detoxing my home






Is it just me or have you noticed that everyone seems to be sick or has cancer?  I work with a 32 year old mother that just underwent a double mastectomy, this is not normal.  We hear about kids with cancer all the time too.  And how horrifying is this...

Common wheat harvest protocol in the United States is to drench the wheat fields with Roundup several days before the combine harvesters work through the fields as the practice allows for an earlier, easier and bigger harvest 






So maybe we aren't all gluten intolerant, maybe we are poison intolerant (read the whole article here.)  I just don't even know where to start anymore.  About a month ago I did get started on cleaning out all the toxic products from my home, and let me tell you it is an overwhelming task.  I've somewhat done this before but recently with all the cancer around me and a new grandaughter I became obsessed to get it right this time.  So this is what I've done...

I decided that nothing was off limits.  I'm sick and tired of reading labels that say "all natural" and find out they are not.  If it wasn't for the Environmental Working Group - Skin deep and Environmental Working Group - Cleaning Products, we'd all be lost.  The cross referencing of ingredients would take a lifetime.  I had to keep 4 windows open on my computer to cross check everything and that's with the EWG's website.  And then locating the safe products to purchase was proving difficult so I just narrowed it down to a few.  If you want to dig deeper be my guest but good luck.

We've been led to believe that unless our laundry smells like fake roses then it's not clean.  What they don't tell us is that those chemicals have fixatives and extenders in them and so when we lay down in our beds at night and take a deep breath of that "clean" smell what we are really breathing are chemicals that are not healthy for us.  When we put on that freshly laundered shirt those chemicals rub off on our skin.  And don't get me started on hair dye, because that shit is crazy.  We put it on our scalp (so close to our brain!) and let it sit there. How insane is that?

So here is my new list.  Thankfully it is quite simple and very effective.  But you have to be ready to change your thinking from what we've been taught, namely that heavy scent means clean.  I can assure you it almost always means it is unsafe.   Almost everything I use now is from Dr. Bronner's. I will list the things I'm using but I highly recommend you pop over and see for yourself how amazing the company and products are.  I can only attest to the products I've been using, they are working wonderfully and the scents are truly light and natural and 100% safe.  

In the Kitchen...

This is my dish soap and everyday cleaner.  I fill a 24 oz bottle with water and then pour a 1/4 cup of Sal Suds in and shake.  It's an amazing cleaner. I mix it with a little baking soda and it scrubs the sinks and tubs beautifully.  I use this on dishes and all the kitchen surfaces.  One tablespoon of this in the washing machine does a full load in our HE washer.

You can also make a paste of baking soda and vinegar and apply it to your oven walls, wait overnight and rinse.  Sparkling clean without harmful chemicals and you never have to smell Easy Off again.

In the Bath...

This is their most versatile soap they make.  You can scrub your shower with it and then yourself.  It is made with real lavender and lavender oil.  You can use this in place of the Sal Suds but the Sal Suds is more suited to cleaning.  

I've only purchased the Lemongrass Lime scent and it is amazing.  I use this for shampoo and then add the Dr. Bronner's Citrus Organic Hair Rinse.  Both are very concentrated.  You can go HERE and read Lisa Bronner's advice like I did.  My experience is that it doesn't lather up quite like the shampoo's I'm used to but it does a great job.  The hair rinse is pretty vital for someone like me with very thick hair.  It will be a trial and error session to see what works best for you.  But I'm committed and I'm happy with it.

I now have these at all the sinks in the house.  We love the peppermint.  

Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Toothpaste

Tom's of Maine Lavender Deodorant

Pure olive oil or coconut oil for moisturizing



Skincare

This is a really tough area for me because I hate finding out that my favorite products are laden with chemicals that are harmful to me, and because I'm an esthetician it makes it even harder.  Luckily one of the brands that I get to work with now is called Osmosis and it is very safe and very effective. They are not listed with the EWG website but you can read about them HERE  and decide for yourself.  

So that leaves cosmetics and again, luckily, I get to work with Jane Iredale.  She is listed with the EWG and 98% of everything she makes gets the highest of rankings with the EWG.  Her loose powders are the only one with ingredients to avoid.  See her products here and here.

So that's what I've been up to. All the information is overwhelming and confusing but finally getting to the end is so sweet.  I swear my house smells fresher without all the other products.

So please do add your secrets and favorites in the comments.  I'm dying to hear!

xo

PS - This video with Lisa Bronner is fantastic and explains it all.  Watch it HERE



146 comments

  1. Thanks so much for doing all the leg work. I have been cleaning mostly with baking soda and vinegar. Is that okay? I definitely want to order the Sal Suds for general cleaning. I do buy all my pasta from Trader Joes and only if it is from Italy. From what I have read, they don't douse the wheat fields in Italy with chemicals.

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    1. Absolutely Isabella. I use vinegar in place of glass cleaner and fabric softener. X

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    2. Janet, how do I sign up for your blog to be received by email? Is that possible?
      Thank you, Beth

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  2. I think as we get older (and have grandkids!) we really become attuned even more to our environment. Maybe because we have more time to pause and figure out what's really important. As someone who has been moving to a more natural way to live, I appreciate all the effort you have put into this list. Already a Dr. B fa . . . Will have to get other products from them! Thanks.

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    1. Yes that has a lot to do with it. Seeing the amount of chemicals in everything we touch is alarming when I think of my granddaughters. X

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  3. After discovering that my DH's skin condition was caused by a VERY common additive called "methylisothiazolinone" -- used in many lotions, liquid detergents as a preservative. He was using Oil of Olay Body Wash -- and his face looked so red, inflamed and he eyes were swollen. After we stopped using it about 10 days ago -- his face has improved SO much!! This chemical is used in many things like sunscreens and was the named Allergen of the Year (2013) by the American Contact Dermatitis Society. Do check or Google or (look at boards on Pinterest) the list of The Allergen of the Year! This chemical is banned in Europe and Canada -- but still used and allowed in the U.S. and is often blamed (or as the possible cause of) for many skin disorders and conditions.

