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Here are a few of our favorite natural remedies and DIY tips to help solve life’s little nuisances. You can mix up some of these easy fixes in a matter of minutes. Consider trying these natural alternatives to store-bought products, which are often loaded with toxic chemicals. Many of these alternatives are household items you may already have in your home!
Remove unhealthy chemicals from clothing.
The most toxic part of clothing comes from fabric treatments. Chemicals (like urea and formaldehyde) that resist flames, moths, soil, winkles, and even water have been impregnated into the fabrics and are often hard to remove. Many of these fabric preservatives are unhealthy for you and the environment. If you notice a really strong smell, your clothing might be saturated with long-lasting disinfectants or repellents, which are needed to import them into the country.
Try soaking new clothing with a cup of baking soda in the washing machine overnight. Then agitate it a couple of times if possible and launder.
Interestingly, most natural materials don’t need chemical treatments. For example, wool doesn’t need flame retardants added because it’s naturally flame retardant. Static cling chemicals are only needed for synthetic materials.
What can you do to help the industry reduce the need for the use of chemicals in fabrics? Talk to the catalog & retail managers. Let them know you wish to buy clothing that is procured from manufacturers using fewer fabric finishes. Organic clothing manufactured in the USA is a safer option.
Get rid of static cling naturally.
A chemical analysis of airborne emissions from 5 of the most common fabric softener sheets, demonstrates that they emit many toxic chemicals, many of which cause acute respiratory tract irritation and inflammation.
So how do clothes develop static cling? Friction develops between two different materials that come into contact with each other. The electrons on one material attract electrons in the other material in order to balance their atoms (nature is always working to stay in balance). Since a clothes dryer creates an unnatural activity, the fabric that loses the electrons becomes negatively charged, and the fabric that gains the electrons becomes positively charged. The transferring of electrons is what creates static electricity. As the negative and positive charges attract each other, the two materials will stick to one another, causing the cling.
Tossing in a small tennis ball will naturally break up this exchange of electrons (friction) that develops static. Plus, you can further eliminate the need for chemical-laden fabric softener sheets by going natural with your fabrics.
Did you know that natural fabrics do not develop static the same way synthetic fabrics do? Try switching your clothing to all-natural fabrics, such as organic cotton, a little at a time. In the meantime, there are now several natural solutions on the market. They’re made of vegetable surfactants, salt, and natural essential oils for scent and can be found in the natural section of the grocery store.
Stop armpit odor with lemons.
How to use: Squeeze a nickel-size amount of lemon juice (from a fresh lemon wedge) into a cupped hand. Rub your hands together and simply rub under each of your armpits. The lemon juice will dry quickly. Take caution to do it before shaving!
Use honey to heal your wounds.
Although honey is used more as an alternative medicine today, people have used honey as a natural cure for centuries, and its health benefits are well known. But did you know that Manuka honey was approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration in 2007 as a recommended option for wound treatment?
Honey’s antibacterial properties come from an enzyme called glucose oxidase, which the worker bees excrete into the nectar. This enzyme releases low levels of hydrogen peroxide when the honey makes contact with your wounds. A chemical reaction between the honey and the tissues also makes the wound smell good. Heated honey will destroy this perishable enzyme which is why you want to only use raw honey for this application.
Studies show that honey is almost unparalleled to other forms of treatment for burns. A study in the International Journal of Lower Extremity Wounds performed 22 trials involving 2,062 patients and found that those who were subjected with honey as a wound dressing exhibited the following properties:
Infections were not only cleared but wounds were protected from spreading bacteria.
Honey was able to control and eliminate strong odors from wounds.
Permanent scarring was dramatically reduced.
Honey promoted anti-inflammatory activity.
Caution: Do not attempt to use regular honey as an option for cuts and scrapes. The high fructose syrup that is abundant in honey is more likely to help spread infection rather than prevent it. Buy honey from local and web retailers you trust, and always seek medical attention when needed.
Treat minor cuts with aloe.
