Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Detoxing your house-Simple Starts

The first minute of this video says it all, take a look then come back and read on....

It's 9:30 am.  Let's look at what has happened in my house so far today that could lead to toxicity:

Showering, washing dishes, using plastic containers to put food or drink in, sitting on the couch, sitting on stained hardwood chairs, walking across the floor in bare feet, drove Steph to work, drinking unfiltered tap water, sending prepackaged foods (granola bars and yogurt tubes) in kids I think I just scared myself to be honest!

How are these normal daily activities toxic.  Well the driving Steph to work one is easy, the emissions that are put into the air on a daily basis from the use of vehicles is enough to lead to toxicity, that makes sense to all of us.  What a huge part of our population doesn't realize those is that the products we buy and use on a daily basis for basic life are the leading causes of toxicity in our home.

Basically the rule of thumb needs to be....if you wouldn't eat it, don't put it on your skin.  By putting it on your skin I mean: directly via soaps, cosmetics, skin care products, hair care products, cleaning products etc.  Anything that touches our skin can and will be absorbed directly into our blood stream.  Our skin is a our largest organ.  Yes it's the first line of defense, but it is also the most highly abused organ.

Remember these stats from a previous blog....

*Women who use make-up on a daily basis absorb upwards of 5lbs of toxic chemicals a year 
*Men, women and children can absorb up to 3lbs of toxic chemicals a year from using commercial shampoos, bath soaps etc that they use in the shower every day.   

Think about when you're in the shower.  The hot water is opening your pores-which people say is great, helps clean them out.  Fantastic thought, until you coat them with liquid chemicals in the form of the soap you use.  Our skin is like a sponge, it sucks in everything that touches it.

 Hot shower=open pores+shampoo etc=maximum absorption of chemicals in products.

Let's break down the body wash, shampoo and conditioner that was used in my house this am.

**side note so you know how I know these things lol, if you go to the Environmental Working Groups website they have a tonne of great information on pretty much every popular brand of soap, shampoo, conditioner, cleaning product etc that you can find on your grocery store, drug store shelf***

Brand of body wash:  Irish Spring.

here's the link to the product

As you can see the words.....  persistence and bioaccumulation, neurotoxicity, organ system toxicity (non-reproductive) : enhanced skin absorption....those are alllll bad!

Brand of Shampoo and Conditioner (let's hope I fare better on this one cuz it's labelled "With 100% pure olive oil", I am not holding out much hope though after reading the ingredients....

Hmmm the brand isn't  listed in the database, so I'll break it down by ingredients:

Cetyl Alcohol:  scores a 1 out 10 (10 being the worst in their database), with organ system toxicity for enhanced skin absorption
Cetrimonium Chloride scores 3 out of 10 for allergies and immunotoxity effects
Olive Oil-no need that's the good part of the ingredients, sad it's so far down the list though.
Phenoxyethanol: 3-4 depending on frequency of usage for: skin, eye and lung irritation, workplace hazard (if you work with it directly they have it on the restricted to low doses only) ang organ system toxicity.
Isopropylparaben: 3/10 for allergies and immunotoxcity, and endocrine (hormone balance) disruption
Isobutylparaben:  3/10 for allergies and immunotoxcity, and endocrine (hormone balance) disruption
Butylparaben: 5/10 for developmental and reproductive toxicity, allergies and immunotoxicity, endocrine disruption, biochemical or cellular level changes (effects cells right from their growth up to their death)
D&C Red 33: no data
Green 5: 0/10
FD & C Yellow 6: 1-3 depending on usage for cancer causing, Use restrictions-not approved for products that can come into contact with the eye.
FD & C Yellow 5:  1/10 for organ toxicity


Next....lets look at my dish soap-ok this should fare better it's labelled organic (I say with pleading hope)

Hmmm no ingredients list....heading over the the manufacturer back....

Hot damn IT'S ALL GOOOD NEWS!!!  It's all natural plant based, phosphate, chemical free!!!!
I'm not going to eat it simply because I would blow bubbles for the day, but I could!!!!!

So.....just for some fun let's take a look at a couple of the well marketed brands of dish soap and see what we come up with.

