We've all heard that using household cleaners can cause health problems in kids and adults, and some of us have researched alternative, more natural, ways to cleaning the house. Here are five household tips you've probably never heard of. Not only will they save your lungs from toxic chemicals, you'll be rolling on the (clean) floor with laughter!

Saving my tots bronchial tubes
My house ain't spotless. Yet, it's not spot-full either. It's more like... slightly spotty. So how do I retain my composure when well-known Lysol-a-holics pass beneath the dust-laden ledge of my doorway? Simple. I have them follow the toddler trail of the snack of the day to the kitchen where an article (ok, a paragraph) hangs over the trash bin, which single-handedly saved my kneecaps. This splendid piece claims that a link exists between the persistent use of household cleaner's and chronic respiratory problems in some children.

Hey! I got kids! And for the sake of my tot's bronchial tubes, I'm willing to limit my pine-wafting, four-on-the-floor linoleum scrubbing, plus keep those giddy times when I stick my head into the oven to a bare minimum.

So what if my windows aren't crystal clear? I can still spy on the neighbors just fine, thank you very much. If my basement houses an ever-expanding tract of condo cobwebs? Equal opportunity housing's at work, that's all. When people saunter through my home they don't panic about putting some marks on the carpeting. What with all the blemishes already there, who would notice?

Now this doesn't mean my place is dirty. It's lived-in, not filthy. Why, if someone from the health department happened by, they'd accept a cup of Java and some animal cracker's from me... I think.

So how do I consistently keep my house so darn passable without jeopardizing my boy's breath lobes? Well, I'm willing to depart with five of my tried and true household hints... and here they are!

1. Hair removal made easy
People arrive unannounced right after everyone in the house has just taken a shower, and those hairs number in the double digits. You grab a towel and vigorously rub, peering down to see that you've only succeeded in swooshing them around. What's a frenzied -- albeit freshly washed -- person to do? Read on, oh panicked one...

First, locate a feminine hygiene pad. Peel back the strip (duh) and run the pad -- now this is very important -- sticky side DOWN over the bathroom floor. Poof! The offending hairs will adhere and will be tossed before your uninvited guests can get their coats off. Got a lotta hairs? Use the maxi. Just a few? The mini pad will suffice. Floor still damp? Flip the pad, and you're off!

2. Who needs velcro?
The shirt you finally got (back) from your sister missing its shoulder pads? Okie dokie. Take two feminine hygiene pads. Peel back the strip and insert the pad -- now this is very important -- sticky side UP inside the top of the garment. Poof. Instant fashion.

Need big lift? Use the maxi. Just a bit? The mini will do. Uh, don't use the same pads you just de-haired the biffy with -- they won't stay in place as well.

3. Get a dog
Think of the pooch as one of your vacuum attachments; but she mustn't be a finicky eater. She should gravitate towards the same foods as your children do, or forget it.

Also, the canine mustn't have a weak stomach. For if -- after she's ingested the results of a Barney and Fred macaroni and cheese food fight -- you're able to detect "Fifi's" belly rumbling's from across the room? You can bet you'll soon be seein' yet another rerun of the Flintstones. Yabadabadoo.

Important Addendum: No super-shedders allowed. Because even if "Fluffmutt" passed the prior criteria, the massive tufts of canine coiffure she'd leave behind would negate the benefits of the roving, iron-stomached, vacuum service she'd provide. (Anyone who's worn black leggings to such a home can relate).

4. Dog-hair removal made easy
For those who choose to ignore the above addendum: You know where it ends up. On your black leggings, the stove top, the counters, prominently displayed next to the Saturday Evening Post on your coffee table... in your coffee! What's a shaggy mutt's mystified master to do? Read on, oh poochily, perplexed one...

First off, find a feminine hygiene pad. Peel back the strip and run the pad sticky side down over the affected areas. The canine's bristles will adhere and you and your home will be hair free -- for a few minutes...

5. Treating the bumps and bruises of life
Especially when your kids won't sit still. It's inevitable. Little Leroy falls off his ATV, or tiny Tanya pulls a muscle doing a lay-up. What's a woeful, worried, yet with-it man to do?

Go to the fridge and retrieve the feminine hygiene pads you have soaked with water and tucked away in freezer bags for just such an occasion. Pull one or two out (depending upon how many limbs are affected), peel back the strip and place the sticky side down directly on their little knee or elbow. Your child's bruise will be treated by the cool, soothing pad, and the "treatment" will stay in place so your child won't have to!

Important Addendum: Got a headache? Place the frozen pad, sticky side down, directly over forehead. Poof! Instant relief. Uh, you probably shouldn't answer the door like this. But who knows? It might catch on! One day you may see your neighborhood neurologist strolling around with an icy, soothing maxi adhered to his noggin!

Follow these hints; make a pledge for mediocrity in maintenance, and you'll not only keep everybody breathing easier, your house will sparkle! No, it won't. But it's as good an excuse as any to spend your precious time doing important things like reading to your kids, comparing fat-free chocolate with fat-full, and of course, stocking up on feminine hygiene pads. All, while you eagerly await publication of household hints for the car...

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