Health begins at home


Keeping your family happy and healthy starts at home – with well-balanced meals, healthy hygiene habits and even clean bathroom sinks. It’s true, yet, many of us underestimate how important cleanliness is to our overall health.

Harmful bacteria and other microbes collect in the home. Unchecked, these bugs can multiply quickly and make your loved ones very sick:

  • Staphylococcus (staph) bacteria can cause boils, food poisoning and pneumonia.
  • Mold can cause eye and skin irritation or irritate asthma.
  • Salmonella and Escherichia coli ( coli) may cause serious vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Some commonly contaminated areas:

  • Dish sponges
  • Kitchen sinks
  • Countertops and cutting boards
  • Toothbrush holders
  • Faucet handles

Are cleaning agents the solution?

If you’re seeking a powerful germ-killing solution, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers a Safer Choice label. It identifies cleaning products that have met a thorough EPA review. The products have a safe chemical formulation, particularly when it comes to toxins that could be linked to:

  • Asthma and allergies
  • Cancer
  • Reproductive concerns
  • Developmental delays

Choose natural products

This label can help you identify non-toxic cleaning products that you can use throughout your home. What you may not realize is this: You can skip the cleaning aisle altogether. Many of the strongest cleaning products are found in the grocery aisles.

  • Baking soda is known for deodorizing. It is also tough on grease and grime and has scouring properties.
  • Castile soap is made entirely from plant oils, so it is biodegradable and safe.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent disinfectant and is much gentler than bleach.
  • Lemons are a powerful cleaning agent. Use lemon juice on stainless steel, bathtubs and anywhere you find mold and mildew.
  • Olive oil is often an effective substitute for furniture polish. You can also combine it with vinegar to make a wood cleaner.
  • Salt can be used on some surfaces as a scouring agent.
  • Vinegar is acidic enough to clean with no residue but still gentle on surfaces.

You may use these products alone, or combine a few depending on what you’re trying to clean. Consider adding a drop or two of your favorite essential oil to add a nice scent.

These natural solutions are safe, effective and inexpensive. Rest easy knowing your home surfaces and air quality are free of bacteria and other harmful toxins.

If you suspect your child has a bacterial infection, the pediatricians at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital can help. And, our pediatric allergy and immunology specialists provide expert care for allergies or airway irritation.