COVID-19

A Complete Guide to Non-Toxic Cleaning and Disinfecting During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Protect yourself from the novel coronavirus in the most non-toxic way possible

Updated May 21, 2020

We don't know about you, but the outbreak of the new coronavirus this year has us doing a lot of cleaning. And it seems like we're going to be doing this for quite a while. Having cleaning on the brain makes us wonder: What's the best "natural" or "green" way to clean that still gets rid of the coronavirus causing the pandemic? What's the difference between cleaning and disinfecting? What products are safe to use but also effective at preventing transmission and infection? Are there non-toxic disinfectants? We answer all of your novel coronavirus cleaning and disinfecting related questions below.


Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) Basics

While it's always good to routinely clean and disinfect, it's especially important during this pandemic. COVID-19 is highly transmissible and can spread quickly through a community. The best and easiest way to keep yourself protected is to up your hand washing game (20 seconds and lots of scrubbing), practice social distancing, and staying home as much as possible. The importance of these three things can't be overemphasized, so we're saying it one more time!

Cleaning household surfaces is also really important, especially if a family member is sick, you're receiving packages or groceries that others touch, or you leave the house for work or errands. The virus SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted in droplets when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or even shouts or breathes. These droplets may fall onto surfaces, and if you touch them, you could then touch your face and then become infected. The new coronavirus has been shown to remain on surfaces for an extended length of time. In general, the smoother the surface the longer the virus will remain active. Additionally, viruses tend to live longer with lower temperatures and when it's dry. There have been two recent studies and they have found that the novel coronavirus could survive on plastic and stainless steel for up to 7 days, wood and cloth for 2 days, cardboard for 24 hours, and paper and tissues for 3 hours (1, 2). That's why as people are leaving their houses more and more after sheltering in place, it's important to increase the amount of times you clean and disinfect household surfaces in order to decrease transmission in every way possible.

Cleaning vs. Disinfecting

It's really important to know the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning gets rid of germs and dirt from surfaces or objects. Cleaning doesn't necessarily kill germs; it reduces their numbers and the risk of infection by just washing germs down the drain. Cleaning can involve washing your hands, using a laundry machine, or using an all purpose cleaner on a surface or object. Soap is a necessary part of cleaning because it helps to carry away the germs. Many people think antimicrobial soap is better for cleaning but that's just not true. There is no evidence that it helps prevent infections over plain old soap and water. In fact, with the new coronavirus, soap and water is very effective at breaking down a fatty layer that surrounds the virus. When you're cleaning, the goal is to remove the germs, not kill them. So when you scrub a surface or your hands with soap, the friction helps lift away any germs and dirt.

Disinfecting, on the other hand, actually kills germs on surfaces or objects by using chemicals. Disinfecting doesn't physically remove germs, but kills them in place. Disinfecting chemicals work by attacking certain parts of the germs and breaking them down. While killing germs sounds appealing, you can't only disinfect. In fact, the CDC recommends cleaning a surface before disinfecting; this combination is the best way to reduce the risk of infection. It's important to note that some disinfecting chemicals can have harmful health effects. Bleach (sodium hypochlorite) and quaternary ammonia (quats) irritate the skin and airways and through prolonged use can cause long term damage like asthma (3, 4). Additionally, new research is showing that quats are linked to reproductive harm, including infertility and birth defects (5, 6). You can check if a cleaning product has a quat in it by looking for ingredients usually say benzalkonium chloride or *fill in the blank* ammonium chloride (like Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride).

If you only have disinfectants like bleach or quats (or can only find those in stores now), then the safer way to use these disinfectants is to make sure to ventilate well and wear gloves when cleaning. Then after the disinfectant has sat for the requisite contact time (info should be on the label) you can go back over the areas with plain water and a washcloth. This will help remove some of the residual chemicals and fragrances. If you have kids, don't let them handle the disinfectants and try to have them in a separate room when disinfecting and make sure to safely store them out of reach. Also, please NEVER mix disinfectants with other cleaning products as some combinations can be really dangerous.

