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Category: Healthy Living Tips

Ammonia – Common Household Chemical of the Month

What is it? A colorless gas with a very recognizable odor. It is known as a building block chemical and is used in many common household cleaners used every day.

Where is it found? Polishing agents, like you would use for bathroom fixtures, sinks, and jewelry. Also found in glass & window cleaner.

Why should I avoid it? Have you ever wondered why your common bathroom and window cleaner don’t leave any streaks after you’ve cleaned? It’s because ammonia is an ingredient – and it evaporates, making streaks vanish. While most of us love the thought of streak-less bathrooms and windows, it comes at a cost. After ammonia evaporates, guess where it goes? Right into the air you’re breathing! “Ammonia is a powerful irritant,” says Donna Kasuska, chemical engineer and president of ChemConscious, Inc., a risk-management consulting company. “It’s going to affect you right away. The people who will be really affected are those who have asthma, and elderly people with lung issues and breathing problems. It’s almost always inhaled. People who get a lot of ammonia exposure, like housekeepers, will often develop chronic bronchitis and asthma.” Ammonia is definitely not something you want to be breathing is every time you clean your bathroom or windows.

Safer Alternatives – The Window Cloth! One of my favorite products because it leaves NO STREAKS, with NO CHEMICALS! Seriously guys, I am constantly blown away by how wonderful of a job this cloth does on windows and polishing! The first time I used it years ago, I was skeptical and definitely expected a few streaks to be left behind, but it truly leaves nothing behind except a beautiful, clear window!

How to improve air quality in your home

Low air quality stinks! Not only might it actually be smelly, but it can also have negative effects on our health, mood, and more. In fact, poor air quality in homes has been linked to fatigue, asthma, and even lung disease. Despite what we may assume, outdoor air pollution usually isn’t the biggest offender. Indoor air has been shown to be 2-5 times as contaminated as outdoor air in some places. Household cleaners filled with chemicals, air fresheners, scents and paraffin filled candles can further pollute indoor air and contribute to poor indoor air quality. If you experience allergy symptoms, your home air quality could be the cause. Stale indoor air increases the amount of allergens floating around our homes – we’re talking pet dander, dust mites, and mold spores, yuck! Luckily there are many easy and delightful ways to defeat this problem! 

Beeswax Candles –Creating a welcoming and warm ambiance isn’t the only thing these guys are good at! As they burn, these candles release negative ions – making them air purifiers. Dust, dirt, pollen, dander, and all the other junk that can be in our air has a positive charge. As beeswax candles burn and release negative ions, those negative ions bind with the positive charged toxins and help remove them from the air. Such a cool process! Our family had a great time hand-pouring our own beeswax candles and placing them all over the house recently, a fun afternoon activity that anyone can do! 

House plants – In the late 80s, NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America studied houseplants as a way to purify the air in space facilities. They found several plants that filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are emitted from certain liquids and solids found in our homes. Here is a list of some of my favorite house-plants that have been proven to purify air:

  • Snake plant – This plant is one of the best for filtering out formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products.
  • Boston Fern- Easy to grow, good at filtering the air, hard to kill!
  • Bamboo palm – this small palm thrives indoors, even in the shade! It tops the list of plants best for filtering out both benzene and trichloroethylene. They’re also a good choice for placing around furniture that could be emitting formaldehyde.
  • English Ivy – so super easy to maintain even if you don’t have a green thumb! Provides additional oxygen while filtering out toxins.

Salt Lamps – I won’t be too repetitive because salt lamps work the same way as beeswax candles, just another great option for improving air quality! They are so soothing and relaxing, and have other benefits such as improving sleep and boosting levels of serotonin in the brain.

Last but not least – OPEN YOUR WINDOWS! Even if just for a few minutes, even in the colder months, this simple act can really work wonders for getting fresh air flowing and  flushing out toxins!

QUATS – Common Household Chemical of the Month

What is it? QUATS are powerful disinfectant chemicals that are designed to kill germs. Usually these products claim to be antibacterial because they are certified by the EPA as pesticides.

Where is it found? Disinfectant wipes, sprays, disinfectant products that claim to kill germs, fabric softener liquid and sheets

Why should I avoid it? Unless you plan on doing a major surgery operation on your countertop, chances are it does not need to be wiped down with an antibacterial wipe containing QUATs. That would be like trying to kill a fruit fly with a cannonball – if you aimed well, it would totally kill it, but it’s also going to DESTROY whatever else it hits! While they do have the power to clean and sterilize things such as E. Coli & Staph, it comes with great risks to your health. Proving that these antibacterial products are overkill is the fact there is NOT ONE study claiming that those products sterilize any better than soap and warm water. QUATS are lung irritants that can lead to asthma and other breathing problems. They’re also skin irritants and can cause rashes when touched with bare skin. Did you know antibacterial wipes instruct the user to WASH THEIR HANDS after using?! Which kind of seems to defeat the purpose people are using them for in the first place. Craziness! QUATS linger around surfaces long after cleaning, and even contaminate food if it touches those surfaces – even days and weeks after the original wipe down.

Safer Alternatives – Say hello to the “everything” cloth!!! Norwex’s best selling EnviroCloth can take the place of the chemical-ridden antibacterial wipes. Norwex BackLoc contains silver in the microfiber, which makes it an antibacterial germ deactivator!

Doing our part on Earth Day


Our family will be selecting some of these fun ideas to help support our earth this Earth Day! These are all pretty simple, not terribly time consuming, and lots are even a GREAT bonding time!

  • Plant some trees
  • Stop using plastic straws
  • Vow to stop buying plastic single use water bottles
  • Bring your own bags to grocery stores
  • Shop at your local farmer’s market!
  • Use natural cleaning alternatives – like your Norwex products 😀
  • Pick up trash at your local park 
  • Start a backyard garden; it doesn’t have to be big!
  • Reuse materials, toilet paper rolls for crafts, cardboard boxes for moving, so many options.
  • Recycle materials
  • Cut down water use in your home
  • Choose and ice cream cone instead of an ice cream cup!
  • Buy energy efficient light bulbs

Just think, if we could all put a few of these into action how big of an impact it would make! I’d love to hear what you and your family are doing to give back for Earth Day!

Bleach – Common Household Chemical of the Month

What is it? To make bleach, a direct electrical current is sent through a sodium chloride solution (table salt and water). This process “splits” the atoms leaving chlorine and the caustic soda. Both chlorine and caustic soda are incredibly dangerous. These two chemicals react together to create bleach.

Where is it found? All household cleaners and wipes containing bleach.

Why should I avoid it? Bleach is highly corrosive and even deadly, yet it’s still found in every grocery store and in most households! If you feel a burn, or experience a cough while using bleach, this is evidence of bleach’s corrosive properties happening inside your body. During my research, I discovered chlorine (in bleach) and dish soap can combine to make mustard gas – which was used as a chemical weapon in WW1! Holy smokes guys. You might think you’ll be safe wearing gloves and turning on the fan & keeping the door open while working with bleach, but the gas emitted by this chemical is still in the air you’re breathing and can easily make its way into your lungs. Bleach has been known to deteriorate the esophagus and lungs, and cause scarring in the respiratory tract. Yikes.

Safer Alternatives – Norwex Microfiber has the ability to remove up to 99% of bacteria from a surface, and instead of using bleach on your laundry, try our chorine-free Norwex Laundry Detergent. For extra tricky stains, try the Norwex Stain Remover – free of bleach & chlorine and always gets the job done for us!