7 Ways to Develop a Chemical-Free Home
By B4BC Wellness Ambassador Megan Pischke
I don’t know about you, but the smell of Febreeze, cleaning agents with bleach, or anything that smells like flowery chemicals just doesn’t sit right with me. It also gives me a head-ache. For years we have been shown/told/sold products that not only make us sick (literally), but that are detrimental to our planet, inhabitants, waters, and soils. Not to set off a guilt-trip here on myself or any of you, but there are a lot of inexpensive eco-friendly alternatives to your standard cleaning products.
HERE ARE SOME IDEAS:
Baking Soda & Vinegar: My mom taught me this one. It cleans anything and everything. I use it for unclogging drains, for getting rid of stink in compost buckets, for disinfecting toothbrushes after colds and flus, for cleaning my washer and dishwasher, and even for carpet stains.
Washing and drying with locally made organic soaps and detergents: Recognize any ingredients that are a threat to you or your environment by looking them up online. Two that are at the top of my list to avoid are: Diethanolamine and anything with petroleum distillates in it (also called “naphthas”). If you can’t hang your laundry to dry, instead of fabric softeners, my step-mom showed me some really cool wool balls to throw in with your clothes: Woolzies! And when you need to bleach something, use Borax. It is very effective, and eco-friendly compared to petroleum ingredients.
Here’s a recipe for cleaning your windows without Windex:
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 5 cups of warm water
- You can also add cornstarch, but I’ve found that vinegar works fine, especially using with crumpled newspaper.
Pledge? With nervous system and respiratory affects from the fragrance alone, try something different. I have an incredibly dusty house. To start I use a Hepa air filter. Cheap and small and quiet, it helps keep the dust down for sure. But to get your actual dusting done, try water and vinegar (about 10 to 1) in a spray bottle, and use a microfiber cloth. Apparently vinegar kills dust mites too.
Try cleaning your wood/tiles/stone floors with a steamer instead of a Swiffer. Swiffers contain methylisotheazolinone, short for “toxic for your/our water.” Again, you can add vinegar in the water compartment, and the one I have doesn’t even want you to add soap. It’s the steam that kills germs. With two kids, my floors are pretty clean, and definitely safe.
Speaking of floors, what is yours made of? Many carpets and vinyl flooring contain VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), which include formaldehyde. Headaches, asthma attacks, coughing and fatigue are just the beginning. When it is possible for you to make a switch, look into wool carpets/rugs, toxic-free linoleum, and bamboo. And if you’re going to use wood, pick a healthy hardwood without toxic finishes used on it.
We spend on average, 26 years of our life sleeping! So make sure you have a bed that’s not only comfy, but doesn’t give you headaches or keeps you awake at night. Twenty five percent of the world’s pesticides are used for cotton crops. This also means it takes quarter of a pound of pesticides to make just one T-shirt. Definitely GO ORGANIC on your bed. Look for un-bleached organic cottons, organic fills, chemical-free latexes, and organic dyes. Our friends at The Futon Shop in California have the best selection of eco-bedding. Apparently, we also lie awake at night for 7 years of our lives, so minimize this time and have the best sleep on healthy mattress and bedding.