Thursday, August 2, 2012

Reducing Chemicals in Your Home

On a Natural...lighter note:

Natural & Effective Alternatives


I don't like the idea of having tons of chemicals in my home. Its bad for me, bad for my pets, and bad for my health. Most commercial products contain known carcinogens, neurotoxins, and other nasties that irritate asthma and other sensitive systems.

Here's a list of my favorite natural alternatives:

Fabric Softener:

I replace fabric softener *which I'm very allergic to* with white vinegar. It helps to get rid of the "boy funk" to clothes, and makes your towels fluffier. Just add a few tablespoons (1-3) to your "fabric softener" cup in the washing machine *or straight into the wash* and you're set!

Carpet Cleaner:

Just pain 'ol Baking Soda. I now buy it in bulk because I use baking soda in everything: getting stains out of clothes, stains out of stemware, and track-marks out of my carpet. Just sprinkle it on your carpet the night after a party *like the one seen below* and traipse around on it for a while, then vacuum it (and your dirt) back up. It helps to keep things fresher. 
We pose with spices - to keep things SPICY!


Ant Relocater (not killer, just forceful relocation)  

This photo is actually leaf cutter ants from our trip to Costa Rica  - much cooler than backyard ants!
We had a whole bunch of ants that seemed to pop up over night on one of the stepping stones in the back yard. Just SWARMING the place where I need to step to avoid getting my heels stuck in the mud on my way to the carport. We mixed cinnamon and cayenne pepper = voila! The next day I saw them marching their little family across the carport and into the sunset - never to be seen again. 

Spider Repellent


I hate spiders! So much so that I used to joke that I married the Orkin Man just to keep them out. (yes, Mike sold Orkin for a summer, and kept all bugs at bay in our home). After he passed, I hired a bug company to keep the spiders and creepy crawlies out. *I hired them when I had a spider crawl down my bangs while I was watching tv*
You know what I didn't like about the pest control company? How bad it was on my asthma. Their "natural repellant" is chrysanthemum based and really bothered my lungs and the ASPCA lists it as toxic to cats. I decided to try something new at my newest home. *I was finding several spiders in the shower each morning BLECH! Not my optimal way to wake up!*

In a spray bottle mix: 1/2 white vinegar, 1/2 water + several drops eucalyptus oil (optional)
You will want to spray doors, windows and dark corners 1-2x a month during bad season. It has worked great. I don't see ANY spiders for at least 2 weeks after I spray, and the vinegar spray dissipates after an hour or two. 

Off of bugs - onto hair care


I know it sounds gross, but I haven't "shampooed" my hair since January. Yes, it is now August. I have been using the "no-poo" method of washing and cleaning my hair. I haven't used commercial shampoo at all, not even once. People go no-poo for a variety of reasons: paraben free, testing on animals, etc etc. I did it because shampoo gave me rashes, it just wasn't worth it anymore. Plus shampoo strips your hair of its natural oils, leaving it much more brittle and unhealthy. I swear my hair has doubled in volume over the past few months. It even holds curl now! I got a lot of advice from a few websites, then compiled my own concoctions with ingredients that I wasn't allergic to. Here is my hair yesterday - there are flyaways, but thats due to the attempt at headband curls - not lack of shampoo.
You've got to love the wood paneling right?
And regular freshly washed hair from today


Shampoo:

2cups boiling water
2T baking soda
I just mix this in a old water bottle and it lasts me a month or 2. Once-twice a week I use this when I'm massaging my scalp and it deodorizes and cleans.

Conditioner:

3/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2T agave nectar (or honey - if you aren't allergic)
8 drops peppermint EO
8 drops tea tree EO
+ whatever other EO/Fragrance oil sounds good at the time.
Again, I just mix it in an old water bottle and use it as a rinse every time I shampoo (sometimes in between as well if I feel like it)

I love my label maker. I label everything!



I hope you like my natural recipes. I have had a lot of friends ask about them, so I figured I'd share. Also, I want to keep the topics of my blog varied to my many interests, because we are well rounded individuals after-all   :)

My Challenge:

We all know there are far too many chemicals and preservatives in our lives. What one, little change could you make, even for one day, to reduce your exposure? Here are some ideas:
  • Use fresh tomatoes (they are fresh, healthy, in-season, cheap and BPA free!) instead of canned tomatoes in your sauce tonight 
  • Buy only "whole foods" at the store tonight: fruits, veggies, and products with less than 5 ingredients (if you can't pronounce the ingredients - it doesn't count. If you can't pronounce it, you probably can't digest it)
  • Buy/transplant a houseplant - they are proven to reduce the chemicals that you breathe.
  • Skip the fragrance lotions for a day, opt for a natural oil instead: jojoba, coconut, even olive oil is better for your skin than what you get at most stores. 
  • Skip the water cooler at work and bring water from home in a BPA free container. These 3-5 gallon jugs contain BPA, you can read here where they say this is safe when its already been declared toxic in Canada.

Your Response:

Do you have any favorite natural substitutions around your house?  What can you do without for a day?

With Love and Light, 
Jess


2 comments:

Katherine Belokopitsky said...

Tea tree oil is also awesome at repelling bugs that like to bite, it's often used with Rosemary in natural bug repellent :)
Also, if you're not allergic to sweet orange oil, mixing it with the baking soda on your carpet will help deter fleas your 4 legged friends might bring inside with them! Thanks for the other tips, I love learning more natural home solutions!! :)

Jess said...

I love Tea tree for a vast many things! I use it for zits, for cleaning wounds, for sunburns, for mold removal. Ohh! I love tea tree! Thanks for reminding me!

I hadn't heard about the sweet orange oil in the baking soda. I will have to do that. Thanks!!

XOXO love ya girl!

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