Hello, My name is Michelle C. Smith and I am formally addicted to bleach. I used it in my laundry and I used on every one of my hard surfaces. I was convinced it kept my family healthy. From the research I have done on germs (partly to help my germaphobia), I have learned germs help our autoimmune system become stronger. I have also read so much about the horrible impact bleach and its manufacturing process has on our environment.
Dioxins- have you ever heard of them? They are one of the most toxic chemicals known to our planet.
Without giving you a boring chemistry lesson... "Dioxins are a group of chemically-related compounds that are persistent environmental pollutants" and they are a by-product of the manufacturing of bleach. Do dioxins cause cancer. YES. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, dioxins are a "multigrain carcinogen in animals. Target organs include the liver, thyroid, lung, skin, and soft tissues." That sounds scary. And it is, because dioxins are found in our food. More than 90% of human exposure is through food. It's mostly found in our meat. dairy, fish and shellfish.
Bleach is caustic and corrosive. But the real problem is how it's made. Bleach manufacturers often release the solution in water and other industrial waste. It eventually gets in the water system which harms aquatic life and can mix with other organic compounds and create more harmful toxins.
Bleach is in or contributes to the manufacturing of about 15,000 products. It's a big deal. So let's stop using it.
It's hard to read about ideas and facts that make us question what we thought to be true. When I first started reading about all this information more than 15 years ago, it made me start questioning a lot of what I thought was the truth. It’s hard for some people to question things. It makes you question more things. It has a domino effect. I find that once people learn about the real harmful effects that bleach has on us as people, as a human race, on our ecological system.... they change a lot of other aspects of their lives. It can be frightening. I don't even think that word captures the true feeling, but it's hard to think about how some tiny chemicals can wreak havoc on our environment and nobody seems to be talking about it.
How does this information about bleach and how it affects us make YOU feel?
Need bleach alternatives? Find them here.
• Using castile soap as a shampoo can be beneficial, but it should be used with caution.
• It is suggested that those with color-treated hair or hair that tangles easily be cautious about using this product.
• Castile soap should be diluted with water before use and followed with a rinse of an acidic solution to cleanse residue.
• Those looking for natural alternatives, have sensitive skin, or the patience to experiment may find they prefer castile soap as their shampoo.
• Benefits of using castile soap include being gentle, hydrating and versatile, as it can work for makeup removal and household cleaning in addition to washing one's hair.
• Without bees, certain favorite foods may no longer be available and veg harvest yields could decrease by up to 71%
• Gardeners can help protect bees by limiting insecticide use, refraining from cutting/weeding flowers, choosing flowers that bees love, creating a water source and providing a shelter and habitat
• Buying local honey helps support beekeepers, and providing sugar water for tired bees is a simple way to revive them
• Bee Cities USA support communities in taking steps to protect bee populations, citizens can become involved in global bee conservation organizations
• Making small changes in gardens & lifestyle can contribute towards preserving the declining bee population
The more we learn about the planet and the environment, the clearer it becomes that our actions are having a negative effect on the world’s health and the health of humanity.
It’s not just the overuse of fossil fuels and other less desirable sources of energy, there are many everyday things we do that are causing damage without us even realizing it.
One of those things happens to be the way in which we keep our homes clean. It’s unsettling to think that our efforts towards personal cleanliness could have the opposite effect, but it’s true.
We take it for granted that we should just go to the store, buy popular cleaning products and use them in our homes, but when we do that we don’t really know what toxins we’re releasing.
The practice of green cleaning, is using eco-friendly, chemical free products in the place of the normal cleaning products you would use.
It might sound like more work, but it’s not actually as big of an overhaul as you might think. Here’s 5 reasons why you should try it:
- It’s Cost Effective
If you switch to green cleaning, you will be making most of your own cleaning products and potentially even some of your own cleaning utensils.
A lot of the stuff that you will need to make these products you will have in your house anyway, so it will really be cutting down the costs
Consider some of the cleaning products that you can make and what ingredients that you are going to need for it. You may have heard of us? MamaSuds?
Take this list for example. While not everything listed here is entirely chemical free, there are a few things here that are pretty common to the various different recipes that are.
You’ve got white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and table salt. All things that you could probably find in your kitchen right now if you look.
Think about how much you actually spend on cleaning products, and then consider that you can almost cut all of that out of your expenses if you start making your own.
It’s a pretty worthwhile change.
- It Detoxifies Your Home
So many people are living in a toxic environment without even realizing it. They pump all of these chemicals into the air, unaware of the damage they could be doing to their health.
A lot of store-bought cleaning products, in particular antibacterial sprays and fabric softeners contain quaternary ammonium compounds.