Safer Disinfectants

Fortunately, there are relatively safer disinfecting chemicals that don't have the same harmful health side effects! But remember that even products with safer active ingredients should be used with care and that it's really important to have good ventilation when using them. The EPA has evaluated disinfectant active ingredients and determined that they are unlikely to be carcinogenic or cause hormone disruption. Safe disinfectant ingredients that are effective against COVID-19 include:

  • Alcohol, ethanol, isopropyl
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • L- Lactic acid
  • Citric acid
  • Peroxyacetic acid
  • Sodium Bisulfate

A lot of cleaning products are sold out right now, but as more of them come back in stock, you can look for products with these active ingredients that are on the EPA List of Disinfectants for Use Against COVID-19. We went over the list and pulled together some products that you might find on store shelves (when they are in stock!) or with popular online retailers that use these safer active ingredients. Please make sure to let them sit for the proper amount of contact time listed on the label or on the EPA list.

Citric acid:

  • Arm & Hammer Essentials™ Disinfecting Wipes (5 mins)
  • Lysol Bathroom Cleaner (5 mins)
  • CleanCide Wipes (5 mins)
  • Comet Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner (10 mins)

Hydrogen peroxide:

  • Bona STL Disinfecting Cleaner (10 mins)
  • Proxi Home General Disinfectant Cleaner Spray (10 mins)
  • Clorox Pet Solutions Advanced Formula Disinfecting Stain & Odor Remover (5 mins)
  • Clorox Commercial Solutions® Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant (1 min)
  • Clorox Commercial Solutions® Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant Wipes (2 mins)
  • Clorox Commercial Solutions® Clorox® Disinfecting Biostain & Odor Remover (5 mins)
  • Oxivir™ Wipes (1 min)
  • Oxivir™ HC Disinfectant Cleaner (1 min)

Ethanol:

  • PURELL Professional Surface Disinfectant Wipes (5 mins)
  • PURELL Multi-Surface Disinfectant and Professional Surface Disinfectant, registered under Urthpro (1 min)
  • Lysol Neutra Air® 2 in 1 (30 sec)

L-Lactic Acid:

  • Windex Disinfectant Cleaner (5 mins)

Other:

  • Sodium chloride (contact time 10 minutes)- Force of Nature Activator Capsule
  • Thymol (contact time 10 minutes)- CleanWell Daily Cleaner Disinfectant Spray and Towelettes

DIY Disinfectants

We know that even DIY ingredients are hard to find at the moment, but it's worth checking your medicine cabinet to see if you have any rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide laying around. You can use either of these ingredients to make a DIY disinfectant in a spray bottle! Most trigger spray tops will screw right onto a bottle. Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol are effective on hard surfaces with a contact time of at least 30 seconds. This should be safe to use on most surfaces and objects around the home and can be really useful for disinfecting electronics like your cellphone or keyboard. 3% Hydrogen peroxide is effective against other viruses that are harder to kill than coronaviruses, so you can spray and let sit for a 3-5 minutes. In fact there's no need to wipe off. Just spray and let it dry. Hydrogen peroxide can change the color of fabrics and painted surfaces though, so be careful while using it on these materials.

