Inside the Home

The best way we can keep our homes as healthy as possible, is to stop buying products that bring pollutant into the home, like furniture whose components contain micro plastics in the form or man-made fiber fabric, polyurethane foam cushioning, wood with formaldehyde, finishes that contains VOCs, candles whose wicks contain lead and whose wax contains all manner of toxic substances…..the list goes on and on.  There are other ways to deal with the reality of our relatively closed-off, dust-collecting box system, which we call a “house.”  🙂  Enjoy!

Some of these ideas are borrowed from Dr. Hulda Clark’s “A Cure for All Diseases”

  • Air Quality (these excerpts are taken from Tina’s Home Tips for Women)
    • Carbon-filled Moso bags can absorb toxic gases/VOCs in your home and your car.
    • Don’t allow appliances to exhaust air and/or moisture inside your home. This means no ductless range hoods and bathroom/dryer vents should always be vented outside.
    • Make sure all fixtures that burn fuel are vented to the outside, away from windows and HVAC intake vents. These include furnaces, fireplaces, range tops, exhaust fans and similar appliances.  Ideally, install an alternative heating source, such as a
    • Ensure adequate ventilation for your house, changing filters on your HVAC equipment and using additional air cleaners as needed. Air cleaners should be UL 867 certified and meet California’s ozone release requirements. Weather permitting, open doors and windows and use ceiling fans except when there are high levels of allergens outdoors.
    • Keep your home dry, using dehumidifiers if necessary. Take immediate action to remove water and wet materials, like drywall and insulation in a flooded basement, to prevent the growth of mold.  Here is a cheap and almost free hack to double your refrigerator as a dehumidifier – posted by a wonderful participant in the prermies forum:
      • “Most folks don’t know that their ‘frost free fridge’ can be easily hacked to act as a dehumidifier.  As it runs continuously, it can be used to suck moisture out of a humid house all.. year.. long.Frost free fridges actually have a heating element.  This heating element comes on every-so-often to thaw out the cooling plate.  Any frost/ice that has formed on the cooling plate melts, drips into a plastic trough, drains to the bottom-rear of your fridge via a small tube, and then ends up in a plastic bowl located on top of your compressor.  The compressor, as it works to pump heat out of your fridge and into the surrounding air, heats up.  Heat from the compressor warms the bowl and evaporates the water, returning the moisture back to the air where it originally came from.  So, under normal circumstances, this operation is humidity-neutral.Assuming your fridge is against an external wall, or above an accessible basement, or near a drain, you can get a short piece of scrap tubing, attach it onto the end of the drain tube (just above the bowl), and instead of the water ending up in the bowl, it can be redirected outside, to a container or drain.  In any case, since it is no longer being heated and evaporated back into the air, it is effectively removed from the humidity equation and your internal air becomes drier.Depending on how easy it is to access the back of your fridge, this hack takes mere minutes.  I think it took me all of 5 minutes to do mine — and I chose to drill a hole into our back wall so that the water would go to plants outside.It doesn’t take any extra electricity, and doesn’t harm your fridge in any way.  It’s just the free 24/7/365 dehumidifier that y’all have in your kitchen but weren’t aware of.
    • Take steps to keep your home clean, leaving shoes at the door, using a high efficiency (HEPA) vacuum cleaner and washing bedding to reduce exposure to allergens and dust mites.
  • Asbestos –  “The biggest source of asbestos is not building materials; it is the clothes dryer belt and hair dryer.
    • remove the belt from the dryer and check to see if it says “Made in USA” on the belt itself. If so, it is OK. If not, it is imported, and probably contains asbestos. Exchange it for a USA belt.
    • Hair dryers, too, may be imported and shed asbestos. It is especially hazardous to be aiming a stream of hot asbestos right at your face.  If you can’t find a safe model, or are unsure, don’t use any. If you have cancer or are ill, no one in the house should use an unsafe hair dryer.” – Dr. Hulda Clark
  • Kitchen
    • Cookware, Bakeware & Other Kitchen Equipment – Xtrema ceramic, enameled cast iron or steel, cast iron and carbon steel are the safest choices in my opinion.
      • For all of equipment recommendations read this post.
      • For more information about why I chose certain materials over others, read this post. 
  • Cleaning Products 
    • Laundry
    • Stain Remover.  Mommypotamus again shares her wonderful recipes with us.  I believe even just hydrogen peroxide alone would work well, but you can’t go wrong with her recipe.
    • Dishes
      • I believe we do not need to use soap very much if we wash our dishes right away and if we have not used the dishes to process raw meat or fish.  Hot water is perfectly sufficient in my opinion, and if there are stubborn pieces of food, dip your dishcloth into the bowl of washing soda/baking soda kept in a bowl next to your sink, or if you want to up your game, a bowl of ground mustard seeds.  Both are abbrasive enough to easily dislodge those stubborn pieces of food.
      • For the dishes that actually need to be disinfected – Mommypotamus offers us a liquid dish soap recipe, and a dishwasher detergent recipe that actually works + a dishwasher rinse aid tutorial.
    • All Purpose Cleaner Spray for countertops, etc
      • 1 C water
      • ½  ounce vodka
      • 1 C ounces white vinegar infused with herbs
      • ½ C lemon juice (optional)
      • 2 or 3 drops castile soapSpray for counter tops, etc.
        • *could try adding baking soda
        • *experiment with amount of water
    •  Disinfectant Spray & Hand Sanitizer for when there are colds and flu in the house
