Sleeping Organic

We have discussed the benefits of eating organic, but did you know there are ways you can go organic other than food and beauty products? Switching to an organic mattress is a great way to cut down on your repeated chemical exposure. Now don’t panic, to get an organic mattress you don’t have to run outside and gather leaves, straw, and animal hide like our neanderthal ancestors did. Organic mattresses are increasing in popularity and mainstream companies have started adding organic options to their already existing mattress lines.

So what does it mean if a mattress is organic? It means that the materials used to build the mattress come from organic sources, and are chemical-free. A typical mattress is comprised of many layers (depending on it’s quality and price) and often contain polyurethane foam, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), chlorinated tris, and boric acid. Let’s break each one down:

Polyurethane Foam: While polyurethane foam can be found in a multitude of places (carpeting, walls, shoes, beds), it has been linked to nervous and immune system illness. A material that contains formaldehyde, benzene, toluene and other toxins is not something that should be omitted from your home safety radar, especially when it may be what you and your loved ones are sleeping on every single night. Some other dangers of sleeping on a mattress with polyurethane foam are allergic reactions, irregular heartbeat, headaches, body aches, dizziness, and fatigue. Here is a link that provides more detail about the dangers of polyurethane foam.

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE): PBDE is used as a flame retardant. Exposure to PBDE has been linked to cancer, reproductive problems and impaired fetal brain development. It is especially dangerous for pregnant mothers to be sleeping on mattresses that contains PBDE, as Dr. Mercola outlines in this fantastic article.

Chlorinated Tris: Chlorinated tris is a carcinogenic flame retardant. In animal studies, chlorinated tris caused infertility, decreased semen quality in men, and cancerous tumors on the kidneys and testes. The unfortunate thing about chlorinated tris is that it doesn’t stay localized to your couch or bed, the chemical floats in microscopic sized pieces around the house.

Boric Acid: Again, boric acid is used in mattresses as a flame retardant. In animal studies, boric acide caused testicular damage, lower semen quality, and tumors. Regarding boric acid use in products, the EPA has stated, “that manufacture, process, or use of the substance without dermal protection may result in serious chronic and developmental effects.”

So how can you find an organic mattress, and how do you know what to look for? More than likely you won’t be able to ask your salesperson “hey, does this mattress contain boric acid or polybrominated diphenyl ethers?” You’ll probably get a blank stare from your salesperson, followed by a carefully scripted speech about how their mattresses have been tested for safety and comfort. Thecleanbedroom.com has a great suggestion for questions to ask your salesperson to help you determine if the mattress is safe for you:

  1. Is the outer cover made with certified organic cotton? Be sure it has not been treated with stain resistant chemicals like formaldehyde.
  2. How does the mattress meet the U.S. Fire Resistant Code #1633 that took effect on July 1, 2007? If the mattress is organic, in most cases a layer of organic or untreated wool is placed under the outer cover to pass the burn test. Wool self-extinguishes when exposed to a flame. Some manufacturers use non-chemical flame retardants like corn husks and baking soda; ask how these are processed to be sure they are truly toxin-free.
  3. Is the innerspring coil system sprayed with oils or a rust-proof treatment? An organic innerspring mattress system is untreated.
  4. Is the inner core of a latex mattress made with 100% natural rubber? If the sales person hedges, the latex core is probably a blend of 60/40 natural rubber and petrochemical-based synthetic. The percentage of natural rubber in the core of an organic mattress should be 90+%.

We spend about one-third of our lives in bed, so making sure we are not being exposed to toxins while our bodies are supposed to be resting and recovering is crucial to our well-being. Here are some suggestions for organic mattresses:

 

By Courtney Perry

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Homemade Play-Doh

Since the 1950’s when it was first invented, Play-Doh has been a staple in homes, daycares, and schools across the country. Hasbro, the manufacturer of Play-Doh, claims it to be non-toxic, but a closer look at its ingredients may have you second guessing its safety for your children. According to Hasbro’s website: “the exact ingredients of PLAY-DOH compound are proprietary, so we cannot share them with you. We can tell you that it is primarily a mixture of water, salt and flour.” (source)

While the primary ingredients that Hasbro shares with the general public are non-toxic, their current US Patent lists several more ingredients including preservatives, fragrance, petroleum (to make the Play-Doh feel smooth), and borax (prevents mold growth). Borax is the additive that disheartens me the most. The Environmental Working Group put out a great article in 2011 discussing the dangers of using Borax. Recently, they gave it a rating of “F” on their website mostly due to its developmental and reproductive system toxicity.

It’s one thing for your children to simply touch Play-Doh and then immediately wash their hands afterwards, but we know that is not how most children operate. I can practically still taste the salty Play-Doh from when I was a child, my green pancake and red french fry creations were just too irresistible to not taste. Kids explore the world with their hands and mouths, so shouldn’t they have something more natural and safe to play with? For the older children who use Play-Doh and aren’t likely to eat it, Borax is a known skin irritant and may cause allergic reactions.

Cooks.com has a no-bake play-doh recipe that is safe for those curious kids of yours who may decide to sample their play-doh creations. The recipe is so easy, you could even turn making their play-doh into an activity to do together!