Complete Guide to Cleaning Your Home During COVID-19

  1. Washing your hands is still the #1 thing to do! Wash your hands with soap and water before preparing food, eating, or snacking. Wash your hands after using the bathroom. Wash your hands when you're coming back from anywhere outside the house. Wash your hands after touching any object from out of your house, like packages.
  2. Clean surfaces and objects that can get wet with an all purpose cleaner. Here is a roundup of safe and effective all purpose cleaners and you can even DIY an all purpose cleaner with vinegar and water or liquid soap and water. We like to regularly clean floors, counters, tables, cabinet surfaces and handles, doors and door handles, windows, window sills, toilets, vanities, tubs and showers, and appliances. Using a wet cloth and wet mopping are a great way to get rid of germs and dust, as opposed to a feather duster that just spreads them around. If you want a comprehensive cleaning checklist, check out our guide.
  3. Routinely disinfect high touch objects and surfaces. Frequently touched objects in the house include things like door handles or knobs, locks, light switches, tables, cabinet and appliance handles, toilet flushers, faucets, cell phones, laptops and keyboards/mouse, and remote controls.
  4. Wash bedding, towels, and laundry regularly on the warmest possible setting that won't ruin the fabrics and dry in the dryer.
  5. When you leave the home to get groceries or other essentials, try to not bring any unnecessary objects, especially things that are hard to wash like a leather wallet or leather purse. If you need to bring a bag to bring some things in, bring a washable tote bag. When you return home, wash your hands and clean and/or disinfect everything that you brought with you and may have touched (this includes your phone!). You should also wash your reusable face mask after every use. You can also wash your clothes and any bags you may have taken with you.
  6. Groceries and deliveries are mostly likely a low risk source for transmission. But you can clean or disinfect everything coming into the house if you would like. You can now ask for contact-free delivery with most packages, food, and grocery delivery services. Wipe down boxes or bags with a disinfectant, or let them sit in a space where no one will touch them for 3 days if the goods are not perishable. For objects that are in plastic or that can get wet, you can save your disinfectant and wash them with soap and water. Viruses can survive in the freezer and in the refrigerator, so it is still important to wash or disinfect items that are going in the fridge since you might touch them later.

When Someone in the Home is Sick

The CDC has good guidance on what to do when caring for someone who is sick. Since COVID-19 is easily transmissible, it's important to clean when someone is suspected of being sick or is actually sick. You should try to create a separate quarantine area (including a bathroom) within your home that only the sick person will use. If no one else will enter this area, it does not need to be cleaned unless necessary. But we know a separate area is not always possible, so here are some important areas to clean when someone is sick:

    • Wash dishes, cups, and utensils that the sick person uses separately with hot water and soap.
    • Wash bedding, towels, and clothing regularly with the warmest setting possible. Wear disposable gloves when putting in the laundry or wash your hands immediately after.
    • Clean and disinfect the bathroom after the sick person uses it before it is used by another person.
    • Clean and disinfect all surfaces and objects that the sick person may have touched, such as counters or appliance handles.
    • Use a lined trash can that is reserved for things that the sick person has used or touched, like tissues.
    • Open windows to let fresh air in.

    References:

    1) van Doremalen, Neeltje, et al. "Aerosol and surface stability of SARS-CoV-2 as compared with SARS-CoV- 1." New England Journal of Medicine 382.16 (2020): 1564-1567.

    2) Chin, Alex WH, et al. "Stability of SARS-CoV-2 in different environmental conditions." The Lancet Microbe 1.1 (2020): e10.

    3) Gonzalez, M., et al. "Asthma among workers in healthcare settings: role of disinfection with quaternary ammonium compounds." Clinical & Experimental Allergy 44.3 (2014): 393-406.

    4) Matulonga, Bobette, et al. "Women using bleach for home cleaning are at increased risk of non-allergic asthma." Respiratory medicine 117 (2016): 264-271.

    5) Melin, Vanessa E., et al. "Quaternary ammonium disinfectants cause subfertility in mice by targeting both male and female reproductive processes." Reproductive Toxicology 59 (2016): 159-166.

    6) Hrubec, Terry C., et al. "Ambient and dosed exposure to quaternary ammonium disinfectants causes neural tube defects in rodents." Birth defects research 109.14 (2017): 1166-1178.

    Roundups

    Non-Toxic Infant and Convertible Car Seats

    Keep your little one safe and secure in flame retardant free and PFAS free car seats

    Updated for 2020!