This stuff can contribute to people getting asthma and it’s an especially dangerous environment for children.
It’s not just your lungs you need to worry about though, the spray cans that you use can often contain volatile organic compounds too, which are dangerous in many ways.
They can cause long term damage to your kidneys, your liver and even your central nervous system and leave you susceptible to a number of illnesses.
Cutting out those products and just using ones that you’ve made yourself can keep the air nice and clean.
- It Helps the Environment
This is probably the main reason why so many people want to switch to green cleaning and it’s definitely one of the biggest incentives.
All of those chemicals we discussed earlier? They’re just as bad for the planet as they are for your health, but the problems run deeper than that.
Think about the packaging of all these products. Plastic bottles and aluminium cans mainly, that stuff isn’t eco-friendly either.
Of course we are making an effort to recycle, but our oceans are full of plastic that people have thrown away and it’s a problem that’s getting bigger and bigger.
Do the recycling in your own home. When you make your own products, you can use the same bottles over and over.
You can minimize your ozone depletion and do you own part towards preventing the negative effects of climate change.
Of course, it’s not entirely up to individuals to stop global warming, but if everybody switched to green cleaning it would definitely be a step in the right direction.
- You Won’t Contaminate the Water Supply
Ammonia, phosphorous, petroleum, these are some of the chemicals that you’re using when you clean with store-bought products.
And they are also some of the worst chemicals for our water supply. That’s where some of this stuff ends up.
You use a rag or a sponge to clean and then you wring it out over the sink. Down the drain and into the water it goes.
If you use it to clean the toilet or the shower then your going to end up flushing it or washing it down the drain there too.
It will end up in the lakes and the rivers where it can hurt the wildlife and also can end up back in your drinking water.
That’s a scary thing to think about but you won’t be contributing to it if you switch to green cleaning.
Cleaning your bathroom is never going to be a fun job so the thought of having to overhaul your method is probably annoying, but it’s worth the effort.
Take a look a this guide from Complete Home Spa on how to clean your shower head, it would be a good place to start with.
- You Know Your Ingredients
It’s hard to know what exactly is in the products that you’ve been using. There could be a lot of chemicals in there that you’re unaware of.
Despite the ingredients list that you see on the back of the packaging, there’s no way of being certain what’s in there.
Sometimes there’s less than desirable chemicals hiding behind ambiguous names. You could see a word that you don’t recognize and it’s actually something you wouldn’t want in your home.
But you are entirely in control of the ingredients when you make the products yourself. You know exactly what’s in there.
And if there’s a particular ingredient that you don’t want for whatever reason, it’s as simple as picking an alternative.
You have way more control and that’s something that you should want considering it’s your home and your family.
And there’s many other reasons to switch too. Green cleaning is the healthier, safer option and it would benefit the planet in a big way if more people were putting it into practice.
Written by Tony M.
With sustainability being at the forefront of everyone’s minds in recent years, doing your part to contribute to a healthy environment is more important than ever. Luckily, going green has a wealth of advantages to offer every homeowner who makes the switch. From insulation to flooring (and everything in between), here are a few ways you can upgrade your living spaces to contribute to that bright, green future.
Beautiful Bamboo Flooring
One of the major problems facing our planet is deforestation; with demand so high and growth so slow, bamboo provides an excellent, sustainable alternative to traditional hardwood floors. It can grow at incredible rates without the use of fertilizers or pesticides: a bamboo grove can yield 20 times more timber than trees in the same location, and they release 35% more oxygen into the air than similar-sized trees. If you simply must have that hardwood floor look, consider ecological bamboo in place of expensive mahogany.
A home’s windows are its first line of defense against cold and heat; they can also be its largest energy leech — if you suffer from extreme monthly energy bills, it may be due to your windows’ U-factor. Defined as the measure of how well a window insulates (and therefore how well it prevents heat from escaping), the U-factor rating system uses a scale of 0.20 to 1.20. The lower the number, the better insulated your window. Since energy leeches contribute to the size of your carbon footprint, installing well-insulated windows with low U-factors can help the environment and your wallet.
With technology advancing every day, the emergence of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) has had a huge impact on modern society. And, best of all, they’re remarkably green! Residential LED light bulbs use at least 75% less energy and last an astounding 25 times longer than incandescent lights. Though the initial cost might be higher, they pay themselves off dozens of times over and reduce energy waste.
After your windows, your attic is a home’s largest offender for heat and energy loss: the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 44% of home energy use goes toward heating and cooling. Since an attic with poor insulation could be leaking air — and insulated buildings in the U.S. have been proven to reduce CO2 emissions by 780 million tons — one of the best ways to minimize your carbon footprint and save money on those energy bills is to ensure your attic is well-insulated.
