Finding cleaning products that don’t cause me to have an allergic reaction took some time. A great resource that I purchased to help me live with less toxicity was, “Less Toxic Alternatives” by Carolyn Gorman with Marie Hyde.
For me I have found that most free and clear products from Seventh Generation are ok. I also have found that Super Clean by AFM works as a heavy-duty cleaner and diluted to make a pre-wash spray. I can tolerate borax and plain baking soda (not the arm and hammer laundry soap). I use Bon Ami for scrubbing and chlorine free bleach agents made from peroxide. AFM makes a product called Safety Clean for toilets.
The downside is that my whites don’t get as clean as they used to with all the chemically loaded products and bleach that I used to tolerate. It is something that I am willing to live with in exchange for less chemicals.
Recently I purchased a system by Lotus that ozonates the water for cleaning. The water has very good cleaning and sanitizing properties. I use it for several of my cleaning needs. I use it for cleaning my floors, kitchen counters and showers.
Another very important purchase for me was a scrubber for my tile floors. I had tried just using my steamer with pad but it didn’t get the dirt out of the grout or the pits in the tile. I purchased a scrubber that did a little better on the surface but still did not clean the grout, edges of the tile or get the dirt out of the pits and crevices in the tile itself. Out of desperation I decided to purchase a commercial product by Koblenz. This works great and it turned out to be less expensive that the noncommercial scrubber I had.
I would love to hear from those that read this post how they manage to safely clean their homes. Please let me know what you have found to be safe. I am sure others will also benefit from your ideas and suggestions.
A few years ago, I wrote an article about cleaning homes without using hazardous materials. I admit, I still use many hazardous products but have made some changes: Instead of drano, vinegar and baking soda in the bathtubs and sinks, also to rid ants baking soda, and or a lemongrass spray.
Really, baking soda for ants. I am going to add that to my list of things to try. I plan on revisiting that post with all the suggestions I have had given to me. I have never had a whiff of lemongrass so don’t know if I could tolerate it or not. Another thing to check out. I don’t do well with vinegar unfortunately.
I use Herbon products: all fragrance free and most are made from a coconut oil base. However at the moment I can only use the dishing liquid (which I use for everything), and the clothes washing liquid. There was a spray and wipe type Herbon product I could use as a surface cleaner but my eyes react to the ethanol that’s in it, which is a pity because it was perfect for cleaning the shower and bench tops. Bicarbonate of soda is something I use a lot of, and vinegar (when I’m not mould affected, but even then, I’ll still use it inside the toilet) is good mixed with bicarb too. I know Herbon are Aussie products but in case you’d like a link for your readers, here it is: http://www.herbon.com.au
Also anything sponsored by Planet Ark is usually good for people sensitive to chemicals.
I’ve also tried borax mixed with sugar, which I leave outside (near any nests) for the ants. It doesn’t get rid of them but I’m sure it lessons their numbers. AND they stay out of the house!
I’ve been meaning to ask you, what would you use to get mould out of the shower cubicle?
Thank you for the link to products. I will be posting some updates to posts with additional information that I have received in the next few weeks and will definitely add the herbon site for those in Australia.
What kind of shower cubicle do you have? Where is the mold? How much mold is there? I have gotten into the habit of totally drying off all my tile and glass before I get out of the shower with an extra towel so haven’t had to deal with this.
It’s tiled on the walls, and the mould is in the grout areas (mostly near the bottom). I too, dry with a towel, which I keep only for this purpose; this method was in the notes from my doctor, given to me after I went home when first tested for mould sensitivity: it’s obviously an important step in prevention (now confirmed by you too 🙂 )
I read somewhere that when a person can visibly spot mould, that the stuff we can see is like the ‘fruit’, the actual part producing it is invisible. And, as we’ve discussed, this house has a mould problem. Yesterday, when I shut the venation blinds, I caught a whiff of mould moved by the movement of blinds. After rain, this house is worse.
Sometimes I want to spray with vinegar but I know that it will cause be pain breathing it in later, so I don’t do it. I do have a steam cleaner but don’t actually use it. I do vacuum a lot as I read that doing that can remove chemicals and moulds that attach to the dust. I also mop using a couple of drops of dishing liquid in the water (while running the heaters to dry it all up).
I have heard that ammonia kills mycotoxins. Bleach does nothing for mold other than make it worse. It sounds like no matter what you do, you are going to have a problem in the house. Short of removing the grout I don’t think there is anything that is going to help because you are so sensitive and you might not be able to get rid of the problem because it may lie behind or beneath the grout.
I hate having to dry the shower off entirely but as you know, we have to. I will ask around to some of my fellow “mold sufferers” and see if anyone else has any ideas for you.
By the way, I have been trying unsuccessfully today to post on your blog. I keep getting the “page not found” response. I will try again later.
Okay, thank you. Here is a link about ants http://www.food.com/recipe/get-rid-of-ants-ants-ants-203233
Thank you for the link.
Its better to use only eco friendly cleaning products in order to stayy healthy.
I have been battling morgellons/lyme disease for the last few years…talk about a trip to hell and beyond. Anyways, the cleaning issue is a big deal when you feel “contaminated” 24/7, obviously…
One thing that is about my #1 favorite-est product ever is the humble SOAPBERRY. I found soapberry, (related to lychee), extract detergent at the health food store a month ago and have blissfully run through several very concentrated bottles in the interim because you can clean anything with the stuff, including yourself. Nothing but berry extracts high in saponins. No residue, chemicals, detergents, itchy stinky anything. I’ve recently figured out how to do green DIY dry-cleaning with it:
I hang garments or bedding and steam them with some soapberry solution, allow to dry, then hit them with ionizing hairdryer or toss them in clothes dryer with a microfiber pad. A natural dryer sheet saturated with soapberry works pretty well, too.
Another great one is anything with enzymes, like “Bac-Out” brand, which also comes in an anti-mildew formula. Very mild and natural.
Grapefruit seed extract works wonders on anything washable as well… any blend of above will clean just about anything, I’ve found.
Thymol is an interesting organic compound, too. Very, very very highly antifungal and can be purchased in crystal forms from Amazon or other places…I’ve been wanting to try it for the hard-to-reach spots in the basement and closets…
One of my best discoveries after the soapberry is that of cedar-silicone wood sealant. You can put it anywhere and it dries to a near-invisible, almost odorless finish. The silicon displaces moisture and the cedar is anti-fungal, so it dries stuff out beautifully…it’s on everything from my walls to my rock collection, seriously.
Hope that helps…
Thank you for reading my blog and for replying. I have heard of soapberry but haven’t tried it yet. I might give it a a whirl. I have not heard of Bac-Out brand but plan on researching it. The cedar-silicone would not work for me because of I an extreme sensitity to cedar. I hope you come back and read and reply more.
Pingback: How to Make Your Home Less Toxic on a Budget: Part 2 Laundry | Life in the City with a Future