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5 Solid Reasons to Switch to Green Cleaning Household Products

5 Solid Reasons to Switch to Green Cleaning Household Products

Many homeowners choose to clean their homes with conventional methods and products that their parents might have used. What they are not aware of is that the regular store-bought cleaning products that they are using may actually be detrimental to their health in both the long and short term. Green cleaning products are made from ingredients that are easy to pronounce and are familiar, and many times can even be made at home.

Here are a few reasons why you should make the switch to green cleaning products.

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1. Unregulated Chemicals

Basically, all store-bought cleaning products are made from harmful chemicals. Since World War II, around 85,000 new chemicals have entered the market by way of various products, and most of the time these chemicals are not approved by the EPA. That is quite stunning—even more so because almost 70% of typical store-bought cleaning products contain these harmful chemicals.

2. Ammonia, Sodium Hydroxide, and Phthalates

Many times, younger generations use the same cleaning products and methods that the older generations used because they are tried-and-true. However, by looking at the labels of these cleaning products, you will find chemicals that are harmful to people and pets. Experts have said that there are 62 toxic chemicals to be found in the average home, some that homeowners might not even be aware of. The particularly harmful chemicals to keep an eye out for are triclosan found in liquid dishwashing detergent, phthalates found in fragrance products, 2-Butoxyethanol in multipurpose cleaners, and chlorine in laundry whiteners or toilet cleaners.

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3. Child Safety

Limiting access to harmful chemicals is the best way to protect children under their own roofs. Natural cleaning products reduce the chances of accidental poisoning. Not surprisingly, household cleaners rank in the top five causes of childhood poisoning. After making the decision to switch to green cleaning products, these products will still need to be stored in child-safe cabinets or in areas that children cannot reach.

4. Water Supply Contamination

Many household cleaning agents contain harmful chemicals like ammonia, petroleum, and phosphorus. When using these cleaning products to wash clothes, dishes, and even flush the toilet bowl, it is possible that the chemicals are being sent back into the water supply and nearby rivers, streams, or lakes. Not only can they come back into the water you drink, but they also have a negative impact on the environment and wildlife.

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5. Keeping the Air Clean

Some antibacterial spray cleaners and fabric softeners contain quaternary ammonium compounds that contribute to seemingly healthy people getting asthma. These are things that we are exposed to daily and have the potential to breathe in 24/7. Keeping carpets clean is vital for clean air—a home health study revealed that the average household harbors around 200,000 bacteria per square inch of carpet. Try to avoid contributing to the harmful contents of a carpet by using a green cleaning product that is safe for children and pets.

Additionally, aerosols and sprays sometimes contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can affect health both short and long term. This can cause problems in the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. Chemicals may linger in the air for a long time after the actual mist dissipates. Ditch the VOCs.

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Conclusion

Opting to use green cleaning products will not only reduce the risk of harming anyone in the home, it will help in reducing the harmful effects of toxic chemicals that get washed into the environment. They can be used with the confidence that the ingredients are easy to find when making at home, and the ingredients will not have any harmful effects on anyone—long term or short term. Ready-made green cleaning products are widely available at grocery stores, and may be found alongside the traditional cleaning chemicals.

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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

Reference

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