Toxic Talk Tuesday – Naturally Clean Bathrooms

To continue in our series of Toxic Talk Tuesdays, we join Chris and Andrea Fabry once again for Chris Fabry Live!  We have already explored the laundry, the kitchen, and personal care products.

The first thing the Fabrys did on their program was a chemical awareness quiz.  While they only had time for a few questions on air, I have pulled all 15 questions from Andrea’s website, Moms AWARE. For more detailed information on each answer, visit her site and take the quiz!

  1. According to a 2008 American Association of poison control Center COSMETICS/PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS were the top cause of poisoning of children under age 5. More information at this website.
  2. The manufactorer of NON-STICK COOKWARE warns against using it near birds because it “can damage a bird’s lungs with alarming speed.”  More information at this website.
  3. When purchased new, A VINYL SHOWER CURTAIN emits well over 14 compounds, 7 of which are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as Hazardous Air Pollutants.  These hazardous compounds include methylene chloride, methyl alcohol, toluene, and phenol. It will diminish indoor air quality for one month after purchasing.  More information at this website as well as this source.  Alternatives can be found here.
  4. The chemical phenylenediamine, or coal tar, is permitted in only one type of consumer product and must carry a warning that it presents “an acute, severe hazard to health with the possibility of permanent injury; i.e., impaired sight, including blindness.”  That product is HAIR DYE.  More information at this website.
  5. Triclosan, one of the primary ingredients in antibacterial soaps, is classified by the U.S. government as a PESTICIDE.  More information at this website. (You can make your own antibacterial soaps without triclosan, though! Using castile soap and an antibacterial essential oil such as tea tree oil.  A recipe can be found here.)
  6. Petroleum distillates are petrochemicals that have been distilled in a refinery and then refined further. Consumer products containing petroleum distillates include motor oil, furniture polish, lighter fluid, and BABY OIL.  More information at this website. (For a safer alternative, simply use coconut oil or kefir)
  7. More than 90 percent of pharmaceuticals are manufactured with CHLORINE.  More information at this website.
  8. Polyisobutylene, or butyl rubber, is used in sealants, lubricants, caulking agents, and adhesives. It is also commonly used in CHEWING GUM.  More information at this website.
  9. Dr. Harvey Wiley, the “Father of the Pure Food and Drugs Act,” advised against using aluminum in food products, saying it is “universally acknowledged as a poison in all countries.” Aluminum is commonly found in all of these products: ANTACIDS, FOOD ADDITIVES, COSMETICS, AND BUFFERED ASPIRIN. More information at this website as well as here. (Aluminium is also found in baking soda. Look for aluminum free!)
  10. Bisphenol A (BPA), commonly found in canned goods, plastics, personal care products, and dental sealants, was first introduced as a SYNTHETIC ESTROGEN. More information at this website.
  11. Which consumer product has this ingredient list on its label: Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, PEG-150 Distearate, Fragrance, Polyquaternium-10, Tetrasodium EDTA, Quaternium-15, Citric Acid, Yellow 10 and Orange 4? JOHNSON’S BABY SHAMPOO. More information at this website.  (I rarely use soap on my baby it is unneccessary and dries their skin, but when the need occurs, I use Dr. Bronner’s pure liquid castile Baby Mild.)
  12. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) classifies this as an indoor air pollutant, saying it “may be detrimental to the health of workers with chemical sensitivities, allergies, asthma, and chronic headaches/migraines.” FRAGRANCE. More information at this website.
  13. Dioxins, by-products of industrial processing and known teratogens (substances capable of interfering with the development of a fetus) and carcinogens (substances capable of causing cancer), are commonly found in BLEACHED COFFEE FILTERS. More information at this website. Find unbleached filters in your local grocery store.
  14. World War I brought the advent of chemical warfare. Along with mustard gas, CHLORINE was used as a choking agent, attacking the nose, throat, and lungs to cause “dry land drowning.” More information at this website.
  15. According to the National Capital Poison Center, MOUTHWASH can poison a small child. More information at this website.
EPA Children’s Home Tour States:
“Did you know that a pesticide is added to your washing machine to help keep your white clothes white? This pesticide is also found in many household cleaning products that contain a disinfectant to kill germs, and it is found in household products used to clean mold and mildew from your shower or tub. Can you guess what this product is? Chlorine bleach.”
All of this information can be overwhelming and cause us to live in fear.  But that is not the goal of this broadcast or this post! “The idea is not to be afraid, the idea is to be aware, and there is a very big difference.” Awareness enables us to come up with solutions. Knowledge can empower us to make wiser choices.
When we study the delightful creation that God has given us, we become aware of so many natural, workable solutions to all of these issues.  It can cause us to worship our amazing God even more!
For an example, we look at the road runner.  These little birds can go 17 MPH as they skirt across the road between cars.  He does not run in fear, though the cars are much bigger and going much faster than he is, he runs with awareness.  That is how we want to be as we live our lives.  We do not want to live in fear of our knowledge. We want our increased knowledge and awareness to empower us to make better choices.
Bathroom: Pathogens and Plumbing
Ventilation is extremely important in bathrooms and any indoor environment.

