Thursday, June 2, 2011


Just wanted to write an update on how things are going as we de-chemicalize our home!

Things I have done to date:

* Removed all toxic cleaning products. Am using all natural things - mostly vinegar, baking soda and peroxide.

* Removed all Triclosan.  We now use natural organic soap in the bathroom and a mix of castile soap and water in the kitchen.  )Triclosan takes a couple of weeks to fully get out of the body).  I want to make up that antibacterial at some stage but for now we have an alcohol based one which is safe so will use that.

* Removed all Teflon.  This meant I had to get rid of my Oneida saute pan we use every day, two other cheapo coated frypans, muffin tin, baking trays.  I found a really nice stainless steel saute pan with a lid, the same size for $19 at Walmart which I was so happy about to replace that.  I have yet to find replacements for the muffin tin and baking trays for cookies.  Not sure how easy it will be to find them in stainless steel but I will find them!

I've removed all the plastic chopping boards and replaced it with one bamboo board for vegetables and fruit and one bamboo board for meat.  This seems to be working really well so far.  I went through my utensils and have got rid of nearly all the plastics there.  The only ones left are a couple are stainless steel with plastic handles (well they maybe rubber - not sure) and the spatulas.  I'm not sure what to do about spatulas.  I have a silicone one and the another one.  I think I will ultimately try to find a wooden handled one with a safe rubber top perhaps?  I have mixed feelings on silicone to be honest.  I got a set of bamboo utensils from Bed Bath and Beyond which was really cheap and that has been great so far.

All our kitchen dishes etc are all either glass, ceramic or stainless steel so that is really good!  I need to find a good stainless steel dish rack. I was looking online last night and many of them have a plastic drain rack! So I'll keep looking to find the right one.

I still also need to get rid of the plastic magnetic clips and try to find stainless steel ones.  I'm also now trying to buy food only in glass or in ceramic coated cans only to avoid the BPAs in the plastic. I read the other day that canned tomatoes are the worst because the acidity causes the BPA to leach even more? Or something like that.  Ultimately I want to bottle my own.

We still have a big plastic rubbish bin too which I need to replace with probably stainless steel. I'm guessing wicker probably isn't that hygenic?  The stainless steel ones are expensive though so will have to wait for that one.

Today I returned some things and was able to get a stainless steel large colander. I'm excited about this as this will replace the cheap plastic one we have been using to rinse the fruit etc and hold the fruit in the fridge with.

We already have a water filter on the kitchen tap that is a carbon one so that works well.

Our Dining Table chairs are upholstered and so right now we are sitting on them with a towel over them. I know this isn't great because the problem is they leach out the flame retardant into the dust/air and we breathe it in.  For now we'll have to deal with that and I'm trying to keep the house as dust free as possible.

We are using natural organic soap samples we got from a fair last year right now. We know these are pure and they are really good.  We have ditched all shampoos, conditioners, lotions, moisturisers - EVERYTHING.  Even all my makeup :-(  That was a REALLY hard decision to make as I love my makeup and really had it down to some fantastic favourites after years of trying different stuff. Still, I checked out the ingredients and they aren't safe so they can't stay around here. I'm not risking anything.  We got a pure shampoo from a local health store which I checked the ingredients first and there is nothing bad in it. I was shocked when looking as even in the health store many of the shampoos still had bad stuff in!!!  It's working so far. We had tried another one but it wasn't great - it was a sample size so fortunately didn't last too long!  I find my hair gets greasier now I'm detoxing and maybe it's just part of the process? I'm not sure. But I do find that rinsing my hair in apple cidar vinegar is REALLY good! It makes my hair really nice afterwards.

I did try coconut oil on my hair but didn't do the right thing with it on researching afterwards. I shampooed my hair with it.  It made my hair really greasy.  However I found out later that it's best used as a treatment on your hair and it needs to be warmed.  So I will probably do that again.  Again I find the apple cider vinegar really cuts out the grease when getting it out again.

On the topic of Coconut Oil, I am now using this as my facial moisturiser and it's great!  I use it day and night.  I've always had combination skin and would have thought coconut oil would cause a breakout and was expecting it to be honest, but not at all! My skin looks great! Very healthy!  I'll let you know more after I've been using it longer - I think it's been around a week so far!

