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Category: Cleanliness

The Chemical Side of Clean

The Chemical Side of Clean

Whether we like it or not, most of us are exposed to cleaning products and their residues at low levels on a daily basis. When these chemicals are used, their fumes linger in the air and we breathe them in. Chemicals in cleaning products can also enter our bodies by absorption through the skin or through ingestion of household dust and chemical residues left on dishes and other “cleaned” surfaces. When used cleaning products are flushed down the drain, they can seriously impact aquatic ecosystems.

Disinfectant by-products, or DBPs, form as a reaction between oxidizing agents and naturally present organic matter during the water disinfection process. Many hundreds of DBPs exist in treated drinking water and at least 600 have been identified, but it is increasingly recognized that the genotoxicities of the DBPs not subject to regulatory monitoring are comparatively much higher than those that are commonly monitored in the developed world. [1]

Since WWII, more than 80,000 synthetic chemicals have been invented, and many of these chemicals have been dispersed widely into the environment. Some will persist in the environment for decades and even centuries. Most of these chemicals did not previously exist in nature.[2] Not many of these substances have been tested for safety, yet are present in our food, water, and cleaning products.

According to the National Research Council, “no toxic information is available for more than 80% of the chemicals in everyday-use products. Less than 20% have been tested for acute effects and less than 10% have been tested for chronic, reproductive, or mutagenic effects.”[3] The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) depends on industry-sponsored tests for approval. In 1981, one company was found guilty of falsifying over 90 per cent of more than 2000 studies. Those products are still readily available.[4]

So, what can you do to protect your loved ones from chemical exposure? Educate yourself. Research, identify, and use safer, natural alternatives for cleaning as much as possible. Store all cleaning agents in their original containers out of reach from children. Follow the directions and use only the amount recommended. Read labels, follow safety precautions, and contact the manufacturer when you have questions.

Additionally, you can use technology in your home that is capable of cleaning the air and surfaces of your home without chemicals. Vollara’s exclusive ActivePure is the only air cleaning technology awarded the prestigious Certified Space Technology seal by the Space Foundation, and works to continuously clean and protect air and surfaces 24 hours a day.

 

 

Sources:

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disinfection_by-product

[2] http://www.mountsinai.org/patient-care/service-areas/children/areas-of-care/childrens-environmental-health-center/childrens-disease-and-the-environment/children-and-toxic-chemicals

[3] http://www.alive.com/articles/view/16745/crack_down_on_household_chemicals

[4] Ibid

Make It Sparkle: 7 Clever Cleaning Tips

Make It Sparkle: 7 Clever Cleaning Tips

The beginning of a new year usually triggers a person’s innate desire to start anew, and that often extends to the desire many have to clean their homes after the whirlwind of the holidays. It can feel so good to organize, clean, recycle and reconfigure your home into a fresh, streamlined environment.

But cleaning your home is usually a huge undertaking, one that sometimes leaves you throwing your hands in the (dust-filled) air and resigning yourself to a job half-done. Common household cleaners are meant to help you clean, spiff and eliminate stains and odors, but many contain harsh (and even toxic!) chemicals. But it’s possible to give your home a much-needed tidying using just the power of natural products, technology and a little elbow grease. Don’t stop until it sparkles, right?

We’ve put together some of the most useful (and clever!) tips we could find in hopes of inspiring you this season!

Clean the overlooked germ culprits!

Cleaned the inside of your dishwasher lately? How about that garbage can? And if you’re using detergent and liquid fabric softener to do your laundry, then add your washing machine to that list too. Running a vinegar rinse through your dishwasher can help eliminate scale and grime; a hot, soapy vinegar-water mix works well for garbage cans, which can also harbor odors and bacteria. Running a clothes-free cycle with bleach and hot water in your washing machine can help remove detergent and fabric softener build-up, or you can consider methods of doing laundry that don’t require either to get clothes clean.

Also: look high, look low. Corners, lampshades, baseboards, ceiling fans and air vent covers are all places where dust, dirt and cobwebs can collect.

Is your home office a home petri dish? 

If you work full-time from home or only spend 20 minutes at your desk checking email every day, your home office is a (perhaps surprising) place that needs cleaning. You probably don’t even want to know how grimy keyboards can get (think hotel remote controls)! And when exactly was the last time you wiped down your desk surface with a disinfectant? Same goes for phone receivers, staplers, chair arms, and drawer pulls. Get out the q-tips — it’s time to deep clean some crevasses! Gentle-yet-concentrated cleaners that are environmentally safe can be used full strength to deep clean, or be diluted with water for regular household cleaning.

It’s also a great opportunity to go through piles of papers, receipts or invoices, and sort into 3 main categories: active, file or shred. Less clutter on your desk mean less places dust can gather. And that’s always a good thing!

Buff those scuffs!