    If there's only one thing you absolutely need before your baby is born, it's a car seat. Everything else on your registry (except maybe diapers) can come later! Car seats are an absolute necessity for keeping your little one safe while you're on the road, from the first car ride home and on. Most kiddos actually end up spending a lot more time in car seat other than just for rides. Many kids end up napping and snacking in them. Unfortunately, most car seats contain flame retardants and forever chemicals called PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.) The good news is that car seat makers can meet the required flammability safety standards without using chemical flame retardants and car seat covers can be removable and washable for when messes happen. There are great flame retardant free and PFAS free infant car seats and convertible car seats. We outline all the options and why they are important for you.

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    Food

    What's the Healthiest Sparkling Water?

    We're hooked on flavored sparkling water.... But what are we really drinking?

    Let's be real: sometimes we reach for sparkling water to make everyday life feel just a little bit swankier. We also do it for our health. For those of us who struggle with drinking enough water, it's refreshing bubbles and flavors are an enjoyable incentive to hydrate. And since sweetened beverages, like traditional sodas, contribute to chronic conditions like diabetes (1), sparkling water offers a satisfying CDC-recommended substitute for sugary drinks (2). Sparkling water is basically H2O with jazz hands, so there's no way it can be bad, right? As it turns out, there are a few things to watch out for. We're diving deep with sparkling water to help support your health and environment (and your bubble habit).

    Let's Talk About Natural and Artificial Flavors...

    You've probably seen common ingredients like fruit juice, natural flavors, or artificial flavors in your favorite fizzy water brands. Fruit juice is pretty self-explanatory, but what do we know about the rest?

    Natural flavors. According to the FDA, a natural flavor must come from non-synthetic source, such as spices, fruits or vegetables (3). However, the rest of the solution carrying the flavor may still contain synthetic additives as preservatives or solvents (which just means substances used to dissolve other things). These additives like propylene glycol are considered "Generally Recognized as Safe" by the FDA, and some like ethyl formate form naturally in plants (5). But safety studies are ongoing for some of these approved chemicals. For example, recent research has shown methyl paraben acts as an endocrine disruptor in mice and contributes to obesity (6). Organic products have higher standards for natural flavors – the National Organic Program only allows natural flavors if "not produced using synthetic solvents and carrier systems or any artificial preservatives" (7). Organic flavors must be used in organic products if commercially available (7) and comply with USDA organic regulations – including that 95% of the flavor must be certified organic (8).

    Artificial flavors. Yep, you guessed it – unlike natural flavors, artificial flavors need not derive directly from natural sources like those listed above (3). Instead they are chemically synthesized. This doesn't actually mean that the main flavor's chemical structure differs from that of the natural flavor. As University of Minnesota food science professor Gary Reineccius explains, "there is little substantive difference in the chemical compositions of natural and artificial flavorings…the distinction in flavorings comes from the source of these identical chemicals" (9). But the kicker again comes from the additional synthetic chemicals allowed to accompany the flavor. Some of these originally occur in nature (such as butyl phenylacetate, found in fruits), while others are totally synthetic and potentially problematic (like phenylethyl benzoate, which is "toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects.")

    Bonus round: what is "naturally essenced"? This is its own category used in particular by LaCroix products. Its true meaning is still unknown, as LaCroix has not disclosed this information publicly. What we do know, according to their website, is that "all LaCroix flavors are derived from the natural essence oils extracted from the named fruit...there are no sugars or artificial ingredients." Furthermore, Business Insider clarifies that "essence is created by heating items such as fruit and vegetable skins, rinds, and remnants at high temperatures, producing vapors. These vapors are condensed and then sold by the barrel."

    Bottom line: though natural and artificial flavors are chemically similar, they both come with long lists of potential additives that may be detrimental to our health and environment . When in doubt, stick with what you know is good – like real fruit juice – or opt for brands with organic ingredients and flavors.

