What is Lurking on the Surface?

When a surface in your home becomes contaminated with dirt, grease, soap scum, bacteria, etc., your ‘go-to’ cleaning method is probably to reach for the Clorox or Scrubbing Bubbles, right? Especially, when it comes to bacteria and viruses, whatever is on that surface, we want it dead.  Period.  And that is exactly what those type of products do … many contain disinfectants, such as Triclosan, that destroy the bacteria’s cell structure and prevents further reproduction.  However, there are three problems with that:

1) As you come into contact with these chemicals during cleaning, they also destroy the normal flora present on your skin.  Normal flora are microorganisms, such as bacteria, protozoa and fungi that are naturally found in/on specific areas of the body, which help to inhibit growth of pathogens by attacking the nonindigenous bacteria.  Normal flora is your body’s natural first line of defense against harmful invading bacteria.

2) Do you remember that blurb on your cleaning labels that states, “Kills 99.9% of All Bacteria”? It sounds impressive. Have you ever wondered what is going on with that other remaining 0.1%? The Scientific American sums it up best in stating, “When bacterial population is placed under a stressor – such as an antibacterial chemical – a small subpopulation armed with special defense mechanisms can develop.  These lineages survive and reproduce as their weaker relatives perish. ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ is the governing maxim here, as antibacterial chemicals select for bacteria that endure their presence.  As bacteria develop a tolerance for these compounds, there is a potential for also developing a tolerance for certain antibiotics.  This phenomenon, called cross-resistance, has already been demonstrated in several laboratory studies using triclosan, ones of the most common chemicals found in antibacterial hand cleaners, dishwashing liquid and other wash products.”  In summation, the use of household cleaners increases the potential for antibiotic resistant bacteria.

3) Cleaners often leave behind a chemical residue, whether it be soap, oil or surfactant.  Disinfectants and other chemicals in these cleaners are thereby left on the cleaning surface to be easily transferred to food, skin, etc. To top it off, these disinfectants used to kill the bacteria are often toxic.  The most common household disinfectant, triclosan, is linked to cancer, developmental defects and liver and inhalation toxicity.  So in trying to clean a surface, for a time, we may actually be making it worse.

I don’t know about you, but I find these facts concerning. Another fun fact:  Did you know that a number of our products on the shelves today are actually banned in European countries due to their health risks?  Visit this site for a list of the most concerning/dangerous household cleaners on the market as well as those banned abroad: www.ewg.org/cleaners/hallofshame.

Suffice it to say, in knowing all of this information, this mamma is ready to purge the house of unnatural cleaners! Here we go…

Here is a snap-shot of what my cleaning arsenal USED to look like: YIKES!

(Cabinets were child-proofed for safety.)

After searching for a safe, natural cleaning alternative, I was introduced to NORWEX by a friend.   The timing was perfect, because oddly enough, I had been looking for a product that I felt comfortable with for months with no luck.  Before finding NORWEX, the best I could really find locally was 7th Generation and Great Value Natural.  (FYI – just because the product says ‘Green’ or ‘Natural’ somewhere on the container, don’t let that fool you…it is often just a marketing ploy.)  I don’t have a problem with many 7th Generation products, but my options were very limited and the other products I found just didn’t do a good job.  Window cleaners were the worst … every product I found seemed to leave streaks and half of the dirt still on the windows.  The coolest thing about the NORWEX products is that you can literally clean every inch of your entire house with three items using ONLY WATER.  I’ll explain this a little further in a moment.

To give a better idea, this is NOW how my cleaning arsenal is equipped!


While NORWEX offers a whole host of other awesome products, these three simple items take the place of 95% of your cleaners AND you can feel good about doing it.   (PS – They also have a 2 yr warranty, which is a great bonus.)

ENVIRO Cloth – clean every surface in a home

WINDOW Cloth – use to polish surfaces such as glass, mirrors, stainless steel

DUST Mit – removes dust from surfaces

NORWEX products clean in a complete different manner than chemical based cleaners. As we talked about in the beginning, chemical cleaners destroy bacteria on a surface.  NORWEX, on the other hand, removes the bacteria from the surface.  NORWEX products, such as the ENVIRO cloth is made up of microfiber and microsilver.  The microfiber is 1/200th the size of a human hair, and if unraveled, would stretch from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.   The microfiber has the ability to lift and collect 99% of bacteria from a surface and does not allow cross-contamination to other surfaces.  If used dry, the microfiber produces an electrostatic charge that attracts even the smallest particles of dirt, grease and moisture, leaving the surface free of everything.  When the microfiber is used wet, the microsilver in the cloth goes to work with self-purification properties.  If you still think this sounds crazy, check out the laboratory testing results below:


These are by far and away, my most favorite products that I have discovered on this journey (aside from essential oils…that’s for another dayJ). It is too exciting and awesome not to share with as many people as I can, so I hope that you have found this interesting and informative.  There are too many people that we love suffering from cancer and other debilitating diseases that are often brought on by environmental factors.  Each baby step we take to getting to cleaner homes is a step in the right direction.  Be empowered by knowing that YOU have a choice on what is allowed into your home!

