Posts tagged cleaning

How to Make Your Own Natural, Non Toxic Shampoos

Although most people are happy with the huge array of choices we have in our department stores and find that most commercial products work well for them, there are many of us who find hair care challenging and difficult. For me, it’s an allergy to fragrances and a sensitivity to chemical additives. If I use the wrong shampoo, my head itches, flakes, gets a rash and sometimes burns for long periods of time, even as long it might take me to wash the residue out with another shampoo. So my search for shampoo has become a real challenge. I just can’t use whatever my sister leaves in the shower. Mine has to be fragrance free, without dyes or chemicals and usually has to have organic ingredients. Same for my hair color. I have found a few products that work for both purposes, dyeing and washing, but they are expensive and I have to order them online. In the meantime, I have come up with a lot of homemade alternatives and most of them are really good.

In my next post, I will give recipes for making homemade rinses and conditioners. I am also working on an ebook about homemade hair dyes and the methods for using them. Here, in this post, I want to share some of my recipes for homemade shampoos. These are safe, non toxic, hypoallergenic, easy to make and to make adjustments to. You will see when you get started on the recipes and after you use this stuff, you may be inclined to give up the commercial chemical based products you’ve been using most of your life.

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Natural Safe Ways to Freshen the Air

The smells inside our caves can get pretty rank, even if we’re really clean and neat. I am constantly cleaning myself and the trash alone makes the living room smell like a dumpster. And then there’s the cat boxes in the bedrooms, the left over lingering odor from several cooked meals a day, the smelly shoes that my sister loves to leave all over the place.. etc.. You get the picture. You know it in your own home. The temptation to grab the Lysol or the Febreze is almost overwhelming. I am guilty of this, too. When the cats make a mess or my father spills his coffee, I reach for a can. The couch actually smells like a Febreze factory. But I am a hypocrite because I am a believer and a promoter of natural living and this is a far cry from natural. Chemical fragrances are dangerous. I have already done a post on that and you can read it HERE. So why would I use them? Oh, they are convenient and I am so busy. It is much faster to grab a can and spray than it is to devise another solution at the moment. But it really isn’t all that hard to fix this problem and I am going to start doing it this weekend.

In the past, I have also turned to candles and incense. This has been a time honored international tradition that we borrowed from the Middle East and Asia. But it’s a dangerous one. The smoke from these burning scents are dangerous for our lungs, sinuses and overall health. I discovered my chronic sinus problems at the time were caused by the smoke from the incense I loved so much. So I just don’t recommend Incense. Candles have been proven to cause cancer in much the same way cigarettes do. It is not a good idea to stand around burning candles or to suck in the fragrance from a burning candle, no matter how lovely that fragrance is. So I am not going to recommend using candles or incense to solve odor problems.

But I do I have some great ideas for odor control. Some require recipes while others require a simple change of habit. Some of the things we get used to doing day after day make the matter worse. I, myself, get into habits and patterns that I am reluctant to change because I think it’s going to be hard or tiring or take up too much time. Don’t wait until you are sweating over the broom or the vacuum before thinking about making a change. Get started while you are sitting around or planning your day. The most important part of any change is making the mental note and the decision to do it. We gear up for change, toy with it in our minds, work up the energy and determination needed for it. But the decision to start is a big step. Once you focus yourself on the change needed, you will eventually find yourself just doing it. So let’s get started today!

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Natural Cleaning for Spring

If you are like me, you are looking forward to Spring for the new blooming flowers, the heated sunshine, the wildlife emerging from their long hibernation and open windows ushering in fresh air. But when I open our windows I see dust flying. When the sunshine comes pouring in I see the dirt bunnies and the crumb stashes in the dark places. A lot of this stuff is leftover from the holidays! Boy does that sofa have some body oil stains on the arms! And I cannot believe there are old potato chips behind the entertainment center. All winter long our home is like a dark cave. Now the sunshine is revealing way too many blemishes and I am not looking forward to cleaning.

