Coloring your hair can enhance natural colors and highlights, conceal gray or change your hair color completely. But when it comes time to make the change, contemplating the ingredient list on a bottle of hair coloring might give you pause. Common ingredients, such as phenylenediamine and ethanolamine, can cause a scary array of symptoms, ranging from skin irritation to kidney failure (see References 1, 2). In ...
No matter how clean you keep your home, old carpets accumulate stains and appear dingy. Regular cleaning brightens the carpet and removes the stains. While many carpet cleaning solutions and stain removers contain harsh chemicals and emit strong odors, a few common household products can clean your carpets effectively. You can make homemade cleaners odorless if you have sensitivities to strong scents or add some ...
Chemical products may clean your home to a lovely sheen --- but what they leave behind is less than pretty. In fact, the air quality inside your home can be two to five times worse than outdoor air (see References 1, p 6). Natural cleaners won't fill your home with chemicals, but they can be expensive. The solution is to make your own cleaning products using affordable natural ingredients.
The most economical way to give your home an eco-friendly cleaning is with natural do-it-yourself cleaning solutions you make with gentle, everyday household products. Chemical-laden cleaners create toxic fumes and may promote growth of bacteria resistant to antibacterial drugs(see References 1). Look no further than under the sink or in the pantry for these multitasking, economical, nontoxic ingredients that work ...
More Articles on Natural Healthcare
Glass top stoves provide a smooth cooking surface without any extra nooks and crannies that collect dirt, such as the burner plates do on a gas stove. While a sleek glass top stove looks modern, you don't have to use space-age technology to keep the glass clean. The easiest and cheapest natural method is simply to use water, lemon or vinegar, and old-fashion effort. Both vinegar and lemon break up grease and are environmentally safe before and after they wash down the drain (see References 2).
According to the University of Minnesota's Center for Sustainable Building Research, 47 percent of the energy used in your home is used for space conditioning — lighting and temperature control (see References 1, page 2). To address this, green builders put a lot of thought into how many windows they add to a home and where they place those windows. Maximizing the amount of natural light that enters a home not only reduces the amount of energy needed to run the house, it also boosts the health of everyone who lives there.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that serves several important functions in the human body. This nutrient may lower "bad" cholesterol, control blood sugar and improve digestion, according to Phyllis Balch, author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." It may also lower blood glucose, which can help prevent diabetes. Wheat, a common source of fiber, also contains gluten, a substance that can irritate the lining of your intestines. However, several gluten-free options can supply fiber in your diet. (See References 3, page 6)
Muddy water in a pond may be caused by the physical disturbance of silt on the pond bottom or by water chemistry that allows microscopic clay particles to remain suspended for long periods (see References 1). Undesirable algae and plants may become a problem when too many nutrients enter the pond through overfertilization or runoff (see References 2).
Many household cleaners are considered hazardous waste because of their toxic ingredients. Ammonia can cause burns or rashes when it comes into contact with bare skin. Ethylene glycol monobutyl acetate, a common solvent, can damage internal organs when it is absorbed through the skin. Sodium hypochlorite, a component of bleach, causes skin, eye and respiratory tract irritation. Fortunately, safer natural alternatives are just as effective at cleaning your home -- and considerably cheaper. Homemade natural cleaning solutions are often made from foods and cooking ingredients such as baking soda, which means they're nontoxic. (See References 1)
You don't want potentially harmful chemical residues where your children and pets play or where you grow food (see References 4, page 1). Using natural products to care for your yard makes sense, but homemade herbicide recipes that include baking soda or salt alter the soil, hindering plant growth and making garden management difficult, according to specialists at Colorado State University Extension (see References 3). Manual removal is the safest way to get rid of weeds, but some simple, organic products can give you a leg up on these plant pests.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mold and mildew may cause mild to severe reactions in people with mold allergies or in patients with lung disease and immune disorders. Mold has also been linked to increased problems for asthma sufferers. At the same time, caustic ingredients, such as alkyl ammonium chloride, which are used in many anti-fungicidal household cleaners, may themselves pose health hazards by irritating skin and lungs. Consider using all-natural or low-toxicity homemade alternatives to eradicate mildew and mold.