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    1. Oh I know that chemical well. Osmosis skincare does not contain any of that chemical. it's totally free of it. several of my clients are also allergic to it so i know that for sure.:)

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  4. LOVE all these ideas Janet. I am going to make the switch to a safer laundry soap especially. I have been using Tide detergent forever, and I'm sure that there is not one safe ingredient in it. Three of us in my household have sensitive skin so I really need to rethink the products that we're using. I can do most of the laundry using a safer soap, buuuut, I have 3 guys in my home who get engine dirt, oil, and god knows what else on their jeans (and work shirts). I want to still get their clothes clean but not add to the nasty chemicals they are already exposed to working on motorcycles and cars. Any ideas?
    Melanie from Colton

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    1. Mel, Sal Suds would work perfectly. They carry it at Clarks.

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    2. I just checked online how to pretreat engine oil stains, it says to soak the engine oil stain in dish detergent (which in this case I will use the Sal Suds), and then rinse with vinegar. I'll let you know how it goes.

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  5. I AGREE!Those ROOM SPRAYS I always thought couldNOT be GOOD for US!My BOYS Liked to use them in high school...............maybe to hide OTHER SCENTS!
    I am using the JANE IREDALE stick around my mouth for the wrinkle NO BLEED LIPSTICK and it WORKS!GReat to hear it is a GO TO PRODUCT!
    I will FOLLOW SUIT JANET................thank YOU for doing some research!
    AND THANK GOD I AM GLUTEN FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ROUND UP ON THE WHEAT...........who is APPROVING ALL OF THIS?
    I will GO READ.............XX

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  6. This is so important; I'm so glad you're discussing it! When I was expecting my first child I started looking at ingredients in things. I feel that I've come a long way, but after reading your post, I see I have much further to go. I didn't even think about my laundry detergent! Ours is fragrance-free so I thought we were safe. I'll probably be shocked when I look it up. We've been using the wool dryer balls for years and we love them! They actually make your clothes softer than if you hadn't used anything. We mainly wear cotton though. Thank you for sharing your research! I look forward to trying some of them. Do you think if a product like a lotion or soap is organic then it's safe to use?

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    1. i honestly don't trust any labeling now. i'd look it up before i bought it. x

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  7. Thank you for writing this, Janet.

    My oldest child and his spouse(mid-twenties)are very conscientious about all of the things you mentioned and they live that natural life style - as much as possible. But...because he had quit using toothpaste with flouride in it, he had to have a few thousand dollars worth of dental work done. Never had a single cavity until last year.

    Everyone needs to contact their state house representative and Congressman about these additives and about GMO crops. They are elected to be your voice in our government. I contacted our current Rep. about the use of High Fructose Corn Syrup in soft drinks and other foods, the use of Round-up and other chemicals sprayed on the crops that we eat, and the fact that these chemicals also leach into the water table. His reply was unfavorable. He also made it sound like I was the only one concerned about this. Guess we will all live longer but just sicker. I try to buy only USDA approved organic foods and foods that I know are not GMO! I have noticed that our local Food Lion carries a lot of Non-GMO labeled foods and they also carry Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap in Lavender. It is also a lot cheaper there than you can buy it online. I also contacted the big corporations about the use of these chemicals on our foods - after all we are the customers and don't want this. If chemicals are banned in other countries, why does our government allow them here?
    Shame on companies that use these.

    Sincerely,
    Debra of SENC

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  8. Janet,
    What do you know about Kiehls products? I have severe rosacea, and Kiehls moisturizer is light enough and feels so great on my skin-no break outs.....what are your thoughts?
    Thank you!

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    1. anon i really know nothing about kiehls. i'd look up the exact product you are using on the EWG website.

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  9. Great post Janet, I am a huge fan of Dr. Bronner's too. My husband calls me "the canary in the coal mine" because I am so sensitive to chemicals and I get sick/ hives/ migraines instantly from bad stuff. This canary will tell you windex is one of the worst. Also Tide, that makes me so sick. I use natural everything and even some things that are supposed to be natural, Mrs. Meyer's stuff I'm looking at you, makes me ill.
    I am gluten free and my theory is that it is the pesticides, not a celiac disorder. Also corn, I will eat organic, non GMO but that's it, otherwise sick.
    And I don't know about the USA but up here in Canada our government does not protect us against harmful products.

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    1. yeah, i had no idea about the use of roundup just before harvest. it seems like it should be illegal to me!

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  10. A couple of years ago I purchased a liquid fabric softener on a whim (I believe it was the one with the cuddly teddy bear on it). It smelled so great that I washed EVERYTHING in it. My bedding, my clothes, all of it. Then I went to work and got so dizzy I couldn't think. I thought I was going to throw up. I was so sick that I was in tears. Everyone told me to go home sick. I had my sweatshirt on, over my scrub top and I took the sweatshirt off (which had been washed with the fabric softener) and immediately felt better. (The scrub top was not something that I had washed) I was going to stay at work and then a little bit later I put the sweatshirt on again and got so dizzy again. I went home sick and changed clothes and started to feel better but when I went to bed, I was sick again. Suddenly it hit me! I rewashed everything and didn't use the softener and I was fine. I Googled reactions to fabric softeners and there were several cases about it! Why is it on the market?! It makes me so upset that they are advertising it with little kids snuggling in their blankets and inhaling that poison. Sadly it seems that many people would prefer to ignore the facts rather than give up that sweet smell.

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  11. Love that someone else thinks about this! Janet, I use soap nuts in a calico bag to do my laundry & they are fab....have tested them on everything (inc vomit & nappy leaks) & they work!! I use hot water on my floors and lavender water mixed with water in a spray bottle for my surfaces....my family so seldom suffers from cold/flu so you really don't need antiseptics. Hope this finds you well? Rx

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    1. i read about those nuts romy so it's good to know that they work. i will try and get them. hope you are well. x

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  12. Thanks for the tip about adding vinegar to baking soda. Will do so now & use the other tips. I've used baking soda paste to clean the oven until now.
    One of my friends a beautician, has had a mastectomy at 40 but this does not stop her owning a fabulous salon and sourcing all natural makeup. I've bought the Eles lip pencil and lipsticks ( this is all the makeup I wear) and this are designed in Australia and made in the US.
    Cooking liquids can also be made of yucky ingredients. We were at a food court in our local shopping center and you could smell the food being stir fried and cooked to order. My 10 year old son told me let's leave mum now. When I asked him why, he said the smell was the same as the smell of the car that was blowing smoke a year earlier when he'd been trapped in the smoking car after it had been struck by a car going 130km/hr whilst the car he was in was stationary waiting for lights to change. Discovered some cooking liquids are derivatives of petroleum and who knows what else. Yuck, yuck and more yuck. Den xxx

