April 2018

Naturally Clean

Author: Becca Edwards

Ironically, many of our cleaning products litter us with toxins. According to the Consumer Protection Agency, “One hundred and fifty chemicals found in the home are connected to allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological disorders.” In his book Raising Children Toxic Free, Dr. Herbert L. Needleman wrote, “Since 1950, at least 70,000 new chemical compounds have been invented and dispersed into our environment. Only a fraction of these have been tested for human toxicity. We are, by default, conducting a massive clinical toxicology trial, and our children and their children are the experimental animals.”

Some of the more known toxic substances are ammonia (which should not be used by people suffering from asthma), sodium hydroxide or lye (which can burn the skin, eyes and throat), and chlorine (which, in high doses, can cause respiratory and thyroid issues). Below are some of the lesser known but equally harmful ingredients and all-natural alternatives for true clean living this spring:

Flagrant Fragrances
Many fragranced products like air fresheners and even toilet paper contain phthalates. You are not going to see phthalates listed in your product’s ingredient list, but if you’re not using a truly green product, know it might be in there and can cause problems like low sperm count.

Alternative: A diffuser with five to 10 drops of your favorite essential oil (preferably doTERRA or Young Living) generates a cleaner and better smelling environment. These oils can also be used for specific purposes like lifting your mood (e.g., peppermint), promoting focus (e.g., wild orange) and fighting germs (e.g., doTERRA’s On Guard blend).

Air freshener recipe:
Diffuse a blend of five drops of rosemary essential oil and five drops of lemon essential oil.
Not So Perky PERC

PERC stands for perchloroethylene and is a neurotoxin and EPA-classified “possible carcinogen” found in many dry-cleaning solutions, spot removers, and carpet and upholstery cleaners.

Alternative: Different stains require different stain removers, so there’s no one cure all (although Whole Foods sells Ecover which works pretty well on most stains). For example, club soda gets rid of red wine stains but makes ink stains worse. Try having the following on hand: white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, lemon juice and non-toxic dishwashing soap (e.g., Seventh Generation).

Stain Remover Recipe:
1 ½ cups water
1/4 cup Dr. Bronner’s castile soap
1/4 cup liquid vegetable glycerin
10 drops lemon essential oil

Tricky Triclosan
This antibacterial agent is found in liquid dishwashing detergents and hand soaps and might actually promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. Triclosan might also disrupt endocrine function and be a carcinogen.
Alternative: doTERRA’s On Guard foaming hand wash contains antimicrobial essential oils like cinnamon and clove. You can also easily make your own hand wash.

Hand Soap Recipe:
½ cup Dr. Bronner’s castile soap
½ cup distilled water
1 tablespoon vitamin E oil
1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
10 drops melaleuca or tea tree essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops cilantro essential oil

Becca Edwards is a wellness professional, freelance writer, and owner of b.e.WELL+b.e.CREATIVE (bewellbecreative.com).

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