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What is Lurking on your Toilet Seat… and Beyond?

What is Lurking on your Toilet Seat… and Beyond?

What manner of horror is lurking on your toilet seat?

You might think you are doing your family a favor when you scrub the seat with strong cleansers that are made with harsh chemicals. You are killing germs, right? Yes, but you are also putting those harsh chemicals against very sensitive skin. Think about it.

If you or your children have an unexplained rash around the upper thighs or buttocks, it may be something called “toilet seat dermatitis.” Untreated, it can lead to very painful skin eruptions with a severe itch.

The rash can also be caused by wooden toilet seats, especially if they are painted or varnished. Again, sensitive skin on harsh chemicals.

A statement issued by The U.S. National Library of Medicine says, in part: “Most cases of toilet seat dermatitis are mild and easy to treat with topical steroids. However, if not treated properly, the inflammation can persist and spread, causing painful and itchy skin eruptions and unnecessary discomfort for children and parents. Skin that’s persistently irritated is vulnerable to bacteria and may lead to more serious infections that require treatment with oral antibiotics.”

They go on to suggest that wooden toilet seats be replaced with plastic ones, and that harsh cleansers containing skin-irritating chemicals be avoided.

Let’s go one step further. Look beyond the cleaners you use for the toilet seat and take a peek under the kitchen sink, in the utility closet, or the basement. How many cleaning products do you have… made with how many different potentially toxic chemicals? Have you read the ingredients? Your home, and the products you use to keep it clean and seemingly fresh could actually be making you sick.

What are we doing to ourselves? With so many illnesses and conditions of unknown origin, perhaps we should take a closer look inside the walls of our own homes.

In our zeal to provide a clean and healthy environment for our families, we are purchasing a multitude of different cleaning products for our homes, rubbing and scrubbing it on, breathing it in, and putting it right up against our bare skin.

Like the foods we put in our bodies, every chemical cleaning agent we expose ourselves to has the potential to make us ill.

The good news is that in most cases, cleaning agents made out of natural substances can do the job just as well, if not better — and more safely.

So get rid of that wooden toilet seat and round up the cleaning products you have stashed around the house. Be prepared to be shocked at how many toxic chemicals you’ve been exposed to in the comfort of your own home.

Care2’s Healthy and Green Living section provides a wealth of information about natural living. Following are just a few articles of many about how to clean your home the natural way. You’re worth it, aren’t you?

Natural Home Cleaning Tips

10 Tips to Green Cleaning

Environmental Poisoning: Is Your Home Hurting You?

5 Basics for Non-Toxic Cleaning

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Photo: CC BY 2.0 Creative Commons Flicker Photos/lonelycamera


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106 comments

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5:07PM PST on Feb 10, 2010

Also why do they sell those chemicals when they can do a lot of harm?

5:05PM PST on Feb 10, 2010

my mom never uses chemicals on the toilet. She knows all about nice and sensative skin :)

5:08AM PST on Feb 5, 2010

Thanks for this information.

5:00AM PST on Feb 5, 2010

Thanks for the info on this post - we try to use non-chemicals as much as possible - there has been a severe "about-turn" in my household, with more to come! Back to Grandmas' cleaning methods is the way to go - usually all home-made and chemical free!! Cheaper, less toxic to the family and helps save the planet too! Way to go!!

3:59AM PST on Feb 5, 2010

I hate bleach...love all of the natural products

2:18PM PST on Feb 3, 2010

Does anyone know how natural or safe those white sponges are that can scrub walls and bathtubs? Vinegar is also one of my favorite cleaners (great on countertops), and I find the white sponges work great, but I don't know if they are healthy or enviromentally friendly.

1:45PM PST on Feb 2, 2010

Bleach and other household cleaners are really bad for people and for the environment. The industry does not tell you this as they do not want you to know how bad they are. Rule of thumb, if you cannot pronounce the word, you probably should not be using it. There are alternatives that are starting to come out in the industry or you can look to a wellness company. My favorite is Melaleuca. All of their products are proven to be earth friendly and guess what, You can actually prounounce the names of the ingredients. If you have a child that is Bi-Polar, ADD or ADHD look into detoxifying your home. That includes your toothpaste and shampoos and bath soaps. You will see a difference in your child if you get rid of all chemical cleaners. Did you know that even if you the bottles under your sink are closed that they still off gas. This means that the chemicals are getting into the air that you breath just as they sit idle under your sinks.... hmmm something to think about.

10:54AM PST on Feb 2, 2010

Iv'e been using non-toxic cleaners for over 20 years now. I always feel good about keeping the planet green & clean.

4:29PM PST on Feb 1, 2010

Common sense and moderation is needed here too. Someone asked whether people need toilet paper? What would be the alternative, besides your hand?

12:12PM PST on Feb 1, 2010

I use mostley organic products. Its better for all of us and for the planet.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Julie M. Rodriguez Julie M. Rodriguez is an arts, green living, and political writer based in San Mateo, CA. Her work... more
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