I read the other day that toilet paper has BPA in it, along with paper towels and tissues!  It's scary how much we really do marinate in BPAs all day!  Apparently the recycled papers are no better - in fact are probably worse because newspaper ink has BPA in it and newspapers are recycled with the other papers to make the recycled paper.  So, here is my proposition:  I am looking into trying cloth wipes, I know it sounds gross however on thinking about it, it's no different that using cloth wipes for diapering - which I plan to use - and there are methods for it not to be too gross.  I researched it online and you would be surprised how many people are actually doing this now so I am definitely not alone.  Apparently you get lots of cloths (try to get organic cotton or unbleached cotton, otherwise wash a lot before use to get the chemicals out of the fabric first) and have a container of cloths by the toilet.  Then you have a pot/bin with a lid on the other side.  I read lots of different ways to do this so this isn't the only way but I'll probably put baking soda and maybe water in the bottom and will wash every second day.  I have yet to test this though so we'll see how it goes.  I'm just waiting for the organic wipes I got online really cheap to arrive so I can start this.  We will always have toilet paper however for guests and I'm not sure if my husband is up to doing this at this stage.  Still as far as I'm concerned the less BPAs I'm in contact with right now the better for our child.

Our shower curtain is already a fabric safe one - so I'm glad about that. PVC ones are the worst - basically if you can smell it - get rid of it!

With makeup, fortunately I have some Bare Minerals makeup - not much left though. I'm researching that at the moment as I really need a mascara and eyeliner and lip gloss that are non toxic, they are my daily essentials!  I'm probably not going to continue using Bare Minerals only because they are not completely safe, but while I search I have that as a back up if I need makeup.  I actually have just been going without as I'm home most of the time right now anyway.  There are options out there and as soon as I get a job I'll get it so I have makeup to wear to work.

I do eventually want to get a carbon filter for the shower/bath water also particularly to get out any of the herbicide atrazine.

I took all the stash of Laundry Detergents back to where I got them from today actually.  I am currently using a brand called Ecos that I found at Sams Club recently.  It has nothing bad in it and is scented only with Lavender Essential Oil. It's doing a good job cleaning the clothes.  I still have my soap nuts to try also.

I found dryer sheets stashed away and have got rid of them.  Now I know the smell is bad (Pthalates which disrupt hormones) it has changed everything for me as I used to LOVE all those laundry smells.

I have yet to get rid of the plastic buckets, brush and shovel and also I have this washing hamper sorter that I love and was sad to realise it's plastic - in fact I think it's the worst plastic of all - PVC as well.  I've been looking at options and they are all really expensive so I don't know what I'll do about that yet.

I also have to replace all the plastic coated dryer frames, plastic coathangers and hooks too :-(  Hoping I can find substitutes that aren't too expensive.

I have replaced plastic containers with some baskets I found - so my onions now have a wicker basket which actually looks really nice!

I also went through all our food.  I pulled out the canned tomatoes and are giving them away. I have since found the enamel lined cans of tomato which will do for now. It is expensive to buy them that way though so I think I'll need to learn to bottle sooner rather than later!

I found an organic tomato ketchup in a glass bottle at the local health store so we have that now.  I went through all our supplies and got rid of foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup (following watching a lecture on youtube by the University Of California about how bad it is - same effect on your body as alcohol because your body converts HFCS into ethanol).  I also found products with MSG (monosodium glutamate) in! I was horrified as this is banned in NZ and Australia so didn't realise to even look for that here, but it is in lots of food! A spinach dip we had even had it in!

I was disappointed to find our bottle of Lea and Perrins had HFCS in, as did our Aunt Jemima's maple syrup!  So it's cleared now.  We have some canned food I'll get rid of then won't replace with cans anyway once done.

I was pleased to find out that IKEA furniture is fairly green and eco friendly. We have IKEA furniture in our room so we don't have to worry too much about that fortunately. The big issue is our bed, knowing it has flame retardants and probably stain protection and who knows what else.  I have a washed cotton mattress protector on it (washed to remove formeldahyde in new products) and our sheets are washed so many times now I'm sure they are safe.  Our pillows and comforter are still questionable however.  Mine probably not so bad as it's from IKEA but my husband has synthetic ones.

I have found a company that do safe non toxic bedding so will buy from them as soon as we have the money.  They are called Cozy Pure.  I like the idea of their pillow the La Noodle and the Kapok so I will let you know when I get those to review them for you.

I also discovered those packets of scented things in our drawers - that used to smell so amazing to me. I have taken them out and will give them away.  Also I have removed all the candles in our house. Apparently the only safe candles are soy candles or beeswax candles.

I will eventually get a new rubbish bin for our bedroom but for now we have an IKEA one which is made of safe plastic.

I also moved our alarm clock to a dresser on the other side of the room. I have heard many times that having devices like that by your bed at night isn't good as it stimulates your mind stopping you getting into that really deep restful sleep.

We have a sofa that is probably some kind of pvc or vinyl which also has flame retardants and also probably stain protectant - so it is leaching all sorts of chemicals into our environment. I'm not sure what to do about that right now to be honest.  Well, we need to sell it and get something organic as soon as we can but it's a big step because we bought this together because we really love it and I don't know how my husband will deal with this either.