If you look closely around your baseboards, the bottom of your doors, floors and certain walls (say, in your utility room), you might notice scuff marks: black, smudge-y and intimidating, your first thought might be that you’re stuck with them or should paint over them.

The “magic erasers” on the market (even the store brand generic kind) work wonders on scuff marks. Of course, these erasers aren’t suitable for every surface, and you’ll want to read the packaging before you start, but if used gently they can work quickly to remove scuffs and other discolorations from surfaces. (P.S.: They also work well on grimy fiberglass tubs, too!)

Ditch expired products!

Spices that expired during the Clinton administration? Dented, dusty canned goods? Old medication? Questionable cosmetics? Yes — it’s time to let them go. While old spices and canned goods can safely be disposed of (perhaps even composted), medication’s another story. Flushing them isn’t the answer. Ask your pharmacist what your options for disposal (or, in some cases, buy-back) might be.

And although it might be hard parting with a night cream you paid a pretty penny for, if it’s old and/or smells funky, toss it. Trust us: you don’t want that stuff going back on your skin. Luckily, many beauty companies (Lush and MAC, for example) encourage customers to return empty containers to their store, and may even reward them with a free product.

Shake it off! 

Take doormats, kitchen throw rugs and area rugs (small enough to roll up and carry) outside for a good shaking; you’ll be surprised at what — and how much — comes out.  If the rug is going back in your home, vacuum it immediately afterward for good measure to remove any loosened debris.

If you have bath mats and they’re washable (many are), wash them in your washing machine according to the care instructions on the mat. They’ll be so bright and fluffy afterward, you’ll think they’re new.

Clean & de-scale your kettle and coffee maker! 

In many instances, this kind of cleaning will help maintain the life of your coffee maker. If you use a kettle, it will look better and your tea might taste noticeably better as well. For many coffee makers, running a natural vinegar rinse (check with your manufacturer) can go a long way in de-scaling and removing residue from your machine.

Deep breaths: invest in a high-quality air purifier! 

Cleaning is a must, but sometimes the process can stir up all the dust, allergens and contaminants in your home…which can mean a spike in symptoms for anyone suffering from allergies or asthma within that space. Some air purifiers remove the very things in the air that wreak havoc for those with breathing difficulties, and also work to continuously to treat air and surfaces in your home. These air purifiers are also fantastic for removing tough odors associated with cooking, pets, smoke, and the occasional stinky pile of sports uniforms your kid brings home from practice! So even if your home isn’t immaculate, it can smell like it is!

Get More Life Out Of Your Clothes With LaundryPure!

Get More Life Out Of Your Clothes With LaundryPure!

Maybe it’s your favorite dress. Or that button-down shirt you wear all the time. At some point, though, with regular laundering habits, those beloved articles of clothing are probably going to show signs of wear. Maybe the color fades, or maybe the fabric pills. Maybe stains refuse to budge. Or maybe there’s a residue and lifelessness to your clothing now.

 

You have to launder your clothes, but does that automatically mean you have to watch their quality deteriorate, too? The new answer? NO. Vollara brings you a technology you can use at home called the LaundryPure, and it takes the way you do laundry to a new level. Gone are the days of detergent, harsh chemicals and bleaches, costly hot water and dulling fabric softener. You can get clean, fluffy laundry that still retains its color, shape and style from when you purchased it.

 

Here’s a common misconception about laundry detergent: more is better. Have you or someone you know been guilty of adding a little more detergent to your wash because you wanted to get your clothes cleaner? Problem is, it doesn’t work that way. In fact, using too much detergent can actually have a detrimental affect on your clothes. According to About.com, “…the extra detergent or fabric softener settles back on the clothing and leaves the finish dull and stiff.”[1]

 

bleach

 

The LaundrPure by Vollara uses the same technology that hotels and hospitals use to launder large amounts of linens. The LaundryPure uses cold water only, and infuses it with oxygen, peroxides, and other gases to bubble and lift dirt and grime from cloth fibers, leaving towels softer and fluffier, and clothes brighter and cleaner.

 

Eliminating the harsh chemicals, hot water and dulling softeners greatly extends the life of your clothing, which saves you money in the long run. Whites are whiter, brights are brighter, and the integrity of your clothing stays intact much longer than it would when washed in a traditional way. Stains are lifted, colors don’t fade and there’s no residue leftover to dull your clothes or irritate your skin.

 

To learn more about the LaundryPure and click here.

 

 

Sources:
[1] laundry.about.com/od/laundrybasics/tp/10-Laundry-Tips-To-Make-Your-Clothes-Last-Longer.htm

 

6 Things You Probably Aren’t Cleaning (But Totally Should Be)

6 Things You Probably Aren’t Cleaning (But Totally Should Be)

 

Your weekly cleaning schedule probably includes making sure all the majors are covered: floors, countertops, sinks, tubs, surfaces. But dirt, grime and dust don’t discriminate – they can (and will) settle anywhere, even on places you might not think to clean on a regular basis. So despite your best efforts, you may find yourself or family members coming down with more colds, stomach bugs or allergy and asthma flare-ups.