      • Wash and peel the lemons, place rinds in a glass jar and cover with vodka.  Cover the rinds with vodka and allow to steep in a cool dark place for 3-6 weeks.  Strain vodka.  Dilute vodka with water 9 to 1.  Some prefer to use hydrogen peroxide, but I like alcohol.
    • more to come….
  • Fiberglass – Check your dwelling for uncovered fiberglass. Repair immediately. Search for small screw holes intended for pictures, or electric outlet plates that are missing.  Also remove fiberglass jackets from water heater and fiberglass filter from furnace. Replace with foam or carbon. Best of all, hire a crew to remove it all from your home, and replace insulation with blown-in shredded paper or other innocuous substance. Never build a new house using fiberglass for any purpose.
  • Flooring, Carpeting & Cleaning – 
    • Hardwood floors are the healthiest option in my opinion.  By law, all foreign wood entering the United States must be treated with toxic chemicals.  So if you’re installing a hardwood floor, try to find a source of domestic wood, or even sustainably grown wood, like Timber Growers in Spring Green, Wisconsin.   For finishing, this company recommends Bona water based polyurethane varnish.  They said they have seen oil finishes can be easily stained with water and wax finishes make it difficult to resand and refinish later.  Personally, I would go with an oil, even if staining could occur.  Better yet- I would choose an earthen floor! – (another article from Mother Earth News)
    • Mopping, instead of the vacuum cleaner, keeps dirt to a minimum. If only a broom is had, sprinkle wet bran or something on the floor first to  keep the dust down when sweeping
    • Throw rugs at doors and bedside are easy to clean, and “catch the dirt” as was the original intention.
    • Most carpets release a ton of toxic gases over the entire course of its lifetime.  If your home has carpeting, know that to reduce your toxin exposure, you should budget for replacing it with a safe alternative: use the heavily-researched recommendations from http://www.gimmethegoodstuff.org to choose a safe carpet, or an area rug.
  • Furniture
    • ideally should be wood or cane, with cushions to soften the impact. These cushion covers can be washed weekly if the covers are removable.  If the cushions are filled with wool, the wool can also be washed once a year or every couple years.  To wash, place a heap of wool in a tub with boiling hot water, and agitate the water for three minutes.  Drain the tub, or lift the wool out of the water and place in the washing machine on spin cycle and then set aside until fully dry.  Modern cloth furniture with foam interiors are a repository of filth and fumes and a constant source of infectious dust.
    • It would be great to have no chairs or couches — then children could maintain their flexibility into their old age…but for those of us already lost, it would be hard to go without chairs.  I have a friend who got rid of all chairs in her house and her children are extremely healthy for it!  I don’t know how she and her husband deal with it though!  Pretty awesome when people actually try something radical!
    • www.gimmethegoodstuff.org has a sofa buying guide.  You can also find helpful information from Green Science Policy here.
    • Want to test if your couch or your baby’s mattress or carseat contains some flame retardant chemicals?  Foam often consists of at least 5% of straight up flame retardant chemicals.  Scientists at Duke University are examining the use of flame retardant chemicals in furniture. You can be part of the study by sending a sample from your home. Visit the study website http://foam.pratt.duke.edu/ for more information.  Testing for all types of flame retardants is not readily available to consumers as far as we know.
  • Crafts / Shipping
    • “scotch” tape: plastic-free cellulose tape: https://www.lifewithoutplastic.com/store/cellulose-packing-tape-18-mm-0-6.html.  The only caveat is that it should be used within a year…i bet it would last longer though 🙂  Biodegradable.
    • packing tape: https://www.lifewithoutplastic.com/store/gummed-paper-tape-plastic-free.html.  This is completely biodegradable, is activated with water, and will keep for forever!
    • glue: make your own wheat paste glue anytime you need it by simply mixing water with white flour until it has the consistency of pancake batter.  After a few minutes, it should be ready to brush onto your paper like regular glue – this tutorial shows it being used to paste paper labels to glass jars.
  • Pest Control –  many pests can be driven out by removing food or moisture sources, and by using food-grade diatomaceous earth, which acts as a dessicant to dry out the bodies of the pests, killing them.  This is a common and effective treatment for bed bugs, and even lice.  When applying insecticidal dusts be sure to wear gloves, goggles, and breathing mask. Do not apply insecticidal dusts where there might be water runoff, as these chemicals are toxic to fish.  Beyond Pesticides has a section of their site dedicated to dealing with pests, categorized by pest type and the least toxic solutions.
  • Refrigerator – freon is a top health hazard in the home — make sure the refrigerator is a non-CFC variety.
  • Toilet Paper & All Things Wiped (Poop, Pee & Menstruation) – we need to start facing the fact that our poop has to go somewhere, and embracing some of the amazing solutions that are out there.  Septic tanks suck unless they are combined with a  reed bed system, and the way we treat wastewater in the city is messed up.  There are really good solutions out there, being utilized as we speak.
  • Water Quality
    • Contaminants & Testing: familiarize yourself with the types of contaminants, then test your water to see what contaminants are present.  This is the first step to obtaining healthy drinking water.
    • Solutions & Filters – many options including some great DIY options!
    • Some particularly nasty toxins you should know about that require special attention or materials to filter out, or that are needlessly added to our drinking water:
      • Fluoride – added intentionally to drinking water at the treatment plant
      • Aluminum – added intentionally at most drinking water treatment plants as a coagulant (some places, like France, have transitioned to safe ferric (iron) salts