The Maids of Portland, Maine

Friday, October 23, 2015

Toxins in Candles: Sad, But True

There’s nothing like the gentle flicker of a candle flame, and a warm, sweet scent filling your home to evoke feelings of peace and wellness.  Except when that candle is actually filling your home with toxic chemicals and contributing to indoor air pollution.

Paraffin is the major ingredient in most candles and is a sludge waste product from the petroleum industry. It releases carcinogenic chemicals when burned. The soot/fumes are similar to that released from a diesel engine and can be as dangerous as second hand smoke. This can contribute to serious respiratory issues like asthma.

Scented candles may have lead or lead cores in the wick, which releases dangerous amounts of lead into your home through the candle soot. In 2003 the USA passed legislation to ban lead wicks, but they still find their way to store shelves from China, Taiwan and Canada. Two particularly toxic chemicals, benzene and toluene, are also found in the sooty residue from burning candles. Benzene is cancer-causing and toluene affects the central nervous system.

The very best options for candles are beeswax candles. They are absolutely pure and burn clean. It has a light scent of honey and they come in a range of color options.

Courtesy of: Keeper of the Home

Friday, September 18, 2015

5 Things To Add To Your Fall To-Do-List

You probably give your home a deep clean in the spring, but you should also show it some love at the beginning of fall. Here's where to start:

1. Perform a pantry audit.

First, remove all the cans and boxes from the shelves, and vacuum away any lingering dust or crumbs (a lot can build up in just a few months!). Then, inspect each item before putting it back in its place, tossing anything that is expired or past its prime.

2. Test and clean your smoke detectors.

You already know to put fresh batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors (doing it on the days you change the clocks for Daylight Saving Time is an easy way to remember). But you also need to clean your units, since dust that accumulates can cause them to underperform.

3. Flip your mattress.

When you turn back your clocks, turn your mattress over, too. If you can't flip it because it has a pillow top, rotate it 180 degrees to prevent body impressions form causing certain spots to slump. Sprinkle the mattress with baking soda to neutralize odors, and then vacuum it up.4. Shampoo your carpet.

4. Shampoo your carpet.

Get a jump on holiday party season by giving your carpeting a good scrub. We recommend getting a professional cleaning once a year, but you can also do a good job by renting a carpet cleaner.

5. Vacuum all upholstered surfaces.
You think your couch is clean until you plop on it, and a haze of dust appears around you. Give sofas and chairs a good vacuuming, making sure to hit both sides of the cushions, the back, sides, arms,even the platform underneath the cushions.

Courtesy of: Good HouseKeeping

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

5 Smart Ways to Stretch Your Cleaning Products

1. Don't automatically fill both dispensers in your dishwasher.
The detergent box recommends it, but it's better to adjust the amount of detergent to the soil level of the load and the hardness of your water. Start by filling each cup halfway, adding a bit more for extra dirty dishes and hard water. Plus, using too much detergent can leave a filmy residue on your glasses and flatware.

2. Always measure laundry detergent.
I know the numbered lines inside detergent caps are impossible to see, but with today's 2x and 3x concentrated detergents, a full cap is too large a dose for most loads. Adding more detergent won't get clothes any cleaner; instead, laundry can still be soapy at the end of the cycle and front-loading washers that are sensitive to excess suds may shut down.

3. Spray the cloth, not the surface.
When cleaning mirrors, polishing furniture, and shining stainless steel appliances, spray the cleaner directly on the rag. Spritzing the surface often wastes product and leaves behind excess cleaner that requires more wiping and extra buffing to remove — who needs that?

4. Choose a foaming bathroom tub and tile cleaner.
These cling to vertical surfaces better than thin sprays do, so you'll get more muscle from less product. After spraying a small section of tile, use your sponge or cloth to spread it around. Wait a few minutes for the formula to penetrate the soil, then wipe or rinse the surface clean.

5. Use multitasking products. Products like Good Housekeeping Seal-holder Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner and OxiClean Versatile Cleaner can be used for around-the-house cleaning jobs and for laundry stains. You'll not only save money with these workhorse products, but storage space, too.

Friday, April 10, 2015

How to Prevent Pollen Allergies

Approximately 40 million Americans are affected by allergies. The resulting upper-respiratory symptoms, known as "allergic rhinitis," are commonly called "hay fever" when caused by pollen sensitivity. Hay fever is characterized by itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing and coughing, and it can make sufferers miserable. Though it is difficult to avoid the pollen that's making you sneeze, there are ways to prevent your hay fever from getting out of hand.