Dawn: water, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, lauramine oxide, alcohol denat., sodium chloride, PPG-26, PEI-14 PEG-10/PPG-7 copolymer, phenoxyethanol, magnesium chloride, methylisothiazolinone, fragrance, blue1.

Palmolive: water, ammonium C12-15, pareth sulfate, magnesium isododecylhenzenesulfonate, lauramidopropylamine oxide, sd alcholho #-A, sodium xylenesulfonate, sodium chloride, fragrances, pentasodium pentetate, tricolsan.

So the average score on this ingredients was a 4/10.  Both soaps contain ingredients that are listed as carcinogenic, cause endocrine disruption, allergies, are classified as bio hazards on WHIMS, ......all of the things listed above in the shampoos! Soap.

We generally use whatever is on sale.  I don't have a "favorite" I won't use anything else kind of brand.  I have 7 peoples worth of laundry to wash on a daily basis....if it's on sale, I am buying it!

Currently we have Arm and Hammer and Gain in the laundry room.  Glad to say both are not falsely advertising when they say that they are biodegradable and free of chemicals.  Both do however have fragrance which can cause issues. 

However when I check out other popular brands that I have bought when on sale like: Cheer, Kirkland Signature (Costco Brand), Seventh Generation (supposedly a perfect clean product) and Sunlight.  A different tale is told.  All contain ingredients that range from 3-7/10 in the database.

Guess I have a new, don't care if it's on sale "favorite".

I no longer use bleach in my laundry.  About 3 years ago I discovered the amazing Green Bleach that Presidents Choice sells.  This stuff is AMAZING.  It's a high grade hydrogen peroxide that can literally be poured directly onto any fabric and it will removed the stain and leave the fabric colour just the way it was.  I use this all the time at home births when I need to remove blood and other stains from clients towels, sheets etc.  It has yet to fail me!

So next on the list.  Household cleaners.  SOOOOOO happy to say that this is the easy list in our house. Hot water, vinegar, the green bleach I talked about above and a steamer!!!! I long ago got rid of the Mr. Cleans, Pinesols etc because the fragrances used in them triggered my allergies, so it just wasn't worth it.  When I wash the floor, I will add my favorite essential oil at the time to put a good smell in the house, but that's it.

I am quite surprised to say that when looking up these cleaners that they have fairly low ratings in the data base-based on what the company says are the ingredients.  What scares me though, is that all of them come with strict hazard signs, poison control information and their hazardous material workplace sheets all say HAZARDOUS MATERIAL on I am sticking to my vinegar, green bleach and hot water!

Soooooooooo what does all this mean.

The easiest way to detoxify your home is to start from the cleaners on up.  If you won't eat it don't put it on your hands.  Apparently a rule I need to change myself when it comes to body wash and hair care products.  

So let's do it by room for easier explanation:


It never ceases to surprise me that the place you go to get clean....gets so unclean!  Now imagine if you will having 7-9 people a day using said cleaning room!!! Enough said!

Soap Scum is the enemy, as is lime/calcium scale especially in the city of Barrie.  (our water is so hard I am surprised it's not rocky coming out of the tap)  On a weekly basis I use my steamer and vinegar to help fight the build up that accumulates so quickly with so many showers.  About every 6 weeks or so I use a descaler that I found at Superior Cleaning Products (in the South end power centre off Bryne Dr)  It is a Green product, yes it's still a chemical, but by lowering the use of it to every 6 weeks or more I lower the effect on our house.  

On the toilet/sink/counter tops and the bathtub I use my steamer and vinegar.  The steamer claims to kill all germs because of the high temperature of the water, and given the clean shine left behind it also wipes out alot of dirt and grime too.

Having lived in older houses that were mould growers, if I see any suspect black spots they get hit with an essential oil mixture of tea tree oil, grapefruit seed oil and vinegar.  The tea tree oil is an anti fungal, as is the grapefruit oil.  I put about 10 drops of each into a spray bottle with about 1/2 cup of vinegar and spray away.  Repeat a couple times during the day to really effectively kill the fungus.


I use the green brand of dish soaps, just like the laundry, no tried and true favorite, but I do really like the new Life Brand, Bio-Life, especially the price points.  Some green dish soaps I have bought have been really pricey and really crappy at cleaning dishes.  So finding one that is under $5 a bottle and actually does the job is fantastic.