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  13. Thank you for doing a post on these very important issues, Janet! I have been using Dr. Hauschka skincare products for over a year now and my skin loves it. I also use goats milk soap from Bend Soap Company for body, hand soap and homemade laundry detergent. These products have greatly improved my health with superior results. I was wondering if you could do a series of posts, a "Healthy Home Challenge"? Topics including hair, skincare, laundry, and cleaning products to break things down to create healthier habits over a month's time. It would be helpful for us to take baby steps towards creating a healthier home and life. Thank you for all of your time and efforts you put into this!
    Deni

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  14. we went off chemical cleaners for the household about 12 years ago when we still lived and worked in the city. now that we have moved to our gorgeous piece of land in cape breton island, nova scotia - we have become even more sensitive. because we use no crazy chemical cleaners (just vinegar and baking soda) and because we are at home most of the time, growing as much of our own food as we can, being so far away from restaurants and pizza joints (over an hour away), eating seasonally and using only one small lamp in the evenings - throughout the day we turn on no lights and just use natural light - it has become very apparent to us that when we go to the community centre (once a month) or visit a friend (once a month) - the artificial light, the cleaners being used and just being exposed to things that are not in our natural, usual environment causes us a day or two of being sick. and we are very healthy which makes it worse. it's to the point now that we don't leave our property (10 acres in the middle of nowhere) unless we absolutely have to. i hate reading things about MCS, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia....but these things are real and they all have the same root cause. chemical additives that make us sick.

    thanks for sharing such good links.

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    1. wow kymber, your home sounds like heaven on earth!

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  15. I'm glad to read you are fired up again even if it's partially at the expense of my profession.
    I agree with much of your message though. Holding ourselves accountable is much more empowering than throwing our hands up and saying everything causes cancer like we have no stake in it.
    I believe we all have the option to make a difference and I'm glad you're chasing this calling. You're the perfect person to do it.
    I got sunburned today so I'm going to go treat it with pasta and wine as is my calling. But you inspired me, ME of all people, to go vegan for a whole six months (it was not hard at all) so you never know. You are a skilled motivator and mobilizer.

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    1. lol stephen. question, did you feel any different while being vegan, health-wise or any other-wise? i know what you mean about saying everything is killing us so why even bother but my sweet little grandaughter crawling around my house has made me hyper-crazy about chemicals.

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  16. Several years back I read a book called The World According to Monsanto and haven't looked at food the same since. Non-GMO/organic is the way I go and I was thrilled when a Natural Grocers went in around the corner from me because they sell only organic produce.

    As for cleaning and H&B items, I pretty much buy only cruelty free, which tends to be better ingredient wise, but it looks like I need to do some more research there.

    Great post!

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  17. Thank you for this very important, and informative post. After having cancer four years ago I have tried so hard to find non-toxic products, but it is not easy, and sometimes I find something then it disappears from the market. I will look around for Dr Bronner's in Australia.

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  18. I love Dr. Bronner'so products. I use the pure castile soap as a body wash and shampoo and cleaner. I buy it at Costco. They only have the peppermint scent but I love it. I have Celiac and have been gluten free for 6 years. I too am very concerned about GMO's and chemicalsee. I appreciate your post!

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    1. how do you like the castile soap for shampoo?

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    2. Love it as a shampoo. I understand it isn't good to use on dyed hair. My fine straight hair is never overly dry, just shiny and healthy.

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  19. thank you Janet for this information. I was just talking to a friend today about our food and all the additives in so much of the processed stuff we eat and no wonder we are all sick. and I finally got around to getting a spray bottle to make some cleaner with vinegar, water and a little lavender oil to make it smell good. I have a long way to go as far as getting rid of the chemicals in my home but your post will make it a lot easier.
    Darby

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  20. What about Aveda products? i thought they were safe. You represent Aveda where you work, don't you ?

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    1. i thought so too gloria. i no longer work directly with aveda altho the owner of my current spa also owns the aveda spa i used to work at.

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    2. How interesting. I have a book written by an MD who he himself battled cancer and he recommends the Aveda products...but, also, the book was written a few years ago now...

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    3. I was always suspicious of Aveda because of the list of ingredients in all their products - but their marketing is very clever and persuasive. Did you decide not to use the products any more?

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    4. no i switched from aveda when i switched spas. i'm now using Osmosis products for skincare and jane iredale for my makeup. x

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    5. Janet - I love Jane Iredale too! Bought a lot of her products. Her lipsticks are lovely. I'll take a look at Osmosis - thanks!

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  21. I, too, avoid chemicals and consume only certified organic produce, mainly because I'm risk averse and wish to err on the side of caution.
    But in the interests of being fully informed, you and your readers may also wish to read this:
    http://www.snopes.com/food/tainted/roundupwheat.asp

    Bets wishes,
    Spud

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    1. Snopes is not reliable– just another propaganda outlet propping up the status quo.

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  22. I began using Dr Bonners years ago after we discovered that my son was allergic to everything. Now when I just walk past those overly fake scented products in a store, I find their scent so strong and offensive. I highly recommend a good organic witch hazel. I began using it as a toner and my skin looks much better. It's also good for other skin irritations as well. And on shampoo and conditioners: they don't lather as well, but have found that, over time, my hair actually looks better because there's no build up of fake products. And I like that there's no animal testing on these products as well.

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    1. i'm still in the beginning stages of getting the hang of dr bronners for my hair. it's def different feeling. i actually think it looks healthier but it just feels different. i'll get used to it tho. thanks for the advice. x

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  23. Hi Janet,
    Thank you again...
    Emminence skincare products and Jane Iredale mascara and powder are my go to products...will see how they compare on EWG.
    I will need to look into the grapefruit Method cleaners that I use around the house...I do not use any fabric softeners as we have soft water here.
    Living in an old house that has very little insulation means that we get lots of air flow so this may be a blessing in disguise...as for that wheat I will need to rethink using flour and buying some pastas.
    We all need to educate ourselves on the risks...you are a gem to bring this up!