> Find out what you are allergic to and learn to recognize it. The best way to prevent pollen allergies is to avoid spending time around the types of trees, shrubs, grasses or weeds that cause your symptoms.
>Keep windows closed and don't run attic fans, which allow pollens into your home. To stay cool, run central air or a window air-conditioning unit; change the filters regularly to prevent pollen and dust buildup.
> Wash pets frequently, and wipe or brush them down when they come in from outdoors. Pollens hitch a ride into your home on your pet's fur, so keep the animals out of your bedroom and off of furniture.
> Dust and vacuum at least two to three times a week to prevent indoor pollen buildup. Consider wearing a respirator when you are doing housework, as airborne pollens and dust particles are stirred as you clean and may jump start your allergies.
> Run a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) air cleaner in your bedroom to rid your home of pollens that enter indoors. Breathing cleaner air at night can help you feel better when you start your day.
Courtesy of: eHow Health Editor

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

This spring rid your kitchen of hidden toxins!

As spring approaches, we thought that we would share with you a list of some of the most important products that you can easily replace for a toxin free kitchen.

Bleached Paper Products:

Most paper products in the United States are bleached with chlorine gas or chlorine derivatives. These chlorine chemicals are known to create dioxins as a by-product of the bleaching process.

Even in small amounts, dioxin is agreed upon to be toxic.

Two of the most popular bleached products we use in our kitchen are parchment paper and coffee filters.

                  > Parchment Paper: Instead of white parchment paper, replace it with natural unbleached parchment.
                  > Coffee Filters: Instead of white coffee filters, choose brown-less toxins.

Baking Products:

Bleached white flour is generally made with benzoyl peroxide. To avoid the toxins, purchase unbleached flour. Did you know that baking powder contains aluminum? Aluminum is best to avoid since it accumulates in the brain and can bring on diseases such as Alzheimer's. The next time you need to buy baking powder, choose Rumford Baking Powder which is aluminum free.

Canned Foods:

Bisphenol A is an industrial chemical used in the liners of most metal cans. Cans made with BPA can leach into the containing food and acts as an environmental estrogen. Once ingested it effects our brain disrupting proper hormone functioning. It has been controversial for some time, however, the FDA now shares a level of concern and many companies are going BPA free.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Children Act Fast, So Do Accidents

National Poison Prevention Week is March 15-21, 2015 and there is no better time to think about your laundry routine! Make it a habit to always store liquid laundry packets out of reach and sight of children to prevent injury and in their original package until you are ready to use them.

WARNING! Children are curious and whether you want them to or not, tend to put all sorts of different things in their mouth. Food, rattles, toys, teethers – you name it. And even some things they shouldn’t.

Serious harm including accidental ingestion and eye exposure can occur if children get their hands on liquid laundry packets. Each laundry packet contains highly concentrated detergent and can cause serious injury if they end up in the hands and mouths of children.

Parents know that children act fast which is exactly why it is essential to get in the habit of always storing liquid laundry packets along with all other household cleaning products in a safe place that is out of reach and sight of children. And, always remember to keep laundry packets in their original package until they are ready to be used.

Liquid laundry packet accidents are more common than you think. In 2013, there were over 10,000 laundry packet exposures in children five and younger. Protect your children. Here’s how:
  • Do not let children handle laundry packets
  • Do not puncture or pull packets apart
  • Store out of child's sight and reach
  • Packets quickly dissolve upon contact with water, wet hands, or saliva
  • Packets can rupture, releasing contents into eyes
Courtesy of: The American Cleaning Institute

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Three Ways to Detox Your Laundry

Check out these three ways to detox your laundry:

1.) Switch to a natural detergent. Stay away from optical brighteners which give the illusion that fabric is whiter/brighter than it really is. These can actually cause build-up on your laundry and even cause skin irritations. Try a homemade detergent and here is a list of five homemade natural detergents recipes that you may want to try.

2.) Use natural stain removers. If you have a tough stain, hanging the article of clothing out in the sun for a couple of hours will usually bleach out the stain within hours. Or you can try adding an oxygen bleach to the wash or dissolve powered oxygen bleach in water and spray it directly on the stain. You may also want to try one of these 10 homemade, all natural stain removers.

3.) Ditch the fabric softener. White vinegar is the perfect alternative to fabric softener. And not only does it soften, but it can also take the sour smell out of wet clothes that have sat in a washing machine too long.

                                                        Courtesy of: Keeper of the Home