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Marie Kondo of the Passover cleanings

Recently, you can find more and more network influencers in Israel and abroad who publish videos with tips for cleaning the house using materials that will not harm health and the environment. So what can we learn from them for the holiday?

מYou are Sapir Polak, Zveta - a news agency for science and the environment

Cleanliness for Passover. Illustration:
Cleanliness for Passover. Illustration:

Passover is approaching - and everyone knows what that means: blinds, panels, kitchen drawers - they all need to be polished in order to pass the cleaning procedures that are carried out throughout Israel.

While there are those who love the strong and burning sensation of cleanliness, and are ready to immerse themselves in chemical preparations up to their elbows, in recent years the awareness of cleaning with means that are less harmful to health and the environment has increased, mainly due to the fact that cleaning agents may contain many substances that may harm human health (and also for the environment).

In recent years, the love for cleaning has also spread to the virtual spaces, where a new breed of network influencers has been created, "cleaning agents" if you will, who present tips and rules for winning cleaning. Among these new stars there are also quite a few who focus on cleaning using methods that are more beneficial to people and the environment. Can this new and growing trend contribute to improving the quality of the environment and our personal health?

"Don't read the instructions for use"

The damage from overexposure to dangerous substances, found in the cleaning agents that are common in almost every household, may in extreme cases lead to a real health hazard. The damages are diverse and can range from poisoning of varying degrees of severity, eye damage, skin damage including burns or rashes, allergic reactions of varying severity, respiratory difficulties and more.

According to American studies, many users are not aware that uncontrolled combinations of different substances may be particularly dangerous, such as a combination of cleaning agents that contain bleaching agents or those that contain bleaching agents and those that contain ammonia, or the use of cleaning agents that contain natural fragrances that may release toxic formaldehyde in the presence of ozone gas from an external source (air pollution) or indoors.

"For the most part, Israelis do not read the instructions for use on the products and they mix substances that should not be mixed, even natural substances such as vinegar or lemon juice, together with chemical substances - and it is impossible to know what the chemical reaction will be," says Dr. Hagit Ulanovsky, a management consultant Health and environmental risks. "Beyond that, there are many substances that need to be mixed with water, such as bleach, and most of the time this is not done."

Over time, the growing awareness of the dangers inherent in certain cleaning agents led many consumers to shy away from alkaline substances, hydrochloric acid or caustic soda, substances that are found, among other things, in cold cleaners for ovens, in products for cleaning toilets, in sprays for cleaning carpets and upholstery, and tablets for removing limescale.

There are those who choose to reduce the amount of cleaning materials they use, purchase materials marketed as "environmentally friendly", or protect themselves with rubber gloves or face masks while cleaning. For others, the solution included more dramatic steps, such as switching to using substances such as salt, vinegar, lemon, olive oil - not only to make salad dressing, but also to clean the house.

Cleaning for the followers

As mentioned, the new trend was quickly adopted by online influencers. Today, you can find a whole category of YouTubers called "clean-fluencers", who dedicate themselves entirely to the act of cleaning, greening and brushing. Well-known and popular channels in the field gain huge numbers of followers, ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions.

She is one of the most well-known stars in the field Melissa Maker The Canadian, who makes sure to upload content that deals mostly with cleaning using natural materials non-toxic, such as vinegar. Maker runs a successful YouTube page as well as a website with a particularly popular section called "Celebrity Cleaning Confessions" - where she interviews top celebrities about their cleaning habits. Maker even wrote a virtual book that was sold on her official website and she continues to publish recipes for cleaning agents that can be prepared easily, using materials found in almost every household, such as baking soda, lemon juice or vinegar, and with very little harm to health and the environment, if at all.

Sima's secret ingredient

Even in Israel today you can see the first buds of the alternative cleaning trend. So, for example, the influencer Sima Beaton (chef, host and owner of a catering company that also operates particularly popular Instagram and Facebook pages), has recently uploaded quite a few demonstration videos on cleaning operations using materials she naturally concocted, such as using household vinegar and warm water for cleaning deep and preventing mold in the washing machine. The segments gained enormous popularity and reached hundreds of comments and shares.

The phenomenon is very present in Israel also in Facebook groups with many participants such as Laundry and cleaning addicts, Cleaning patients - the official group, Or ideas and tips for cleaning the house, In which tens of thousands of Israeli followers advise each other on cleaning issues, warn against mixing dangerous substances and even share tips for natural cleaning that is better for both the environment and the respiratory system.

Clean the house, but pollute the environment

Excessive use of cleaning agents has not only health consequences, but also environmental ones. According to various studies, household cleaning materials, coloring materials and various perfume products have become in recent years one of the main sources of indoor air pollution in the world. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), found in some cleaning agents, are part of a group of organic substances that contain carbon atoms and are characterized by high vapor pressure, which causes them to boil and evaporate in the air already at room temperature. Volatile organic compounds are also known as soil pollutants when the substances that evaporate from the contaminated soil (usually as a result of industrial pollution, or by fuels) accumulate in basements, parking lots and ground floors.

"In the past there was a green mark awarded to products by the Standards Institute and the Ministry of Environmental Protection, but today this does not happen," adds Ulanovski. "In general, it can be assumed that using measured and precise amounts of materials will save us money as consumers - and will also benefit the environment. If we use an amount of dish soap the size of a pea, for example, this is usually all that is needed, we can buy, for example, 10 containers of dish soap per year, instead of 12 - and thus we can reduce consumption and contribute to the environment."

In the shadow of the cleaning fever of Passover, there are those who will see the reduction in the use of conventional cleaning agents as nothing less than a bitter cut. What can still be done to feel the beloved feeling of cleanliness, without causing serious environmental and health damage? "Surveys conducted in Israel revealed that Israelis have a tendency to exaggerate the amount of cleaning materials, because they like the smell," Olonovski says and offers alternative solutions: "You can slice a lemon or an orange to spread good smells in the house, or plant a pot of mint, rosemary or lavender, which will do the job Better in terms of spreading the smell than any detergent on the market."

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