Marble has lent its regal luster to floors and furnishings for thousands of years. Once the domain of only the very rich, it is now much more accessible to the average homeowner. But marble requires care. It's porosity leaves it open to staining, and its softness makes it vulnerable to scratches and abrasion. Light marble can even be discolored by certain chemical preparations. To keep your marble looking its best, keep up with daily maintenance. When the time comes for a good cleaning, simple natural solutions are gentle enough to do it safely.
A sore throat can make talking or swallowing painful. Organic and natural remedies for sore throats are often packaged as sprays, lozenges or herbal teas. Common pantry staples such as salt and honey can also provide relief. Check with your doctor before trying any of these alternative treatments because they can interact with medications, supplements or other herbs.
Commercial oven cleaners can expose you to caustic chemicals and harmful toxins while reducing the air quality in your home. But a dirty oven isn't as energy-efficient as a clean oven, so it's important that you find some way to manage the mess (see References 1). Fortunately for environmentally conscious consumers, multiple green cleaning methods effectively remove burnt-on grime.
Pest and weed control in the sustainable garden or farm plot primarily involves improving the health of the plants and soil so they can better resist damage (see References 2, page 446). However, in even the healthiest gardens, the occasional pest or weed problem can jeopardize plants. Sustainable gardeners and farmers have an arsenal of pest- and weed-control tactics that don't involve the use of synthetic chemicals --- an approach known as integrated pest management (see References 4).
When your decorative silver housewares and utensils turn black with tarnish, the natural thing to do is reach for a silver cleaner. Unfortunately, synthetic cleansers contain abrasives that not only remove tarnish but also strip off a thin layer of silver in the process. Store-bought brands may also contain corrosives and other toxic ingredients that make common disposal methods dangerous to your health and the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency calls products with toxic ingredients household hazardous waste and states that they must not be poured down the drain or tossed in the trash (see References 5). To avoid this, use a natural process to clean silver that removes tarnish with table salt, baking soda and aluminum foil.
Many cleaning products you buy consist of harsh chemicals and non-biodegradable preservatives that can affect your family's health and the environment. Homemade stain and odor removers made from a few basic kitchen ingredients, naturally occurring minerals and simple plant-based soaps are inexpensive and easy to use alternatives to commercial detergents and soaps. Remove many common household stains and odors with simple recipes consisting primarily of vinegar, baking soda, borax and water.
If your silver cleaner's label contains the words "Warning," "Danger" or "Caution," the cleaner may pose risks to the environment and your health. Take these warnings seriously, and look for commercial products with fewer or milder solvents (see References 4). Better yet, make your own silver polish designed to remove stubborn tarnish without emitting dangerous vapors. If you are caring for extremely valuable or fragile pieces, however, contact a professional cleaner. Boiling water or even vigorous scrubbing can harm glued or delicate patterns on your silverware, jewelry or larger pieces.
Natural water resources include lakes, rivers, streams, ice pack, groundwater, precipitation and oceans. As global climate change begins to affect the distribution of water resources in the United States, water use in all sectors is coming under increasing scrutiny. Residential, commercial and industrial users often compete with agricultural irrigation, hydropower production and navigation for water resources. (See References 1)
Bleach is almost synonymous with clean and sanitized white towels, linens and hard surfaces throughout your home. Could this age-old chemical be harmful for you and your family? While bleach is certainly a powerful disinfectant, the health and environmental costs of using it may convince you to look for some natural alternatives.
Community supported agriculture programs allow consumers to buy fresh food directly from local farms. Join a CSA by purchasing a share from the farmer and enjoy seasonal produce every week during the growing season. Farmers benefit from this arrangement because CSA subscriptions offset some of the risk inherent in farming, as farmers realize some cash flow early in the year before the growing season starts. Your schedule and your palate are both considerations to take into account when you're looking at joining a CSA.
