Cleaning with soap and water effectively removes germs from most surfaces, but some areas may require an additional step: disinfection. Disinfecting works by oxidizing the germs and breaking down their cell walls (deactivating them). Disinfecting properly can provide added safeguard for areas where people come into contact with contaminated surfaces. This can help reduce the presence of asthma and allergy triggers in a way that basic cleaning can’t.
Disinfectants can kill germs on commonly used surfaces, but there are many unseen health risks involved with using store-bought and chemical-based products:
- Repeated exposure to toxic disinfectants can cause health problems.
- Products that contain chlorine can cause eye and skin irritation.
- Extended exposure to certain chemicals can cause respiratory irritation and distress.
- Negative effects may be worsened if chlorine is mixed with other cleaners.
- Ammonia, another common disinfectant, can burn the skin and cause blindness if it gets into the eyes.
In the end, it’s just not worth the risk! On the other hand, natural disinfectants can be just as effective as chemical disinfectants but are safer for use around pets and children, and they often cost less to make than more hazardous products cost to buy.
If you want to disinfect your home but don’t want to subject your family to toxic chemicals, try these two homemade recipes:
(1) Combine two tablespoons of borax, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Cover bottle and shake until the borax is dissolved. Add twenty drops of either tea tree oil or thyme essential oil. Shake. Spray.
(2) Mix 2 cups white distilled vinegar with three drops tea tree, thyme, or eucalyptus essential oil. Spray.
Properly disinfecting surfaces goes a long way in keeping homes and families healthy, but it’s important to be sure that your cleaners aren’t doing more harm than good. Cleaning your home instead with nontoxic, natural, homemade, and green cleaners will save you money and protect your family from both the germs and the chemicals.