    How to Sparkle from the Inside Out

    Sparkling water containers matter just as much for our health and environment as the inside ingredients. The lining of aluminium cans contain BPA and similar chemicals that are known endocrine disruptors with the potential to cause hormonal and reproductive harm. While these chemicals are less likely to leach into beverages like sparkling water than more acidic beverages, we don't like to make a habit of drinking from cans. Sparkling water beverages also often come in plastic. Microplastics can also end up with your bubbles – a study in 2018 showed that microplastics contaminated 93% of plastic water bottles (10). The research world is still seeking to understand the health implications of microplastics, but given what we already know, we say it's better to play it safe and avoid plastic bottles as much as possible in the meantime. Reducing plastic use is even more important for environmental health now that international governments have stopped buying recycling products from the US (cities in the US are throwing away formerly recyclable types of plastic because they can't afford to recycle, as reported by The Atlantic). Your choice of carbonated beverage is that much better for our health and environment when it doesn't come with plastic!

    Simple Solutions for Keeping Your Sparkle Alive

    1) Choose glass over plastic containers if buying carbonated beverages from the store

    2) Check out the ingredients of your current brands and *gasp* consider trying a new one (we know you're dying for a new pandemic adventure). Try brands with fruit juice flavoring (Iike Spindrift) or organic natural flavors to be extra safe in avoiding sneaky synthetic additives.

    3) Consider DIY! You can easily make your own sparkling water at home and have total control over what goes in it, including water quality and flavor choice. SodaStream's Aqua Fizz water carbonating machine uses glass bottles. Or if you're on a budget, consider a more basic model and transfer your newly carbonated water over to glass carafes for storage, or just quickly consume it (not a problem for us!). They also have organic flavoring options and a carbon dioxide cylinder exchange program to reduce waste. You could also experiment with adding your own fruit juice flavor concoctions – the possibilities are endless.

    Stay fizzy, my friends.


    Resources:

    (1)https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/sugar-sweetened-beverages-intake.html

    (2)https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/drinks.html

    (3)https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=20a79c9179f3c43d5b514f5f13c06d7b&mc=true&node=se21.2.101_122&rgn=div8

    (4)https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=c3057692e430edc601fcb3e3352fed1c&mc=true&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title21/21cfr184_main_02.tpl

    (5)https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=e5c407d421f852bcf58b25fd5c700a4d&mc=true&node=se21.3.184_11295&rgn=div8

    (6) https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s13679-017-0240-4.pdf

    (7)https://ota.com/sites/default/files/indexed_files/OrganicFlavorsPracticalGuidance_OrganicTradeAssociation.pdf

    (8)https://www.qai-inc.com/media/docs/qai_guide_for_natural_flavors_in_organic_products.pdf

    (9) https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-the-difference-be-2002-07-29/

    (10)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6141690/

    Home

    Non-Toxic, Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Swiffers

    Or convert the Swiffer you already have into a non-toxic, planet-friendly option

    Who hasn't had a Swiffer before? The promise of an easy-to-use and affordable sweeping, mopping and dusting solution is hard to say no to! While Swiffer products are quite convenient and user friendly, have you ever thought about how much trash those single-use pads generate and what toxic chemicals might be used in their cleaning solutions? Well we're here to give you the low down. If you already have a Swiffer, we have some tips on how to use your Swiffer in a more environmentally conscious way with non-toxic ingredients. And if you don't have one, but want some just as convenient recommendations on mopping and dusting we have you covered too.

    Why You Might Want to Think Twice About Swiffers

    Ever take a big whiff when you bust open your new package of refillable Swiffer wet pads? Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but those flowery and attractive smells contain fragrances and other harmful ingredients, which often carry phthalates, asthmagens (1) and other chemicals of concern. When these fragrance chemicals vaporize into your household, they can trigger asthma attacks, and aggravate sinus conditions; they can disrupt hormones, cause headaches, eyes, nose and throat irritation, and produce neurotoxic symptoms, like loss of coordination, and forgetfulness (2).

