Recently, the Mother Nature Network put out a guide to disinfectants as a way to raise awareness about the cleaning products that many of us use in our homes. After the terrible cold and flu season that we had this past year, the need for keeping homes free of germs is more evident than ever, but unfortunately, when we reach for certain disinfectants, we're introducing toxins into our homes that can make us sick later in life.
Some of the potentially toxic disinfectants covered in the Mother Nature Network piece include:
- Bleach-based cleaners
- Antibacterial products that contain Triclosan
- Ammonia-based cleaners
The piece also highlighted and reviewed some natural disinfectant alternatives, and we have a few favorites of our own to share:
- Vinegar - Vinegar does work like an antiseptic; however, it is not effective against all types of bacteria, such as strep.
- Hydrogen peroxide - When used in 3% concentration or less, hydrogen peroxide is a highly effective, biodegradable disinfectant.
- Tea tree oil - This natural botanical is nontoxic and effective at eliminating bacteria and many types of fungus; however, it is largely ineffective against viruses.
- e-Cloth green cleaning cloths - These microfiber cloths turn ordinary water into a disinfectant. The cloths can eliminate up to 99.9% of household microbes by trapping them inside their dense fiber network.
The most important thing to remember about using disinfectants in your home is to select a product based upon your cleaning task. If you simply want to give every surface on your home a thorough cleaning, a homemade solution with tea tree oil could meet your needs, but if you're cleaning a place that's very prone to germs, such as the bathroom, your landline telephone or your kitchen counter tops, opt for something with greater germ-fighting power like the e-Cloth or hydrogen peroxide.
Do you have a favorite natural disinfectant? Share it with us in the common section.