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  24. Not sure if this has been mentioned in previous comments but, instead of using dryer sheets with harmful chemicals, use wool dryer balls. I saw them at a farmers market this winter and kick myself for not buying them. I found a link to a tutorial on making your own and plan to do it asap! http://www.diynatural.com/how-to-make-wool-dryer-balls/

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    1. i have the wool dryer balls but all i thought they were for was to speed up drying in the dryer. i had no idea they also softened clothing. good to know!

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  25. Thank you for the informative I formation. I will definitely look at products closer. Have you ever heard of a company called Norwex? They are a home-party seller that promotes healthy and organic products.

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    1. A less expensive alternative is ecloths. Work just as well as Norwex, but much less costly. I've used them for years. Microfiber cloths, clean great with just water. Google it - ecloths.

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  26. I so agree with you about that scent of 'clean' laundry. Actual clean laundry doesn't smell like anything. Once you get used to that, when you get a whiff of the fake clean smell it makes you feel ill. I'm very sensitive to scent, and the cleaning product aisle is awful for me - so much chemical perfume in everything. I've never been fond of the whole anti bacterial thing, and only use soap and water on counters, or vinegar and bicarb. I have very few cleaning products as a result in the cupboard. As for cancer, well, there are so many factors that go into cancer, and it will be interesting to hear what developments are in that area in the future. But the age you are at is the prime time due to the hormonal cancers women get, so this may well be why you feel surrounded by it, as well as bad news travelling fast.

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    1. that's the thing heidi, a lot of the people i know who have cancer are young! 20's-30's!

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  27. HI Janet, watch on Net Flix...NO GMO's
    So scary to know that our biggest seed manufacturing growers spray the seed so our seed is already contaminated with pesticides to CONTROL the weed growth in our market growing fields... As our forefathers farmed they grew agricultrially with 100% organic! Did they know it was organic? HECK NO!! Our grandparents were ORGANIC and GREEN before we even understood natural living.
    I have worked on projects with my daughter knowing waste water management toxins are much higher in our homes then outdoors due to the amount of chemicals we bring into our homes. This includes unsafe toxins in carpets woods, ceramic tile, room cleaners, washing supplies, body aides, everything in our homes adds to poor health....

    Janet your post needs to be one of your biggest topics to get the message out there that we are allowing the government and social living to kill us with FDA approvals.

    It's like candle burning in homes if not natural says or beeswax and lead free wicks we are adding toxins in our homes that are killing us, and creating lung diseases, skin disorders, cancers and so much more.
    I like to paint with low zero Voc, so not to pollute our homes, I also like to remove volatile laqures off furniture pieces because new or old there is still toxins in our homes from these products and finishes.
    I know it's impossible to live totally green, but some work at cleaning up toxins in our home is better then not.

    This country has the room in farming to grow organic and clean up industry.
    I love how you recycle, saving the landfills by buying used, thrifting for fine clothing, and decorating around found pieces you can incorporate into your cozy cottage beautiful home life..... Bravo!

    See you soon dear, I will use your recommended products.

    Xx
    Dore



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    1. oh yes i had forgotten to write about candles. i used to burn aveda candles in my room at work and never thought for a moment that they could be harmful. breathing that all day with little ventilation. ugh. we must get together soon! x

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  28. Thank you, Janet. A wonderful post - so much helpful info. Not sure if we can get all products you list here in Oz. Have been thinking about harmful chemicals for some years after working on an environmental project. Gradually getting rid of as many as possible from our home.
    So many TV ads here feature cleaning products with antiseptics, also hand sanitisers. These are loaded up with so many nasty chemicals but the psychology behind ads is to make mothers anxious that if they don't get rid of these "nasty germs" by using products advertised their baby/children will get sick. I have a friend who's concerned because her grandchildren are always getting sick. Apparently their mother slathers everything in the house with antiseptic washes - floors, benches, basins - and she's forever wiping their hands with antiseptic wipes. As well as all the nasty chemicals she's rubbing into their skin they have no chance of building up immunities to everyday things like cold and flu germs. To begin with young children do pick these things up from their friends, playgroups, kindy etc. But then they develop immunities.
    Our kitchen benches are made of corian and a dream to clean - just wipe over with a cleaning cloth and really hot water. Hardly ever need to scrub or use anything else. We always use separate chopping boards for meat, chicken, fish (sorry Vegans) and other things that need to be cooked to destroy any harmful bacteria. They go into dishwater on v hot water cycle. We never use fabric softener or room sprays. I do like beautiful scents so sometimes add a few drops of my mix of essential oils (no additives) to a burner. Also never use insect killers. Have changed over plastic containers almost all to clear glass - harmful chemicals over time can leach out from plastic to contents - particularly if they're liquid or used in microwave. Try to buy goods in glass bottles rather than plastic - but getting harder all the time as more manufacturers switch to plastic. When the bottles are empty I give them to our local Op Shop/church groups so they can use them for jam making.
    Where possible without travelling all over town we buy organic fruits/veg, butter, eggs (also free range), pasta etc. And while it's not completely organic, buy bacon, chicken etc (sorry again Vegans) that are free range and where hormones and other harmful additives, including antibiotics, haven't been used in production.
    Have never coloured my hair and avoid using many hair products - though have liked Aesop's Shine. A few drops from the bottle rubbed on hands and then lightly worked through ends of hair. Smells nice and herby too. Ingredients - the ones in large print include borage seed, jojoba seed, pettigrain. But there are a lot of others in small print on the label. Even with my glasses can't read them - probably a bad sign?
    Was in Laduree on rue Bonaparte in Paris once when I noticed they clean their windows with vinegar and water - good to know.
    Good luck to all with detoxing our homes and body products. An ongoing battle. Terrible to read about spraying the wheat crops. Wouldn't entirely trust Italian produce though. Some years ago there was a huge scandal in Naples - toxic wastes were being dumped in agricultural areas nearby where they grow tomatoes and similar - olives, grapes, lemons etc. Haven't bought tins of Italian tomatoes since. Also we buy Virgin Australian first cold pressed organic olive oil for salads and cooking - along with organic butter. Best wishes, Pammie

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    1. thank you pammie. it sounds as if dr. bronners is available in australia so i hope you can get your hands on some. i think you will love the lavender! good luck! xo

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  29. When I was pregnant, my OBGYN told me to stop coloring my hair because of the dangerous chemicals. It was quite a red flag, and now I am seriously considering going grey. I am prone to migraines and now wonder what is contributing to them: the hair color? the fabric softener I use, like a previous commenter mentioned?

