Posts tagged safe

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 Sunscreens Effective or Dangerous?

Sunscreens have a history of being greatly desired, on the one hand, and generally feared, on the other. This is because everyone has become convinced that sun exposure causes skin cancer and sunscreens are the only remedy for this while, at the same time, coming to the realization that sunscreens are made up of unnatural chemicals and additives that are suspected of toxicity. Very few of us remember this, but the very first sunscreen made for public use was made up of red vetinary petrolatum (yes, I said vetinary) and it was just a horrible, sticky goop that wasn’t proven to do much of anything. And, yet, it was the only product offered at the time. In contrast, today we have more than 500 choices for sunscreen, mostly because people have become terrified of sun exposure and this has carved out a an enormous wallet in the market.

But regardless of the fact that we have come to believe that sun exposure causes skin cancer and sun screens are somehow a miraculous barrier to that exposure, and thereby desired and, in some cases necessary, tools in the summer safety kit, the only thing that sunscreens are truly proven to do is prevent sunburn. In fact, according to the FDA’s 2007 draft sunscreen safety regulations, the “FDA is not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer.” The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) agrees with this and, in fact, they recommend clothing, hats and shade as primary barriers to UV radiation. Their materials also say that “sunscreens should not be the first choice for skin cancer prevention and should not be used as the sole agent for protection against the sun. In other words, there is NO PROOF that sunscreen prevents skin cancer.

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Natural Teeth Whitening Experiment Update

I wrote an article here awhile ago about natural methods of whitening teeth. I do believe that natural methods are far more desirable than chemical commercial products that are known to be toxic and are even banned in other countries. In many of these countries, they have government funded health care and they do not want to pay for all the teeth at break, crack or shatter after the enamel has been stripped by these commercial “whiteners”. But beside this fact and whether or not you base judgements on the actions of other countries or whether or not you approve of government funded health care, the down skinny is that these products don’t work. I have friends that have used just about every one of them, from the high dollar bleaches to the Wal-Mart brand whitening toothpastes. And everyone is saying that none of them work and the results are even more disappointing if you drink tea, red wine, coffee, chew tobacco or smoke cigarettes or cigars. I, myself, have tried a few of these in passing over time but was always hesitant because I am one of those who cares about toxins and when my Dentist told me, himself, that these products were toxic I feel the choice was the right one.

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Natural Sources of Energy & Vitality

Now that summer is almost here and things are heating up all over, we are all busy getting busy all the time. Aren’t there just about a million things you want to do? A million dreams to be fulfilled before the cold comes back, dreams to be managed around the things you have to do and those things that pop up out of the blue every day. So what do you need more than anything right now? Energy! Energy is one of the biggest selling concepts in America today. Energy drinks are just the tip of the iceberg with a huge legal market for various “boosts” and a growing illegal drug culture devoted to energy drugs like Cocaine, Crack and Meth. No matter how you shake it out, everybody is looking for some zip.

So how is it going for you? Are you barely dragging out of bed every day, driven by the need to make some money and to have some fun.. but you’re not sure you can do it all? Do you crash out in the afternoon, nodding over your desk or behind the wheel, dreaming about a big, hot cup of java? Or are you just feeling tired all the time, the entire day crawling by in an agonizing anticipation of a good nights sleep, which you never seem able to attain? If any of this is true for you, you are not alone. Fatigue is the second most common complaint to doctors in North America. Everybody else is just as tired as you are, so don’t feel bad.

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Insomnia Cure: Homemade Sleep Pillows

I am sure you’ve heard of herbal sleep pillows. There was a popularity surge a few years back and a lot of people were making and selling them. But I think the popularity waned because of the way they were presented. There was no flexibility and you could only buy a pillow in whatever herb they offered, mostly Chamomile. Also, the pillows were small and made for insertion into your current bed pillow, dimming the scent and lowering the effect. If you bought some of the paper stuffed sachets they were selling for use as pillow inserts you would have been really unhappy. Crunchy, stiff and not strong smelling, they were a waste of money.

But what about making sleep pillows for yourself and your family? You do not have to be a seamstress or crafter to do this, I can hardly sew a hem straight and I can do it. In fact, I have made everything from sleep pillows to fabric sachets and I have loved the results. You can do the same for very little cost, very little aptitude and very little trouble. Let me show you how.

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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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Spring Project: Keeping the Bugs Out

Although not everybody is worried about being kind to insects almost everyone is worried about the dangerous poisons in the insecticides they use to get rid of the things. Either way, whether it’s compassion or fear, most of us have an interest in a safer, kinder, less toxic method of ridding ourselves of pests. I, for one, have had problems with how to handle bugs for a very long time. In some cases, I feel horrible about the insect (such as bees, wasps and other flying winged creatures like moths as well as some crawling insects that aren’t too ugly) and just can’t bring myself to kill it. Other, uglier and nastier, bugs like cockroaches and beetles make a big splat mess when killed and I despise the smell as well as I am allergic to their debris. So I hate stomping on them. I end up chasing most bugs around with a towel trying to trap them and toss them outside.

But I have had infestations in some of the rentals I have moved into. And these are nice places. They are just infested with bugs. Our previous unit had an explosion in roaches, German Cockroaches, which were nigh impossible to rid of. I spent tons of cash on special poisons like MaxForce and Raid Pro just to watch them step over the gel and continue raiding my kitchen. I ended up killing as many as twenty at a time with a fly swatter. And then push came to shove, we moved. I was successful at leaving the monsters behind after many hours of careful packing and unpacking only to have a flea infestation outbreak in the new digs. OMG, I spent endless hours trying to kill those things! I now have it under control but only after a litany of poisons, fogs and sprays where I can to empty my room, ban the pets, leave it on for hours and hours and then vacuum repeatedly and move everything back in. After exhausting rows with many a poison I still had fleas all over me. The only thing that finally worked was a natural miracle, Diatomaceous Earth. I have left the stuff in my carpets to this day and nary a flea!

Anyways, as you can see I have some experience with bugs. I think we all have. You don’t have to live in the slums to have roaches walking on your table. And once they arrive and move in, they are hard to evict. What has always amazed me is that the final solution, the one that really worked in most cases, was a natural, safe, non toxic one. So don’t believe the hype of the chemical manufacturers that you have to use deadly poisons. It just isn’t true. In the case of fleas, I highly recommend Diatomaceous Earth. Sprinkle it on and leave it. It takes a few days but they will be gone… I can promise you. I had a million and now there are none. And the same is true of other pest control. You can do it with natural and non toxic elements such as the Fossil Shell Flour I used. But the very best way is to ward them off to begin with which should be done all the time even if you do not see a bug yet. By practicing good, safe and non toxic repellent methods you can be sure you will not have bugs to begin with.

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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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