Cleaning, Personal Care and other Products
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Check out http://www.ewg.org for the Environmental Working Group's great site analyzing the safety of various products! Use their Quick Index for Cosmetics or other items.
- Cleaning Products
Please Note: This list is only a start. These are products that a few people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities have tried and found workable for themselves (or to be around). Because each person can react differently, no product can be guaranteed safe for everyone. I also suggest you consider getting yourself a copy of 'Clean and Green' listed under books. I've seen 'Clean and Green' available for sale at http://www.amazon.com.
- Air Freshener: Commercial air and rug fresheners are very toxic, most contain paradichlorobenzene, a pesticide which reduces one's sense of smell, in addition to fragrance. Non-aerosol citrus sprays, while safer, are allergenic to many. Instead, ventilate to remove odors or use absorbents/adsorbents such as zeolite or baking soda. Or filter air through activated charcoal.
- Bleach: Ecover Bleach (hydrogen peroxide), NOT chlorine.
- Bug Killer: I use Miracle II Soap (diluted 3 parts water to 1 part soap) to zap wasp nests and kill ants (bugs are held together by grease so a good DEgreaser works well). Roach Prufe, or boric acid (mixed with water and sugar for ants). See Pests. When you use Botanic Gold to clean, it seems to act as a bug repellant. Personally I also use it to zap wasp nets, sanitize the dog run, etc.
- Carpet Cleaner: Botanic Gold.
- Dishes / Grease: Ecover Dish Detergent; Botanic Gold can be used to wash dishes; Biopac fragrance free dishwashing detergent and dish soap (does contain some citrus); Global Balance; My current favorite is Biokleen Dishwash Liquid (does contain some orange peel extract and therefore has some mild natural fragrance).
- Dishwasher: Botanic Gold can even be used in the automatic diswasher; Seventh Generation (does still contain a petroleum base) (see catalogs); or Neolife
- Drains: One of the safest and most effective ways is to put lots of baking soda into the sink (about a cup), then wash it down with vinegar (causes a lot of fizzing and noise and no odor...and does a great job). Wait a while and then wash it down with hot water. Enzymes: Natural Chemistry Bio Clean or Pool & Spa. Botanic Gold dissolves grease clogs, but not hair clogs.
- Dry Cleaning: Until water-based dry cleaning is available here, avoid chemical dry cleaning. (Gives me an immediate rash, etc.) Air clothes outdoors for at least a week (year?) before bringing indoors. Buy washable clothes, or pay someone to hand wash and iron.
- Fabric Softener: NO dryer sheets, not even unscented (they melt resin onto clothes). Use hydrogen peroxide (Ecover Bleach). You can put a little hydrogen peroxide onto a wash cloth and toss it into the dryer. Once you are only using cotton clothes you probably won't have much static. You can use Super SLICK Stuff as a Fabric Softener.
- Furniture Polish: Try a little olive oil/vinegar on a damp cotton cloth. You can add a little lemon juice also. About 50% vinegar, 50% olive oil works well. Super SLICK Stuff works great.
- Germ Killer: Hydrogen peroxide (great for toilets and showers); Botanic Gold does a great job on toilets and showers.
- Glass Cleaner: Water with white vinegar. Diluted Super SLICK Stuff works very well. My current favorite is Bi-O-Kleen's Glass Cleaner.
- Laundry detergent: Avoid all fragrance, dye, chlorine, ammonia, optical brighteners. Choose: Ecover Laundry Powder; Botanic Gold is excellent, or just use baking soda. I use BioKleen Free and Clear Laundry Detergent which can be used as 'high efficient (he)' in front loading washing machines. You can mix baking soda with others. If you add some (3T) dry mustard to the wash (soak) it gets rid of the embedded perfumes in the clothes. Also, when you first purchase cottons, add milk (about a cup) to the wash to neutralize the formaldehyde. Some folk use the laundry disks. One reader suggests Biopac or Global Balance products. I recently discovered Green Virgin Products - they say they only sell products that are totally non toxic. "Green Virgin Products" features Soap Nuts, a detergent that grows on trees.
- Mineral deposits: Sodium hexametaphosphate. Also you can get pumice stone to get the mineral ring out of porcelain toilets and sinks. Botanic Gold takes water marks out of wood with very light scrubbing (personal experience).
- Mold Killer: Hydrogen peroxide, zephiran chloride, Natural Chemistry Bio-Clean or Pool and Spa formula; or lots of sunshine. I've also used vinegar, Botanic Gold and Safety Clean (by AFM, to purchase, see N.E.E.D.S.