    Other ingredients in Swiffer products have also been found to aid in developing resistance to antibiotics over time (3). This means that germs like bacteria and fungi start building the capacity to defeat the drugs that are designed to kill them. When this happens, this can require extended hospital stays, more follow-up visits to the doctor, and other costly and toxic treatment alternatives (4). It's not just humans that are impacted either, these products are also very toxic to aquatic animals (5,6). Makes us think twice about using them all around the house!

    Not only is it a good idea to steer clear of these chemicals, but can we talk about the trash? Easy disposal of these toxic, non-biodegradable products, like the refill pads, has resulted in an exuberant amount of unnecessary waste and has nearly destroyed our environment (7). Refillable Swiffer pads are made from polyester which is derived from fossil fuels (8), and are contributing to the degradation of our ecosystems and wildlife (9). These persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are harmful toxins that will continue to corrode our environment for centuries, as they occupy landfills and slowly leak toxins into soil and water over time (9). What a mess!

    The good news is that there are simple alternative methods you can start using that are more protective of our health (and the planet's) well-being. Plus, since you don't have to purchase refill pads, they are great for your budget too. There are even easy hacks to turn the Swiffer product you already have into a non-toxic option.

    How to Make Your Swiffer Non-Toxic and Earth-Friendly

    Get a reusable washable microfiber pad and ditch the single-use ones. Microfibers are extremely effective at capturing germs and small particles (10). These microfiber mop pads work for both the Swiffer sweepers and WetJet. Here are some we like:

    Just throw that bad boy into the washer after you're done using it and it's ready to be used the next time you need it. And if you want a completely free way to do this, you can even try using an old fuzzy sock and wrap that around the bottom of your WetJet and voila, you're all ready to start moppin'.

    If you have an old washcloth you can also place that into the corners of the holes of your traditional Swiffer to secure the cloth. You'll want to make sure to dip the cloth into your cleaning solution before you attach it to the mop and/or you can add the cleaning solution to a spray bottle to spray the surface as well.

    DIY Your Own Safe and Effective Cleaning Solution

    If you've got the Swiffer WetJet, make sure the refill bottle is thoroughly cleaned out with soap and water, then go ahead and add your preferred non-toxic cleaning solution. There are several ways you can create your own safe and effective floor cleaner, but here are some of our favorites:

    • Add ½ tsp of liquid soap to each gallon of water
    • Add ½ cup vinegar to every gallon of water

    When the floors are really dirty use liquid soap solution to really mop up that grime and dirt. If things have been more chill around the house, use the vinegar solution. We've heard that using the vinegar on hardwood floors is not a problem, but you should check what type of finish your floors have, and do a test sample somewhere out of sight just to be sure.

    Convenient, Non-toxic, and Budget Friendly Swiffer Alternatives

    If you don't own a Swiffer, bless your heart. Here are two of our favorite Swiffer alternatives for getting your floor clean.

    Steam Mops

    Another green alternative you can use is a steam mop. Steam mops work by heating up the water to really high temperatures inside it's chamber and dispensing it as steam, which is then dispersed through a cloth or pad. The steam helps to loosen up the dirt and grime from your floors, and the high temps help to kill germs and bacteria on hard surfaces. No harmful chemicals needed!

    Steam mops are typically safe to use on vinyl, ceramic, and porcelain tile floors, but you may want to double check with your flooring brand to make sure using steam won't void your floor's warranty. You should also never use steam mops on any unsealed, peeling or unfinished floors, and although manufacturers claim it is safe to do so, use caution with any wood or laminate flooring.

    Spray Mops

    Spray mops are super convenient and easy to use on all types of floors, including hardwood and laminate flooring. Plus, no need for any buckets or wringing! Just add your washable/reusable microfiber mop pad and pre-made non-toxic solution to the dispenser and you are ready to have at it!