Learning how to feed your baby is just as important as understanding what to feed her. Babies need to get their food and formula from extra-clean bottles and feeding implements. If you're practicing a "green" lifestyle, you may wonder how to create these conditions without resorting to chemical cleaners or running an almost-empty dishwasher for the sake of a few clean bottles. But hot water and baking soda can help you achieve germ-free feeding. It's important to clean and sterilize bottle tops as well, along with anything else that touches the bottles.
Using natural cleaning products in your home can decrease your family's exposure to toxic chemicals as well reduce your contribution to pollution in the air and water. Chemicals used in commercial cleaning products, such as triclosan, an antimicrobial chemical, have been linked to hormone imbalances and might contribute to breast cancer (see References 2). These same chemicals leave your home and enter water systems, where they affect fish and other wildlife. In addition to reducing toxins in the environment, the use of natural cleaning products generally costs less, and the products require only a little time to create.
You can find natural and non-toxic art supplies in many shops, especially those that cater to small children. The Art & Creative Materials Institute certifies non-toxic art supplies, including many products from major brands like Elmer's; looking for the ACMI seal is an easy way to identify safe items. However, the label doesn't guarantee that a product is completely free of chemicals or environmentally friendly, so you'll want to scrutinize ingredients more closely and even try making some of your own supplies.
In nature, termites are considered beneficial insects because they help in the process of eliminating rotten stumps and fallen trees. When you discover a termite infestation in a small piece of furniture; however, they are a problem that you must deal with quickly and effectively to avoid further damage and the complete loss of the item. Although consulting with an exterminator may be necessary for large infestations, some natural methods are available to treat smaller infestations yourself.
Moisturizers do more than just hydrate your skin. They create a protective film that keeps out bacteria and other environmental impurities that can cause blemishes and other skin damage. Some moisturizers even help to soften and relax your skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (see References 1, pages 186-187). Making your own moisturizer lets you tinker with the balance of ingredients, giving you the freedom to experiment and find the recipe that best meets your needs. In addition, formulating your own moisturizer gives you complete control over the ingredients, allowing you to use only organic or locally produced sources, if you prefer.
Water vapor that seeps into the walls around a basement foundation can cause moisture to collect inside basements. The same problem can occur in very moist climates with high levels of humidity. This poses both health risks and risks that the moisture will eventually damage your downstairs belongings. Understanding more about the causes of basement moisture and the common collection methods will help you keep your basement dry and protected.
When heavy rains hit a concrete or asphalt driveway, the water runs off and into the street causing gutters and sewers to overflow, eventually reaching and polluting large bodies of water like rivers. Even during light showers, water cannot enter the soil through an impermeable driveway. This disrupts the water cycle, and because the water isn't being naturally filtered through soil, chemicals and other pollutants wash into our waterways. Installing a natural driveway allows rainwater to stay in the water cycle and helps reduce up to 80 percent of the pollutants in storm water runoff. (See Reference 2)
Chemicals have infiltrated many aspects of our lives, often causing more harm than good. But in certain circumstances they have made things easier. For close to 40 years, parents of both human and furry family members have used 3M’s upholstery and fabric-preserving aerosol, Scotchgard, to rescue countless pieces of furniture from a dirt-laden fate. But perfluorinated chemicals have been linked to tumors and impaired human development, compromised immune or hormone function (see References 1, 2 and 8). Eco-friendly techniques can preserve household cleanliness without chemicals.
Many common household cleaning products contain potent chemicals that present a number of dangers. Some cause damage to wildlife, wetlands and water quality when they're rinsed down the drain. Others are caustic and can cause skin, eye or lung damage (see References 2). To minimize these potential risks to family members and the environment, many consumers are now using "greener" natural cleansers for tasks such as scrubbing sinks and clearing drains.
A clean, freshly scented bathroom is one sign of a healthy home, but commercial household cleaners can emit hazardous or toxic chemicals, putting you and the environment at risk. Common deodorizing products may contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or substances that irritate your skin, nasal passages and lungs. (See Reference 1) Electric air fresheners needlessly consume energy, while aerosol deodorizers can pollute the air and coat surfaces with a film of scented chemicals that covers up odors instead of eliminating them. Use the natural, non-toxic, inexpensive options that you may already have at home to avoid these harmful effects.