We have ready at our fingertips, and in our homes, the best chemical-free, and environmentally-friendly tools that we need to keep our family and children clean and safe. With these spaces now doubling as our workspaces and/or schools, the question begs to be asked: do we know how to use them?
In this article, we aim to help you identify and demystify the instruments that you already have with you to maintain a safe and clean environment. It is our desire that having these tools at hand, and knowing how to use and maintain them well, will serve to empower you to take charge of your, and your family’s, health.
Most often, what we need is already under our own noses, so without further delay, let’s dive in!
Microfiber (preferably ultra-fine high quality microfiber) cleaning cloths and mops are a must as this material works best with absorbing and collecting notoriously difficult organic substances like grease and oil from food spills, as well as dirt that has been tracked into the home from outside. Material for microfiber cleaning cloths and mops are fibers that have split multiple times, increasing the surface area that they are able to cover, and thereby increasing their capacity to absorb organic material. As manufacturing styles for this type of fabric varies, a rule of thumb one may follow would be to place your hand flat on the cloth and see if it catches slightly when you try to remove it. The stronger its attraction to your palm, the better quality it is.
Given it’s greater absorbing capacity, these types of material also need to be subjected to a special cleaning routine. This may include hand washing, machine washing, or using a laundry service to ensure that the fibers are thoroughly cleaned, and that any trace of organic material is completely removed. They should also be washed separately from other fabrics and fibers in order to prevent the spread of microorganisms that they’ve been used to collect.
Vacuums are also very important cleaning tools especially for homes with rugs or carpets, indoor plants, and pets roaming around. Carpets and rugs tend to lodge dust, dirt, and small stones deep into their fibers, sometimes leading to their eventual damage when it is stepped on, as this creates friction between the fibers. Thus, regular vacuuming increases the life of the carpet.
It is highly recommended that vacuuming be done daily, especially if there are asthmatic members of your household, and even more so if you have pets roaming inside. As air continues to circulate even in indoor areas, it is wishful thinking to restrict pets to one room with the intention of sectioning off the areas where their dander can land.
There are advanced industrial vacuums that come with indications for when
- The receptacle for collecting dust has been filled, or has reached its capacity and needs to be changed
- There is no more dirt being suctioned off
- The vacuum is operating at full power, which is its ideal state
Outside the home, it is also advisable to vacuum automobiles daily, if it is used often, as this tends to accumulate dirt as well. Taking into consideration the amount of time spent in traffic, one can only imagine the concentration of dust, dirt, and other unwelcome particles circulating in our vehicles that enters our lungs for an extended period of time.
If you are about to purchase your first vacuum, or if you are set to replace your old machine, try going for a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) or high filtration vacuum. These are built to filter out more dirt and germs than traditional vacuums, and keep them from circulating back into the indoor air.
Vacuuming is essential and SHOULD be used as an alternative to simply sweeping, as it captures more dust and dirt, and reduces exposure to fire-retardant chemicals including lead and other metals, as well as phthalates that are commonly detectable in dust.
More tips to come in our next articles! If you have tips of your own on how to use and maintain these tools, feel free to share them with us in the comments section below! We're all for sharing tips and tricks on how best to maintain health and wellness inside the home!