Sick Building Syndrome (see earlier post) is a recognised problem, especially in internal environments where we spend a lot of our time (work and home). One of the main causes of SBS is the fumes and chemicals that we use for cleaning. We have a fear in the UK of germs and bugs and this has led us to use powerful and toxic chemicals to clean our buildings.
Most of time we do not need surfaces to be 99.9% bacteria (etc.) free. After all we rely on bacteria to live and we have evolved to be able to live alongside the vast majority of bacteria and bugs that live in our homes. It is also worth noting that it does not take very long for surfaces to lose their resistance to bacteria once they have been cleaned, so unless you have OCD it is worth worth relaxing about exterminating bacteria in your home. You will never win after all!
So number one is to reduce the amount of cleaning chemicals that we use in our homes. By using toxic chemicals we are after all putting ourselves at more risk than by having slightly dirtier surfaces.
Many of the chemicals that we use are hazardous in a number of ways:
Risk of accidental ingestion
Risk of spillage onto exposed skin / eyes etc
Inhalation of fumes from the chemicals when in use
Harm to wildlife (especially water life) when disposing of waste water
Increased waste disposal issues associated with containers
Number two is to use more natural products that are not so toxic or damaging. Many cleaners are now available through the likes of Ecover, but there are other more specialised ones like Eco Solutions who do Hand Cleaners and Degreasers. These products still do what you want them to do, but not at the level of risk and harm associated with the more conventional ones.
So be kind to yourself, your family and your home by using less damaging cleaning products and look for some more natural alternatives.