Spring Cleaning Dos and Don’ts You Might Not Know

by Dr. Don Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

Do clean the air. Indoor air has been shown to carry 25-100 times more pollutants than outdoor air. While many Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors, it is very important to make sure the air indoors is free of allergens and harmful compounds. One of the best and simplest ways to improve the air quality in your home is by using houseplants. NASA has studied the effect of houseplants on indoor air quality and reports plants reduce up to 87% of air toxins. Some of the top air-improving houseplants are African violets, Christmas cactus, the Feston Rose plant, English ivy and aloe.

Don’t use synthetic lawn chemicals. The toxins you use to treat your lawn will make their way into your home through windows and doors and on the soles of your shoes. Always remove your shoes at the door.

Do use natural cleaners like sea salt, lemon juice, essential oils and vinegar. Use a sea salt and olive oil scrub to remove stains on cast iron cookware. To clean and disinfect a cutting board, squeeze a lemon onto the surface and let it sit overnight. Wash the lemon away the next day. Vinegar is a powerful antifungal for bathroom mold and mildew. An ounce and a half of eucalyptus oil combined with a quart of water makes a disinfecting cleaner for toilets and bathroom counters.

Do use rubber gloves, even with natural products. Sea salt, vinegar and lemon can still be rough on your hands.

Don’t use conventional laundry detergents, soaps and bathroom cleaners. Even when rinsed well, toxic chemical residues are left behind and can be absorbed by the body through the skin and airways. Many of these chemicals have been shown to promote reproductive problems, endocrine and autoimmune disorders and cancer.

Don’t use air fresheners. The cleanest and safest odor is no odor at all. The perfumes and scents you associate with clean laundry, a clean body and a germ-free home are oftentimes toxic.

Do reduce allergens. Switch to allergen-proof pillow and mattress covers. Switch to hard surface floors like tile and hardwood. Remove curtains and use easy-to-dust blinds for window coverings.

Do plant a garden. Eating fresh whole foods is the best way to “spring clean” your body. If you are a new gardener, start with a small patch. Lettuces, herbs and tomatoes are easiest to grow for beginners.

Don’t use conventional pesticides and herbicides in your garden. They leave toxic residues on your food, and dangerous chemicals from fertilizer can get soaked up into the food through the roots. Use an organic gardening book or look online to find simple, safe and natural ways to protect your garden from bugs.