How to Engage in Healthy Organic Housekeeping

Cleanliness might be next to godliness, but overdoing housework won’t do your health any favours. Scientists suspect that our love affair with domestic products is responsible for sky­rocketing asthma rates, since ultra-cleanliness and anti-bacterial products eliminate bugs that can help children build up healthy immunity. This doesn’t mean you should let your house go to ruin however. I recommend you visit and have professionals help you clean up your home as often as you’d prefer.

It’s hard to resist the clamour of cleaning product promotions, all claiming to be crucial for a hygienic home. But indoor air quality expert, Quade Stahl, is skeptical; he knows that the chemical residues from cleaners can pollute the air inside our homes and he believes that persuasive advertising is turning us into chronic over-cleaners.  “People are sold a lot of new products—one to clean windows, another for this, another for that—they have twenty to fifty products when two or three would do the job just as well,” says Stahl.

Conscious cleaning

Cleaning a healthy home doesn’t need complex ingredients; going right back to basics, salt, baking soda, white vinegar and fresh lemon juice will clean a house safely and cheaply. But the prospect of squeezing lemons every time the toilet needs a scrub does not appeal to most people, so ready-made cleaners with natural ingredients and dramatically fewer chemicals are proving winners with health-minded home-makers. These are widely available from organic and natural products stores and even some supermarkets, and range from toilet cleaners and laundry liquid to dishwasher tablets and fabric softeners.

Smell alone sets these natural cleaners apart from the others. Instead of the synthetic fragrances that mask chemical odours, natural cleaners use essential oils from plants. As eco-interior designer Victoria Schomer says, “Don’t think that if it doesn’t go into our bodies it’s OK—if you smell something, its molecules are in your nose and therefore in your body!” And forget lurid colours, too—natural cleaners come as they are. After all, since when did being baby pink or sky blue make a laundry liquid wash any better?

Where the differences are not so clear-cut is environmental claims. Amid the plethora of products claiming to be biodegradable, it’s easy to forget that no product is truly environmentally friendly—some are just less unfriendly than others. So while many cleaners meet criteria for “primary” degradation—that is, the time it takes for the product to lose its main characteristic such as its washing action—they may still remain in the environment for years. “Greener” products aim for complete biodegradability.

Healthy spaces

Like people, homes grow sluggish and need re-invigorating. The ancient oriental art of feng shui has become so fashionable that it’s hard to escape the earnest but often impractical advice—there’s not much you can do if your toilet is inauspiciously sited! But it does have many useful things to say about “space clearing”—keeping a home’s energy vibrant and healthy. Lighting a candle, ringing a bell or burning incense sticks in parts of the home that feel cheerless are easy ways to encourage positive energy to flow.

Even the mundane spring clean is an opportunity for some powerful space clearing. Remove any clutter that doesn’t lift your energies, and vow only to buy products in future that will enhance the home (a noble ambition most of us fall short of, judging by the junk hidden away in our cupboards and lofts). Meanwhile, for continued good energy, try to keep on top of household repairs, bill paying and letter writing—and do your best to keep the house consistently clean and tidy.

Flower power

  • Flowers bring energy and inspiration to a home, especially if they’re locally-grown or from your own garden so they’re fresher and more likely to have been cultivated without pesticides.
  • For a stunning and cheap display use single stems of bold flowers.
  • Recycled glass jars and bottles make great vases.
  • A living plant is a permanent way to enjoy the beauty of flowers, while dried flowers will keep indefinitely.
  • Dip stems in tepid water to revive cut flowers (protect the blooms as you do this).

Bacteria are bad for our health?

Bacteria found in soil can transform harmful chemicals into useful compounds that can be turned into drugs. Indeed, far from being our enemy, some bacteria are being used to nurse the sick back to health, cut asthma rates and clean up toxic pollution.

The war waged in homes against bugs—fuelled by the advertising tactics of manufacturers who persuade us that we need to protect our families against “deadly” bacteria—could be doing long-term harm. “Dousing everything we touch with antibacterial soaps…can upset the natural balance of microorganisms in and around us, leaving behind only the ‘superbugs’,” says physician and microbiologist Dr. Stuart Levy.

Everyday household bugs may even give a baby’s immune system the exercise it needs to develop normally. Exposure to germs during the first year of life is vital for developing antibodies that will fight off infections later in life.

Filed Under: Home & Maintenance


About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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