Green cleaning

By: Dr. Shalini Forbis

When you have a child with asthma or allergies, spring can trigger more than the start of summer. As trees begin to bloom and spring cleaning become top-of-mind, you want to eliminate asthma and allergy triggers such as pollen, dust mites, mold and pet dander. Remember, you also need to be aware of how cleaning itself can  be a trigger.

Hidden allergens can be found everywhere in the home. Green cleaning products and practices are not only better for our environment, but they also help reduce the triggers that may worsen asthma and allergy symptoms.

Here are four “green” cleaning tips as you begin your spring cleaning:

  1. Use your nose. Select cleaning products without strong or harsh scents. Always follow instructions on cleaning products and keep lids and caps tightly sealed when not in use. Ingredients from solids and liquids give off vapors that we inhale and may enter our body tissues irritating the eyes, nose and lungs. Try to use as few cleaning products as possible.
  2. Read labels. Avoid products marked “Danger” or “Poison.” Reduce your use of products marked “Caution” or “Warning.”  Lessen your use of products containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These include aerosol sprays, cleaners, disinfectants, moth repellents and air fresheners.
  3. Look for “green” products. Some have been certified by an independent institution such as GreenSeal. Just because something has a “natural-sounding” name doesn’t mean it is free of chemicals you want to avoid.
  4. Make your own. You can make your own cleaning products from simple and inexpensive ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, salt, soap and water.  There are many books and online resources to help you make your own cleaning products.

Keeping a clean home is a necessity. However, if cleaning odors or scented products trigger your child’s asthma or allergies, move the child to a safe area until the odor is gone.

Dr.  Shalini Forbis, MD – Dr. Mom Squad

Dr. Forbis is a pediatrician in the Children’s Health Clinic at Dayton Children’s and a mother to two girls. As part of the “Dr. Mom Squad,” Dr. Forbis blogs about her experiences as both as doctor and a mom and hopes to share insight to other parents on issues related to both parenting and kids health. Learn more about Dr. Forbis!

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