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Kitchens 12 - 09 - 2002

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Kitchens Here we are again, faithful to our Thursday meeting. We sincerely hope that you all had a wonderful, healthy week. Remember last week we discussed air fresheners and cosmetic sprays. Let's now take a closer look at our kitchens. The most dangerous and physically harmful of all household chemicals are cleaners - oven cleaners, detergents, scouring powders, toilet bowl cleaners, bleaches, drain cleaners etc. Most of these chemicals are not needed; indeed, many safe substitutes exist. Many people continue using these harmful household chemicals simply because they are not aware of their dangers. Oven cleaners:" Danger: May cause burns to skin and eyes. Irritant to mucus membranes. Danger- contains lye. Keep out of reach of children. Do not get on exterior surfaces. Keep away from electrical connections. If taken internally or sprayed into eyes, calla doctor" ( taken from a popular American make of oven cleaners ) Oven cleaner sprays contain powerful chemicals that drift around the kitchen and penetrate the skin, eyes and lungs. The worse part is that those chemicals are hidden by added fragrances so they are more likely to be breathed in. Such cleaners are often totally unnecessary. True, ovens can become the filthiest area of any kitchen. If any splattering occurs, it should be wiped as soon as the oven has cooled off. Only when stains and dripping are continually reheated and baked does a strong cleaning agent become necessary. Drain cleaners are similar to oven cleaners. They too have a high percentage of lye and attack waste and grease build up from food disposal. If the drain remains clogged after the cleanser is poured in, then a dangerous caustic solution develops which gives off toxic fumes. Bleaches are often used in the house, and greater care must be taken not to mix bleaches with other cleansers. There are a number of examples of housewives killed by inhaling the fumes of mixed chemicals. Toilet bowl cleaners are either the in-bowl or in-tank variety. The in-bowl cleaners contain extremely strong acids and releases fumes. The in-tank cleaners are almost ineffective, according to consumer's reports, in either removing stains or odors. ( this was correct at the time this report was written in the 'Life Science' course ) Scouring powders contain a bleaching agent and a coarse polishing agent. What is left to help us clean our house? Well, we must remember that most cleaning should be mechanical and not chemical. Dirt, dust and stains can usually be removed with a simple and harmless detergent and some work. All in all, almost every chemical household cleaner can be replaced by a combination of one or more of these simple and inexpensive products: soap, baking powder, vinegar, borax and ammonia. With the exception of ammonia (which has noxious fumes), all of these are totally harmless when used by themselves to aid cleaning. Here are some ideas on how to use these substances as a substitute for the expensive and toxic household cleaners. GENERAL SURFACE CLEANER: Several tablespoons of vinegar dissolved in a bucket of water. Baking powder can be used to scour surfaces. BLEACHING: Use borax instead of chemical bleaches. It whitens without harming the fabric, regardless of colour or weave. UTENSIL CLEANER: A diluted solution of ammonia ( caution, always add ammonia to water, not the other way round ) can be for really greasy pots and pans. ( If you follow a proper diet you will not have greasy pots and pans ) OVEN CLEANER: Again, this should not be needed on a proper diet. If it does require cleaning, use baking powder as a scouring powder and ammonia to cut through grease. Always be careful not to inhale ammonia fumes. DRAIN CLEAN*ING: Slow drains can be opened by pouring hot water down them, then adding about cup of washing soda. Wait a minute, the flush again with hot water. Next week we will take a closer look at our laundry. Until then, take care and have a fun-filled week. The Crazy Nut Team.

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