    What's really frightening is the recent news on Johnson & Johnson baby powder used by women - now linked with ovarian cancer. But what I haven't heard yet is discussion on the babies that this powder is used on. Parents have been using this baby powder on their children for decades. It is mind boggling and horrifying what this might mean!

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    1. i know, i hear that commercial at night on tv and i shudder to think of all the babies that have been doused in baby powder!

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    2. As a maternity nurse we stopped using baby powder many years ago because it was not good if the babies or mothers inhaled the talc.

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    3. Yes, this is old news! Don't use talcum powder - Dr Hauschka has an alternative safe one made with silk.

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  30. I'm afraid I'm addicted to colouring my hair. henna just seems too messy. With our family history of dementia and Alzheimers my brain is probably already doomed!
    Not familiar with the makes you've mentioned. I'm a fan of Lush, their solid shampoo and deodorant are essentials. I launder clothes with soda crystals and clean with vinegar. xxx

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    1. i have a history of alzheimers too. my mom rarely colored her hair tho! x

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  31. Fantastic post. Just to help out fellow aussie readers, I came across dr bronners products in david jones, not a huge selection but there nonetheless, I looked at a big bottle of the castille soap. This was in the beauty , do try there.never commented here before, but have been a reader for a few years now.

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    1. Thanks for the tip. Den x

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    2. From me too. Pammie x

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. youre both welcome!

      here is the link . . . I had to delete the first one as it wouldnt show the link!
      http://shop.davidjones.com.au/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/SearchDisplay?searchTermScope=&searchType=1000&filterTerm=&maxPrice=&showResultsPage=true&langId=-1&beginIndex=0&sType=SimpleSearch&metaData=&fromBrandDirectory=1&pageSize=21&manufacturer=&resultCatEntryType=&catalogId=10051&pageView=image&searchTerm=&facet=mfName_ntk_cs%253ADr.%2BBronner%2527s&minPrice=&categoryId=26553&storeId=10051&facetLabel=Dr.+Bronner%27s

      just copy the text and paste into a browser. or go to david jones web page and type dr bronners into the store search button

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  32. Wow, thank you so much for sharing all your research! I am 49 and just went through surgery for breast cancer, radiation starting next week. I'm trying to make real changes in my life, your post couldn't have come at a better time! Have a great day :) Kris

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    1. good luck with your treatments kris! sending love and prayers. x

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  33. I love this post Janet. This subject is sooooo important to me! I use a ton of Dr. Bronner's products, but I have never used Sal Sud's, but now I will. I only use JI makeup. Not only is it amazing, but it's good good stuff! And, I wouldn't trust Tom's of Maine products. I have found bad stuff in them, like carrageenan in their toothpaste. Haven't ever read the deod ingredients.... Best natural deod ever is one you can make yourself with Sandlewood Essential Oil and Coconut Oil. I bought a very expensive natural deod that was wonderful, realized this was the bulk of the product, made my own, and it is just as amazing. Primal Pit Paste is also awesome. Mostly baking soda which is good for armpits too! Please keep sharing and talking about this subject Janet!

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    Replies
    1. i've made my own deodorant in the past and loved it. my DIL esp loves it but i wanted to post a easy to find name brand. the toms deodorants get good marks with EWG so i think it is safe. but again, just bc their deodorant is safe doesn't mean the whole line is. thanks em.

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    2. Janet, do you use 1 tbs of Sal Suds in your HE front loader, or do you have a top loader?

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    3. yes, approximately. at first we were measuring it into a tablespoon but it's v concentrated and got a little messy. now i just squirt an approx tablespoon right into the HE frontloader dispenser. I'm so amazed at how such a tiny bit cleans!

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    4. Perfect! I may buy a small glass liquid soap bottle just for this purpose. Thanks Janet!

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  34. Norwex microfiber cloth and water for almost everythin....

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  35. Me again....please go watch "Cooked" on Netflix, specifically the "Air" series. It's all about bread. Blows mind to think that bread can be super healthy when quality ingredients are present, and proper techniques are applied!!! I mean, how simple?

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    1. I absolutely can't stand Michael Pollan but that part of the series did inspire me to start another new sourdough starter. My bread has been so good since! I even brought the starter with me on vacation! It's easy.

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    2. just put it on my list! can't wait.

      SAJ - you should do a post on your bread.

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  36. Janet, thanks for this post! I need to find a better laundry soap - I must check that site you mentioned for The Laundress products. I mostly hang our clothes to dry but when that is not possible, I use the wool dryer balls. I used to use cornstarch in lieu of powder but now I wonder if that's artificially contrived now, too! Glass containers for leftovers, limited microwave use and I make my dogs' food (and my vet admits that other than a hereditary knee problem in one, my dogs are shining examples of health). One thing that scared me is that a certain anti-inflammatory medication (deramaxx) used for dogs cause severe liver and kidney damage so I found a natural recipe (organic tumeric, coconut oil, black pepper and filtered water) that makes a paste to give to my dogs w/o side effects. My dad is trying it now and says his arthritis feels better!

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    1. omgosh wendy i just checked for the laundress as i have 2 of their products and they get an F. ugh.

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  37. This is such an important post. Potatoes are another heavily chemically sprayed crop. The growers don't venture back in the fields for several days after spraying We use einkorn flour from Italy and purchase it through Jovial. A few years ago we were listening to a morning gardening show with a so-called master gardener. The caller had asked about using Roundup in his garden. The response from the "expert" was "oh yeah, you can use Roundup up to the time of harvest". Idiot! Thanks for speaking up!

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    1. so much for "experts!" right. it is so sad what is happening to our food. maybe one day there will be a big turnaround. until then i suppose home gardens will be the only safe source.

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  38. Someone mentioned "cooked" by Michael Pollan on Netflix. Highly recommend it. Definitely enjoyed the part about bread and cheese making. You've definitely hit on a hot topic here Janet. I just want to say, that as a person who raised kids in the burbs, I knew a lot of mom's with beautiful showcase kitchens. And I always found it ironic that they served their kids fast food and processed food then quickly cleaned the mess with highky scented products so the kitchen looked pretty again. Now every one of these kids has diabetes. Something like 5 kids on one block. My kitchen was always a mess and smelled like garlic and onions, like my grandmothers kitchen. It's a shame that as a society we've let commercials dictate what our homes should be like.

