Toxic Talk Tuesday-Laundry Care

Baking Soda

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!
This can be so overwhelming, where do I begin?
Start with the laundry! Whatever we do with our laundry stays on our clothes 24/7. Whatever detergent and softener we use in our laundry touches everything–clothes, sheets, towels,etc. It affects us the most, and it is also the most difficult to change. For an article on the 31 most harmful chemicals found in fragrances used in detergents, read here.  Let’s work backwards from the least to most difficult. Just take one step at a time if you can!
  • 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.
Baking soda and vinegar can be used to clean your whole house.  Baking soda makes and excellent “scrub” for counter tops, around faucets, etc. When vinegar is added, it bubbles up as you scrub. You can use a pumice stone to scrub around your toilet with baking soda and vinegar.  White vinegar is one of the most versatile natural cleaning agents available.  At around $1.50 for a gallon, it is a very economical way to clean. Hydrogen peroxide is also an excellent carpet stain remover. Test a small area first to make sure you do not discolor your carpet! You can buy 33% hydrogen peroxide and dilute it to 3-6% for household use (the little brown bottles in most stores are diluted to 3%).
A common argument heard is, “But it doesn’t smell the same! It doesn’t smell clean!” This is the hangup. We think “clean” has a certain smell, which is actually a chemical smell, such as bleach or fragrance.  But do you know how a clean house should smell? Like nothing! And before long, you begin to love the smell of nothing, because you know it is clean and chemical-free! However, if you like some natural fragrance, find an essential oil you love and use it in your cleaning.  (I love using tea tree oil, which is a natural anti-microbial, in my housecleaning. I love the fresh smell while knowing it is safe to breathe in and God-made!)
Andrea’s motto: I would rather use something that is contributing to my health rather than using something my body has to fight. Essentially, I want to be as close to the natural form as possible. There is something so creative about  finding natural ways to keep things clean.
To hear the entire broadcast, click below.  A link to Andrea’s extremely informative website, MomsAWARE is also below. Stay tuned for Toxic Talk Tuesday on how to clean your kitchen and personal care products!

Chris Fabry Live! July 19, 2011



6 responses to this post.

  1. I’m so glad you posted this! I listened to this episode on the radio, and didn’t know where to find the details she had mentioned about how to clean chemical-free. I am VERY interested in this. :0) Thanks!


  2. You know, once last year my roommate accidently slept all night with a rouge dryer sheet inside her shirt, and when she woke up she had a bad rash on her back – kind of like several huuuge mosquito bites – right where the dryer sheet was all night. The things have freaked me out ever since, but I did know a good alternative. Thanks for the tips!! I think I will try these things …


  3. Also, where do you get all of these things? Oils, soap nuts …


    • Posted by ashleynicolewillcox on September 22, 2011 at 11:15 pm

      Excellent point! I will update my post with this information. I hate when people give suggestions of what to use and then leave me stranded as to how to find it! I included a link for my favorite soap nuts. Usually on-line is your best option for most of these things, castile soaps, etc. Otherwise if you are blessed to have a decent health food store around, most will have a healthy supply of essential oils, castile soap options, and perhaps even soap nuts. I have seen Dr. Bronner’s castile soaps at Walgreens!


  4. […] For Toxic Talk Tuesday-Introduction and Laundry Care, click here. […]


  5. […] Toxic Talk Tuesdays: Laundry Care […]


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