Posts tagged cleanser

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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Get Beautiful with Baking Soda

I absolutely love baking soda. I used it for everything. I brush my teeth with it (with either peroxide or lemon juice for whitening power!), use it for antacid (works great and saves $$), use it as a mild abrasive household cleaner, use it in the cat boxes to reduce the ammonia stink and I rinse my sinuses with it (you need a neti pot). But it has a large list of other uses, many of which don’t matter to me personally for various reasons but may be of use to you. And this has nothing to do with making biscuits or tortillas (which you may use it for if you like!).

You can buy any brand of baking soda, whatever is cheapest, it’s all the same basic ingredient and just doesn’t vary from brand to brand. If there are additives, avoid it! Pure sodium bicarbonate is all you want or need. You can get a basic version store brand at almost any store, from Dollar General to Walmart. Or you can just go with old fashioned, old faithful, Arm and Hammer. I buy several boxes every couple of weeks and usually get them on a 2-for-1 deal. You just can’t beat the price.

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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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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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New Beauty Secret: Marijuana

I saw this on the local news and found it fascinating. It’s about time that science applies itself to herbs, including illegal ones like Marijuana. And so the local station is reporting this great new find and I wanted to pass it along. Credit goes to WFTV-9, Orlando, Fla.

According to the newscast, a report in the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology delivered the news that our body not only makes chemical compounds similar to the active ingredient in marijuana (THC), but these play an important part in maintaining healthy skin.

This report was put together from findings of Scientists from Hungary, Germany and the UK and could lead to could lead to new drugs that treat skin conditions ranging from acne to dry skin, and even skin-related tumors.

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Herbal Antibacterials and Disinfectants

We have all become really dependent upon antibacterial properties in just about everything we use. Even though they say that overexposure to antibacterial elements makes us more receptive to bacteria and also creates resistant strains in the environment, I just don’t feel right about cleaning without it. Conversely, I feel that as long as I do use antibacterial stuff I can do just about anything I want! Whether or not this is true and it’s very likely not true, I am still committed to antibacterial properties in my cleaning supplies.

The thing that does concern me, however, is the toxic chemicals that are being added to those products in order to create an “antibacterial” cleaning product. Isn’t there another, more natural, less toxic way to reduce bacteria in our environment? I mean, doesn’t nature have something out there that will kill or, at least, put a damper on bacteria? Being a herbalist and naturalist, I always go here first. And once I did, I found some great, inexpensive and long lasting substitutes for chemical antibacterials. Here are a few new recipes for all of you to try!

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5 Non Toxic Laundry Solutions

One of the most rewarding ways to go green is in the laundry room. As a person with allergies to fragrances and sensitives to dyes and chemical additives, I could not get a decent nights sleep or be able to wear my clothes without non toxic solutions. Many chemicals and additives in cleaning products do more than make your skin red or itch. Many of them are know for disrupting your central nervous system, altering brain function, irritating the sinuses and lungs as well as affecting mood. If you can’t sleep or find yourself nervous or cloudy a lot of the time with no discernible reason, the culprit may be chemicals in your clothing you have applied during washing.

As it is you are breathing this stuff all day long and it’s seeping into your pores with body fluids and sweat. If you aren’t allergic, chances are you have no idea how this stuff is affecting you. If you really want to change the foundations of your life and achieve a higher state of health and well being, you have to start at the bottom. Your clothing is a part of that foundation; in fact, it is something you cannot live without and are exposed to 24/7. So what is so bad about the chemicals in your laundry soap? And what are the reasons for making the switch? Hang on, I’m going to tell you all about it. And I’m also going to tell you how you can make the change.

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Chemical Free Stain Removal

I thought it might be a good idea to present some natural, non toxic methods for removing common stains. I worked in a hotel laundry many years back and there was a quota there for stained linens. Every so many linens we saved from the trash we would get bonuses on our paychecks. Needless to say, our supervisor considered herself the “queen of stain removal” and had a method for everything. Of course, many of these methods involved chemicals and toxic elements. And bleach was not a favorite, although you might think it would be. It slowly destroyed the towels and thinned the sheets so that their lifetime use was shortened and resulted in a cash loss. In reality we never used bleach except in last ditch efforts with large blood stains or excessively moldy shower curtains, when the choice was either taking drastic measures or tossing the item out. Overall, we used gentler, kinder methods in order to save the linens.

Being a herbalist and naturalist I was eager to find non toxic and less destructive methods of taking out stains. The first rule of thumb in all cases is an easy one. Do not run an item through the wash and then the drier without first removing the stains. Once set in, they are high impossible to remove. Bleach won’t even do the trick once a fabric has been “set in” by washing and drying. Always treat for stains before washing and do it as soon as possible; it is always easier when the stain itself is fresh. In fact, wet stains, including blood and grape juice, will mostly come out with a flush of cool water if the stain is still wet and fresh. But even then, with wet blood or wine, most of the liquid will wash out but will often leave a “ring”. I have no idea why that is, I just know it from seeing it time and again. So even those items will require a “pre treatment” for stains before being dropped in the machine. Here are some basic guidelines and simple, non toxic methods for getting out most stains.

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Green Cleaning Myths Debunked

I know that everyone would love to go green and to live a more simple lifestyle but it seems to be harder than it looks. People say they want fuel efficient cars and to reduce carbon emissions and they have been saying this for years and yet the sales of these kind of cars has risen very slowly and not largely enough to motivate car makers. In fact, everyone was buying SUVs just a year or two ago, pumping hundreds of dollars of gas into their machines without complaining.

And I also know that most people want to “green up” their health and the environment, but there are so many myths and disinformation running around out there that most of them get frozen in their tracks. Just look at the number: 84 percent of consumers are interested in eco-friendly cleaners, but only 31 percent have bought one in the last 12 months. Vegetable-based cleaners are less than one percent of the $11 billion U.S. market for the cleaning supplies. People are still buying Lysol and Pledge and not making the big switch.

Here are the most common myths and disinformation regarding non-toxic cleaning, which are the likely reasons people don’t make the leap. See if one of them is stalling you:

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