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    1. i haven't had a chance to watch it yet but i can't wait. your kitchen sounds wonderful!!!

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  39. I'll borrow from your research too. When my children were babies a decade ago, I was militant but have let things slide. I've been experiencing low energy that I'm convinced is from chemical overload and am trying to detox. It's not easy in this society!

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    1. same here jen. it got very complicated with the advent of "safe" products that most turn out to be unsafe. i'm back in the military again. def get your hands on some dr bronners and you will love it. x

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  40. We quit the Windex habit years ago--now, when I smell it, I nearly choke (vinegar and water works just fine). I tried making my own dishwasher detergent but wasn't happy with it. But I'll check out the Sal Suds for general cleaning & see how it goes.

    For those who'd like their own nontoxic room or linen spray: use a mix of vodka and water, then add your favorite essential oils. I use a mix of lemon and lavender. The vodka will not leave a residue on linens.

    For flour, I've read good things about Anson Mills in South Carolina--but as a retail customer, you've got to order a fair bit. It might be worth it if you do a lot of baking.

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    1. thank you jean for your window cleaner recipe. i've been using 50-50 water and vinegar. the next time i'm in the health food store i will be looking into organic flour. x

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  41. Sharing a website for further research-
    http://www.debralynndadd.com/
    I read Debra's first book many, many years ago and it was very enlightening. She has lots of lists on her website that are helpful. I chose cloth diapers for my babies after learning about chemicals in disposable diapers. I like Dr. Bronner's baby mild soap, but prefer Kiss My Face Olive Oil bar soap- fragrance free- for general use.

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  42. What a fantastic post...& equally fantastic comments. I have been trying for the last several years to improve my diet...non-GMO, organic, buying local, etc., but I admit that I haven't thought much about the chemicals in my home. As I was reading the post & comments I began to take notes on products to look into further.

    One product I am confused about is sun screen. I have a friend who reads everything she can get her hands on regarding dangerous products & foods. It seems sun screen is something that can be more dangerous than the sun itself. I just wonder if anyone has any information to share regarding this.

    Thank you so much Janet for doing the homework regarding this subject. It is much appreciated.

    Anita - the cabin on the creek

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    1. anita, sunscreen is one of the trickiest products out there. i like the osmosis sunscreen but i can't honestly say how safe it is. i need to do a ingredient breakdown on it. wear a that and stay covered!

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    2. here is an EWG approved sunscreen list...

      http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/browse.php?category=sunscreen%3A_SPF_15-30&&showmore=products&start=0

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    3. Yay! I developed an allergy to some sunscreen ingredients so my doctor recommend Vanicream. I hate it (too thick) but at least it's on this list.

      Linda

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    4. Thank you, Janet & Linda. I went on the EWG website briefly, but will look at it again more thoroughly to find the right sunscreen. I would prefer to find something not as thick as you describe Linda. In our humid PA summers I perspire so much when I'm in the garden that I think something like that would bother me. I will just have to do some homework on that site.

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  43. Hi, Janet. Very good of you to post such helpful info. But I feel overwhelmed about it. I'm a cancer survivor and I've tried to replace a lot of products. I particularly avoid anything with parabens. But a problem I have is with my husband; he's too conditioned to cleaning inside with harsh chemicals and using weed killer et al outside. It's like I talk til I'm blue in the face. He thinks a lot of warnings are all hogwash. Just before I came over here to your blog, I printed out a garden remedy for him which utilizes vinegar so that he won't rush out to get some harmful garden chemical for some of our vines and plants which have gotten hit with powdery mildew. I can't take over a lot of the housecleaning for a variety of reasons due to other health issues...so, he does it his way, and it's not that he's trying to be mean but more of some inability to change from the way he's always done things. When he decides to clean the toilets and floors for me...I'm trying to get to a point where I can take back over these tasks myself...I exit the house and don't return for hours and, of course, he leaves all the doors and windows open during that time. What I'm really also trying to get him to stop using is bleach. I dated (dear old boyfriend!) an entomologist/agricultural biologist in the 70s and EVEN THEN he would warn me about the dangers of Round Up. He had a crew who would apply agricultural 'chemicals' in the orchards - he never actually did the work himself; he was just the bug 'doctor' - but we'd still wash and rinse his clothes THREE TIMES after he was just in the near environment of any of that going on...again, this was more than 35 years ago!

    Isn't it a shame that we have to go to such lengths to try to protect ourselves. I've had random thoughts about why we can't find cures for all the different cancers but, you know, God knows what on earth we're eating, drinking, breathing, touching...I think we're very, very vulnerable. There's such controversy about BPA in linings of food cans/bottles and, of course, GMOs. One side says "NO HARM". Other side says "GREAT HARM". You have to make your own best decisions. They warn us about all the pesticides on fruits and vegetables...but, oh, don't let that stop you from eating them.

    OVERWHELMING. And it makes me really angry. It's just MY LIFE, you know?

    Anyway, I'm especially glad to hear your comments about Dr. Bronner's. Thanks for sharing your research. I love your commitment and zeal for what's right and good.

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    1. thanks vicki. my girlfriend used to have the reverse problem. she cleaned, still does with heavy cleaners and her husband would have to leave for the day, couldn't stand the smell of pine sol and the like. it would make him sick. but she thinks it's not clean if she doesn't use it. oh well.....

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    2. Janet, I hope you can tell by all the comments that you have fired us up with this post. Bravo. I have a renewed mission and your post prompted an hours-long discussion last night with my husband. Very astute observation from you, too...that the government can barely take care of itself, so how can we expect them to take care of us? Thanks again. I am looking forward to hearing more from you here on the blog about your new discoveries in 'green life'. The reader comments are especially valuable as well. I've read through them twice to make sure I didn't miss anything. I trust 'people' more than anything. Sharing info makes us stronger in all aspects. Like a tidal wave...of revolt!

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  44. Great job, Janet! I have smaller bottles I refill with Dr B lavender from the big vat size in all the showers. Years ago, we used the "plain white soap" that had triclosan in it, turns out. Yecchh.