- Moth Repellent: Clean clothes well; dry thoroughly and store in plastic bags sealed with tape. Cedar, bay leaf, and clove help, but are allergenic to many people.
- Paper Towels: Harmony, once called 'Seventh Generation' (see catalogs) brown paper towels (they also carry brown napkins, toilet paper, etc. which don't have chlorine and are good products)
- Scouring powder: Bon Ami Cleaning Powder; baking soda or borax(*)
- Soap:Miracle II soap can be used to clean anything that water won't hurt. There is a very very mild natural scent which doesn't bother me (severe MCS) at all. Check out ingredients and purchase at http://www.azurestandard.com. I use this soap washing myself as well as for cleaning. Extremely diluted it cleans glass and mirrors. Diluted 3:1 with water it works great on wasp nests and ants (bugs are held together with grease and the soap is a degreaser!). See Personal Care Products immediately below for more of this line of great nontoxic items.
- Personal Care Products
Please Note: This list is only a start. These are simply products which a few people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity have tried and found to be workable for themselves (or to be around). Because each person can react differently, no product can be guaranteed safe for everyone. The products less likely to be tolerated by more sensitive people are marked with an asterisk (*). In general: Read labels for ingredients and cautions. Avoid all fragrance, dye, petrochemicals, and preservatives (refrigerate instead). Commercial 'hypoallergenic' brands cause problems for many people. Health food stores are a good source for many least-toxic products, but just because something is 'natural' does not necessarily mean it is safe (example, patchouli is neurotoxic; many strong smelling botanicals are allergenic). These products can be found in health food stores, drug stores, or by mail order. See Catalogs. If you are homebound like many of us, catalogs are easiest. These are considered to be less-toxic and least-toxic products.
- Aftershave: None. Try plain witch hazel.
- Bubble Bath (detox bath):Miracle II Moisturizing Soap plus their Neutralizer makes a great bubble bath and detox soak. I use about 1 oz of each in a tub of water.
- Deodorant:Miracle II Deodorant Crystal (no aluminum)
works great. Mineral crystal; baking soda; Alvera Aloe Unscented roll-on; commercial fragrance-free products(*); corn starch; Home Health Unscented Deodorant; Botanic Gold. Also I like the deodorant at http://www.drclarkstore.com.
- Dish Soap: Purogenics - Fragrance Free, MCS Friendly dish soap and hand soap.
- Hair Conditioner: Earth Science Pure Essentials fragrance-free Conditioner; Nature Clean Organic; Ivory Unscented(*); Simple; Derma e
- Hair Curl relaxer: Highly volatile. Choose a different hairstyle.
- Hair Gel:Miracle II Neutralizer GEL works great. Nexus Unscented Extra Hold(*); unflavored gelatin; soaked flax seeds. No safe mousse. Straight aloe vera gel (reader states that it was used with 'moderate success').
- Hair Perms: Continue offgassing for weeks. Choose a different hairstyle, or hunt down the rumored 'organic' perms without ammonia.
- Hair Shampoo:I use Miracle II Moisturizing Soap; Magik Botanicals fragrance free shampoo and conditioner; Botanic Gold; Earth Science Pure Essentials fragrance-free Shampoo and Conditioner; Pure and Natural from one of Dr. Hulda Clark's stores, Derma e.
- Hair Spray: There is a hair spray available from the Dr. Hulda Clark store. One reader suggests that the recipe given in Debra Lynn Dadd's book "The Nontoxic Home" for a lemon juice hairspray and honey based gel work well.
- Hand Soap: Purogenics - Fragrance Free, MCS Friendly dish soap and hand soap.
- Lip Balm: Paul Penders Lip Gloss; vegetable oil or vegetable glycerine; pure cocoa butter. I like the lip conditioner by DHC Skincare (1.800.342.2273). Miracle II Neutralizer GEL works great both on lips and skin.
- Make up: Real Purity or some products of these brands: Paul Penders; Beauty Without Cruelty; Bare Escentuals. Personally I recommend you just skip make up, you'll get used to it (smile).
- Moisturizer: Alba Botanica Unscented; Nature's Plus Vitamin E Cream; pure edible oils e.g. apricot kernel or untoasted sesame. Organic coconut oil is a great oil and seems to heal problem areas. I've tried several of the 'Derma e' products and am thrilled with them (there is a list online of which of these products are fragrance free).
- Nail Polish: Inherently toxic. You can buff your nails shiny.
- Shaving: Clearly Natural Unscented glycerine soap; aloe vera gel; Alba Botanica Original Shave Cream; Noczema Shaving Cream (Scent Free only); Miracle II Moisturizing Soap.