One of things I hate about spring cleaning is the cost of the new supplies. Floor cleaners, furniture wax, rug shampoo, upholstery cleaner, bathtub scrub, window wash and air fresheners! Not only does this stuff put a huge dent in my wallet but it ends up adding tons of chemicals to our home environment. I hate the residue. I have to wipe the furniture down every time I walk past it just because I can see that oily sheen. This year I am passing on air fresheners altogether. The effect is only temporary while the lingering spray ends up all over the house, on surfaces. And it makes me sneeze. So this year I am trying some new ideas. I thought I’d share them with you. Here are some great recipes for natural cleaning alternatives. Some of them will save you money, some won’t. But all of them will help detox your home after the long winter has passed.

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Are Antibacterial Soaps Dangerous?

It seems like you can’t even buy a soap that isn’t “antibacterial” anymore and often that those soaps are cheaper than the others! Indeed, it seems like antibacterial soap is everywhere now, in everything from shampoo to bar soaps. The idea is that we are crawling with germs and this stuff will keep us from getting sick. However, being an old lady these days I remember a time before they invented this stuff and I don’t recall being sick all the time. So are they really an upgrade in our lifestyles or is this just overkill?

Well, according to doctors in hospitals all across the country there is growing concern over “antibiotic resistance” which is fast becoming more dangerous than the germs themselves. We have developed antibiotic resistant bacteria that are responsible for killer diseases like MRSA and flesh eating bacteria. The general consensus is that factory farming is to blame for this with the non stop treatment of farm animals to prevent infections. But there is also a concern over the use of antibacterial soaps and sprays. Our immune systems need to be exposed to germs in order to develop resistance to them.. and the current rage over antibacterial environments does not allow that to happen.

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Dump Your Dish Detergent!

There is a new product out there that you guys should know about. It is a new natural dish scrub made from various natural elements like corn and peach pits. This in lieu of using sponges or greenie meanies or other items meant to be used with dish detergent. These new little goodies do not need detergent to work. I can vouch for that because I have used one of them and am so far very impressed. First of all, let’s get the endorsement thing straight on the front end. These people linked to my blog because I had an article on the dangers of dish detergent and they found this valuable to their customers. They did not ask me to review this product on the blog. But I did ask if I could try one and they did send me one for free. And that is the end of my relationship with them. But here is what I thought when I used their product.

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Wash Your Clothes in Green Soap

I have done a lot of posts in the past that have covered the area of cleaning the home and doing it in an environmentally safe and non toxic fashion. But there is always more to discuss, as the concept of cleaning goes beyond just scrubbing the tub and scraping the stove. You also clean your clothes, your body and the outside area of your residence. In truth, all of this cleaning requires chemicals of various kinds and even the stuff you are sudsing up with in the shower can be toxic both to the planet and to you.

Consider first the washing of clothes. Did you know that only the toilet wastes more water than the washing machine in the average household? It’s that wasteful… and expensive! And as that water drains out, it takes with it the chemicals from your laundry detergent. This means they end up in the drinking water supply and how do they clean drinking water? With chlorine and other chemicals, all of which amplify the toxicity of the detergents you use. While popular, name brand detergents do a great job cleaning your clothes, they also do major damage in the environment. They also have an effect on you and your family, either on the front end where they contact your flesh through the wearing of the washed clothing… or on the other end where they end up in your glass.

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How to Avoid Toxic Products

If I was going to eliminate only the worst toxic stuff from my world because, let’s say, it was too expensive, complicated or uncomfortable to work my way through ALL of it, then which ones would I choose? How would I know which ones were the worst and how would I find them in that pile of junk I have around me that I’ve become dependent upon and used to? Well, I know that this is a daunting task and it could take a novice years to get up to snuff, as well as taking many months to work the bad stuff out and to find new.