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    1. lane, i can see where i'll be buying the vat sizes next. so far the peppermint and lavender are my faves. x

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  45. I found out first hand what chemicals can do. I was doing yard work 19 years ago using a chemical that has now been taken off the market. The lower part of my legs felt like bands were tightening and feet were becoming numb. Many tests were done and my neurologist thought it could be from the chemicals I was using that week. I had used diazinon, not sure of the spelling, as a spray for spiders and roundup to kill weeds. The insect spray attacked the nervous system of the insect, so this does make sense as to what happened to me. I do still have problems with neuropathy and muscle damage, but blessed that it could have been worse. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Diazinon (sp.) was used in Agent Orange in the Vietnam war. It's puzzling to me to think our government/FDA still approves of it being used in anything at all, least of all our gardens where we might be using it to grow food. Makes me angry.

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    2. Janet,

      Riding by the wheat fields, I noticed the wheat fields where sprayed with Round Up (because all the weeds around the fields were dead too, including the ditch bank grasses) and they are harvesting the wheat now in NC. Spraying wheat just before harvest is something new here. I am concerned about it.

      My uncle, who served in Vietnam, recently died of Parkinson's Disease. He said it was because of Agent Orange.

      This is a true story: A few years ago a friend of mine accidentally poured Round-up into their swimming pool. He called the manufacturer and asked them if it was safe. They replied that it was perfectly safe. Not long after then - his wife developed cancer of the liver and breast cancer. Don't know if this is related but it is sure a coincidence.

      Glyphosate is used in Round-up and Agent Orange. Glyphosate is also one of the deadly ingredients in Agent Orange per TruthWiki.

      Children born from 1990 until ... are the Guinea Pigs for the GMO\Round-up\Chemical laden foods. My youngest son's girlfriend is an Environmental Science major and they had a big discussion about this in class - that was their conclusion. I really wish something could be done.

      Sin-Debra of SENC

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  46. Long time fan of Dr. Bronner--thanks for the heads up on Osmosis. Might do some research on LUSH.

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    1. yes, please post anything you learn re lush. i know a lot of people love that brand.

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    2. Anna......please tell more...why do you feel LUSH is not good????

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  47. I took on this issue in our household right before our first child was born. We use Sal's Suds for dishes and marble and granite countertops. We use vinegar and water with lavender or tea tree oil to clean everything else. For our laundry we use this recipe which I highly recommend http://bmorebungalow.blogspot.com/2014/02/diy-how-to-make-quick-homemade-laundry.html

    Once you make the transition to these natural products you will surprised how much money you save, how much more efficient your cleaning becomes, and how sensitive your body becomes to the chemicals you used to use.

    Also, for babies the mild bottle of Dr. bronners is fantastic for baths and washing hair. A $15 bottle will last you a year and is much better for baby than Johnson and Johnson products.

    We need to get Congress to act on cleaning up this problem on a large scale, but first start with your family.

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    1. thank you! yes, i bought the dr bronner baby products for lily too.

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    2. Just be careful about using lavender or tea tree scents/oils with kids as they are hormone distrupters. A friend mentioned it to me when I talked about using lavender oil on my wool dryer balls. I looked it up and yep, had to switch to citrus scents.

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  48. Thank you for writing about this! I went WFPB in February and cleaning products were next on my list, I am trying to learn everything I can about this lifestyle. The information you presented is so straight forward I really appreciate it!
    P.S. So sorry if I freaked you out while walking last week, it was not my intention! I was just so shocked to see "THE Janet" on the road and actually took a few days to work up the courage to say "Hello". ;-)

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    1. haha, sheri, you are so funny! we must get together for a cup of coffee! x

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  49. Hi Janet, this is a really good topic to address and although I have made some changes around the house, I need to do better!!! (especially if my daughter becomes pregnant this year...it's in their plans) :)

    The crazy thing is I use more organic products outside than in...I am always worried pesticides will harm my dog or other wildlife. I am guilty of using Roundup but ONLY to spray the cracks in the asphalt & along our wall on the street side because these pesky weeds keep coming back. (far enough from our house) Luckily I only have to do it every 8 weeks or so, even less often when it doesn't rain. I was outside pulling a bunch of weeds by our driveway one day for a couple hours and my neighbor said why don't you just use Roundup? Yikes, that would be a s**t load of chemicals.

    I thought Diazinon was outlawed but I just read on Wikipedia that it was in outlawed in 2004 for residential use but can still be used for agriculture. Wow.

    I will have to check out Dr. Bronners website! I know they are local...in No. San Diego County.

    Linda
    xo




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    1. i was like that too. v worried about my garden thinking the inside was safe and wow, was i wrong. so lucky that they are local, i wonder if they have a story on site?

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  50. Hi Janet---Love, love, love this post! Been a big Dr. B fan as we've been detoxing our home for the past 2 years. Haven't found a shampoo I love yet so I'll have to try your suggestion. Been using Beauty Counter for makeup for the past year and love it. Have you heard of it? Will have to also try your laundry suggestion too used Norwex for a while, but the price point of Dr. B's is a little lower. I'm trying Carrot Seed Oil this summer as a natural sunblock on my face. Would love to know if you find a sunblock you like as we have tried many!

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    1. so far i'm seeing that the dr. b's is sooooo concentrated that i think money will be saved in the long run. i was putting 1/4 cup into a bottle for dishsoap but have cut down to just 1 T. i'll have to do an update soon!

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  51. Just had a conversation with my 16 year old son on this subject. We (UK) were reminiscing about how our mothers used this polish spray called Pledge and were trying to figure out what that sh*t was for! It was probably toxic. I don't use air fresheners, I open the window. I don't use toxic cleaners, I use soap nuts to clean my washing and where possible hang it outside to dry to get that 'just off the line smell' . But then I go and dye my hair. Crazy! I'm working on it, it may take me while, but I will do it.

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    1. oh i remember pledge! lol. lemon scent with chemicals. i never did like that smell.

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    2. What do you use to dust Janet?

      L

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    3. i use a barely damp cloth linda. but i have no fine furniture. x

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  52. I love Dr. Bronner products and have been using them for years, including the Sal Suds. I do not use deodorant with aluminum, (I use Tom's) and buy most of my food organic. GMO's are a nightmare and Monsanto is poisoning everyone. Now we even have to worry about the "smart meters" on our house giving off radiation. I am ready to put on my tin-foil hat! But seriouDsly, we can no longer depend on the FDA or government protecting us. Everyone has to do their own research even if it is slow and you only change one thing at a time, keep going. And only use soy candles, most of the others are toxic as well. The one good thing is as more and more people demand pure food, cosmetics and cleaners, the industries will have to change if they want out money. Thank you for putting your information out to your readers, you are helping more than you know!

