There’s nothing quite like freshly cleaned, gleaming wood furniture. Polishing your coffee table, end tables, nightstands and more is one of the easiest and quickest ways to make your house shine. Chances are that for many years, you’ve relied on the household cleaner Pledge to do this job for you.
You might be disappointed to learn that Pledge contains formaldehyde in addition to other toxic ingredients. Yes, that’s the same formaldehyde that’s used to embalm bodies and falls squarely on the list of chemicals that should never be used in your home.
If you’re not familiar with the “never” list of chemicals, here it is: Chlorine Bleach, Ammonia, Formaldehyde, Phthalates, Abrasives, Phosphates, Parabens, and Quaternary Disinfectants. All of these caustic chemicals are toxic to humans and animals through ingestion, inhalation, and skin absorption.
Most of us don’t clean in a hazmat suit, so it’s pretty likely you’re inhaling the fumes and absorbing these chemicals through the skin on your hands while cleaning.
If you’re doubting the severity of what these exposures can do to your body, consider this study from the University of Bergen in Norway. Researchers found that over 20 years of once-weekly exposure to common household cleaners, lung capacity was as negatively affected as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day over the same period of time.
In fact, those who clean as an occupation weren’t exposed to the same risks because they typically follow all of the precautions recommended when handling dangerous chemicals, including wearing masks and gloves. It is the casual use of cleaners that led to the troubling health consequences.
When you consider that coffee tables and end tables are frequently touched by guests and children, you may want to rethink the type of furniture polish you’re using to keep them shining.
Better Choices Are Out There
Furniture polish is one of the most difficult cleaning products to replace with a healthier, cleaner alternative. The options found in your grocery store just aren’t that good for you. Some of the most trusted “clean” brands don’t make furniture polish, but you don’t want to damage your wood furniture by using an all-purpose cleaner on it.
Well-known and established eco-friendly brand Melaleuca offers Rustic Touch Furniture Polish, which relies on natural carnauba wax and conditioners. Rustic Touch can be used on wood, vinyl, and leather, pulling double-duty by replacing leather moisturizers that often contain phosphates – another “never” chemical you want to stay away from.
Melaleuca products, like the EcoSense cleaning line, abide by the “never” list by relying exclusively on naturally-derived ingredients such as citric acid, thyme oil, melaleuca oil, glycolic acid, sodium citrate, and essential oils.
Of course, you also have to consider effectiveness and price before making the switch to a better-for-you product. EcoSense happens to have rave reviews and a 97% reorder rate, and remains competitive in price by concentrating many of its products. This also happens to mean much less wasted plastic and gas used for transportation.
No Time Like the Present
Once you realize how many toxic chemicals you’re exposing your family to through your household cleaners, you may find yourself desperate to make a change. Well, there’s no time like the present! Now that you know better options are out there, don’t wait to improve the air quality and safety of your home.
Make sure that you research brands as well as their individual products before making purchases. Certain products, like furniture polish and laundry detergents, are especially likely to use fragrances and allergens that can be irritating – even when manufactured by trusted “clean” brands.
Once you find suitable alternatives, you can rest easy that your home is both clean and safe, and what can be better than that?