During the month of January and continuing throughout the year, I’m excited to share my favorite tips to solve life’s little nuisances — naturally. They’re easy fixes that you can mix up in a matter of minutes – alternatives to store-bought products, which are often loaded with toxic chemicals.
If you’ve been following us, you’ve seen them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. If not, we hope you’ll follow and share them with your family and friends who are also interested in reducing their reliance on chemicals.
We’ll also be giving away lots of earthkind® products throughout the month to followers who share their best tips with us and those who share our tips with others. Thank you for helping us #ClearTheCloud of dangerous toxins in the home!
This weeks’ blog post contains the past four tips, all in one spot:
Remove unhealthy chemicals from clothing.
The most toxic part of clothing comes from fabric treatments. Chemicals (like urea and formaldehyde) that resist flames, moths, soil, winkles, and even water have been impregnated into the fabrics and are often hard to remove. Many of these fabric preservatives are unhealthy for you and the environment. If you notice a really strong smell, your clothing might also be impregnated with long-lasting disinfectants or repellents, which were needed to import them into the country.
For new clothing that might be treated, I sprinkle a cup of baking soda into the washing machine and let the new clothing sit overnight. Then I agitate a couple times if possible, then launder.
Interestingly, most natural materials don’t need chemical treatments. For example, wool doesn’t need flame retardants added because it’s naturally flame retardant, and static cling chemicals are only needed for synthetic materials!
So, what can you do to help the industry reduce the need for the use of chemicals in fabrics? Talk to the catalog & retail managers. Let them know you wish to buy clothing that is procured from manufacturers who use fewer fabric finishes. Organic clothing manufactured in the USA is a safer option when affordable.
Stop odor with lemons.
How to use: Squeeze about a nickel size amount of lemon juice (from a fresh lemon wedge) into a cupped hand. Rub your hands together and simply rub under each of your armpits. The lemon juice will dry quickly. Take caution to do it before you shave. Ouch, that hurts. I only did it once!
Use honey to heal your honey.
People have used honey for centuries, and its health benefits are well known. But did you know that Manuka honey was approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration in 2007 as a recommended option for wound treatment?
Honey’s antibacterial properties come from an enzyme called glucose oxidase, which the worker bees excrete into the nectar. This enzyme releases low levels of hydrogen peroxide when the honey makes contact with your wounds. A chemical reaction between the honey and the tissues also makes the wound smell good. Heated honey will destroy this perishable enzyme which is why you want to only use raw honey for this application.
A study in the International Journal of Lower Extremity Wounds discovered that honey was almost unparalleled to other forms of treatment for burns [22 trials involving 2,062 patients] who were subjected with honey as a wound dressing, the following properties were found:
- Infections were not only cleared, but wounds were protected from spreading bacteria.
- Honey was able to control and eliminate strong odors from wounds.
- Permanent scarring was dramatically reduced.
- Honey promoted anti-inflammatory activity.
Caution: Do not attempt to use regular honey as an option for cuts and scrapes. The high fructose syrup that is abundant in honey is more likely to help spread infection rather than prevent it. Buy honey from local and web retailers you trust, and always seek medical attention when needed.
Fight pollution with plants.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has noted that indoor air quality can be 10x more polluted than the air outside, and the agency considers indoor air quality the nation’s top pollution problem.
Many factors contribute to overall health of indoor air, such as ventilation, your appliances, the number of candles you burn, and synthetic pollutants from paint, carpets, upholstery and furniture finishes. Paying attention to the health of the air around us is important, because most of us spend 90% of our time indoors.
The good news is that plants have the ability to remove harmful compounds from the air through a process called phytoremediation. Plants absorb harmful compounds through their leaves and roots, and naturally filter them out. The microorganisms that live in the soil of potted plants also play a role in neutralizing air pollutants.
Scientists have found the most useful plants at cleaning indoor air include:
- Japanese royal ferns
- Spider plants
- Boston ferns
- Purple waffle plants
- English ivy
- Golden pathos
- Aloe vera
- Peace lilies
- Snake plants
Not only do these houseplants create healthier air, they can bring the outdoors inside and beautify your space. I have relied on plants for decades to do the heavy lifting when it comes to air quality in my home, but for areas where plants can’t survive and areas with no ventilation, I developed a natural alternative that acts in much the same way as a plant, except it’s in a pouch form. earthkind Natural Air Fresheners filter the air naturally using plants and minerals as a filter. I developed this natural solution after we experienced a flood in our farm house (which had a partial dirt floor) and ventilation was not possible. They’re so effective and affordable, that they’ve been a best seller at the Container Store for nearly 10 years.
As always, please leave your comments. Together we all learn more to help us #ClearTheCloud of toxic chemicals in our homes!