Miriam Keri's Blog
Did you know that indoor air pollution is actually worse than outdoor air pollution? Indoor pollution can in fact be 2 to 10 times worse depending on the materials in your home. Many of the materials in your home omit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's). According to the EPA, VOC's are in the air that you breathe and can have long term health effects, including liver, kidney and central nervous system damage and cancer. Here is a list of some of the indoor air pollutants that you may want to reduce or remove in order to have a healthier home. Cleaning Supplies The things that clean your home may be making you sick. In fact, bleach is one of the biggest offenders. In order to have a truly clean home, remove all of these chemicals and start replacing them with natural ones. Check the labels of everything. Many sheets that are made for your dryer have formaldehyde in them. Some of the most dangerous cleaning products are corrosive drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and acidic toilet bowl cleaners. Corrosive chemicals can cause severe burns on eyes, skin and, if ingested, on the throat and esophagus. Air Fresheners Air fresheners may smell sweet but their effect can be anything but. Some air fresheners can send chemicals into the air that contain VOCs. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology looked at plug-in fresheners and found more than 20 VOCs' and more than one-third were considered toxic or hazardous. VOCs can increase the risk of asthma in kids. At high enough levels, they can also irritate the eyes and lungs, trigger dizziness and headaches, and even lead to memory loss. Furniture Believe it or not the place where you sit or sleep could be harming your health. Furniture is such a big part of our life, we eat on it, sleep and sit on it. Furniture also can emit VOCs. Furniture is often made with flame retardants, finishes, adhesives and foam cushions that give off harmful chemicals. Paint You often hear about the dangers of lead paint. You should also be worried about the brand new fresh paint you just put on the walls. Paint, paint strippers, varnish removers and floor stains all emit VOC's into the air. These chemicals don't go away once the paint has dried or once it stops smelling. The harmful chemicals can last for as long as two years. New Flooring That new carpet smell is not good for you. As pretty as it may look new carpet, wood floors or even linoleum flooring give off VOCs. Purchase flooring produced from renewable materials such as linseed oil, rosins, wood flour and jute. Look for wood flooring that is FSC Certified (it came from a Forest Stewardship Council Certified Forest which helps protect old growth forests from being clear cut). For more information read about Sources of Indoor Air Pollution on the EPA site.
Have you ever tried to clean your rugs? It can expensive and difficult to get the stains out. It can also be dangerous for small children and pets to put harmful chemicals on your rugs. Here is a recipe for a homemade rug cleaner that works great and is safe for your family: Ingredients: 1/4 teaspoon dishwashing liquid 1 cup lukewarm water 1. Combine the dishwashing liquid and water. 2. Use a spray bottle to apply the solution over a large area, or use the solution to spot-clean nongreasy stains. Don't use substitute laundry detergent or dishwasher detergent in place of dishwashing liquid, as they may contain additives that can affect the rug's color.
Have you ever taken your jewelry to be cleaned? Having your jewelry professionally cleaned will set you back quite a bit of money. Making your own homemade jewelry cleaner can give you the same results for a fraction of the cost. Here is recipe for homemade jewelry cleaner: Ingredients: 1/4 cup ammonia 1/4 cup dishwashing liquid 3/4 cup water 1. Mix all the ingredients well, then soak your jewelry in the solution for a few minutes. 2.Clean around the stones and designs with a soft-bristle toothbrush. 3. Buff dry. Caution: Don't use this with gold-plated jewelry; with soft stones such as pearls, opals, or jade; or with costume jewelry, because it could ruin the plastics or loosen the glue.
Polishing a hardware floor can be a daunting task and most of the hardwood polish you may have been using is toxic, and not to mention expensive. You can go natural and make your own polish at home. Here are a few homemade wood floor polish recipes:
Recipe I Ingredients: 1/2 cup vinegar 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1. Mix the ingredients well. 2. Rub on the floor, and buff with a clean, dry cloth.
Recipe II Ingredients: 1/4 cup of grated beeswax boiling water 1/4 cup of turpentine fruit extract (if desired) 1. Put the beeswax into a bowl. 2. Put the bowl with the beeswax into a pan of boiling water until the beeswax has melted. 3. Add the turpentine into the beeswax and stir continuously until it all starts to cool. 4. If desired add fruit extract to give it a pleasant smell. 5. Apply the polish to a clean floor using a sponge, wipe off extra polish and leave the floor to dry itself for 12-24 hours.
It can be a real nuisance and an never ending battle to keep ants out of your house. There are natural recipes to help keep the ants at bay and involve items you are likely to have in your home already. Here are a few natural ways to keep the ants out: -Clean surfaces in your home with vinegar. Mix a half-and-half solution of white distilled vinegar and water. Ants don't like the smell of vinegar and it removes the scent trails they use to get around. -Lemon juice works just like vinegar by destroying the scent trails that ants follow. Spray lemon juice around the places the ants are using for entryways. -Want your home to smell minty and keep the ants out? Try peppermint oil. Wipe surfaces down with a clean damp cloth that has a few drops of essential peppermint oil on it. Ants also dislike the smell of peppermint. Peppermint is also environmentally friendly, and safe for humans and children. -If you know the areas the ants are getting in to your home sprinkle used coffee grounds in those areas. Ants don't like the smell of the coffee grounds they should move away from that area. -Ants will not cross a line of chalk. Try drawing a line of chalk across the spot where the ants are entering your home. Chalk is a natural ant repellent. Do you have any other natural ideas for keeping out the ants?