By Karen Trom from the September 2012 Edition
Are you Toxic?
Do you clean, bathe, breathe, and eat? Then the answer is probably yes.
Pretty much everything is our life from our food, our lawns, our house and personal hygiene exposes us to chemicals. Some of these have immediate toxic effects but others are slower, staying in our bodies and becoming toxic after many years of exposure.
Studies now show that this long term exposure is the culprit behind many cancers, allergies, and other human (and pet) health concerns. I’m not talking big time pesticides and other scary stuff; I’m talking simple things like household cleaners, air fresheners, and beauty products. A quick look at the labels will show all the toxins you breathe, touch, and eat all day every day. Will everything harm you? Maybe not, but a lot of it will so why not make some changes?
The internet is full of ideas for reducing and eliminating chemicals, an excellent place to start is http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/view-document.html?gid=11366. You can also find many Really, there are a few items that will take care of everything in your life! White vinegar, Lemon juice, baking soda, vegetable oil, borax, and few other items are cheap but I did have some trouble finding some of them in Manzanillo. Let me know where to find big bottles of Vinagre blanco and the elusive lemon juice. I can find plenty of lime juice but not lemon! I haven’t looked for Borax or washing soda yet so I might bring my own mixture when we drive down in November. Do you think bringing an unlabeled container of white powder into the country will be a problem?
Chemical Free Cleaners
Vinegar is an excellent household cleaner and can be used on most surfaces (except marble) and many fabrics. Vinegar can:
>Kill most molds and mildews if used full strength and allowed to dry, I used it on some moldy patio chairs and it worked like a charm.
>Clean windows – Mix 1 ¼ tablespoons of vinegar to a cup of water and add a couple of drops of liquid detergent.
Window cleaner does not need to be blue or purple to work!
> Clean ceramic and tile floors – add ¼ cup of vinegar to one gallon of water and watch grease and dirt wash away!
No more Cloro on my refinished tile floors. My house keeper loves to use Cloro on everything so it will take some convincing!
> To clean toxins and pesticides off fruit and vegetables soak them in one part white vinegar to 4 parts water for up to an hour, longer for nonorganic apples. (After the bath, take a look at the water. All that cloudy “stuff” would have ended up inside you).
There are entire websites dedicated to the wonders of Baking Soda, here are a few suggestions:
>Baking soda is excellent for deodorizing and neutralizing odors. Use a bowl of baking soda instead of plug-in type air fresheners or sprays.
>Applied directly to a most surfaces, it can be used rather than a scrubbing cleanser.
>Removes odors from rugs and carpets. Let it sit on the rug for a little while to give it time to work before you vacuum it up.
>Make it into a paste and try it on stains
Here is a general cleaner using baking soda to clean most surfaces. Seriously, this is all you need to clean the bathroom and kitchen. Yes, 2 ingredients will do it all.
• 1 quart water
• ¼ cup baking soda
I just used this on a clogged drain and it worked! (Yes, I am still amazed that these recipes really do work with NO chemicals)
Homemade Drain Cleaner
1.Remove all water from the sink or tub and pour about 1 cup of baking soda down the drain. Make sure that baking soda makes it down the drain.
2.Next, pour about 2 Cups of boiling water down the drain. The baking soda mixed with boiling water dissolves the sludge and gunk in the pipe, even if you don’t see it happening. Wait a few minutes.
3.Now, pour another cup baking soda down the drain then add 1 cup of white vinegar and plug the drain immediately. If you’re unclogging a double sink, plug both drains. You’ll hear sizzling coming up from the drain and see bubbles foaming up.
4.When the bubbles have died down, add the remaining boiling water down the drain.
5.Repeat this process if necessary.
6.This works on hair and grease clogs but won’t do anything for tree roots!
Need to clean and polish your woodwork and furniture?
Vegetable oil mixed 2 parts to 1 part lemon juice in a spray bottle works great! For wood floors use 1 tsp. vegetable oil, 1 tsp. vinegar, 1 quart water-Mop and rinse.
What about the yard?
Have you read the warning label on Roundup? Yes, we’ve all used it but that doesn’t mean it’s good for us, our kids, and our pets.
Try this instead:
Non-Toxic Weed Killer
There are variations but this worked for me.
Vinegar, salt, dish soap. Fill your spray container (32-24 oz) almost to the top with vinegar, add ½ cup salt and a squirt of dish soap. Shake it up. Spray it on any unwanted grasses or weeds and let the sun bake it for a few hours. The sun speeds the process but you can do this on a cloudy day as well. Just be careful, it will kill anything so avoid plants that you want to keep alive! The good news? It won’t kill your kids or pets!
I’m going to experiment with some chemical free bug repellent, it has been hot and dry in Wisconsin so we haven’t had many mosquitos (yay!) but the recent rains might give me a chance to test it before heading south. Do you have any recipes for homemade beauty, cleaning, or other household items? Pass them along and I’ll share next month: firstname.lastname@example.org.