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    1. thank you lana. yes, it really is up to us. our gov't can barely take care of themselves much less us! x

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  53. Thanks Janet & Linda. I looked at the EWG website briefly & realized I need to spend some time there looking at the sunscreens. I have lots of shade in my yard, so my gardening isn't the problem. But I help my son & daughter-in-law next door quite a bit with their gardens...they have so much more sun than I do, so that's where I run into problems. I have heard so many horrible things about sunscreen recently that I realized that I need to find something safe.

    And thanks again, Janet, for this post. You are so conscientious about what you write about & raise awareness about so many things we all should be thinking about! I also just started watching the "Cooked" series on Netflix...love it so far.

    Anita - the cabin on the creek

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    1. the website can be overwhelming i know! good luck on your journey anita. can't wait to start cooked! x

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  54. I started the journey. I have no idea how long it will take. The EWG site is very helpful, but every product you use has to be checked. Not one company gets a pass on every product they manufacture. Thank you for increasing my awareness about this very important topic.
    Karen

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    1. yes, you are so right karen. the Honest Company powder detergent is great but the liquid is awful. i wonder why a company would do that? that is why after so much frustration i landed at dr. bronner's site and was soooooo relieved that all their products get such great ratings and they work and are easy to find!

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    2. Yes, I am moving to Dr. Bs as quickly as possible. What do you do with the unwanted products you are moving out of your house?
      Karen

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    3. well bc it took me so long researching this i just used what i had. i did go thru my skincare and asked any of the girls at work if they wanted them.

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  55. Thank you so much, Janet, for all this good information. I am already making changes based on your post. So important. Best post ever. Thank you.

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  56. I am SO WITH YOU on this, Janet, which is why I put so much time and effort into my veg garden, it's the only way to really know that what I'm eating is untainted. I love the Dr Bronner products and use his lavender pure-castile soap. You know what it says on the label, "Enjoy only two cosmetics, enough sleep and Dr Bronner's 'Magic Soap'...."

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    1. that's so awesome rosemary! did you know that all the sayings on the bottles are all portions of his manifesto?! so cool. xo

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    2. I sat and read every single line on his bottles - had to get out my magnifying glass for parts of the label! Truly inspiring!

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  57. I met a French woman in the grocery store who only bought flour from Italy because, she said, they don't spray the plants or force grow them the way we do here in the U.S.

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  58. Many countries in Europe (and elsewhere) have banned GMO food. Monsanto won't give up though.

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    1. Monsanto is the Devil in a business suit.

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  59. Hi Janet - Can you keep going on this subject? Like what you use for weeds, your yard/grass for fertilizer? Pesty pests in the garden? toilet paper? sheets you sleep on? candles you burn? I would love to know all these products and more that are ok and not full of chemicals. Thank you and thank you for your blog. You don't know how much it helps me! Jennifer

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  60. I have been aware of toxins and careful for 30 yrs. I am 49 yrs old and have never dyed my hair for the very reason you gave. I am blessed to not have any gray yet but when it comes I will let it. I am highly sensitive to everything. My diet is semi vegetarian and organic. Our world has become so unhealthy but all I know to do is my own small part by growing my own veggies, fruits, and herbs and cooking every meal from scratch with the most wholesome ingredients. I even walk and ride my bike rather than drive to live more mindfully. May we care for ourselves, each other, all creatures and the earth peacefully. Namaste

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  61. Janet.....aggggg....this scares me to death (ha, literally) I have been following you and trying to research for myself too. I have some gray and it isn't pretty....very obvious. Have you read anything in your research to help me....... I can't not color....or something..... Thanks for any direction you might be able to send me!

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    1. andrea, the only safe thing i know of is henna. i hear it's messy but maybe your girl can do it for you? i'm lucky in that my gray is coming in in strands not in a full on sheet of color so i feel your pain. xo

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  62. I had been doing a very simple oil cleansing method for years (using jojoba early on and later sweet almond oil), but then I started noticing surface dehydration. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I went to the Clinique counter, something I hadn't done in more than 20 years. 7 months later and my skin was worse than ever, and I was worrying about all of the unnecessary chemicals. I switched to using only water, rose water, and shea butter on my face this past June, and the changes were immediate and astounding. I used to get small amounts of breakouts and now they are practically non existent. My skin is clear and it glows. Sometimes I use the shea butter for oil cleansing (maybe twice per week), and sometimes I use plain water. My exfoliant is a light tough with a gentle washcloth and water, and I do that every other day at most. I follow with rose water, and use rose water as my "cleanser" evening and morning. I use shea butter only when I feel the need for moisture (rarely in summer, and nothing I am doing really strips or dries out my skin).

    For my hair I use the JR Liggett original shampoo bar, and that is my body cleanser as well (but most of my body I cleanse only with water and the washcloth). It is very gentle. I'm still figuring out what to do with my hair now that I've given up all conditioners and styling products (every single one of them, so no mousse, gel, hair spray, etc.) Daily washing leads to a manageable style, but if I don't wash it I do a pony tail or twisted bun. My hair is straight, fine, and thin, so natural oils coat it quickly. I figure though that not exposing myself to toxic chemicals is worth the pain of figuring out styling. I had my hair colored for the first time last year, and that was a mistake I don't intend to repeat. Now I have an ombre thing going on. I have only a few strands of silver here and there at this point, and not concentrated together. When the time comes I'll either go natural or try henna.

    In the house we mostly use baking soda, vinegar, and Dr. Bronner's. I found a recipe for a glass cleaner that oddly called for alcohol, vinegar, and cornstarch, and it's the best natural glass cleaner I've ever made. Daily toilet swishing helps eliminate the need for strong cleaners on a weekly basis.

    I've been making my own laundry powder for a few years now. It is just washing soda and Kiss My Face olive oil soap. I use it on everything, even smelly bike clothes. Using it has also shortened the cycles on my front load washer, so I think the suds were a problem. We don't bother with fabric softener.

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    1. all such great advice! am going to try your glass cleaner!

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