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Information on PUL fabric


I’m wondering if anyone knows if there are health issues involved in using PUL fabric for diaper covers.

Thanks for your help!

Sandy Moskovitz

Princeton, NJ

Debra’s Answer

PUL is short for Polyurethane Laminate, which is an aromatic polyether polyurethane film/sheet. It is used for bibs, diaper covers, and other baby products because of it’s excellent resistance to water and fungus.

This is a plastic, made from petrochemicals. It is made from a nonrenewable resource and is not biodegradable.

I’d opt for bibs and diaper covers made from natural ingredients.

Dried Herbs

Question from MP

Hi there,

I have been growing oregano, parsely, dill, and basil on my deck and was wondering how I could dry it to replace my store bought herbs in my spice rack?


Debra’s Answer

I just bundle stems together and hang them upside down indoors in a dry place. If it’s too damp they will mold.

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Homemade V8 Juice

Question from Melissa


I absolutely LOVE V8 vegetable juice, but would like to avoid the sodium, pasturization, packing waste, and high cost that comes with buying the cans at the store. How would I go about making my own?


Debra’s Answer

I love V8 juice too and just created a way to make a juice that tastes very much like it. I call it “V5” juice. I put all these vegetables in my VitaMix and blend it rather than juicing:

Put everything in the blender, cover with water, and blend until pulverized. This makes two large glasses. My husband and I drink some version of this juice almost every morning. Our bodies love it!

The original V8 juice is made from tomatoes, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, and spinach. You can try blending any of these together or adding more to my mix. Carrots would make it sweeter, watercress more peppery.

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Murphy Oil Soap

Question from Violeta Nazario

I would like to know if Murphy Oil Soap is good for health. I have been using it instead of other detergents that are toxic. Now I am questioning my decision. Does anyone have information?

Debra’s Answer

The Murphy Oil Soap website says it is made from “safe, naturally gentle soap, specially formulated for cleaning wood floors, furniture, and other household surfaces. And it leaves your home smelling fresh and clean. Murphy’s contains no harsh detergents, ammonia, or bleach.”

The ingredients listed on the Murphy Oil Soap MSDS are potassium soap of vegetable oil, sodium EDTA (a preservative), water, fragrance, propylene glycol, and unspecified surfactants. None are listed as hazardous, but I wouldn’t call this completely natural. I have no reason to believe that the fragrance is natural.

Still, it is somewhat natural and certainly soap-based, making it a better choice that other supermarket cleaning products.

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Ivory Bar Soap

Question from joan coppinger

Hi, I like the mildness of Ivory bar soap but can’t find any ingredients listed on their package. I called the company the representative took so long trying to find the ingredients and from the info she gave me, it seemed all natural. Can you give me more info, any parabens, etc?

Debra’s Answer

I found the list of ingredients for Ivory soap on a handmade soap website. Here’s what they have to say:

I would just add that I have no reason to believe that the fragrance is natural.

I would agree with this writer though, that if you are not going to purchase an all-natural handmade soap, Ivory would be the next best choice.

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Drain Cleaner

Question from Carol

I read on your blog about using baking soda and white vinegar to clear clogged drains, but now I can’t find the topic on any of your websites. I’d like to know what proportions of each substance to use and in what order. I don’t want to blow up my drains nor do I want to use caustic chemicals. Help?

Debra’s Answer

The post you are looking for is Cleaning Clogged Drains. I found it by entering “baking soda drain” in my onsite search engine at my website’s search engine.

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Prioritizing Organic Foods

Question from Melissa

I would love to convert my home to all organic foods (meat included), but the high price is an obstacle I cannot overcome for 100% conversion. I remember seeing a list elsewhere regarding which vegetables retain the most toxins and should be the top priority when choosing organics, but I can’t locate it again.

Can you help me decide which foods should be the most important to me in organic (based on the health of my family)? Fruits, Vegetables, Dairy, or Meats?

Debra’s Answer

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Natural Deodorant

Question from Debbie T.

I need some recommendations for a good natural and/or organic deodorant. I have been using Tom’s of Maine Long-lasting, and though it works great for some, now that summer has hit, it is not working as well for me. Anyone have any suggestions that have worked well for them? Thank you!

Debra’s Answer

See Fragrance-free Deodorants and Deodorants for Teenage Son.

Readers, any other suggestions?

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Airport X Rays

Question from Martha

I travel at least once a month with my husband and toddler. All of our family lives out of state so we make use of my husband’s flight benefits (he works for an airline). As I’m very picky about the foods my toddler eats (no airport food) I bring along yogurt, milk in a thermos, fruit and the like. I usually have to check some of the food because of security. Does anyone know how the X-Rays affect the food? I’ve done some research and find that it’s a very low amount. However I’d like to know if it’s damaging his food and whether my good intentions are actually detrimental.


Debra’s Answer

I don’t know anything about this, though my readers might. I would say though, that he (and you) needs to eat something, and your food exposed to x-rays would be infinitely better than the airplane food exposed to x-rays or airport food.

Readers, any info on this?

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Removing Hard Water Deposits

Question from PJ

Dear Debra,

I’d like to know what the current version of Calgon water softener is made from and if it is a safe and effective cleaner for hard water deposits. Can you help me? I can’t find information about the current version, just the older version, which I believe contained sodium hexametaphosphate. Thank you.

Debra’s Answer

I went to the Calgon website and called their 800 number. They told me the ingredients are salt, polymer, thickener and fragrance. Hmmmmm…it used to be sodium hexametaphosphate and fragrance. Since the active water softening ingredient here is salt, I would just use the cheapest salt you can find.

I’m not sure salt alone would be effective to remove hard water deposits. It does soften water. Readers, any ideas for removing hard water deposits?

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