It’s getting scarier out there for a lot of people – especially for future moms. Especially for those who can’t get the green bug out of their mind. Anthrax, mad cow disease, mold contamination in the Katrina states – our home is where we used to feel protected from anything creepy that might spread germs. No wonder, we are reaching for products that enable us to get a better sense of self-protection.

Antibacterial all-purpose cleaners and hand wipes today are more popular than ever. Are they good for a newly green mum? Let’s take a look. Most of them are made of petroleum, a non-renewable source. Some detergents contain alkylphenol ethoxylates, suspected hormone disruptors; and all antibacterial cleansers prompt bacteria to mutate and produce antibiotic-resistant offspring, according to a 2000 World Health Organization report. Chlorine bleach, even in mild solution, creates organochlorines that are known to break havoc on immune system and to even trigger an array of cancers. (Are you still swimming in a chlorinated pool, by the way?) Chlorine is doing double whammy when mixed with another popular antibacterial agent, triclosan. Together they form chloroform, a potential toxin and suspected carcinogen.

I am not telling you to embrace bacteria – this would be criminal. But I can’t recommend you pouring some industrial-strength solution over all of your kitchen surfaces and door knobs. So what can you do to cope with the reality of dangerous bacteria? There’s no way around it: Wash like crazy. Cleanse your hands before handling any food and after touching raw meat or poultry. Thoroughly wash “prewashed” produce and all vegetables and fruit you will peel.

To kill food-borne pathogen bacteria such as E.coli or salmonella use hot, soapy water to wash all cutting boards, dishes, knives, and surfaces that have touched raw meat or eggs.

To disinfect bathroom or kitchen surfaces, try white vinegar which helps kill bacteria, mold, and viruses. For added peace of mind, you may consider buying “green” antibacterial cleansers such as EPA-registered Earth Power Herbal Disinfectant, Bio-Shield Cleaner or all-purpose cleansers by Seventh Generation and Ecover. While vinegar is a good natural disinfectant, when you have a newborn, commercial disinfectant is called for.

These days, there’s no shortage of antibiotic-laced wipes. Should you rush out to buy them? Not necessary, say infectious disease experts. Instead, wash hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds, making sure to get in between fingers and under fingernails. For baby changing table and a bath tub you can use one of organic spray sanitizers that are formulated with strong alcohol, tea tree oil, witch hazel and citric acid. A simply wipe with vodka (just be careful not to sniff at the alcohol fumes!) will do the trick. Pour some plain unflavoured vodka in a spray bottle, add a couple of drops of lemon, rose and lavender oil, shake well and you just got yourself a perfectly natural antimicrobial spray.

Hand sanitizers like Purell kill 99.9 percent of most common germs, according to company claims, but ordinary soap washes away both bacteria and viruses. Just wash frequently, especially before eating or preparing food, after you handled your pet and of course after you came home from work or using public transportation. To encourage yourself to wash your hands frequently, splurge on some luxurious organic hand washes. Most often, they are very concentrated, too, so a little will go a really long way.

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