My naturopath Dr. Kelly Upcott and I share the view that as we tackle my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome together, I need to reduce the toxic load on my liver and enhance my immune system. Reducing chemical exposure has been a step in the right direction.
Not all products that call themselves natural or that boast about containing green tea or lavender are benign. Look past the emphasis on their ethereal special ingredients. What we want to know is, what else is in there?
All the tea tree oil in the world isn't going to cancel out any toxic chemicals we're also getting in the bargain.
I got busy reading labels, and did web searches to find out what these foreign sounding ingredients really were.
Some of the things I wanted to avoid were Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Parabens and Phthalates. These chemicals are in a lot of products most of us use every day.
They are in soaps, shampoos, hair color, makeup, toothpaste, dish detergent, laundry detergent, shaving cream, moisturizers, and many types of cleaning agents.
I started looking for products that didn't contain any of them. It was harder than I expected it to be. But not impossible.
Here are some of the changes I've made over the past three years.
1) Cleaning products
Instead of most commercial cleaners and bleach, I clean with vinegar and baking soda. Hydrogen peroxide is also good for many types of cleaning.
2) Laundry detergent
I've bought detergents that were more environmentally friendly. I've used borax in place of a portion of detergent. I've added baking soda to a load of dirty clothes instead of bleach.
I'm very fond of soap nuts. They grow on trees and are 100 percent natural. A few in your washer will make your clothes clean and static-free. Love 'em.
3) Fabric softener
Even before I found soap nuts, I'd quit using dryer sheets. I'd discovered that 1/4 cup of vinegar in my washload would prevent most static cling. You don't have to wait for the rinse cycle, throw it in with your detergent. (Or your soap nuts).