Day 19 Tips and Tricks for Sofa Heroes: Non-Toxic Home
|Rounding the final bend - fundraising for The OHC Foundation|
It's day 19 and I want to offer some options for non-toxic home care.
If you have any kind of compromised immune system or multiple chemical sensitivities (very common in chronic or severe illness) it's important not to overload the system with more than it needs to deal with. Home cleaning products can be very harsh and full of chemicals that just make it harder for our body to heal if we're breathing in or absorbing more difficult ingredients to filter out.
I noticed huge neurological symptoms especially after using anything with bleach - and now that I've switched most everything out cleaning is a lot less risky business for me!
Around the house
One of the toughest things to remove and replace are all our products that include fragrance ingredients (parfum, perfume, aroma). This is important to do because this ingredient is one of the most un-regulated ingredients out there - the word "fragrance" is a loophole to protect companies' "trade secrets".
I like using Beeswax candles and have tried a couple of essential oil options. Beeswax candles can eliminate odors without fragrance, are long burning, and don't go bad.
I have a humidifying diffuser for essential oils but am not over the moon about it yet. Double check the ingredients on your essential oil products as well. I'd love to hear your favorite options.
I have only just begun dabbling in the world of essential oils - so I don't have brand recommendations yet - if you have any counter knowledge about them being a safer "fragrance", or have good recommendations, do let me know in the comments.
Dr. Bronner's castile soap can be used for all kinds of things - laundry, surface cleaning, dishes - check out the wide range of their awesome products. 18-in-One! I get mine through BigGreenSmile in the UK, they sell it also at Whole Foods.
I'm a huge fan of the "magic eraser" product that just uses water and it's special texture to scrub out marks and messes without abrasion. There's a lot of different brands of this type of sponge and all the ones I've tried have been great. Flash, JML, and Mr. Clean all have their own versions.
Another dish soap I like as well (I hand-washed dishes for the last 4 years!) Marcel's Green Soap, and now for my new dishwasher (omygawd so thankful for a dishwasher) Bio-D Dishwasher Powder and the rinse aid - I'm still playing around with this as we have very hard water and I think it needs a little help, but it works just fine.
Speaking of hard water, I found a little Ecozone Magnoball which apparently attracts the limescale - I use it in the dishwasher and the washing machine to assist with the hard water.
I've replaced my laundry detergent with Soap Nuts (I've also used the liquid version, Soap Flakes, which works just as well), which is actually also a lot cheaper than detergent. You don't get the fragrance with it, but there are some tips on using essential oils in your dryer (or spritz on when hanging on the line). If you have hard water (like most of the UK!) you can add white wine vinegar to the detergent or rinse box - and the scent of vinegar is washed out.
Skip fabric softener and dryer sheets - advice from Scientific American (critical caps on - just do your best).
In the dryer I use these dryer cubes instead of dryer sheets to minimize static and wrinkles and even decrease drying time!
Replace plastic tupperware with glass options - they'll last longer and are usually microwave and dishwasher safe.
Try replacing plastic baggies and cellophane or foil with reusable beeswax food wraps - I haven't had a chance to try this yet but look forward to - have any of you tried them? What do you think?
In the UK shop The Wise House
Made in the UK Buzzcloth
Vinegar and baking soda (washing soda - sodium bicarbonate) have many many home and body uses!
Click here for the many cleaning vinegar
Click here for the many cleaning uses of baking soda
If you're in the USA - my sister enjoys the products from H2O at Home - and has home cleaning products that just take water as well as essential oil home fragrance options. It can be a bit pricey and you need to find a sales rep to buy, but might be worth checking out.
And FINALLY I want to offer the advice - Don't be afraid to hire cleaners - even maybe for a couple hours once a month - it can be a godsend to finally admit you are worth getting help. You don't have to smell the fumes or exert the energy that you don't have.
Ask for help - that's a great piece of advice (and a hard practice to work through!) for any spoonie. My boyfriend and I do not have a lot of extra resources going around - money is tight for lots of spoonies because we usually can't work a regular job - but if you can mindfully make the choice to spend a few dollars instead of the energy, I think it's completely worth it.
(also - let go of the need for everything to be clean all the time :D)
Let me know your favorite household tips in the comments!
I'm doing 30 days of Tips and Tricks for Sofa Heroes to raise money for The Optimum Health Clinic Foundation. Click Here to help my fundraiser on Just Giving!
Go to Day 1 for the full table of contents