Your toilet is the main source of water use in your home, sometimes using (and wasting) six gallons per flush. Making the switch to efficient, low-flush models can reduce your water usage by 20 to 60%. A toilet that uses less water will still provide equal or superior performance, and it goes a long way towards reducing pollution.
Best of all, you are not alone in these efforts: nearly 84% of respondents in a 2017 survey stated that living in a sustainable, eco-friendly home is important to them. If we are all able to commit to a greener future, both our personal lives and the environment will grow and blossom as a result.
There's a guy on social media who takes plastics out of the ocean and makes them into useful things to sell for operating money. Many people read this and decide they'll go green. Need to know how to begin? You can start in your own home.
In the Beginning
Having an eco-friendly household isn't as hard as it seems. Take cloth shopping bags to the grocery. Take a Mason jar when you want a soft drink or a ceramic mug or thermos for coffee. If you do, you won't be using foam cups and plastic lids. Use glass storage bowls in place of plastics and Tupperware.
Beyond these simple changes, you can also take steps to invest in eco-friendly technology and renewable energy. Switching to solar power reduces greenhouse gases, which will also minimize your home's carbon footprint. If possible, see what your options are for installing residential solar panels and using other energy efficient methods of powering your home. You can also look for ways to minimize water usage in your home. One option is to install energy-efficient plumbing on your property. Even switching to a submersible pump can help reduce energy usage in your home.
Reduce Plastic Use
You can make an effort to reduce plastic waste in your home by recycling and using other materials. Instead of plastic, try using glass. We know it's difficult to find glass bottles, but they're out there. Use your own glass containers to buy from the bulk section at the grocery. Bypass bottled water and instead use your own in a glass container.
If there simply is no way to use glass, then reuse your plastic. Use your plastic containers for organizing the paper clips and rubber bands on your desk or your hairpins and ponytail holders on your vanity table. You can also use plastic containers to hold change or organize the nails, screws and bolts in the tool chest. There are so many reusable plastic items that can be recycled and end up in landfills instead. If you cannot find the time to recycle these items yourself, see if you have friends or a local volunteer group that can help out with this.
Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
As you make an effort to reduce and recycle plastics in your home, you can go green by using natural cleaning products. White vinegar makes a good fabric softener, and it can be used for cleaning the kitchen counters and the toilet. Baking soda cleans teeth, the toilet and sink drains, and it freshens carpets. Lemon mixed with baking soda cleans the garbage disposal as well as windows.
Decluttering Your Home
Decluttering your home is the first step to creating an eco-friendly home. It allows you to sort through your things and get rid of what you never use. You can either donate what you don't use to a goodwill store or if you want to keep it for future use you can put it in storage. Either way, removing the clutter from your home will streamline your organization efforts and it will prevent you from buying things you don't need. Instead of buying new furniture, repurpose what you have and recycle whatever you can. It will not only move you along the eco-friendly path but it will save you money in the long run.
Other Green Habits
Other means of going green include incorporating these habits:
- Using LED light bulbs, which last up to 13 years
- Doing the wash in cold water
- Drying clothes on a clothesline, which helps garments last longer and smell great
- Compost leftovers past their use-by date for garden fertilizer
- Walk or bike instead of driving
Living an eco-friendly life isn't hard to do. Once you begin, you'll wonder how you ever lived any other way. You'll have lots of fun finding ways to lower your carbon footprint and save the Earth.
• Exposure to environmental toxins can occur through skin contact, inhalation, ingestion, or injection.
• Short-term exposure to environmental toxins may cause symptoms such as throat or nose irritation, skin irritation, loss of consciousness, eye damage, nausea and vomiting, coughing or sneezing, headaches and more.
• Long-term exposure can cause permanent physical effects and chronic diseases including obesity and hormone-dependent cancers.
• One way to reduce toxin exposure is to use green cleaning products; replace candles with essential oils; purify water for cooking and drinking; avoid Teflon cookware; leave shoes outside; reduce single-use plastics; use a dehumidifier; and invest in an air purifier.
• To reduce toxin exposure in food it is important to avoid refined seed/vegetable oils; foods in plastic containers; trans fats; red meat; added sugar; high mercury fish; use organic produce/herbs when possible/cook at home whenever possible.
• A detox diet - usually involving a short juice fast - can
Clutter is unpleasant to look at and a pain to deal with - that much is obvious. But did you know that clutter could also be harming your mental health? It's true - a cluttered house, car, or office can sap your energy and your happiness. Here are a few reasons why clutter takes a toll on your well-being.