    References:
    1. https://zsds3.zepinc.com/ehswww/zep/result/direct_link.jsp?P_LANGU=E&P_SYS=2&P_SSN=11337&C001=DISC2&C002=ZCAL&C003=E&C013=AF7231E
    2. https://noharm-uscanada.org/issues/us-canada/fragrance-chemicals
    3. https://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(18)30424-3/pdf
    4. https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/about.html
    5. https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/5288-SwifferSweeperWetMoppingClothsOpenWindowFresh/
    6. https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/2819-SwifferWetJetMultiPurposeCleanerOpenWindowFresh/
    7. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/realestate/2005/05/21/disposable-wipes-no-throw-away-issue/22e091b2-7bc9-4b01-a9c3-6ca1c00f9cfc/
    8. https://www.cmu.edu/gelfand/lgc-educational-media/polymers/natural-synthetic-polymers/index.html#:~:text=Synthetic%20polymers%20are%20derived%20from,polyester%2C%20Teflon%2C%20and%20epoxy.&text=Examples%20of%20naturally%20occurring%20polymers,%2C%20DNA%2C%20cellulose%20and%20proteins.
    9. https://sciencing.com/environmental-problems-caused-by-synthetic-polymers-12732046.html
    10. https://archive.epa.gov/region9/waste/archive/web/pdf/mops.pdf
    Roundups

    Non-Toxic Floor Cleaners

    Because just shuffling around in fuzzy socks doesn't really count

    Updated for 2020!

    We walk on them all the time, so it's not hard to believe that floors get dirty. Sure vacuuming and sweeping are a good start, but you also need to wet mop them. We did the research and came up with a roundup of 7 of the safest, healthiest floor cleaners out there. They are all well reviewed and widely available. Take your pick!

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    COVID-19

    Preserving Your Sanity During COVID-19

    Why it's so important to look after your mental health throughout this pandemic

    The Re-Opening Waiting Game

    It's beginning to feel like the "end" of COVID-19 will never arrive. The surging, flattening, and re-surging of Coronavirus has created a roller coaster of emotions that often leave us feeling like we've reverted back to square one (or worse). It's no wonder why some of us have been feeling drained, moody, hopeless, and unable to think straight.

    Fears and concerns surrounding this virus are becoming increasingly common (1), as many of us are worried about our health and the health and well-being of our loved ones. This level of uncertainty has really put a damper on our emotions and has strained our mental health (1). Social and physical distancing, economic uncertainty, and the onslaught of bad news has left us feeling isolated, anxious, depressed and unsure of how to cope with these feelings, and left wondering when our lives will return back to normal.

    Fortunately, there are tons of things we can do to mitigate the negative impacts many of us are experiencing. Keep reading for some tips and advice on trying to reach some level of zen through these trying times.

    How COVID-19 Can Impact Mental Health

    The rise and spread of COVID-19 has subjected us to a whole new lifestyle, one that many of us have had difficulties adjusting to. Some are grieving the loss of loved ones or economic stability, while others are grieving the social connection we had pre-COVID-19. Around half of all US adults have recently reported that COVID-19 has negatively impacted their mental health (1).

    From front-line workers to non-essential workers, the level of stress, anxiety, and depression is negatively impacting mental and physical well-being. Health care workers and grocery store workers, along with others, are faced with choosing whether to keep working and increase the risk of contracting the virus or leaving their jobs and losing their income (2). On the other hand, many non-essential workers who are losing their jobs are not only losing their income, but are faced with increased rates of depression, anxiety, distress, and low self-esteem, which can lead to higher rates of substance abuse and suicide (1). Shelter-in-place orders, business and school closures and travel restrictions are fueling the impacts of loneliness and social isolation, and for many, financial distress (1).

