Reduce Your Family’s Exposure to Environmental Threats

  1. Buy local and organic foods whenever possible. Reducing the time from “farm to table” preserves nutrient composition.  Eating organic foods reduces your exposure to pesticides.
  2. Drink clean water.  Instead of buying water in plastic bottles, consider using tap water or using a filter to purify water from the tap. 
  3. Use glass instead of plastic and choose smart plastics and avoid putting them in the microwave or the dishwasher where they can degrade under excessive heat.
  4. Replace cleaning products with non-toxic, pesticide-free, biodegradable, natural products that don’t contain carcinogenic chemicals.
  5. Reduce meat consumption to reduce your chances of developing chronic conditions like some types of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  6. Avoid pesticides in your home and in your food. Buy organic.  Use natural pesticides.
  7. Look for meat and dairy products that are hormone, antibiotic and steroid free.


Host a Healthy Balanced Future event in your home or online to receive discounted products or a free Green PolkaDot Box membership for significant discounts on organic foods.  ($125 value) Ask me how!

Moldy Front Loader Washing Machine

I got my high efficiency, front loader washing machine 9 years ago when I moved into this house and my daughter was 3 months old. I was pretty thrilled with my new washer, which was top of the line at the time. It didn’t take long for my love affair with my new laundry machine to sour. And it wasn’t just the endless loads of laundry I found myself doing as a new mother. It was the dark mold that was starting to stain all my pretty pink and purple bibs and jammies.

The mold was developing in the rubber seal. I scraped it out with paper towels, sprayed it with bleach, hand dried the glass door and the rubber after every load and left the door open to air dry in between loads, just like everything I had read on the internet instructed me to do. But the mold came back anyway. It wasn’t as plentiful as before, but it was still there… stinking up the towels and occasionally leaving a dark stain strip on a pretty shirt or sheet.

20120707-215716.jpgLook at how gross my washer was getting!  I was starting to consider selling the damn thing on Craigslist and getting a top loading, old fashioned washer to be honest. Then I started using Shaklee’s laundry detergent. I was using it because I had purchased a Get Clean Starter Kit in the hopes to help my kids health. I’d read about the chemicals in many store bought detergents and their links to asthma and allergies. As both of my kids had been diagnosed with asthma and suffered many bouts throughout the year, including multiple missed days from school and activities (including missing their own birthday parties!) I was eager to do anything to help them out.

Removing all toxic cleaners and air fresheners and replacing with all natural products had helped immensely with my kids health, but that is another story. The surprise benefit in all of this is that the mold stopped appearing. As it turns out, the phosphates in many store bought detergents don’t just encourage algae growth. It encourages mold growth as well, apparently.

After I noticed that the mold wasn’t really coming back, I decided to do a deep clean on the machine so I could start from scratch. I used Basic G to spray out the rubber, and then I poured a little diluted basic G into the detergent cup and ran a load. Since then, about 15 months ago, I have not had another problem with mold stains or odor! Not only that, but I’ve even gotten a little careless with the machine and left a load in overnight with the door closed and still nothing!

The liquid detergent also works fabulously as a pre-treater. Really a great product.

Phosphate Free Dishwasher Detergent that Works!

As of July 1, 2010, sixteen states have banned phosphates in detergents. Phosphates are harmful to the environment because phosphorous is like a fertilizer. It increases algae and aquatic weed growth in water bodies. Too much algae depletes oxygen needed for healthy fish and aquatic life. In short, the fish and aquatic life are being suffocated in their own homes.

While this is a great milestone for the environment, many consumers are unhappy.  In the May 18, 2011, article titled “Dishes Still Dirty? Blame Phosphate-Free Detergent” by Elizabeth Shogren,  NPR reported that consumers were disappointed with the results of their new eco-friendly detergents and were going to great lengths to find alternatives, even if it meant ignoring the ban and seeking out toxic ingredients.

So why aren’t these cleaners actually doing what they are meant to do? Why aren’t they CLEANING?

  1. There is a misconception that to be clean, something has to shine or smell or make a lot of bubbles. Many also feel that you need a lot of detergent to get your dishes clean.  But a lot of detergent can add up to a lot of residue on your dishes.
  2. Many of the companies making phosphate-free detergents as a response to the ban are unfamiliar with really effective green methods of cleaning.  In many cases, they took their usual chemical soup recipe and simply removed the phosphates, without updating the ingredients with green, eco-friendly, effective alternatives. Or worse, they just added bleach which creates a new suite of problems.

I’ve been using Shaklee’s Dish detergent for over a year.  Shaklee has been producing phosphate-free automatic dishwashing detergents since 1991.  These products have a 100% money back guarantee that they are safe, eco-friendly, non-toxic and effective.  My dishes are just as clean as they were when I was using the toxic pods in my dishwasher.  Additionally, I’ve saved money because I only need a very small amount of detergent to get my dishes clean.  As a result, I only buy dish detergent 3 times a year. I used to use Cascade and I would go through a container every two months.  I was spending $60 a year on Cascade and now I am spending $30 a year on Shaklee.  AND, I’m doing something good for the environment.

I’m not the only one who’s impressed with this dish detergent.  It won a PTPA award.  PTPA provides an objective means to discover, appraise and promote new products designed to enrich family living. Awards are presented to companies whose products are deemed exceptional by a knowledgeable and unbiased panel of experts.

