Housekeeping . . . tips good for you and nature, part 1

When every day seems to be filled with “to do’s” from work and home, most of us simply race by a store aisle while grocery shopping, grab a cleaner, any cleaner. We then rush home to put groceries away, and pull dinner together as fast as possible. We often pick up something that we think has a decent fragrance so we won’t have to tolerate that bleach or ammonia smell. Yet, we seldom don’t consider what it may do to our counter tops, furniture, and our health.

The way the media flood us with ads about making sure your home is free of germs, along with the news picking up on Center for Disease Control alerts, can get anyone anxious about protecting house and home. Yet, the downside for some can result in phobias ruling each day.
According to Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/), “A phobia is an overwhelming and unreasonable fear of an object or situation that poses little real danger but provokes anxiety and avoidance. Unlike the brief anxiety most people feel when they give a speech or take a test, a phobia is long lasting, causes intense physical and psychological reactions, and can affect your ability to function normally at work or in social settings.”
About 8.7% of the US population suffers from a variety of phobias, with about 23% of those cases being severe, as reported by the National Institutes of Mental Health’s noted in their article, “Specific Phobia Among Adults.” The good news is most phobias are quite treatable and can free one from a debilitating life of misery.

Germs are everywhere including on our body. They exist in the form of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. Yet, keep in mind some germs, like bacteria, are not all bad. Some bacteria are good for our bodies — they help keep things in balance. Some stimulate our body’s immune system to do its job. Good bacteria live in our intestines and help us use the nutrients in the food we eat and make waste from what's left over. We couldn't make the most of a healthy meal without these important helper germs! Some bacteria are also used by scientists in labs to produce medicines.
For those of us who haven’t gone over the germ cliff yet, let’s see if these five starter housekeeping tips will bring some balance to your everyday cleaning chores and life.

Tip 1 - The Simple Solutions = use soap, vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, salt. You can get a variety of cleaning recipes from this Good Housekeeping link, http://www.goodhousekeeping.com. Create your own glass window cleaner, scrubs, etc. And yes, some include bleach or ammonia for those of us who don’t shy away from a few harsher items. Earth Easy link also have some formulas you may want to try, http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm .
But no matter how these products are considered nontoxic, always consider your own condition and preferences; and always test out the formulas on some other surface other than your precious tabletops, counters, flooring, etc.

This will insure your home surfaces will be able to handle those formulas. And by all means open your windows to bring in fresh air not only while you clean but often when your home needs some refreshing ala natural! The next article will continue with Tip 2.