We've partnered with the team over at momsAWARE to bring you this post. After a brush with toxic mold, Andrea (founder of momsAWARE) noticed an increased sensitivity to chemicals in her family. Her children would get nosebleeds, rashes, headaches, and fatigue from encountering common, everyday chemicals. This quickly led to a rapid change in lifestyle and turn toward using natural products in the home.
What is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) has a wide range of symptoms. According to WebMD, MCS is a variety of symptoms reported by people after possible exposure to chemical, biological, or physical agents. Possible triggers include auto exhaust, perfume, tobacco smoke, chlorine, insecticides, and others.
There is some controversy over if these environmental triggers are evidence of disease. Some doctors and people feel these symptoms fit the bill. Since there are no reliable tests for MCS, it's hard to say what the treatment should be. Most often, people find their solutions by learning from experience. They notice certain foods or chemicals make their symptoms worse and learn to avoid these things.
What are some alternatives?
Not everyone has to suffer from MCS to want to reduce the number of synthetic cleaners they use in the home. Just read any of the ingredients used in chemical cleaners can be enough to change your mind. If you have little kids at home who are adventurous but can't read yet, it's using natural products is something consider to reduce the risk in your home.
There are many alternatives to some synthetic cleaners and products in the home. If you find you've become sensitive to chemicals or want alternatives, this might be your solution to reduce the synthetic chemicals in your home. Below, Andrea has listed some of the products she uses in her home to reduce the symptoms of MCS.
This is an all-round useful product. It's great to sanitize the different surfaces in your homes like counters, mirrors, and overall household cleaning. White vinegar works wonders as a fabric softener too! Use white vinegar for weed control in the garden as well.
This natural alkaline product offers excellent deodorizing, stain removals, and cleaning properties. Used with a little castile soap, it makes a wonderful soft scrubber that I use throughout my home.
I make my castile soap, but there are plenty of natural soaps online or locally. Castile soap is naturally derived from plant oil-based soap. You can grate the soap and use it in homemade laundry soap or add boiling water to make your liquid soap. MomsAWARE offers a great tutorial, which you can check out here:
Pumice stones work great for cleaning toilets, showers, and tile. I like the Pumice sticks that are available online to help me reach those spots that are difficult to reach (toilet rims for instance).
I use DE for spider control in our garage and for a major scorpion infestation (one of the consequences of living in Arizona). We were extremely successful just by adding a light dusting around the perimeter. Additionally, I add a bit of DE to my potted plants and garden as DE helps the soil retain nutrients and overall health of the soil. I add DE to my homemade tooth powder which consists of baking soda and sea salt. (DE adds greatly to the effectiveness.) On occasion, I add some to our dog's food for extra worm protection. I've also added DE to my soft scrub powder which is a blend of baking soda and washing soda. I sprinkle the blend on tile and add a bit of liquid castile soap and the combination can't be beaten!
Great for natural laundry soap as well as surface mold cleaning. I couldn't get by without some borax.
It's great for cleaning and perfect for cutting boards. Simply spread the salt on the cutting board, sprinkle a little water, allow to sit, and then wipe clean. The salt will pull up anything that is in there, and it acts as an abrasive agent to clean. While iodized salt is not good for consuming, it works great for cleaning.
This is a more specialized product, but it offers a great boost to natural cleaning methods. Add it to homemade automatic dishwashing powder to help with clouding or throw it in with your powders and laundry soap.
Tea tree oil is a great antiseptic oil. (Lavender and citrus work well too.) Pick your favorite and add to white vinegar as well as homemade products. You can create a natural air freshener by adding several drops to filtered water in a spray bottle and spray around the house!