Why so clean?

Posted February 4th, 2010 in Alternative Household Cleaning Products by Rebecca Lane

I’ve been thinking about my last post and started to realize that we have a fascination with “whiteness”. How did that evolve? Because I’m certain that our forbearers on the farm weren’t obsessed with white dish towels!I’m thinking that perhaps we have been led by the manufacturers of cleaning products to expect a certain scent to mean clean – and that your home isn’t clean unless it sparkles. Look at the commercials for Mr. Clean and the Magic Eraser. Cleaning is effortless. Yeah – those Magic Eraser’s are so full of chemicals that make cleaning easier – chemicals that include Formaldehyde-Melamine-Sodium bisulfite copolymer which break down into hazardous decomposition products, namely formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide and dust from foam which at the least may cause irritation of the respiratory tract.I don’t want to get caught up in details (but feel free to check the MSDS for the chemicals you cannot part with – perhaps they will help with the decision) – but all the chemicals we use to clean our homes are products of the petroleum industry and none of them are safe for us to be inhaling, ingesting or contacting.Where do my ideas of “clean” come from? Television and magazines expect my home to be effortlessly clean – advertisements have included a man dressed all in white, white kitchens, usually white hands cleaning white countertops or stainless steel that isn’t tea stained. I am influenced by all of this as are my children, as was my mother and hers before her – so my house “should be” sparkling clean. Generations have expected this – 4 to be exact.Before the petrochemical industry had so many bi-products to use up, there was not this sparkling expectation. Homes were smaller and often filled with more people. You would think that there would have been more diseases than now. Yes, perhaps acute infectious diseases were more common – but not the chronic diseases that plague us today. They are the result of the chemical soup we take into our bodies daily.I’ll be thinking more on this next time I worry what people will think of my stained dish cloths. And I do worry . . .. . . but not too much!

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