Plumbing brings with it the potential for mold.  Know that mold is very serious.  If you see it on the wall, it is extremely serious. If it is a shower surface issue, it can be dealt with.

Mold is like a dandelion.  If you pick a dandelion, the chances of the seeds scattering and spreading are very high. So you may eliminate one dandelion, but chances are, seeds have already scattered to the wind and spread further.
Mold is the same way. It is made up of microscopic spores. 20,000,000 micron mold spores fit on a postage stamp. Do not be casual about finding mold or water damage in a bathroom. In order to grow, mold needs moisture and darkness.
Most people treat mold with bleach.  However, bleach does not kill mold.  It kills mold spores, but it does not kill the micotoxins.  Bleach can actually simply spread the mold further and make it more absorb-able into our systems.
Hydrogen Peroxide and tea tree oil are much more effective.
Natural Bathroom Cleaning Options:
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
Add pine, tea tree oil, lemon or lime to vinegar to help ease the odor.
Remember, always buy 100% pure essential oils.  These are pricey, but they last a very, very long time. You can put three drops into your washing machine and that is all you need.
Antimicrobial essential oils: grapefruit seed extract, tea tree oil
Avoid using bleach.  Think about bleach like you would a pesticide.  Pesticides kill insects and are harmful to humans.  Avoid the use of it and use these alternatives instead!

Cleansers

Any non-toxic cleaners you use in other parts of the home can also be used in the bathroom. White vinegar (diluted or full strength) is the best all-around cleaner and can be used to clean tubs, toilets, floors, and even mirrors.

For added protection against mold and mildew, add several drops of tea tree oil and grapefruit seed extract (GSE) to the white vinegar.

For those who find the smell of tea tree oil or white vinegar offensive, consider adding cinnamon essential oil or pine essential oil to the diluted vinegar. Lime also helps soften the odor.

An odorless option is 25 drops of GSE blended with 1 c. water. Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and use as you would white vinegar. No rinsing required.

Options for cleaning the toilet:
  • Pour 1 c. borax into the toilet. Let sit overnight. Clean with toilet brush in the morning.
  • Pour 1/2 c. white vinegar into bowl. Add 1/2 c. baking soda. As the vinegar neutralizes the soda, a fizz is created, which aids in the cleaning process.
  • Add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil and allow to sit until next use.
  • Spray vinegar and hydrogen peroxide and scrub out
  • Use tea tree oil to clean the floor around the base of the toilet

Recipes from Moms AWARE:

Antibacterial Hand Soap

Conventional antibacterial soaps contain triclosan, a synthetic antimicrobial agent used in a wide variety of household and personal care products.

A simple alternative begins with a hand soap pump bottle. This can be reused or purchased new. Fill with a mixture of 1 c. filtered water and 3 tbsp. liquid Castile soap. If refilling a foaming soap dispenser, use less Castile soap. To extend the shelf life, add 3 drops grapefruit seed extract. You can also add several drops of lemon or lavender essential oil.

Vinegar of the Four Thieves
Place a handful each of dried lavender, rosemary, sage, wormwood, rue, and mint in a 1/2 gallon glass jar. Pack them in tightly. Pour raw organic apple cider vinegar over the herbs, covering them to within 4 inches of the top. Cover jar tightly and set in a cool, dark place for 3-6 weeks. Shake jar daily or several times a week.

After the allotted time, strain. Pour strained vinegar into spray bottles. Dilute if desired.

This can also be spritzed into the air of a sickroom. Be sure to avoid eyes and mouth.

Drain Cleaners

Plungers or plumber’s snakes are often needed for clogged drains. For minor backups, pour 1 c. washing soda into water around drain. Water should go down. If not, try adding 1 c. white vinegar. Use washing soda weekly to keep drains flowing freely.

The transition from chemicals to naturally occurring cleaning solutions can be overwhelming and we can obsess over it easily.  Andrea encourages that at first, as you are learning all these things, you will obsess at first, but the more you learn, the more you strive to have a healthy mindset and balance as you incorporate these things into your life, the more natural it will become to think in this way and it will be less overwhelming. Take a step at a time and do what you can! Every little bit helps.

Further Reading and Resources:
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