 

Here’s our list of the 6 items you should add to your cleaning rotation!

 

 

Your reusable water bottle

These are great: ditch disposable bottled water and fill your own reusable container. But are you diligent about washing it…or do you just do a cursory swirl of hot water every now and then? Both aluminum and plastic water bottles need a good cleaning to prevent mold and bacteria from forming inside, which could potentially contaminate your water.

You’ll need a bottle brush (which itself can be washed in your dishwasher), hot water and soap. Make sure you get into the curves and crevices of the bottle, and don’t forget to thoroughly scrub the lid components, including the mouthpiece (if there is one). You can also run your bottle and lid through the dishwasher, if instructions on the bottle or from the manufacturer indicate this is safe.

 

 

Your steering wheel

If you think about it for 5 seconds, you know we’re right. And here’s the thing: it’s worse than you think. Research has found that while 80 bacteria lurk on each square inch of toilet, around 700 harmful bugs inhabit the car’s interior.[1]

If your steering wheel is leather, pre-moistened leather wipes can be used for cleaning. For non-leather wheels, a regular antibacterial wipe can be used, or you can use a warm, soapy dish towel (wring out well beforehand) to wipe down the wheel.

 

 

Your reusable grocery bags

It’s becoming more and more popular (and in some cities, necessary) to bring reusable grocery bags with you when you shop. But food like meat, fruit and produce can be packed in less-than-secure packaging and be prone to leak. And that’s not something you want seeping into the fabric of your reusable bags.

Many bags are washable, with cotton varieties readily available. Washing them with hot water (or with your LaundryPure!) will eliminate the bacteria or sticky residue inside the bag.

 

 

Your earbuds

You wear them everywhere, including the gym – but do you ever clean them? The last thing you want to do is put something teeming with bacteria inside your ear.

Start by cleaning the earbud with a clean, dry toothbrush. This will sweep away dust and dirt in the metal parts of the earbud. Then use a premoistened antibacterial wipe to wipe down the bud. If you’d rather not use the antibacterial wipe, mix up a small bowl of warm water with a drop of dish soap. Quickly dip part of a paper towel into the solution, wring out, and use that to clean your earbuds. Of course, whenever possible, avoid sharing your earbuds with others.

 

 

Your hairbrushes & combs

Ladies (and a few gents!), does cleaning your hairbrush amount to a cursory removal of hair every few months…and that’s it? If you’ve noticed your hair feeling greasy of frizzy, it could be because of a build-up on your hairbrush.

After you remove the excess hair trapped within the bristles of the brush, fill a baking dish with warm water and 1 tablespoon each of dish soap and vinegar. Allow to soak at least one hour, or overnight. Rinse with clean water, and use toothbrush to scrub away any still-stuck on hair product or grime. Place the brushes on top of towel and let dry.

 

 

Your keys

They’re with you almost all the time – and to make them work, you have to touch them. It stands to reason, then, that your set of keys could be caked with all kinds of nastiness. So if the last time you cleaned them was never, take heed: it’s a relatively simple process.

Remove the keys from the ring (use an antibacterial wipe for gate/car entry clickers). Fill a bowl with (you guessed it!) warm soapy water. Using an unused toothbrush and a few toothpicks for smaller grooves, scrub the keys. Rinse well under clean water, and dry thoroughly before adding them back to your key ring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: [1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1379830/How-clean-car-Steering-wheels-times-germs-public-toilet-seat.html

What All Can You Clean With Re:Move?

What All Can You Clean With Re:Move?

Everyone wants a clean home, but the myriad cleaning products on the market can give anyone pause once you stop to look at the ingredient list. Most commonly-available household cleaners are harsh, full of chemicals, and contain synthetic fragrances and dyes. Fumes from these cleaners can exacerbate breathing difficulties, and using several in combination can create a noxious build-up. And if your skin is sensitive to chemicals, you might notice a redness or rash on any part of your skin that comes into contact with that cleaner.

With Re:Move, you can still get those desired levels of clean, but without the harshness, chemicals or multiple bottles. Re:Move is plant-based and biodegradable, making it easier on you and the environment. It’s also multi-purpose, and can be used in multiple applications across your home.

Re:Move, first and foremost, is a great stain remover for tough laundry stains. It’s gentle on fabric, yet tough and effective on stains. Using it for pre-treating a stain makes Re:Move a great alternative for store-bought stain removers.

Re:Move is also incredibly concentrated, so a little goes a long way. You might find that a bottle of Re:Move lasts you much longer than your average cleanser. Because of its concentration, you can dilute it with water and create a spray bottle full of a powerful cleaner you can use around your home:

  • countertops
  • sink basins
  • tubs
  • faucets
  • tile
  • outdoor furniture
  • fan blades
  • door handles
  • and much more!