As I continue on my journey toward healthy living, ridding my home of chemicals has been high on my priority list. I find that most of the challenge in healthy living is not in the actual practice itself, but in the process of learning how to do it. Toxins and chemicals are so normal in our day and age that we don’t even give it a second thought. Most of the time, when we are faced with a new study that concludes certain chemicals are toxic and shouldn’t be used in our home or on our bodies, we may want to change, but we feel paralyzed to actually know how to carry it out. We simply are not aware of any other options.
I stumbled upon Chris Fabry Live!’s broadcasts of Toxic Talk Tuesdays with Andrea Fabry recently and have been so excited by their wisdom, knowledge and passion for toxic-free living. They themselves have been on a horrific journey of household mold causing serious health issues and have now relocated to Arizona where they are detoxing and learning to rehabilitate. The journey left their entire family extremely sick and highly sensitive to any trace of chemicals. It was this that sparked Andrea’s quest for knowledge on toxicity and its relation to health. She challenges people to live healthier even if they don’t find the immediate need, and they will find the benefits far outweigh the labor involved in learning how. But another passion of hers is making this whole journey simpler for others than it has been for her.
Each month the Fabrys do a broadcast focusing on a different aspect of our lives or homes, identify toxins, and give practical, economical suggestions for substitutions for common chemicals. I found it helpful to summarize these broadcasts and use them to walk through de-toxing my own home. I am not always directly quoting as much as I am summarizing key points and consolidating ideas and suggestions.
Toxic Talk Tuesdays with the Fabrys-Laundry
July 19, 2011
- “I do have a heart to help people know change is possible. I have discovered something that is so much fun and freeing, too! We know this subject can be so negative, but we don’t want to live in fear. I took action out of fear and necessity, and what I found is there are great alternatives that are better and less expensive, and you will feel better, but you don’t have to walk around afraid of the world.”
- Most people hearing this program will say “That would be so nice! But you know, I’ve got the mortgage to pay, I’ve got the kids, etc. I don’t have time! And changing is just–it’s global, we are surrounded, so why would I change anything?” The Fabrys made this massive life change out of health necessity when they realized they were chemically sensitive. It was overwhelming. They had to change every thing from cologne to shampoo to deodorant to detergent. Andrea’s immediate reaction was to go out and buy everything “natural” and “organic” and ended up spending a lot of money and throwing a lot away that still didn’t work for them. Learning to read labels and identify harmful ingredients was pivotal.
- You can make your own of pretty much anything. ”I know that is the part that is most overwhelming, but that is the most exciting to me! There is a spiritual component, as I have walked through this journey one tiny step at a time, I discovered something very enriching. The focus on most of these products is ‘Look at what man has done, isn’t man amazing!’ And it’s true, there are some incredible things that man has done. I mean, think if we didn’t have insulin for our son! But, when you go back to some of these basic ingredients, plants, herbs, minerals, there is some connection with God that I have sensed is so moving and so unexpected where I will be putting together a mixture of something and I’ll smell lavender and it and I’ll think ‘He made that! And it smells so good!’ It’s just taken me to a level that I didn’t expect.”
- In the end, you will not only feel better, but in the end, it’s less expensive!
- Eliminate dryer sheets. Their fragrance is putting chemicals onto our clothes at the last step before they come in contact with our bodies, and it does not get washed off. If you really want a scent on your laundry, you can take a spray bottle and fill it with filtered water and an essential oil, such as lavender, and spray it on your wet clothes as you transfer to the dryer. You can also try a damp rag sprayed with the solution and add it to your dryer with your clothes. Essential oils can be found at your local health food store or online. Just make sure it is 100% pure.
- Do not use fabric softener. This is also a chemical that stays in the clothes. You can use dryer or tennis balls to help reduce static cling. Try using white vinegar in your rinse cycle. It kills some of the pathogens that may still be left after the soap has done its work. It will not feel exactly the same as you are used to, but the switch is worth it.
- Options for laundry detergent substitute: Soap nuts, homemade laundry detergent. A key to using soaps is less is more. We tend to oversoap, and soap doesn’t rinse out very well.
- Natural stain removal. Most Stains can be removed without harsh chemicals such as bleach. It’s all about chemistry. Grass stain is alkaline, so an acid like white vinegar will neutralize it. For an acid, like a meat or a blood stain, you would want to use a mineral like baking soda. A high concentration of hydrogen peroxide will whiten when used as a soak. If you can find 33% concentrate, add to water to soak overnight, then wash as usual in the morning.
- In every load, I use 1/2 cup of baking soda at the beginning and 1/2 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle. Tea tree oil, which is an anti-fungal, can be helpful to add into the wash, especially with towels, which tend to get musty and moldy quickly.