You may be familiar with aloe vera and may have already used it as a natural cure to treat scrapes, minor burns, or scars. Referred to as the “old world cactus” aloe vera stores water and fills nature’s niche of cactuses, where cactuses as we know them, don’t grow. Aloe vera is one of the oldest medicinal plants known to humans and has been used as a natural remedy for thousands of years for healing and health. Alexander the Great mandated it in the field to treat his wounded men. If you’ve ever used aloe for a sunburn, you know how soothing it can be!
A well-stocked home safety kit should include aloe vera, or better yet, grow an aloe plant in your home. I’ve had them for over 40 years, and my children learned at a very young age to break off the ends for a quick fix anytime it’s needed.
Fight pollution with plants.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has noted that indoor air quality can be 10x more polluted than the air outside. Indoor air quality is the nation’s top pollution problem.
Many factors contribute to the overall health of indoor air, such as ventilation, your appliances, the number of candles you burn, and synthetic pollutants from paint, carpets, upholstery, and furniture finishes. Paying attention to the health of the air around us is important. Most of us spend 90% of our time indoors.
The good news is that plants have the ability to remove harmful compounds from the air through a process called phytoremediation. Plants absorb harmful compounds through their leaves and roots and naturally filter them out. The microorganisms that live in the soil of potted plants also play a role in neutralizing air pollutants.
Scientists have found the most useful plants at cleaning indoor air include:
Japanese royal ferns
Purple waffle plants
Not only do these houseplants create healthier air, but they can also bring the outdoors inside and beautify your space.
Remove makeup without adding chemicals.
As a former counter girl at Lancome, and Clinique, I saw the good, the bad, and the overpriced of makeup and skincare. When every company promises that their product is the best, it’s hard to know what to believe. Regardless, one of the best things women can do is to take care of the delicate eye area with a good cleanser and a good moisturizer to remove leftover makeup and germs. Consider olive oil, which has been used for centuries by the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans as an anti-aging remedy, and cleanser.
You can both cleanse and moisturize dry skin with olive oil and a cotton ball, then follow up with water and a light soap as needed. It’s less expensive, readily available, and contains vitamin A and vitamin E which have been shown to improve skin elasticity. In addition, the polyphenols and phytosterols neutralize the free radicals that cause so much skin damage in the human population. One of these antioxidants, hydroxytyrosol, is a rather rare compound that happens to be plentiful in olive oil. Olive oil is loved by men too! Many men have abandoned shaving cream once they’ve discovered how close a shave they can get with olive oil without drying out their skin.
Water is nature’s best cleaning hack.
One of the keys to using natural solutions to solve natural problems is using the right thing at the right time. ‘Natural’ can be highly effective with a little education and tried and true advice. Think of how nature works: She cleanses herself naturally using water, sunlight, the organisms in the soil, magnetic pull, and trees. It all works in harmony, without the need for man-made chemicals.
Try washing your clothes with nature’s number one cleanser: water and only water. If this is new to you, try it! It works better than you think! In fact, the co-founder of Seventh Generation, a company that makes eco-friendly laundry soap, has said that most laundry loads don’t even need soap to get clean. And he’s not wrong! The agitation from the washing machine is enough to clean lightly soiled clothes. I’ve significantly reduced the need for laundry detergent by simply doing this. You don’t need hot water either. Not only does hot water use up more energy, but it also causes the materials of your clothes to break down faster. Instead, use warm water or even cold water. As long as the water is warmer than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, it should be enough to remove the dirt from your clothes.
Other things you can do to reduce the need for detergents:
If you use soap flakes or powdered detergent, add the soap or powdered detergent to the washing machine before the water and clothing have been added. This helps to fully dissolve the cleanser. If you have very hard water, add ½ cup of vinegar to your rinse water to minimalize mineral staining.
If the fabric is very dirty, e.g., ground in dirt, you may want to choose a powdered laundry detergent. If the laundry isn’t full of soil/dirt, liquid laundry detergent is a better choice. It’s less likely to leave mineral residue on the clothes if you have hard water. When washing really dirty clothes, wash whites separately (even if they’re really dirty too) because they’ll turn grey in dirty water.
As we continue to learn more about the negative impact that many store-bought products and chemicals have on our health, home, and environment, more people are turning to natural remedies. We hope our natural living hacks have helped you on the journey to a healthier lifestyle. If you have any tips on other ways to remove toxins from your home, please share them with us below!