In another of our green cleaning products mythbuster series, today we are going to talk about disinfectants and how the media may be over-reaching on the dangers!
Fear – Marketing and advertising love it. The need for disinfectants is no exception. Good News – natural green home cleaning generally does require disinfection to the degree that you may be led to believe. None-the-less, the media is full of stories about the flu of the year, the contagious illness of the month, and the contaminated food of the day. It is enough to drive fear into a consumer which in turn serves as a great launch for advertisers. The advertisers prey on the fear since it sells. Likewise manufacturers produce more and more products with disinfecting qualities or antimicrobial chemicals to capitalize on consumer fears. It is a vicious circle.
Unfortunately the overuse of antimicrobial products and disinfectants can result in antibiotic resistant bacteria or super bugs. Many scientists are concerned that the ultimate result is even more dangerous as our bodies end up with fewer tools to fight against infectious diseases or we become hypersensitive to chemicals.
Disinfecting chemicals are everywhere and have many adverse impacts including irritation, hormone disruption, and damage to our immune systems. Four common antimicrobial chemicals often found in traditional household disinfectants are:
- Ammonia which can burn your skin and damage your eyes (including blindness) upon contact.
- Chlorine bleach is a strong irritant and when mixed with other cleaners like ammonia can cause chlorine gas. Chlorine gas can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and other disastrous symptoms.
- Triclosan and Triclocarban have been linked to endocrine disruption, a.k.a. reproductive damage, and identified as a potential contributor to increasing the risk of breast cancer. These chemicals are very common in hand soap and dish soap.
- Nano-Silver, one of the newest antibacterial chemicals, has been incorporated into textiles and soaps can penetrate deep into your body because the particles are so small. The tiny nano-silver particles have been shown to be toxic to the liver and the brain.
Do not confuse cleaning with disinfecting as they are NOT the same. Since the vast majority of work places or homes do not need to be as sterile as an operating room, we do not need the overkill. Basically the dangerous germs (bacteria, viruses, and/or fungi) actually are multiplying on the organic matter, commonly known as dirt, left on a surface. Without any media for the germs, they will not grow. The best way to protect yourself and those around you is to practice food safety and good old fashioned cleaning that targets removing dirt with soap, water, and safe and non-toxic green cleaning products such as the EnviroCare All Purpose Cleaner or green janitorial supplies such as microfiber cloths. In short, if you focus on cleaning first you will eliminate the need for additional steps.
Despite the media and advertisements, routine and ongoing disinfection of the home is not necessary. There are rare situations such as when folks with a compromised immune system, for example chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS patients, or when one family member is already contagious such as the flu, when disinfecting is appropriate. In these situations it is best to clean first and then follow with a disinfectant. Unfortunately most disinfectants require you drown the surface enough to stay wet for up to 10 minutes before rinsing. This is a tedious, time consuming and potentially dangerous task, even when done correctly. Additionally this is counter to our spray-and-wipe approach to cleaning.
In the few situations that disinfection is necessary, EnviroCare Neutral Disinfectant is very effective. It is a hospital grade disinfectant, but since it is pH neutral after cleaning it can be sprayed and let air dry without harm to the surface being cleaned while ridding it of the unwanted bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Green Cleaning Products thrives on helping you find the right cleaner(s) for your home and business.
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