The Cleaning Quiz: Which Methods of Cleaning are Healthiest and Most Effective?

Cleaning Toilet Photo

Photo via: Evil Erin

Do you think you know how to keep your home clean, while also keeping yourself, your family, and the environment safe while doing it? Let's put your knowledge to the test...
The following is a series of questions posed from Prevention Magazine towards a number of microbiologists, immunologists, and cleaning experts who discussed what was the healthiest ways to clean. Some of the answers were quite obvious, while others were a little more surprising.

Which is healthiest and most effective...
1. ...Room spray, scented candle, or opening a window?
a) Room spray
b) Scented candle
c) Opening a window

2. ...Rag mop or sponge mop?
a) Rag mop
b) Sponge mop
c) Both are equally healthy

3. ....Using a self cleaning oven or cleaning an oven by hand?
a) Self-cleaning oven
b) Clean by hand
c) Both are equally healthy

4. ...Using a humidifier to moisten dry air, or leave the air dry?
a) Humidifier
b) No humidifier
c) Using humidifier and cleaning it at least once a week

5. ...Using bleach or using ammonia when cleaning?
a) Bleach
b) Ammonia
c) The combined power of both bleach and ammonia

1.c- Most experts agree that opening a window is not only more healthy, but a much more effective means for reducing odor. Scented candles and room sprays merely attempt to cover over odors. In addition, the chemicals in the spray and the soot particles in burning the candle, make neither particularly green or healthy compared to the simple circulation of fresh air.

2.b- The sponge mop wins out due to its superior cleaning (flat surface area) and its potential for harboring far less bacteria than the many strands found on the rag mop. The keep the bacteria count down, always remember to dry the head thoroughly between each cleaning.

3.b- Cleaning an oven by hand is the hands down winner. Not only does it use far less electricity, but the carbon monoxide and fumes created from the self cleaning function can also get quite potent at 700 degrees Fahrenheit and above. The ideal cleaner is baking soda spritzed with water and allowed to sit overnight. Most stubborn, burned-on food will wipe right off after this mixture is allowed to sit for a couple of hours.

4.b- Having no humidifier and suffering is better as far as most experts are concerned, even if the dry air is making you more vulnerable to catching a virus. The problem with humidifiers is high humidity encourages mold growth, which opens a whole new set of complications. The best solution is to sit several bowls of water throughout the house and allow to evaporate naturally.

5.a- Never combine bleach and ammonia, it creates a very deadly gas. Ammonia itself creates fumes that are quite irritating to the skin, mucus membranes, and eyes. The best overall cleaner according the the experts is the bleach. It actually takes very little bleach to clean and disinfect an area in comparison to ammonia (only one ounce per quart of water).

Source: Prevention 2008- Speed Clean the Healthy Way

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