When I was young, one of my favorite Little Golden Books was “We Help Mommy.” It was so romantically retro … Sally and Bobby love to help their darling mother with chores. I wanted to be just like Sally and help my own mommy. And my mommy was happy to have a little helper.
The one chore I was allowed to do since I was five or six years old was dust. And I became a great duster. Whenever it was cleaning day – or company was coming – I would grab the yellow canister of wood polish spray and an old cloth diaper and dust all the wood furniture in our home. Music was always playing during cleaning time, and I remember taking a dusting break to hop up on my family’s orange couch to dance to the Bee Gees. (Can you tell I grew up in the late ’70s?)
I kept my dusting job as long as I lived with my parents. My mom willingly took the harder jobs of cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen, but dusting – and later on vacuuming and washing windows – was my territory.
Once I finally had an apartment of my own, I instinctively bought the same yellow canister of polishing spray without giving it a second thought. That is what you used for dusting.
When I was pregnant with Big Brother, though, all of my old cleaning routines went out the window. (Oh, I really can’t wait to tell you so many more details about this! You’ll just have to check out my new eBook, Accidentally Green, on April 1st.) And I stopped using any sort of dusting or furniture polishing sprays.
It’s a good thing I did. The ingredients are pretty nasty.
What’s in a spray?
According to the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning, some of the most hazardous ingredients in dusting and polishing products include:
- C10-12 Alkane/Cycloalkane — If ingested, this may be fatal. This chemical also may cause cancer and genetic defects.
- C12-20 Isoparaffin – This chemical may cause cancer.
- Cyclotetrasiloxane – This chemical is suspected to damage fertility and unborn children.
- Mineral Spirits – If ingested, they may be fatal. They also may cause cancer and genetic defects.
- Petroleum Distillates – These chemicals may be fatal if swallowed. They’re also suspected to cause cancer and genetic defects, and can potentially impair the nervous system and cause kidney damage.
- Petroleum Gases – These gases may cause cancer and genetic defects.
- Plasticizers – Plasticizer is a fancy word for phthalate. And because of some damaging side effects, phthalates should be avoided.
- Sodium Salts – Actually sodium borate, this ingredient may harm fertility and unborn children.
The main problem
The chemicals I’ve listed all are dangerous. The big problem, though, comes when a single polishing product includes several of these chemicals. Suddenly, you’re exposed to a whole host of toxins – just when you think you’re cleaning your house.
Fortunately, I’ve found a simple and completely natural way to polish your furniture. I’ll share my recipe tomorrow!
How do you dust and polish your furniture?
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