Sunday, September 2, 2012

The safe and toxic free home: Laundry

For a quick overview article of toxic things in your home, and why they are toxic click here.
For an article on a study of products in the home and their toxicity click here. (Be warned, it may frighten you)

As I think back to when I first started helping my mom do laundry, the scent of Tide comes straight to my mind. This was back when we hadn't started using the clothes line, and my mom didn't react to chemicals like she dose now. However, when my mom started to become more educated from reading her many diet and health books over the years she started using a natural laundry detergent from the health foods store. Eventually she decided to get a clothes line, for the extra sunshine and to help the planet, even if it was just a baby step. My memories of helping my mom with the laundry as a middle schooler and up is of carrying the load out to the line, and hanging it up with her. She did the long and bulky things, and I did the many socks, t-shirts, and other lighter things. I absolutely LOVE the smell of the clothes when they come off the line. They even keep there lovely scent for a while after being hung up. Now the smell of Tide and other such products give me a headache and make me sneeze. If, and only when forced, when we go down the soap isle in most stores, we jog through. If we don't my mom's throat starts closing up and we both get major headaches.

Many people (from what I have read in articles and books) have headaches, chronic headaches in fact, from the fragrances that they ware. Not just perfume, but in their deodorants, lotions, and laundry soaps as well. Personally I think that this is so sad, that people willingly but oftentimes unknowingly subject themselves to pain in this way. Not only can you have reactions like headaches, but the toxins in your soaps, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets can cause throat, eye, and skin irritation, cancer, respiratory problems, and disruption of the endocrine system. Some are neurotoxins, some cause cellular changes, and others may cause mutations. (Personally I would rather not have my body mutated, my brain toxified, my cells modified, or have asthma, headaches, and all these other problems inflicted onto my body! Thank you very much.) Many of these chemicals are carcinogens (hazardous air pollutants) that are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to have no save exposure level. Which means that we are exposing ourselves and our children to chemicals that are in no way safe, ever.

"A University of Washington study of top-selling laundry products and air fresheners found the products emitted dozens of different chemicals. All six products tested gave off at least one chemical regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws, but none of those chemicals was listed on the product labels."-ScienceDaily (July 24, 2008) 

No laws exist in the United States that protect us from these products. The government doesn't even require that they label any harmful chemicals. You may read fragrance, and that can be any number of petroleum based chemicals soaking into your skin and reeking havoc on your body. Once while my mom was at work, she picked up the Pine-Sole bottle to read the ingredients. This cleaning product had bean bothering her for some time. Upon reading the ingredients to her shock, and mine it read secret ingredients. WHat! I mean really! Now I believe that the labeling has changed, but dose include fragrance. The only ingredient actually listed that isn't harmful is the Water.

 I encourage you to buy natural soaps, or make your own, and to not use toxic  fabric softener or dryer sheets. Both of them can be made naturally.  Be warned about washing soda if you do make your own, it can be quite harmful, causing many of the same problems you can and will find in the toxic soaps you are trying not to use.

I must warn you also about Borax. My mom doesn't like using it in things that you put on your skin, like soaps or lotions, and personally I don't see the point of it in lotion anywise. She is very, very sensitive to chemicals so she simply doesn't want to risk it. Now she wont have a problem, but she used to have major issued before she started doing hair without harmful products. Most people wont have a problem with it, but if you are way overloaded with toxins, and say you are detoxing out your sin in the form of a rash/pimple type deal, and you have some open soars, then please read up on borax and any other thing you might put on your skin (this includes non organic materials that have fire retardants and such). Borax works great at removing stains (even blood) from carpets and is awesome when mixed with powdered sugar to get rid of ants, but if you put it on your skin it may cause skin irritation. Also if you in hail it repeatedly it is not good for you lungs.  Basically it would be like inhaling baking soda, or putting Baking Soda on your skin. Borax doesn't cause long term damage, nor dose it build up in your system over time. It dose not penetrate your skin easily at all, unlike many, many other products in cleaning supplies.  However if you ingest it repeatedly (for some strange reason you may find the urge to do this) it might cause reproductive problems. (They fed it to mice to see what it did and they had some reproductive problems that may have bean caused by repeated Borax feedings. Wow, is that a strange thing to do or what? Who would eat that! I guess those ants in my pantry would if it tastes sweet enough.) Overall, if you want to use Borax but are apprehensive, do more research. Google tends to be  very user friendly. But, if you want to try it, then I really don't see any problems that you should come across. Personally I prefer something that isn't toxic to not soak into my skin, than something that is toxic to soak into my skin.
Well, have fun making soaps, or discovering the new world of the health foods store's isle of cleaning products that are far nicer to your body, and if you are with child, your babies body (seeing as how if you change to toxic free things your baby will have a higher chance of coming out with all of it's parts. Esp if it's a boy...if you get my drift, if not, email me and we can have a little chat.)

I use: Soap Nuts just nuts from and African tree. Works and smells amazing! You can use it as people soap too. put it in those scrubby bags that people put soap bars in, and scrub yourself. Then throw the bag in with your laundry to wash the clothes. (Great when traveling.) I also use Seventh Generation. I don't use fabric softener of dryer sheets. I just don't see the point, and i think my clothes feel better without them. Also I no longer have a dryer, so that could be part of it... The only reason why I use the Seventh Generation as well as the soap nuts, is because my father-in-law buys it. We share a washer, and since it is my bathroom he buys the soap. So for now I use the soap nuts for my underthings and dedicates. I just like the feel and smell better, and it seems to be more gentle. When I use the Seventh Generation I use like half or less of what it recommends. It cleans the clothes better, and my washing machine manufacturer says to use less, and I happen to like that rule.

More info:
Fabric softener recipe  laundry detergent (you can use baking soda instead of washing soda) dryer sheet made with natural fabric softener  you can make a dryer sheet with non bleached muslin and a couple drops of essential oil.

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