My mother in law bought us a wooden rocking chair recently so I sit on that most of the time now. I cover it with a blanket as I'm not sure what the paint is on it yet.  Sometimes I sit on the couch but I sit on a blanket.

Really the living room is full of stuff as the TV is plastic too and leaches BPAs and flame retardants too. I'm just trying to keep it dust free as thats where all this goes.  Maybe when we move in the near future we can deal with this once and for all. I don't think we can ever do anything about the tv though, well there are safer ones so maybe one day we can buy one.

Our apartment is just a one bedroom so because we have been collecting baby stuff etc, it is getting really cramped in here and I have a lot of tubs of stuff stacked by a wall in the living room. This isn't good either as those plastic tubs leach BPAs into the air also.  We have no where else to put them right now and since this is hopefully a temporary living arrangement that will change in the next few months, we will deal with it.

I'm hoping to remember to take my reusable bags in whenever we shop now... hmmm not sure how that will go but I really want to get in the habit. So far I always forget.  My husband and I both drink from stainless steel water bottles too. I got him another one today from TJMaxx really cheap as he needs more than one.

So there we go!  I'm  learning quickly if something is scented, it is bad most of the time. I'm learning to avoid plastic and to watch out for HFCS.  We're eating more coconut in our diet, we use coconut oil (the healthiest oil there is and the only one you should ever cook with) and I'm looking into coconut flour.  I'm also looking into getting glucose instead of sugar as the body metabolises that better since it's more naturally occuring.  Speaking of sugar my husband found 'Cactus Honey Powder' today in an Asian market and it's pure honey from cactus! Some of them are agave apparently but this one is honey. We are delighted as it tastes delicious too.

That's my update! Thanks for reading this! It's a process but I know it's going to be worth it in the end.
Let me know how you're doing with your efforts too! Love learning more on this topic! I still have a pile of books to read too!


  1. Hey Katrina ... get a hold of some pampered chef stoneware for cookie sheets and muffins ... it's excellent to cook with ... you could do what I did ... host a party and then buy your stuff with the proceeds! ;)

  2. Great idea - thanks Sarah - I'll look into it!! :-)

  3. fascinating stuff, what is it in shampoo that we should avoid? And what are you thoughts on tupperware, colouring hair (which i do every 8 weeks) and leather (sofa).

  4. Hey Amber - woah where to start on personal care products - here is a summary but there is just so much more on this that is scary!

    The parabens in any product are bad they are endocrine/hormone disruptors. The fragrances - any artificial fragrance releases pthalates which are also hormone/endocrine disruptors and preliminary studies have shown a slow demasculinisation of men. (Frogs have the same hormones as us as smaller quantities than we are subjected to on them will castrate a male frog!) The only safe fragrance to have in your home is pure essential oil.

    Tupperware I heard is BPA free/pthalate free and PVC free so it's meant to be safe. So it's your choice there.

    Never heat any plastic in the microwave though - always use glass. Also did you know about the microwave popcorn? The coating in the bag when heated releases the toxins into the popcorn - so avoid that too!

    Colouring hair - yeh I was researching that too. If its blonding just with hydrogen peroxide only with no ammonia - I believe that's not too bad though I haven't fully researched all this yet just touched on it. If its other colours then yes the chemicals are bad. They have healthy alternatives though apparently. Here is an article from the Daily Green on it for you!

    A leather sofa - things to watch out for: it's been treated with flame retardants probably and soaked in this. This leaches chemicals into your house and does it the entire lifetime of the sofa sadly. The chemicals go into the dust and air and get breathed in.
    If you're sure it's fully leather then you shouldn't have to worry about the PVC and pthalates like in our fake leather one which are really bad :-( Apparently your sofa probably has plastics inside but the leather helps contain it.
    Leather is often treated with chemicals however.
    I did read that there is an antifungal agent they put in leather sofas which is making people sick ( I think it's ones made in China and may have been dealt with now?)

    Here's a quick summary of what to look for with furniture

    Hope that helps!

  5. Amber - to add to what I said - I forgot a whole on on the leather/or just furniture bit. There's also the glues used on it which are strong chemicals and then the filling - if it's polyurethane foam (a plastic) which is commonly used it is made of petroleum which offgas things like formeldahyde and toluene. Or polyester also a plastic is sometimes used in filling which is carcinogenic.
    I still can't believe that people have gotten away with selling this type of thing that is so dangerous to us!

  6. Wow, I've done so much of this stuff in the past 2 yrs. already too! It's sooooo nice to see someone else doing the same things. Everybody thinks I'm crazy Lol. xo <3