    How Mental Health and Physical Health are Intertwined

    Mental health is just as critical to our well-being as our physical health, as the two are inextricably linked (3). Have you ever been so stressed you get a stomach ache or headache? Yeah, us too.Social isolation and loneliness are public health concerns, as the latter is associated with reduced lifespan and is a risk factor for mental illness (1), an increased risk of a heart attack (4) , and suicide (1). Anxiety, stress, and depression can physically manifest itself as heart disease, asthma, gut problems and dermatitis, among a list of other health concerns (5,6,7,8). Stress can also cause shortness of breath, trigger asthma symptoms, and can flare up your eczema too (6,7). Taking care of your mental health is a critical component in staying healthy.

    Be Proactive About Your Mental Health

    With so much uncertainty, isolation, and fear surrounding COVID-19, we have to remind ourselves to pay attention to our mental health and to what our bodies are telling us. In addition to the typical things people think when they hear about ways to enhance your mental well-being like meditation, yoga, exercise, and eating healthy, here are a few other strategies to boost your mood and achieve better mental health:

    You can find additional resources below for you or your loved ones to assist with navigating with mental health emergencies:


    References

    (1)https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/

    (2)https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/double-jeopardy-low-wage-workers-at-risk-for-health-and-financial-implications-of-covid-19/

    (3)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071612/

    (4) https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/psychosomatic-disorder

    (5) https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/psychosomatic-disorder

    (6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5260801/

    (7)https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-10-5541-6_13#:~:text=Psychological%20stress%20is%20a%20major,deterioration%20in%20quality%20of%20life.

    (8) https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0706743719874168

    Roundups

    Non-Toxic Kitchen Items Roundup

    Bye bye plastic, hello reusable!

    Looking for a way to be more sustainable but don't know where to start? Try the kitchen! Kitchen utensils are usually made from plastic and other harmful chemicals. Some items, like sponges, are also meant to be periodically thrown away, which just creates more trash. That's why we rounded up our favorite non-toxic kitchen items! These items are made from natural or reusable materials like wood, natural sponge, and copper. They're all durable and can stand up to the toughest kitchen messes!


    Non-Toxic Kitchen Items


    a) REDECKER Horsehair and Beechwood Bottle Brush

    b) If You Care 100% Natural Sponge Cloths

    c) Küchenprofi Classic Dish Washing Brush

    d) Miw Piw Natural Dish Sponge

    e) REDECKER Copper Cleaning Cloth

    f) REDECKER Natural Fiber Bristle Pot Brush


    We rely on EWG's consumer databases, the Think Dirty App, and GoodGuide in addition to consumer reviews and widespread availability of products to generate these recommendations. Learn more on our methodology page.

    *Because Health is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program so that when you click through our Amazon links, a percentage of the proceeds from your purchases will go to Because Health. We encourage you to shop locally, but if you do buy online buying through our links will help us continue the critical environmental health education work we do. Our participation does not influence our product recommendations. To read more about how we recommend products, go to our methodology page.

    COVID-19

    Safer Cleaning and Disinfectant Use During Coronavirus for Early Childcare Providers and Schools

    why it's important, other best practices, and a comprehensive resource list

    This is a toolkit that is an easy to understand guide to best and safe practices for reopening childcare providers and schools during COVID-19. The toolkit has summaries of best practices from the CDC, EPA, and others in one place. Our recommendations also take into consideration disinfectants with safer ingredients. If you are a parent who is concerned about safe and best practices when schools are reopened, please download our toolkit to send to your childcare provider or school administrator. We even have a sample email that you can use to write your school administrator or childcare director and attach these materials. Or if you work as a childcare provider or at a school, we have made this resource for you. We hope that it is helpful.

    Download the complete toolkit with sample email and all the links here:

    Because Health Safer Disinfecting at Schools During Coronavirus.pdf

    Here is a version of the pdf without the sample email to send to administrators and staff:

    Because Health Safer Disinfecting at Schools During Coronavirus to send.pdf

    safer disinfectant use during coronavirus for schools




    hand washing and hand sanitizer during coronavirus



    safer cleaning and disinfecting resources for schools during coronavirus

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