- Soap, bar: Clearly Natural unscented glycerine; Kiss My Face plain olive oil soap; Aveeno colloidal oatmeal bar; Sirena Fresh Coconut; Vermont Country Soap (unscented for sensitive skin); Chef's Soap; Sungold Soap (Unscented soap is their specialty. They sell bar soap that is both vegan and vegetarian and that even the most sensitive find tolerable. Try a sample for $1.99 (including shipping).)
- Soap, liquid: Miracle II Soap and Moisturizing Soap; Lifeline Natural Cleaner; Dr. Bronner's Baby Castile; and Botanic Gold (Check out the great Suds Dispenser for this!!!.
- Sunscreen: Mountain Ocean Sun Block (SPF 15); a reader adds that Banana Boat Baby fragrance free/hypoallergenic sunblock (SPF 30) works well.
- Toothpaste: Baking soda; sea salt; Nature's Gate Mint Creme (not gel); Xylifresh; Oregano tooth powder is fun!.
- Other Products
- Air Cleaners: HEPA plus activated charcoal works well. Several brands, such as Aireox, are meant for the chemically sensitive. I have one in my bedroom and one in my truck. Available from several of the catalogs, including NEEDS.
- Air Supply personal air purifiers can be worn. One place to find these is eHealthSupplies.com
- Art Supplies - see Miscellaneous.
- Bedding: It is very important that you get the synthetics off of your bed and replace them with (preferably) organic cotton. Several catalogs can help, such as Seventh Generation and N.E.E.D.S.
- Building Materials, paints, etc.
- Driving a problem? : Close the windows, recirculate the air, use an air cleaner in the vehicle or an ion generator in the cigarette lighter socket. Makes a big difference. Check out eHealthSupplies.com
- Gloves: Cotton or vinyl available form Conney Safety products. Vinyl for pumping gas (you or your helper) works great.
- Heater: Ceramic Radiant Heat advertises no outgassing, etc., and is available from several of the catalogs. They advertise safe for the chemically sensitive.
- Masks: (For times when you simply must go into a store, pump gas, or sign for a delivery from a scented person) See Conney Safety products under catalogs. Also available in smaller quantities from N.E.E.D.S. catalog and others. Many select Dust/Mist/Organic Vapor by 3M or handmade cotton or silk masks containing activated charcoal. It is adviseable not to wear a mask over about 45 minutes due to limitation of oxygen. If you get a 'real' gas mask (lucky you!) select the silicone type over the rubber (less fragrant). Keep in mind that you are still absorbing toxins in your hair, skin and clothes when you go into a toxic environment wearing a gas mask. Therefore, when you get home, wash hair, shower, change clothes, etc.
- Nirvana Safe Haven, Chemical free and nontoxic environmentally safe beds and mattresses. Also carries air purifiers, dehumidifiers, water purifiers, nontoxic paints, wool carpet, etc.
- Ozone generators: I recommend you think twice here. Many chemically sensitive people have purchased these to kill mold and odors, but ozone has also been known to cause chemical sensitivity. Consumer beware.
- Poison Oak (or bug bites):: Miracle II Neutralizer GEL works great. First wash in Miracle II soap, and then apply the GEL liberally. The poison oak should go away in a few days (if you get it at all). Works much better and faster than Calamine Lotion. Put a glob on a bug bite and it will melt away.
- Sauna Rooms: Heavenly Heat, 1106 2nd St., Encinitas, CA 92024. Call 1(800)697-2862 (my sauna) or Fax (760)634-1268. Environmentally safe sauna rooms for the home and clinic. Request a brochure via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the toll free number.
- Sauna - Far Infrared: This is the kind I personally have. Check out http://www.hightechhealth.com.
- Shower Curtain: Cotton Duck available from Voice of the Mountains ((802)362-2400 (and other) catalogs for under $40.00 (U.S.).
These listings have been gathered from various sources and are presented here with the intent to provide hard won information to anyone whom it may help. If you find that the names, phone numbers, addresses or such are out of date in any way, or you feel there is a significant change or addition which should be made to these resources, please be so kind as to Contact Us.
Disclaimer: We do not endorse people, products or services. We do not give medical advice. What works for one person does not necessarily work for another. Please check with health-care professionals of your own choice. I am not a doctor and I do not give medical advice. The author is a chemically injured person who is extremely chemically sensitive (reactive) and who has just had a lot of personal experience in trying to survive chemical insults and toxic exposures.
This page has been accessed times since 11/10/96.