingredients, you can rest assure that when you hire us to clean your home or business, you’ll never be exposed to those sorts of toxins when we’re through with making your place shine!

6 Ways to Keep Your Business Looking Fresh This Summer

Happy Friday, everyone, and happy June! We’ve made it through the week and into the month which just so happens to feature the first day of summer. How awesome is that? Sure, it might be hot, but at least we can say hello to vacations, pool parties, and camp fires at night with lots and lots of s’mores. Mmmm…s’mores.

Things tend to slow down a bit in the summer, don’t they? School’s out, people take trips, and many businesses both big and small report lower sales compared to the rest of the year because there aren’t a whole lot of people around to shop, and for good reason. Who wants to be inside shopping when the weather is so darn nice?

While it might seem like a bit of a downer to some, this is actually a great time of year to clean up your business establishment in more ways than one, giving it a fresh new look, or just a tidy makeover that your customers and employees will notice, both physical and digital.

So without further ado, let’s get to some tips and tricks for making your business shine this summer.

1. Update Your Website

The philosophy of some businesses seems to be “set it and forget it.” While that may have worked in 1998, these days information and technology changes so fast that if you don’t stay ahead of the curve, you’re going to be left behind. Take the time to either freshen your website with a new look, or at the very least update information such as product descriptions, the About section, and employee profiles. This sends the right message to potential customers that yes, you are a proactive company that cares about people, both in person, and online.

2. Don’t Be Socially Awkward

To tie into updating your website, now is also a good time to update all of your social media pages. Oh, you’re not on social media? That’s a shame, because most of the free world is, and if you’re not, you’re definitely missing out. Update those Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest pages with all the latest information, products, and promotions you’re currently running so people that check you out online know what you have going on in-store. It’ll help to generate sales, make your business stay current, and impress future customers that might be interested in checking you out.

3. Update Your Tech

This one isn’t so much for your customers as it is for yourself and your employees. Whether it’s your phone system, your computers, or just a quick update to your current software, make sure you have everything up-to-date because believe it or not, old tech can hurt sales. How? Slow moving machines can irritate customers to the point where they walk out, software that’s not updated and protected can get viruses, thus shutting down your systems, and old machines can simply up and die without warning, costing you more money in the long run than if you were to have replaced them a year ago when you were supposed to. You don’t have to upgrade everything all at once, but a gradual improvement of your equipment over time can do wonders for your business, making it fast and fresh.

4. Peruse Your Business Plan

Most business start with a plan, and that’s all well and good, but over time plans change, and maybe what you were once focused on isn’t the case anymore. Perhaps you started out focused on short-term financial growth, and now that you’ve achieved that it’s time to put things into perspective for the long run. Sit down with the plan you first started with, and update it to reflect your current business philosophy, as well as what you’d like to accomplish over the next 5 years. Having a plan goes a long way toward guiding your employees on the right track, as well as providing your customers with better solutions to suit their needs.

5. Makeover Time!

Are your digs getting a little stale? Have you had the same coat of paint on the walls since the beginning of time? Are your carpets frayed and dingy? Tiles lost their luster? If you answered yes to any of those, then it’s time for a makeover. We’re not talking big changes where you have to move the checkout counter from point A to point B, but a fresh coat of paint, a change in colors, or new carpet can liven up your business’ look and bring it into the modern era. It will make a great first impression to new customers, and show longtime shoppers that you’re committed to staying current not only with your products, but with your look as well.

6. The Deep Clean

Has it been a while since you’ve had a good deep clean? We’re not talking surface stuff here where you vacuum the carpets once a week, or mop the floors occasionally. We mean a good deep cleaning, where you get elbow-deep into all those nooks and crannies that have been building up dirt over the last year or two. Corners, drawers, cupboards, baseboards…there are a number of places where dirt can hide, and though you might not think anyone can see it, trust us—they can! Consider putting your employees to work, or hiring a cleaning company such as Mop Up Your Mess to come in and do it for you. While having your staff do it might seem like the cheaper option since you’re already paying them, having an impartial company come in and do it for you that makes it their job to lust for dust is usually the better option, because they have the time, and the equipment to do a thorough job.

