A few inexperienced caregivers may not be aware of how dangerous it is to clean a loved 0ne’s home with some well-known commercial cleaning products. In fact, if you are caring for someone who has COPD, some store bought cleaners and disinfectants can be dangerous and toxic.

As most baby boomer’s parents did, my mother used vinegar, lemon, and hydrogen peroxide to clean, and disinfect. Using some of these products to clean the home is less toxic for humans, household pets, and the environment.

Acetic acid in vinegar can kill bacteria. According to the American Society for Microbiology, a recent study with researchers from France, Venezuela and the United States shows the effectiveness of vinegar at killing different types of bacteria. An article about the vinegar study was published in Science Daily earlier this year. Even when using vinegar of only 6 % acetic acid concentration the effectiveness of the vinegar was clear. This concentration of acetic acid in vinegar killed drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Researchers tested various TB strains and found that even with exposure to 6% solution of acetic acid for just 30 minutes could kill some strains.

Most household vinegars bought at stores; however, are only of 5 % acetic acid concentration. However, store-bought vinegars are still helpful at killing other bacteria. A two-step method using two spray bottles, one with white undiluted store-bought household vinegar and the other with regular 3% hydrogen peroxide can be used to kill Salmonella, Shigella and E. coli bacteria on kitchen surfaces. Dr. Susan Sumner at Virginia Polytechnic Institute created this two-step green method.   Make sure the hydrogen peroxide is in a dark bottle. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down in light. Buy a spray nozzle cap that fits the top of the dark bottle, as well as another spray nozzle to fit the one with vinegar. You do not mix both ingredients in one container. You spray the surface with one spray bottle and then spray it with the second container. Afterwards, wipe off surfaces, but do not cross contaminate with a dirty kitchen sponge or wipe.

Using Vinegar and Lemon

For those living on the Florida coast, vinegar has been used to treat a jellyfish stings. Many suggest that soaking a clean cloth with white household vinegar of only 5% acetic acid and hot or warm water. After soaking the clean cloth place it on the affected area.

Vinegar can be added to your laundry. Add a ¼ cup of white vinegar to laundry. Individuals with skin allergies have a difficult time with laundry detergents and softeners, so many are now using vinegar since it is less expensive and helps clean out the excess build up and detergent.

Lemon is a natural freshener. Set aside lemon peels and let these dry to use later as a household fresheners. Use the dried peels as shoe fresheners.

We hope some of these simple household tips are helpful and make life easier. Senior Helpers understands the need to keep a clean and safe home environment.

Should you or a loved one need home health care call Senior Helpers of Orlando at 407-628-4357.  We will be glad to schedule a home assessment with you and your loved one.

Also, should you be vacationing in Westford, Massachusetts, stop by and visit the Senior Helpers of Westford. They will be glad to meet you.


Ana P. DeLane

Senior Helpers of Orlando Team Member

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