If you have any questions regarding NORWEX or want to learn how to get free products with zero investment, please visit www.ashleyhorta.norwex.biz or e-mail me at ashleyhorta@gmail.com.










There’s a Choice

As a wife and mother, I find myself asking the same question everyday…often repeatedly: “Is this what is best for my family?”  I may ask this question with regard to our family priorities, food choices, financial decisions, discipline methods, or a whole host of other things most families think about.  But for as much time and energy that I’ve put into scouring the shopping isles for natural foods and reading their ingredient labels…I had never really thought twice about wiping my kitchen counter down with a Clorox wipe or rubbing a dryer sheet on my skin to keep away mosquitos.  In fact, it wasn’t until I began struggling with fertility related issues that I started looking a little deeper into other factors affecting my health.

The first book that I read on this exploratory journey was called “Perfect Hormone Balance for Fertility” by Robert A Greene, MD and Laurie Tarkan.  I came across a chapter discussing the impact of ‘free radicals’ in the body, which I found incredibly intriguing.  (Bare with me…this is about to get technical for a minute:)  A free radical is a small charged particle with an unpaired electron, thereby making it highly reactive and unstable.  An unstable molecule such as this looks for an electron it can kidnap from another nearby particle in order to stabilize itself.  The problem is that once that happens, another molecule is left with an unbound electron as result…therefore, it turns into an endless cycle of electron thieving in the body.  “It is estimated that the chain reaction can trigger 6.023 x 1021 billion molecules to react per second!”(1) Free radicals can be formed in a variety of ways such as during digestion from overeating, ingestion or exposure to chemicals, pesticides, GMO’s and other bio-mutagens.  When present, free radicals wreak havoc in the human body by attacking “fats, DNA, RNA, cellular membranes, proteins, vitamins and carbohydrates”. (1)  “Oxygen free radicals are implicated in the overall aging process and are responsible for photoaging, cancer and inflammation in the skin.” (1)

When I learned this, things began to click.  When was the last time I bothered looking at the ingredients of my cleaners, my makeup, hair products, shampoos, food storage containers, lotions…? I don’t think I ever had…or maybe even saw a reason to.  All these years I had trusted the idea that everyone uses these products and that if it was harmful, the FDA and TSCA wouldn’t allow it in our homes.  WRONG.  I have news for you:  “TSCA does not require most chemicals to be tested for safety before they are approved for widespread use. Because of this…less than half of the 3,000 high-production volume chemicals on the marketplace have toxicity data, and less than one-fifth have toxicity testing data on the effects on developing organs.”(2) In short, there are a buss-load of products out there that we are using on a daily basis with no idea of the potential long-term affects on our health.  That is more than slightly concerning.

Just for kicks and giggles, I decided to pull the MSDS for a few products that I frequently use.  My personal favorite was from the Clorox Wipes: “21.5% of the mixture consists of ingredient(s) of unknown toxicity”. (3) What was probably most concerning though was the large number of products containing preservative and anti-static agents with known toxicity risks.  Take fabric softeners and dryer sheets for example: there are a number of products on the shelf today that contain formalin (or an ingredient that ‘acts’ very similar), which is used in the products to prevent static and wrinkles.  Formalin is simply an alternative name for Formaldehyde … many know this resin as the ingredient to embalming fluid. (5)  Formaldehyde is also recognized as a cancer causing agent by the National Cancer Institute. (4)  How do we not know that such a toxic chemical is present in our every day products, you say?  Because companies are only required to list ingredients that are active disinfectants or known to be hazardous.  The FDA suggests that these toxic chemicals are not readily absorbed by the skin and are, therefore, deemed as ‘not hazardous’.  For this reason companies can get away with vague statements such as ‘anti-static agent’ to avoid mentioning something nasty.  So as long as there’s only a little bit of formaldehyde in your system, it’s OK?  I don’t know about you, but I’m not OK with my child soaking up formaldehyde resin left on her clothes in any amount.  Why on earth would I take such a risk?

This is unfortunately, just the tip of the iceberg.  I say this not as an over-reaction or someone buying into the ‘hype’ or biased agendas of natural product brands, but as a wife and mother looking out for her family’s best interest.  The more I research, the more I realize that we are constantly surrounded and bathed in unnecessary and often harmful chemicals, of which we have no idea of the future impacts to ourselves, our families or the environment.  I encourage you to please do your research, friends.  There are so many wonderful, safe alternatives out there.  Ultimately, the important thing is simply that you know that you do have a CHOICE on what is allowed into your home.

As I go on this journey of transitioning my home to a safer and cleaner one, I would love to share with you some of the fantastic alternatives that I have found and am excited about.  Some days I may share a useful recipe, while others I may share an awesome new product that I’ve discovered.  I hope you enjoy and learn something cool along the way:)



  1.  http://www.dermalinstitute.com/us/library/22_article_What_Is_A_Free_Radical_.htmlu
  2. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/newborn-babies-chemicals-exposure-bpa/
  3. https://www.thecloroxcompany.com/downloads/msds/wipes/cloroxdisinfectingwipes1-freshscentjw.pdf
  4. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/formaldehyde/
  5. http://www.dermnetnz.org/dermatitis/formaldehyde-allergy.html