Ten common cleaning misconceptions

If you’re going to do something, do it properly. Don’t let these common misconceptions derail your spring-cleaning efforts!

1. If it smells clean, it must be clean

A clean bathroom shouldn’t smell like lemons or potpourri. The ultimate test is if it doesn’t smell like anything at all. Treating odours with perfumes and the occasional squirt of disinfectant doesn’t mean it’s clean. It means you’re hiding bacteria, and possibly other harmful pathogens, with deodoriser. You need to scrub at it with hot soapy water and good old-fashioned elbow grease.

2. Dusting isn’t necessary

Not dusting thoroughly can lead to poor air quality, allergies and asthma. Even if you don’t have allergies, dust is packed with dead skin cells, pet germs, dust mites, dirt, debris and even excrement!

3. Extra detergent makes clothes cleaner 

Excess suds can hold dirt and bacteria, getting caught up in areas that won’t always rinse clean, such as the collar, and creating a residue.

Will extra detergent make clothes cleaner? Photo: Stocksy

4. Vinegar is the best disinfectant

As far as vintage cleaning tips go, vinegar always gets a mention, touted as a cheap and green alternative to commercial products on the supermarket shelves. Don’t believe everything your grandmother told you! Vinegar contains 5 per cent acetic acid, so it may not be suitable for every surface. Also, it kills some bacteria, but does nothing against salmonella and other household pathogens. Yes, not as great as you think, even when mixed with its best mate baking soda!

5. Bleach can be used on any surface

Chlorine bleach may kill germs quickly, preventing mould and mildew, but it’s highly toxic and less effective at getting rid of stubborn build-up. It’s also heavily corrosive and shouldn’t be used on porous materials or metal. Also, mixing with hot water can actually stain white surfaces, causing them to turn yellow. For a gentler alternative, try diluted hydrogen peroxide, which can be bought from supermarkets at a 3 per cent concentration.

6. Professional cleaners are overrated

Even the most pristine house would benefit from a professional clean once or twice a year. Allergens, germs and soil can accumulate on carpets, curtains and windows and are difficult to remove without a bit of professional help.

7. Antibacterial products are the best way to clean

Antibacterial agents don’t necessarily work better than regular soaps. In fact, they can actually promote infections. Their widespread use may lead to bacterial resistance, even aiding the development of superbacteria. Triclosan, one of the most common chemicals found in antibacterial products, has even been pinpointed in a recent study as promoting staph. Of course, antibacterial products do have their place, but be wary of overuse.

What happens after you get your carpet professionally cleaned? Photo: Stocksy

8. Steam cleaning can cause mouldy carpet

When you have your carpet professionally cleaned, it usually stays damp for a day or two after. This does not cause mould, despite the musty smell. Dirt promotes mould growth much more than humidity. As well as containing spores, soil is a hygroscopic material, readily soaking up any nearby moisture. If you want to curb the risk of mould, a regular steam clean is a good idea.

9. All green products are completely safe 

A growing number of Australians are buying eco-friendly cleaning products – made from natural, non-toxic, biodegradable ingredients instead of synthetic agents. Yet just because the ingredients are plant-based or natural doesn’t necessarily mean they’re safe. The market goes largely unregulated – so be wary of what’s in the bottle. Many contain some fraction of synthetic chemicals, such as the cancer-causing compound called 1,4-dioxane – and natural ingredients such as coconut diethanolamide and limonene can cause allergies. Green or not, always check the cleaning product’s safety information before using them.

10. Cleaning takes all day

Sure, spring cleaning sounds incredibly arduous and stressful, but deep cleaning needn’t be seen as a twice-yearly, all-day marathon event. If you take care of your house periodically, setting aside time for upkeep, you won’t become overwhelmed.

Cleaning doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Photo: Stocksy

 

Author: Kathleen Lee-Joe

Source : http://www.domain.com.au/

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Clean Offices Boost Productivity and Efficiency

Clean Offices Boost Productivity and Efficiency

Let’s face it, unless you are a neat freak, you probably don’t really enjoy the task of keeping the office clean. But there are definite benefits for companies that run a tidy office, beyond not having the wastebasket overflow. Hiring a cleaning service can have benefits beyond the specific services they offer. They might even contribute to your bottom line in unexpected ways.

Improved Morale

Even for those that don’t mind it,  a messy space can tend to wear us down and by keeping it neat, it helps to create a sense of pride in the space that will carry over into their work. After all, your job is where you live a big part of your life, why not make it as pleasant an experience as possible? With improved individual morale, comes better working relationships that go toward building a team mentality for success.

Increased Productivity

Wasted time is bottom line killer and eats away at your company’s profits. While this may not feel directly related to those that don’t get profit sharing, a healthy company is one that offers long term, steady employment. Time spent looking for things that should have been put away, or dealing with crises caused by a messy environment can be put to better use.

Increased Professionalism

When an office runs smoothly, the people in it tend to take the work more seriously. When that happens, they present themselves as more professional and that, in turn will be evident to clients and fellow workers. As the saying goes, “a high tide raises all ships” and the ripple effect of gaining control of an unruly office can come back to you in business success.

Why Hire a Professional?

As with so many things in life, it’s not that you can’t do it yourself, or are even unwilling to, but this is what we do. In addition to better quality of care that comes with years of practice, comes the consistency of having the tasks done every time, when they need to be done, instead of juggling cleaning in your list of work priorities.

 

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Are ‘Mutated’ Daisies Really Caused by Fukushima Radiation?

Radiation from damaged power plant may be responsible for odd flowers, but there could be other forces at work.