Ingredients

1 cup water
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups salt
1/4 cup oil
*food coloring

*click here for ways to make natural and organic food coloring
*India Tree sells some great all natural food coloring, too!

Directions

Combine ingredients in a bowl, mixing well. Add small amounts of flour until desired consistency is achieved. Store in a plastic zip-loc bag!

By Courtney Perry

Scented Candles: Good For Your Mood, Not Your Health

There is nothing more soothing than lighting a “Limoncello” or “Autumn Day” candle and letting the calming scents fill your house and lungs.

candlesThat is until you find out that the chemicals released by the candles are full of toxins and are harmful to your body and organs. In the last post, I went over the benefits of using Thieves Oil and how it is a wonderful alternative to the candles and oils that smell great but are not so great for you. Here are a few reasons that many candles are considered harmful:

1. The fragrance in most candles is not natural, meaning it is chemically made. When burned, those chemicals are converted into possible carcinogenic toxins such as acetone, benezene, and toluene.

2. Paraffin wax is a popular type of candle and burning it may be just as harmful as being exposed to second hand smoke. Research has shown that lighting a paraffin candle once in awhile probably won’t do too much damage, but continued exposure can lead to asthma, allergies, and other respiratory tract problems.  The soot from paraffin candles contains many of the same toxins found in diesel fuel.

3. Candles from China and South America (where many imported candles come from) can contain lead in the wicks.

4. Did you know a single fragrance (cheap oils made for diffusers contain synthetic fragrances) can contain up to 600 different chemical ingredients? These chemical-filled oil blends are just as toxic as candles and are not the same as essential oils.

So while many candles are considered unsafe, there are great alternatives out there. Don’t worry, your rainy days spent curled up with a book, cup of tea, and a soothing candle don’t have to be a thing of the past.

Beeswax candles are safe and have a natural, pleasant fragrance

Soy candles, just make sure your candle is 100% soy

Burn essential oils in a diffuser

Summer stove top potpourri 

Holiday stove top potpourri

Fall stove top potpourri

Lemon/Rosemary/Vanilla potpourri (scroll to the bottom)

Do you have a favorite stove top potpourri recipe? Share below! 

By Courtney Perry

Chemical-Free Cleaning

A common misconception is that in order to achieve clean, you have to use strong and toxic cleaning products. This is not always the case, and harsh chemicals in cleaning products are not safe for your family or the environment. There are so many alternatives to using traditional cleaning products, and most of them are simple to make!

At Molly’s Suds, we use only all natural cleaning products which is how our laundry powder came into existence. There just aren’t many safe products on the market, so we took matters into our own hands. Here are several DIY cleaning products that take only a few minutes to make. Try them for yourself, you’ll be amazed at how well they work and how inexpensive they are to create!

Dish Soap (for hand washing dishes, not for the dishwasher!)

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup liquid castile soap
  • 3 tsp. vegetable glycerin
  • 5 drops tea-tree essential oil
  • 20 drops lemon essential oil
  • 1 1/3 cups water

Instructions:

Pour soap, glycerin, tea-tree oil, lemon oil and water into a bottle using a funnel. Shake bottle until all ingredients are blended well. This soap can also be used on counter tops!

Shower Cleaner

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. liquid castile soap
  • ½ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 3 cups hot water

Instructions:

Using a funnel, pour baking soda, soap, vinegar and water into a spray bottle. Shake well to blend all ingredients.
To clean your shower, we recommend spraying all surfaces and scrubbing while wearing rubber gloves.  Rinse well with water.

Glass Cleaner

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp. rubbing alcohol
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil (optional, for scent)
  • ½ Tbsp. liquid castile soap

Instructions:

In a well-ventilated area, use a funnel to pour water, alcohol, vinegar and oil into a bottle. Shake the mixture, add soap, and shake some more!
Spray the glass cleaner on any glass surface and wipe with newspaper for best results! Newspaper leaves less streaks than cloths or paper towels.

Multi-purpose Cleaner

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. castile soap (optional)

Instructions:

Mix together ingredients, add to a spray bottle, go crazy! 

Bleach Alternative

Ingredients:

Lemon

Instructions:

Yes, you read that right. Just one ingredient, a lemon! If there is a stain you can’t get out, squeeze lemon juice onto it and place in the sun to dry. The stain will disappear, and you can follow it up with a wash in Molly’s Suds laundry powder.

Wood Furniture Polish

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 lemon (juice)

Instructions:

Blend ingredients in a spray bottle and use on any of your wooden surfaces. Wipe with a dry, clean cloth.

Laundry Powder

Ingredients:

Okay, this one is simple because we’ve already done the labor for you! Molly’s Suds is made from all natural ingredients. No long words you can’t pronounce or worrisome chemicals. Here is the ingredients list just to reassure you

  • Pure sodium carbonate
  • Sodium bicarbonate (food grade)
  • Epsom salt and dead sea salt (triple filtered in US)
  • Organic peppermint essential oil

Instructions:

Use only 1 Tablespoon per load. Safe for High Efficiency Washers and front loaders. Cloth diaper wash cycle may require the use of more than the standard 1 Tablespoon depending on mineral content in the water.

Click HERE to purchase your own bag of Molly’s Suds! Sample sizes are available.

suds

 

By Courtney Perry