Clutter Stresses You Out
According to Recovery Resource Mental Health Services, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States battles with mental illness every year, and clutter could be part of the reason. Why? For one thing, it's hard to truly relax when you're surrounded by junk. Clutter is ugly, and it has a way of nagging at you, you know you'll have to take care of it eventually, but starting the task is too overwhelming for many people. The constant, gnawing stress of living in a cluttered environment can contribute to the development of mental health disorders down the line.
Your Clutter Might Be Harboring Harmful Substances
If you let clutter sit for too long, it might start to grow mold. Mold toxicity is a surprisingly common cause of mental health issues. Some of us can be vulnerable to mold, and thus express symptoms that are exclusively psychiatric. Mold is usually the result of water damage, and that can be covered by messes and clutter, so be sure to check around the nooks and crannies of your home.
Clutter Can Affect Your Relationships
It's hard to enjoy being home with your spouse or kids when you're surrounded by a jumble of mail, books, shoes, and other clutter. You're also less likely to invite friends over if your house is cluttered. This can strain your relationships, and your potential relationships as well, because there are some people who find messy homes a huge turn-off.
Clutter Makes It Harder To Live A Healthy Lifestyle
Are you inspired to cook healthy meals and workout when you're surrounded by junk? Probably not. Your environment affects your mindset, and a cluttered house tends to make most people feel lazier and more complacent than they would otherwise. If you value your health, clearing the clutter can help you make better health decisions on a daily basis. So when you're ready to start a new fitness routine, take the time to sell, donate, and recycle unwanted items in your home. You may be surprised by the difference it makes.
Clutter is a Sign That You're Stuck in Consumerist Patterns of Behavior
If your house is cluttered, it's a sure sign that you've got too much stuff. The chances are good that you've been accumulating that stuff for a long time. Use your clutter as a wake-up call - you're buying more than you need, and it's time to scale back your shopping habits.
Clutter is toxic for your mental health - it stresses you out, gets in the way of your relationships, and even influences you to make worse lifestyle decisions. If you have a clutter problem at home, why not start tackling it today? Grab your favorite soaps and begin clearing away the clutter, one piece at a time. You might be surprised at how great you feel afterward.
How to Heat Your Home Without Damaging the Environment
As winter approaches, there will come a point when you decide to switch on the heating. For environmentalists, this can be a difficult moment, but we’re here to help you live sustainably, so that you can heat your home guilt-free. Follow these tips to ensure you do as little damage to the environment as possible.
Most homes in the USA are not properly insulated. The sum total of air leakages in the average American household is equivalent to having a window open all year round. This means that heat escapes during the winter and the outside cold air is let in. As a result, American families are having to turn up their heating, burning more fuel than necessary.
Most heat is lost through the attic and roof, so check that this area is thoroughly insulated with high quality materials. Then make sure to insulate cavity walls, tanks, radiators and floors. Aim for R-value thermal insulation, which has the maximum performance. This would require proper installation from a professional, but will save you money in the long run. Also, materials such as wood fiber, hemp and sheep’s wool are the most eco-friendly and very efficient solutions, while plastic materials rely on fossil fuels and can release harmful toxins.
The problem with airtight homes is that, while they hold in heat, they also stop harmful chemicals from escaping. Indoor air pollution is responsible for 4.3 million deaths globally each year, making it more deadly than outdoor air pollution. After completely insulating your home, ensure you also have proper ventilation and use cleaners which are free of harmful particulates, so the air in your home remains clean.
Avoid products containing hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid or sodium hydroxide. Instead purchase cleaners containing natural substances, such as baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils.
However well insulated your home is, if you live in a cold area then it is always going to need heating. There are many different ways to heat a home, each of which vary in their effect on the environment. Instead of a coal or wood burning fire, consider a bio-ethanol fireplace. This will provide the warmth and comfort of a fireplace, whilst using only the cleanest burning fuel.
Ideally, you will find a way to switch to an energy source which is completely renewable and doesn’t release harmful chemicals. For areas with a lot of sun, solar panels are a great way to gather electricity during the day and heat your homes at night. Windy areas, on the other hand, are increasingly building wind farms to supply electricity. The switch to clean energy is happening slowly and may be expensive, but it is one way to be sure that your electric heater is doing no damage to the environment.
Heating your home shouldn’t be a guilty pleasure. If you are still reliant on energy that releases greenhouse gases, then you can limit your use by insulating your home. This is the quickest and most effective way to reduce energy consumption. Just make sure to limit your use of indoor air pollutants to maintain clean air both inside and out.
Contribution by freelance writer Sally Writes