Natural Beauty

Natural beauty is healthy beauty.  The same nutrients that keep your body healthy, keep your skin healthy.

Shaklee beauty products are formulated without parabens, propylene glycol, animal products or by-products, mineral oil, petrolatum, FD&C and D&C dyes, phthalates or 1,4-Dioxane.

In 28 days, clinical studies confirmed, 665% increase in skin firmness, 421% reduction in the appearance of wrinkles, 88% reduction in the appearance of fine lines. If you don’t see the difference, Shaklee always offers a 100% money-back guarantee.  Shaklee is as committed to preserving the earth’s natural beauty as it is to preserving yours. Packaging is recyclable and free of toxins such as bisphenol-A, phthalates, and toxic inks.

Before and After: Charred Stuff on Stovetop

I really love testing out new products that are green and clean.  I love that they usually save me money and of course are better for my health, but when I find something that works better than every other thing I have ever tried on some nuisance thing in my house — well, you just might catch me dancing and singing while cleaning. It really is THAT exciting. (To me anyway.)

So, today I was cooking some meals for the week ahead and as I was putting my shiny stainless steel pot on the stove top to start cooking I was confronted by this…

If you are anything like me, I had to put all cooking on hold to clean.  Had it been a few months ago before I found scour off, I might have rolled up my sleeves to prepare for some scrubbing.  But as I now have substantial experience with charred on nasty stuff on the stove and scour off, I was excited! I love proving over and over to myself how well this stuff works and how little product, time and energy it takes to clean it off.  So, I decided it was time to share my excitement.  I took the photos in such a way to show the time.  Unfortunately, it’s also a little deceiving because I believe I was late in the minute taking the picture and early in the next minute. It’s really that fast and that easy.  But, by the time I realized that I needed a second timer, it was too late.  I will find a digital second clock soon so I can start racing through tasks.  Maybe we can get an olympic sport?

TA DA!   (For effect, I showed the blackened sponge.  That’s black from the stove, not from the cleaner.  The cleaner is pink. 🙂

What’s Under Your Sink? – Get Clean

Did you know that a person who spends 15 minutes cleaning scale off shower walls could inhale three times the “acute one-hour exposure limit” for glycol ether-containing products set by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment?

Some examples of products with Butyl Cellosolve:

  • Easy Off Oven Cleaner
  • Pledge – Electronics spray cleaner
  • RainX- Glass Cleaner and Anti-Fog
  • TarnX- Tarnish Remover
  • Spot Shot – Carpet Stain Remover
  • Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner

Glycol ether-containing products, also commonly referred to as Butyl Cellosolve, butyl glycol, Dowanol and ethelyne glycol monobutyl ether (EGBE) are all included on the list of California’s toxic air substances.  Exposure to Butyl Cellosolve can cause depression of the central nervous system, resulting in headaches, drowsiness, weakness, slurred speech, tremor, and blurred vision  And many household cleaning products contain Butyl Cellosolve.

Butyl Cellosolve is a chemical that is found in a wide variety of household cleaning agents – glass cleaners, oven cleaners, general degreasers, spot removers, air fresheners, and carpet cleaners, among other things.  It is a toxic synthetic solvent and grease cutter that is known irritate mucous membranes and cause liver and kidney damage. Butyl cellosolve is also a neurotoxin that can depress the nervous system and cause a variety of associated problems.

These risks are not related to ingestion of this chemical; these risks are from breathing or touching this chemical in products when used correctly. This is a level of risk you are accepting for yourself and your family when you use these products in your home.  Just like you accept that there is a certain risk in driving a car.  But  while walking to work or to grandma’s house may not be a realistic option, you do have safe and effective alternatives to using synthetic toxins to clean your house.

Reviewing its Chemical Scorecard you will see that Butyl Cellosolve is a high volume chemical with production exceeding 1 million pounds annually in the U.S.  Unfortunately, the EPA says that only a fraction of the more than 75,000 registered chemicals have gonethrough testing for human health concerns.  And like thousands of others chemical s, Butyl Cellosolve lacks at least some of the data required for a safety assessment and only 6 of 8 BASIC safety tests have been conducted.

Environmental Defense Fund has created a compelling infographic (at left) on the chemicals in your home and in you. The chemicals being stored in your body are your body burden.  The Environmental Working Group has been conducting studies on the Pollution in  People and is reporting what is now described as the Body Burden, or the buildup of synthetic chemicals and heavy metals in our bodies.

If your home is anything like the average U.S. home, you generate more than 20 pounds of household hazardous waste each year (the EPA designates toilet cleaners, tub and tile cleaners, oven cleaners, and bleach as hazardous waste).

To find out what’s lurking on your shelves, go to the National Institutes of Health Library of Medicine Household Products Database. You can search almost any brand of cleaner you use, find out what’s in it, and uncover its links to health effects. Or search by chemical ingredients and discover what brands contain it.

If you want to give up the harmful toxins without giving up on clean, please consider using a non-toxic, environmentally safe alternative like Get Clean.

Cleaning Rust Stains in the Dishwasher

Tonight I noticed all the rust stains in my dishwasher and instead of ignoring them, I thought, I’ll just grab my scour off and spot test it to see if it works.  Scour off is a non-toxic, all natural cleaner, made by Shaklee.

Not only did it work, but I had the entire dishwasher clean in less than 5 minutes.

If you are interested in trying this out at home you can buy it here.