Just like in the bathroom, I use vinegar and steam to clean the counters and sinks.  When I clean out the fridge...the green bleach works awesome.  It has NO smell to it, and if it comes into contact with food it's not harmful.


Haven't bought a floor steamer yet.  I have used swiffer wet mops in the past and found that I was changing the pads every 10 seconds and I am afraid the steamer might be the one day I will try it and see what happens.  

I use the vinegar and or green bleach here too.  Hot water, mop, vinegar and a couple splashes of my favorite smelling essential oil at the time and some elbow grease.  I honestly wash my floors 3-4 times a week....lots of foot traffic including two footed and four footed varieties leaves dirty floors.  I usually add cedar essential oil to the water at least once a month.  Cedar is a known flea deterrent and with the four footed creatures this is an essential tool to my cleaning.  


I remember when I was about 16-17 I went to a friends house to pick her up.  She was mortified when I walked in to find her parents washing their walls.  Apparently this happened on a frequent basis in her house.  I can say I thought they were a tad loopy, never saw my mom wash walls...but after asking her apparently she did!  Guess what so do I!!!!  It drives me a tad crazy to see little marks all over my walls.  This house has flat paint....but not for long!!! In fact I am surprised it has lasted this long!!! off finger prints.  Never use on of those Mr. Clean magic erasers.  Talk about a chemical cocktail of poison (formaldehyde, melamine, sodium bisulfite copolymer)  Those things are horrid, and leave a residue behind that if little hands touch then put hand to mouth...well ingestion of toxins 101.  

To get the best clean even on horrible flat paints that don't wash well at all, guess what...vinegar!  Yes I keep the vinegar companies in business.  I also use some dish soap to help cut the grease.  Spray bottle, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup hot water, 2-3 drops of dish soap, and elbow grease!


I normally do not have carpet in my house.  This one came with brand new carpet on two levels, and it's almost time to get rid of it.  Spills of many varieties happen in my house, along with the joys of house training a grand-puppy, and potty training some toddlers can equal out the bye bye carpet-one can only steam clean so often before one goes a tad insane-as well every time I steam clean I am drawing the chemical used to make the carpet out into the New Year's gift will be new flooring!

In the mean time to clean up spills of all kinds, the green bleach comes in very handy.  It "bleaches" out all kinds of biological stains while leaving the colour of the material being treated.  Amazing thing that!!!  


Like I talked about before I use products that are labelled free of phosphates etc, and now having gone through the list of the popular brands thanks to this post, I know which ones to avoid no matter the "sale".

What I didn't mention though is that we don't use dryer sheets or fabric softener.  Both of these products contain high levels of fragrance.  The dryer  sheets are a chemical soup of known carcinogens.  I attempt to buy the laundry soaps that are free of scents, but that can leave laundry not so "clean" smelling.   Again this is where the vinegar and essential oils come in handy.  A splash of vinegar in the wash makes things smell sweetish.  The essential oils add an even better scent.  DON"T pour the oil directly on anything though or you will leave a fantastic oil stain that may never come out.    I have a face cloth aka dryer sheet, that I reuse.  Just apply a couple drops of oil and the whole load is nicely scented. 

Soooooo that's the household main stuff.  It's about using products that if my or my family's skin is in contact with leaves as little damage behind.  No we don't all smell like pickles....oh that reminds me....


We don't use deodorant or antiperspirants in our house anymore!!!!  No we don't smell (well I can only speak for myself lol).  We have these amazing mineral stone "deodorant" sticks.  They are fantastic.  Check the label of your favorite under arm gear.....then head on over to the Skin Deep database that I listed will change your mind too.  The worst offenders in the database have a  8/10 score.

The worst part of them is the fact that many contain aluminium.  Aluminium is a heavy metal that once it gets into your blood stream its very hard to get out.  Close to your armpits lay the heaviest density of lymph nodes...once the aluminium gets into these it can wreak havoc in your endocrine system.  It has been said that deodorant and antiperspirant usage is on the leading causes for breast cancer.  

Ok all done for now.  Take a look around you, what things are you putting on your body that you wouldn't put in your mouth.  If there are alot....change it-like we have and are doing!  Your health will thank you!

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