Avoiding Toxic Cleaning Combinations
By Cesar Collado
When a home has mold, cleaning with non-toxic mold products is the preferred way to clean while mitigating health risks. This post is about avoiding toxic cleaning combinations. Using just soap and water and a scrub brush can be an effective solution; but, in today’s COVID sensitive society, using stronger chemicals to kill microbial pathogens (bacteria, mold, and viruses) has become more common in public and residential areas.
There are non-toxic, natural, botanical based cleaners that limit the health risk of chemical exposure because mixing cleaning products can be dangerous. The obvious example is mixing bleach and ammonia while cleaning a bathroom. This is a very toxic cleaning combination to avoid! Bleach is in bathroom cleaners and ammonia in window cleaner. Combining the two creates toxic chloramine gas. These toxic fumes are harmful to your respiratory system and exposure can result in death.
Toxic Cleaning Combinations Amongst Commodity Cleaning Products
Commodity cleaners such as bleach, ammonia, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and isopropyl alcohol are all commonly used for normal day to day cleaning regimens AND are ingredients in branded cleaning products. They are effective; but may not completely address all microbial or surfaces. Benzalkonium Chloride is a popular chemical used in branded cleaning products. It has surfactant, antiseptic, and anti-infective properties. Quaternary ammonium chlorides, also called Quats, are used in many branded commercial mold cleaners. Quats are effective and have a safer toxicity profile than the commodity chemicals, but can still cause respiratory problems for anyone with a challenged immune system as well as children and elderly. Along with alcohol, it is also used in hand sanitizers along with isopropyl alcohol.
Unfortunately, unsuspecting consumers often use different branded products with multiple ingredients for different surfaces in a home. By doing this, they run the risk of mixing chemicals that results in poisonous, toxic fumes that can cause severe health reactions and injury to mouths, lungs, sinuses, eyes, and skin.
The Following Table Provides Examples of Toxic Cleaning Combinations:
In addition, drain and toilet bowl cleaner are made with combinations of toxic chemicals. They should not be mixed with any other detergent or cleaner. Bleach should not be mixed with any product that relies on acidity to remediate mold.. Even adding something benign, such as lemon juice, produces chlorine gas.
“Natural Products” that are Effective Against Mold
The broadest definition of natural product is anything that is produced by life.
- Biotic materials (e.g. wood, silk),
- Bio-based materials (e.g. bioplastics, cornstarch)
- Bodily fluids (e.g. milk, plant exudates),
- Other natural materials (e.g. soil, coal).
Fungi are some of the most resilient species in the world. There are numerical estimates that 1 – 2 billion species exist in this planet. Within the microbial world, there are also many natural products that are natural toxic to mold while being non-toxic to humans. Nature has many of these competing life form balances. These products are often large molecules, making them difficult to source or expensive to manufacture. Nonetheless, natural products are sourced and manufactured for consumer products and foods. Manufacturers almost always prefer small molecule with the same properties. They are preferred due to lower manufacturing costs. In cases where small molecule synthesis is not possible, the natural product is sourced and manufactured. Many chemotherapeutic agents and antibiotics are natural products.
The most common product mixtures include bleach and ammonia. The most common room where products can be accidentally combined is in the bathroom. This is because there are many different surfaces including toilet and drain cleaners that contain the most potent of chemicals. Many household cleaners contain bleach as a disinfectant and are used to clean sinks and counters. Ammonia is a common ingredient in glass cleaner (Mirrors!). So it is not uncommon for a household can contain the two products to clean their bathrooms.
CitriSafe was the very first company formed in November, 2002 to explore natural botanical-based products specifically for mold based the effect on the effectiveness of citrus seed extracts. In fact, many CitriSafe mold products have been manufactured and sold since 2004. The effectiveness of grapefruit seed extracts (GSE) was first described by Jacob Harich in 1971.
During the mid 2000s, Walter Hayhurst, founder of CitriSafe, investigated thousands of compounds to address mold sensitivity suffered by he and his wife. He was a prominent compounding pharmacist. Compound pharmacists are often used to find hard to find medically active compounds and natural products to prepare custom formulations of available medicines for patients and the physicians who prescribe them. They are, in essence, a laboratory inside a pharmacy and must follow all FDA required regulations.
In 2004, Walter finalized his formulation and began using the product for himself and others who suffered health symptoms from mold exposure. The successful results led to the forming of CitriSafe to serve all consumers looking for a non-toxic solution to their mold issues. All CitriSafe mold products are produced with the highest quality citrus seed extracts.
For over 18 years, CitriSafe’s Remedy Mold Solution has been manufactured with the highest quality ingredients. Key ingredients are manufactured using patented processes that exclude the use of any chemical additions. The proprietary blend of citrus seed extracts includes grapefruit, tangerine, lemon, and lime seeds. A specially selected surfactant is added to ensure proper surface wetness is accomplished and enough soap suds to encapsulate mold and allow it to be wiped or vacuumed for removal. Microfiber towels are the ideal textiles to remove mold from surfaces. Other products may contain simethicone, an anti-foaming compound that is used medically to treat pressure, bloating, and discomfort from gas or flatulence.
For larger jobs, you may consider hot fogging or misting using BioBalance Haven Fog products. Citrisafe Mold Treatment Solution can be used with the Haven Mister. CitriSafe products will have no negative interaction with these tools to address systemic mold. Read more about BioBalance Haven fog solutions HERE.
Shortly after discovering the CitriSafe proprietary blend mold solution, Walter realized the challenges of working around mold and clothing. clothing provided a perfect environment for mold spores to adhere to, get exposed to moisture, and have an abundance of food to reproduce. There was also the well-known fact that laundry rooms are notorious for mold issues. This is due to the use of water at varying temperatures and the resultant high humidity. Products like some detergents and fabric softeners are ideal organic nutrients for mold.
Remedy Laundry Detergent was developed to solve several mold problems that occur with mold sensitive patients or people with risk due daily exposure to mold (physicians, contractors, mold professionals, and mold sensitive patients):
- Mold spreads through the laundering process further contaminating clothing and bedding.
- Humans shed skin cells and perspire when sleeping. Bedding can become a bothersome exposure.
- Washing Machines need to be cleaned regularly.
- Removal of mold during the wash cycle is more effective with detergent rather than during the rinse cycle. This is due to the soap suds and agitation that physically removes the mold during both the wash and rinse cycles.
- Need for a product that is non-toxic with no chemical fragrances or dyes
Learn more about Remedy Laundry Liquid Detergent HERE.