So knowing this and thinking about how people are, I thought it might be a good idea to give a list that people could write down, print out or record for future reference. A simple enough list to be added to the grocery and household shopping lists. So I came up with a “worst chemicals in the world” type of list with the names they go by on the labels you read so that you can snoop them out in your buying expeditions. I also give a short description of what they do and why there are bad for you so that you can understand that this is important. So get your pen, open your text document or start the voice recorder. Here they are:

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A Tough Non Toxic Cleaning Solution

It is always a dilemma for those of us who want our world to be clean and really clean when faced with choices of what to use while considering both our own health and our environment. I have found, over the years, that many cleaning products sold in retail stores are sensitizing at the least, generally toxic and often downright dangerous. As a young woman, I made my living cleaning other people’s houses and made quite a good living at it. It was hard work, of course, but not bad for your health in that regard. Yet I was exposed to some of the most dangerous solutions made by man; germicidal algae destroyers, scum strippers, wax removers, wood stains, aluminum greasers and shiners, as well as the regular old poisons, bleach and ammonia. I remember smoking my cigarette through bleached white fingers. And, over time, I would get dizzy, nauseous, light headed, breathless and downright stupid, just out of the blue and often after scrubbing down a couple of houses. In time, even our customers began to complain. Being clean, I learned over time, did not necessarily mean sandblasting the world with chemicals.

Of course, smoking didn’t help, either. Thank God I was able to quit.. and no longer do it. So no comments about that, please! And look for my future post, coming up shortly, on the toxic chemicals in cigarettes and some natural, non toxic and herbal recipes for your own safer, cheaper, homemade cigarette. But it wasn’t until cleaning chemicals became a real problem for my health that I began to make different choices. It is just too easy to snatch up the bottle of ammonia to clean the windows and the bleach to clean up the countertops. Commerical products are cheap and accessible, ready to use and easy to store. Just push a button or pull a trigger and wipe! Wow. Everything is clean… and possibly dangerous. If you are curious about what I am talking about here, then read my posts on detergents , air fresheners and dangerous chemicals and how they affect you and your family. And when you are ready to consider a simple, easy, inexpensive and non toxic solution that will tackle just about every cleaning problem you have, then read on. I even have a recipe for you to try today.

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How to Green Spring Cleaning 2009

It’s that time of year again! Time to crawl out of the heated house into the sunlight of the natural world and start tending the garden and cleaning up the home. I always loved spring cleaning when I lived alone because it was so easy! But now that I have a house full and I’m the “house spouse” of the crowd, it is a lot more work. So I have a method of working through it while thinking about the planet at the same time, a sort of “ritual” that makes it all happen faster. I thought I’d share that method along with some great ideas that can be modified to suit your individual situations. And hopefully this will help your spring cleaning go green.

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How to Detox Your Home

The air inside your home can be toxic. It can even be more dangerous to your heath that the sooty, pollen laden air outside your front door. This is because we go for long periods without opening windows or circulating air. In the winter, we rely on dry, overheated air that disperses dust and debris everywhere and in the summer, we rely on moldy, wet air conditioners that cause bronchitis and strange infections like legionnaires’ disease. As global warming marches forward, the winters will get colder and drier and the summers will be blazing. Humidity levels are dropping worldwide because of the lack of rain and this is causing the faster dispersion and wider spread of pollutants and air born toxins.

Overall, this closed up air and temperature control that we rely on is also why the air in your home likely contains two to five times as many pollutants as outdoor air, according to an estimate by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And if you’ve been working with harsh chemicals, such as paint strippers, the air in your home may be one thousand times more toxic than the air outside during and immediately after the procedure. And if you rarely open your windows, double that time span and add hours to any application of cleaning chemicals, beauty products or household toxins like pest control sprays. They literally circulate throughout your home over and over again, looking for enough fresh air to disperse themselves. Without it, they hang like a cloud.

But don’t let me scare you too bad. There are solutions to this problem, a form of detox for your home. So you don’t need to wear a gas mask all day or run outside every few minutes to gasp “fresh air”. Just follow my hints and take the steps necessary to clean the air in your home. I will clue you in on the most common offenders of air quality and what you can do to reduce their effects.

But before you don a gas mask and hunker down in a closet, realize that there are steps you can take to clear the air in your home. Below, the typical offenders and how you can minimize your risk:

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