A picture of malformed daisies uploaded to Twitter from Japan is going viral, causing many people to speculate that radiation from the damagedFukushima nuclear power plant, which was rocked by a 2011 tsunami is to blame for the oddity.

“Frightening. Fukushima daisies go viral as nuclear radiation is blamed for deformities,” one twitter user noted.

But plant scientists aren’t so sure. It’s possible the radiation could be involved, but there are a number of other explanations as well, they say.

Twitter user @san_kaido first shared the picture in late May, fromNasushiobara City. That’s about 108 miles (173 kilometers) southwest of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which was disabled by the March 2011 tsunami and leaked radiation into the environment.

The radiation at the site where the stretched-looking Shasta daisies were photographed was 0.5 μSv/h, wrote @san_kaido, an account set up in the Tochigi Prefecture Nasu district to disseminate information about radiation and Fukushima. That might sound scary, but that level is considered only slightly above normal and is classified as safe for “medium to long term habitation.”

It’s possible the flower deformity could have been induced by radiation, says Jeffrey J. Doyle, a professor of plant biology at Cornell University. However, “this is a pretty common mutation in daisies that I’ve seen sporadically in various places not associated with radioactivity,” he says.

There are many factors that can cause the oddity, Doyle says, from chemicals to diseases, a hormone imbalance, or random mutations to inherited genes. This particular malformation has been seen in numerous species of the world’s 20,000 members of the daisy family, from Holland to Idaho.

He’s not ruling out a role for Fukushima: “It wouldn’t surprise me to find mutations of all types, including this one, in places that have higher than average levels of mutagenic agents, such as a radioactive site or toxic waste dump.”

But this single plant is not enough to make a connection. If many other plants were found in the immediate area with mutations, that would provide more evidence of a possible link, he says.

Even if radiation levels were 10 times what was reported at the site, “the dose rate would be highly unlikely to induce a significantly higher level of mutations,” says Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists. “But at areas closer to the release site, local dose rate levels were much higher at the time of the accident and possibly could have caused high additional mutation rates in flora in highly contaminated areas.”

“Not That Rare”

Beth Krizek, a plant biologist at the University of South Carolina, agrees that radiation is a possible cause of the flower oddity, but says there are many other possible explanations.

“It’s not that rare,” Krizek says of the odd daisies. “You could occasionally see this just in plants growing in your garden.”

That being said, it’s likely that the nuclear disaster has been impacting wildlife in Japan, scientists reported in the Journal of Heredity in 2014. As in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, scientists have observed higher mortality rates among birds, insects, and plants in the immediate vicinity of the radioactive leaks.

—Rachel Becker contributed reporting to this story.

Source – http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/150723-fukushima-mutated-daisies-flowers-radiation-science/CGAcNp4UoAITw69

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Mothers Exposed to Cleaning Chemicals Could Have Baby Boys With Genital Defects

Pregnant women who use cleaning products that contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals could give birth to baby boys with genital defects, according to a new study conducted by researchers in southern France.

In addition to cleansers, detergents, pesticides and cosmetics could pose a risk if they contain phthalates, BPA (bisphenol-A), polychlorinated compounds, organic solvents, synthetic fragrances and other chemical compounds that mimic the natural reproductive hormones people normally produce.

After examining more than 600 children, the researchers found that babies exposed in utero to endocrine-disrupting chemicals while their genitals were developing were more like to suffer from a deformity called hypospadias. Hypospadias is a condition in which the opening of the urethra develops on the underside of the penis rather than the tip. The urethra is the tube that connects the urinary bladder to the outside of the body. In males, the urethra transports semen during sexual intercourse. It also is the way urine flows out of the body. Depending on its severity, the defect can cause problems with urination and later in life, sexual activity.

Fortunately, about 70 percent of deformities are relatively mild. However, fixing it can require surgery.

This isn’t the first time scientists have found a link between certain chemicals and hypospadias, reports Environmental Health News. Mothers in southeast England who were heavily exposed to endocrine disrupting phthalates on the job were about three times as likely to have a baby boy with hypospadias.  And in 2010, Italian researchers found that among 160 mothers, those who worked with more than one group of endocrine disrupting chemicals were four times as likely to have a baby boy with hypospadias.

What Can You Do?

1) Read product labels to reduce your exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Women most likely to give birth to boys with hypospadias are those who work as cleaners, hairdressers or beauticians. However, you do not need to work in the cleaning or beauty industry to be at risk. Read the labels of the products you buy. Choose those that say they are BPA-free. Avoid synthetic fragrances, phthalates, and parabens, paying particularly close attention to cosmetics, perfume, food packaging and plastic packaging.

2) Make your own. It is simple, effective and inexpensive to make your own cleaning products, as well as body washes and even perfume. Most of the time, all you need is baking soda, white distilled vinegar, fragrance-free liquid dish soap, and water. Care2 offers many recipes for safe make-your-own cleansers, face scrubs, and perfume.

3) Frequent beauty parlors that make an effort to use BPA-free and phthalate-free products. Search out establishments that use natural products to protect the health of their workers as well as their customers.

4) Use green cleaning companies, or provide your own green cleaning products. An increasing number of professional cleaning services use only eco-friendly, non-toxic cleansers. If you have a household cleaning service, insist they use the safest, healthiest products available. Provide them yourself if necessary.

5) Spread the word. Through word-of-mouth and social media, tell your friends, family and co-workers — and especially women who are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant — what you’ve learned about the dangers of using products that contain phthalates, parabens, BPA, and other hormone disrupting compounds.

By: 

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/mothers-exposed-to-cleaning-chemicals-could-have-baby-boys-with-genital-defects.html#ixzz3g8kapXJ8

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