Spring Cleaning

Image: John Kasawa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ah, finally…the long, cold grip of winter has loosened on Ontario (or at least Toronto, anyway) and spring is here! Birds chirp outside my window, the sun doesn’t disappear before supper time, and I can go outside without having to be all bundled up.With spring time comes a few traditions: March break, preparation for the NHL playoffs (unfortunately it seems the one Leaf that doesn’t appear in the spring is of the Toronto variety…), and, of course, spring cleaning.  This is a wonderful opportunity to declutter, organize, sweep – whatever needs to get done – but there’s a few things this season I won’t be doing.If I’m looking to freshen things up a bit inside, I don’t have to look far. This time of year is literally a built-in air freshener – there’s no need for any kinds of sprays or air “deodorants” when I can just throw open the window. There’s nothing quite like getting a light spring breeze through the house (or apartment, in my case), and if I’m looking for freshness, I’ve found it.Most air “fresheners” that come in a can are really only masking the smells in your room, covering them up with something that is manufactured to smell pleasant.  In reality, many of these products can contain chemicals that can cause illness in the long-term, and in the short term can easily cause irritation and allergic reactions.

Many air fresheners contain pthalates, chemicals that help to disperse the fragrance and make it last longer.  The only problem is that pthalates also have been linked to hormone disruption and altered reproductive development, and are easily inhaled and absorbed through the skin.  Not only are these products strong enough to have an effect on an adult human, how do they affect cats, dogs, and children?

I’ve got a little pet rat myself, actually, who goes by the name of Moxie (he’s quite the environmental expert, wouldn’t you know). When the room starts to smell bad, I don’t spray half a can of chemicals: I open the window and promptly change the little fella’s bedding.  I got to say, he packs a pungent punch for one so small!

In all seriousness, I’m sure glad the nice weather is here, giving me the chance to freshen up the all-natural way.  “Spring” and “fresh” are two words that really do belong together, just… not on an aerosol can.

-Phil

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