How the heck do you deal with the world when your body is more sensitive than a Susan Lucci performance?
As with everything, being “reactive” seems to fall on a sliding scale. Some patients don’t seem bothered by certain foods, scents or perfumes much at all. While others seem to react violently to almost everything. It seems at the very least, it’s never a bad thing to cut more chemicals out of your life when your body is already over reacting to an autoimmune illness. So here are some great ways to do every day chores, with a few less chems!
Some really basic household items can do wonders; lemons, peppermint oil, flour, even ketchup. But white vinegar seems to be magic! You can get a large jug of white vinegar at one of the discount stores for a few dollars. It’s an antibacterial spray, a soap scum remover, it removes stains, bacteria & odors. You’ll be amazed all you can do with it!
FIDO SMELL? Rub a few handfuls of baking soda into his coat, brush it out & in addition to removing any smells, it will leave his coat shiny & clean!
WEEDS: Have weeds & don’t want to put down a weed killer? (My neighbors dog actually died from eating the grass that had been “treated” w weed killer & the natural products are often expensive). Pour white vinegar into a watering can (preferably with a small spout, it will go farther) & pour a little on your weeds! It kills them dead over night!
WEEDS #2: Want to get rid of the grass or weeds growing in the cracks of your patio, driveway or concrete sidewalk? Sprinkle handfuls of baking soda onto the concrete & sweep it into the cracks. The added sodium makes it harder for anything to grow!
WEEDS #3: Don’t want to spend money to kill your weeds? Get out the tea kettle! Yup, just boil water (you can add salt to make it more effective if you aren’t pouring it on bricks, the salt might damage them). A little boiling water kills them dead!
This works really well. Too well. I got a little carried away once & decided to be more efficient & boil a large POT of water. I did it successfully many times & then lost my grip & promptly spilled boiling water down my leg. I still have the scar! So I suggest sticking with the tea kettle.
SHOWER CURTAIN GONE GREEN (& it’s supposed to be white?) Put it in the washing machine on the gentle cycle w/ 2 bath towels. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your detergent during the wash cycle & 1/2 cup vinegarduring the rinse cycle. Let it drip dry (don’t put it in the dryer) & your mildew will be a thing of the past!
LAUNDRY: Add 1/4 cup of baking soda for front loading washers (& 1/2 cup for top loading) to whatever laundry soap you like. It will not only make your whites much whiter, it will allow you to use less detergent & make any bleach you do use, much more effective (so you can use less!)
LAUNDRY #2: The word bleach makes me react! Yet I need an alternative to get clothes/towels white! For a mild, stain free option (bleach can often cause more problems than it solves) soak your dedicates in a mixture of lemon juice & baking soda for at least half an hour before regular washing.
SUMMER STAINS: Have underarm stains & want to avoid having the chuck the shirt altogether? Take equal parts lemon juice (or white vinegar) & water & scrub the armpit stains.
BOOST THE WASH: Pour 1 cup of lemon juice into the washer during the wash cycle, the natural bleaching action will zap stains & help your clothes smell fresh!
MILDEWW: You unpack your winter clothes & they have that mildew smell or stains on them. Make a paste of lemon juice and salt & rub in on the affected areas, then dry the clothes in sunlight. Repeat until the stain is gone (this works well for rust stains too!)
MILDEWW #2: Remove mildew in your house. Pour 3% hydrogen peroxide directly on the offending areas in your bathroom & wipe it clean!
DANDRUFF: Want to get rid of dandruff? Forget the Head & Shoulders! Massage 2TBS lemon juice into your scalp & rinse w water. Then stir 1 teaspoon of lemon juice into 1 cup water & rinse your hair w it. Repeat daily & you will be rid of itchy, flaky scalp!
STUFFED (DIRTY) ANIMALS: Kids have stuffed animals that you are desperate to clean but you fear using chemicals on them? Try corn starch! Get a bag, throw a few of their fluffy friends in there, sprinkle cornstarch in the bag, shake then let them sit 5 minutes. Brush them off & they should be good to go!
BLOOD STAINS: (Gross but they happen!) Whatever you get it on, the faster you act the better! Make a paste of cornstarch & cold water. Cover the spot w/ the paste & rub it gently. Put the cloth in a sunny spot, once dry brush off the residue. If the stain is not gone, repeat.
BLOOD STAINS2: On fresh bloodstains apply 3% hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain & rinse w fresh water. Wash as you always do. (Of course if it’s a fresh blood stain bc you chopped off a finger, I’d go to the ER & worry about the stain later!)
PU: Fill a paper coffee filter w/ baking soda & twist tie it shut. You have now made an air freshner you can put inside stinky shoes, the fridge, drawers, even the bottom of a trash can (beneath the bag).
PU2: Freezer have a weird smell? Put a few bowls of coffee grounds (they can be used!) in the freezer. It absorbs the bad smell & leaves a coffee fresh scent!
IRONING GONE WRONG: Did you actually iron a burn mark or slight “iron outline” onto your favorite shirt? Wet the scorched area & cover it with cornstarch. Let the cornstarch dry, then brush it away along w/ the burn mark!
OF MICE & MEN (my favorite tips!): Getting rid of critters that invade your home, can feel worth the risk of using chemicals! But what if there were options that were even better?
MICE: No matter what we tried, we could not get rid of a mice infestation. We literally tried everything; put all food in plastic boxes, got humane traps, then kill traps. In protest of the kill traps (which weren’t working anyway) I bought the peppermint oil I had read about (Amazon had it for about $4). I used the cotton swabs we already had & put a drop or 2 of the oil on the cotton (it’s a strong smell so don’t use much!) Then I put the cotton balls in the corners of the closets they had invaded, in our pantry area, anywhere they had showed up that I could put a cotton ball & close the door so the smell wouldn’t bother me. (Some people love the smell, it depends on what your tolerance level is).
It really is hard to believe but knock on wood (or on a Doctors head!) it worked! Anytime I start to hear the little suckers, I put the oil down & bam, they are gone again!
ANTS: I wondered if peppermint oilwould work on Ants too. So, I did an experiment. I found an ant on our counter, I took the cloth w a dot of the oil on it & made a circle around the ant. He (she? Not sure how you tell w/ an ant!) would NOT walk over the oil. It was amazing! So if ants begin to show up in your kitchen (no matter how clean you keep it!) put a few drops of the peppermint oil on a cloth & wipe down the counters before you go to bed (this way it will air out by morning). Doing this every day for a few days, should rid you of the little critters.
ANTS #2: Ants also seem to hate flour (not sure why!) & cayenne pepper (ok that seems obvious). Sprinkle either in areas you would like ants to disappear! (I put flour around the outside of a doorway they were coming in & it worked like a charm! Inside, fresh flour seems to need to be applied or after a few days they walk right through it!)
CUTTING BOARDS: To kill germs on your cutting board, use a paper towel & wipe it down w/ vinegar, then use another paper towel to wipe it w/ 3% hydrogen peroxide.
Note: 3% hydrogen peroxide is the key ingredient in most teeth whitening kits or fabric oxygen bleaches!
KETCHUP as a Jewelry or Copper cleaner?: Get your silver jewelry sparkling again! Dunk it in ketchup (if it has crevices use an old toothbrush to work it in better) don’t leave it on any longer than necessary! It will also brighten copper pots as well & is cheaper than any copper cleaner!