The Maids of Portland, Maine

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

What are the differences between cleaning and disinfecting or sanitizing?

Clean: Physically remove dirt, germs and debris from a surface by scrubbing, washing and rinsing. It is done using soap or detergent and water

Sanitize: Apply a product that kills 99.9% of the germs identified on its label.

Disinfect: Apply a product that kills nearly 100% of the germs identified on its label.

Daily Practices That Matter…

  1. Wash your hands often
  2. Understand the difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting
  3. Choose the right product(s) for the job
  4. Read, understand and follow instructions for time between using and rinsing products
  5. Never mix products unless the label indicates that it is safe to do so
  6. Store products in a locked location that children cannot access
  7. Call the Poison help line at (800) 222-1222 if an accidental exposure occurs

  Courtesy of: American Cleaning Institute

Friday, July 15, 2016

Five Toxic Household Products You Should Throw Away

Could your choice of shampoo or cookware be harming your health? A growing body of research suggests that chemicals in everyday products may  put us at risk for health problems – from infertility and birth defects to certain types of cancer.

While it’s impossible to avoid exposure to all environmental chemicals, there are ways to rid your home of many of these potential toxins.. Here are 6 items you may want to avoid buying, toss or replace. Of course, it may not be practical for you to toss all of these items at once. Instead, try swapping out one product at a time with a safer version. Even small steps to minimize your chemical exposures can create a healthier and safer home.

1.) Air Fresheners: Plug-in scents or synthetically scented candles many contain chemicals called phthalates, which have been linked to reproductive problems. Instead, choose candles made with essential oils and fresh flowers to scent your home. Also,  try using baking soda and white vinegar as odor absorbers.


2.) Fabric and Upholstery Protection Sprays: Stain blockers essentially create an invisible plastic barrier over your furniture. This plastic will eventually wear off and be released into your home environment. Instead, simply clean stains as necessary rather than trying to prevent them.

3.) Sunscreens with Oxybenzone: Research on animals suggests that chemicals in some sunscreens, including oxybenzone, may cause healthy problems when they penetrate the skin. The safest sunscreens are made from minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, but they can be very expensive. In general, avoid aerosol spray sunscreens, which you can accidentally inhale.

4.) Prepared Foods in Plastic Containers: You don’t necessarily have to toss these, but don’t heat them up in the plastic. Heating plastic can release chemicals that seep into your food. It’s well worth your time to take a few extra seconds to transfer prepared foods into a glass container before heating them in the microwave.

5.) Perfumes : The one-word ingredient “perfume” can translate to a product containing upwards of 300 chemical ingredients. (Perfume companies won’t release lists of exact ingredients for fear of divulging secrets to their competitors.) Avoid perfumes and colognes or switch to products that are scented with natural oils.

Courtesy of : Everyday Health

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Four Unexpected Causes of Pollution

Four surprising ways you're hurting the environment—and the surprisingly easy changes you can make to be greener. 

1> Using Body Wash All The Time...
Liquid soaps require five times more energy for raw-material production and nearly 20 times more energy for packaging production than bar soaps do.
Greener Habit...Stick with bars when you wash up. Not only do they have a considerably lower impact on the environment but also you'll use less.

2> Being Oblivious to Your Electronic Settings...
The average home contains about 24 energy-sucking electronic devices, with TVs, desktop computers, cable boxes, and game consoles among the worst.
Greener Habit...It's easy to tweak a TV, so start there. Select "home" mode in the setup instead of "retail," which is meant for a bright in-store display. If there is an automatic brightness control, turn it on.

3> Running the Dishwasher and Clothes Dryer During the Day...
These machines produce heat and humidity, which means your air conditioner has to work harder
Greener Habit...Use your dishwasher and dryer during off-peak hours, which typically start between 8 P.M. and midnight and end around sunrise.

4> Overdoing It With Aluminum Foil...
Americans discarded about 2.8 million tons of aluminum—including containers, cans, and foil—in 2013, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Whereas soiled containers can be recycled, dirty foil can't. And it can take centuries for aluminum to biodegrade.
Greener Habit...Use unbleached parchment paper for baking and roasting as well as for wrapping sandwiches and snacks. It's biodegradable, compostable, and often reusable.



Courtesy Of: Real Simple

Monday, May 2, 2016

Cleaning Products You Should Never Mix

When you're faced with a tough cleaning job, it's easy to get frustrated — and tempting to get creative with how you combat it. But before you reach for every cleaning product under your sink and start playing chemist, please just don't. "People often think that if one product works, mixing it with another one will make it even better," says Carolyn Forte, director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute.

But here's the scary truth: "Certain products, which are safe when used alone, can sometimes cause unsafe fumes or other chemical reactions when mixed with other products," says Nancy Bock, Senior VP of Education at the American Cleaning Institute.

And even if your ad-hoc cleaner combo isn't dangerous or toxic, you can never be sure what effect two products can have on a surface or fabric when combined. Always read the warning and ingredient labels on cleaning products — and never mix these:

1.) Drain Cleaner and Drain Cleaner... Never mix two different drain cleaners together as they are powerful and can lead to an explosion.

2.) Baking Soda and Vinegar...One is basic and one is acidic. When you put them together what you get is basically water. If mixed together and stored in a tight container, the mixture can explode.

3.) Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar...combining the two can be potentially toxic and can irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory system.

4.) Bleach and Vinegar...Together they produce chlorine gas which can cause coughing, breathing problems and burning, watery eyes.

5.) Bleach and Ammonia...Bleach and ammonia produces a toxic gas called chloramine which causes the same symptoms as bleach and vinegar-along with shortness of breath and chest pain.

Courtesy Of: Good House Keeping

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Toxic Characteristics of Carpets

New Carpets:
  • Contain toluene, benzene, formaldehyde, ethyl benzene, styrene, acetone and a host of other chemicals that are known carcinogens and produce fetal abnormalities in test animals. These chemicals also cause hallucinations, nerve damage and respiratory illness in humans.

  • That 'new carpet smell' comes from 4-PC, associated with eye, nose and upper respiratory problems. 4-PC is used in the latex backing of 95% of US carpets.

  • Other compounds that affect your health are adhesives, flame retardants and stain protectors. In 2000 the 3M Company removed the chemical perflouro-octanyl salphonate from their product, Scotchgard, because it had been found to cause reproductive problems in rats.

  • Mothproofing chemicals contain naphthalene, which is known to produce toxic reactions, especially in newborns.
The obvious preferred option would be to get rid of any carpeting to reduce your exposure to carpet toxins, and replace carpeting with tiles, wood or bamboo.

Courtesy of : Green and Healthy
Dawn Michael