Those are just a few things you can do this summer to keep your business neat and tidy. From tech to cleaning, there are ways to breathe new life into things, you just have to think outside the box, and renew that pioneer spirit you had when you first started out.

Until next week, everyone! We hope you have a fabulous weekend.

3 Simple Ways to Clean Your Baseboards

Once again we find ourselves at the end of another glorious work week. Unless you work weekends, then in that case we’re sorry. For most of us, though, Friday’s are a time for celebration. A time to toss confetti into the air, break out the dancing shoes, and say goodbye to our colleagues as we traipse off into the weekend. For some it’s a time to party, for others it’s a time to chill, but for us here at Mop Up Your Mess, it’s time to clean, because it’s what we do!

This week we were wandering the ol’ homestead, taking care of some dusting, when we looked down and noticed that our baseboards were losing some of their luster. It happens, right? They’re all the way down by the floor, tucked away and out of sight, it’s easy to forget that they exist sometimes. Especially when you have so much stuff going on in your life.

So this week we thought we’d let you in one some tips and tricks that we use to naturally, and safely, clean-up our baseboards, and after reading these hints we’re sure the first thing you’re going to want to do this weekend is shine your own, and hey, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

1. The Castile Method

Castile is an olive oil based soap that is free from artificial scents, dyes, and harsh chemicals, and we absolutely love it. It’s great to clean with, and it can be found most times in the beauty aisle of your favorite retailer, or of course you can purchase some online.

To clean your baseboards with Castile, simply pour 1 tablespoon in to 4 cups of warm water, and if you’d like, add 2-4 drops of your favorite scented essential oil, such as lemon or lavender. Mix all those ingredients together, and from there it’s as easy as soaking and ringing out a microfiber cloth, then wiping down your painted or wood baseboards. Repeat as necessary until the entire area is clean. If you’re doing multiple rooms, and your baseboards haven’t been touched in a while, then you might want to use a clean solution before switching rooms.

2. Borax Cleaner

Found most times in the laundry aisle of your grocery store, Borax is another favorite cleaner that’s cheap, and does the job in almost any situation.

To clean your baseboards with a Borax-based solution, put 1 tablespoon into 4 cups of warm water (or 1 teaspoon into 2 cups of warm water if you don’t need as much), and mix it all around until the natural mineral crystals of the Borax completely dissolve. If you’re good with carrying a bucket from room to room, use a soaked and wrung out microfiber cloth to clean your baseboards, or you can place the solution in a spray bottle and use it sparingly if you’re just doing a small clean-up job. Either way, this is another great, all-natural way to clean your painted or wood baseboards.

3. Baby Wipes

We’ve talked before about the many uses for baby wipes that don’t include wiping down babies, and here’s another one: wiping down your baseboards.

This is a great method to use if you’re in a hurry and need to spot clean a few places. We don’t necessarily recommend cleaning the entirety of your baseboards with them because that’s a lot of waste, but in a pinch they’ll do.

Simply grab some baby wipes, and, well…wipe them along your baseboards as needed. You can even give some to the kids to use since they’re free of harsh chemicals that could harm your little ones. No buckets of water to slosh around, no spray bottle to spritz, just you and a wipe that will take care of that dirt and dust on your baseboards when you need them cleaned in a hurry. Easy, right?

In fact all of these methods are pretty easy, and don’t take much time to prepare at all. Like we said before, baseboards tend to get forgotten, but if you work them into your regular cleaning routine, like when you mop your floors, or vacuum the rugs, you won’t forget about them as often and cleaning them will become second nature.

Dust and dirt all cling to baseboards on a regular basis, making them hard on allergies, and unsettling to the eye, so from here on out make it your mission to never forget about them again, and use one of the methods above to clean them to a shine, all the time.

Have a great weekend, everyone. We’ll talk to you again next week!

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