Submitted questions will be posted with my response by the following Tuesday or before.
Submitted comments will be moderated and approved within 24 hours.
Question from Jennifer
I’ve found a recipe for laundry soap that I really like:
I’ve been doing a lot of research and I don’t understand what the effective difference between washing soda and borax is. I know they are different minerals, but they claim to add the same “power” as laundry boosters and deodorizers. Do they really do something different? Or is it redundant to use both in the same recipe?
Thanks so much for any guidance with this!
Washing soda and borax are different minerals, but I don’t know exactly how they function. Readers?
Question from joyce k.
I have an interior bedroom that only has one window. Outside the window the air flow is blocked by an added on bathroom. There is still air flowing, but the window is near the ground and if left open is a security hazard (someone could enter the house.)
I cannot even go in the room without a mask or holding my breath because of the build up of stale air. An air filter helps, but does not of course provide fresh air.
The wall of the bedroom that leads to the rest of the house cannot be taken down because it is a supporting wall.
Does anyone have experience with this type of problem? How can I ventilate this room?
Question from Mark
My wife is sensitive to many chemicals and plastics. Until recently she has tolerated Dove soap, the one that is for sensitive skin, which states “fragrance free” stated on the label. She has not tolerated the soap for the last two or three months and finally contacted Dove to complain. Dove customer service stated they now use a masking fragrance in the soap.
I am writing just to inform readers, this soap is no longer suitable for anybody that needs to avoid fragrances.
Question from SarahBug
I just bought two Method cleaning products at Target recently and was wondering why it was not on the list?? Is there something wrong with the products I should know about?
First, there are many more products on the market than I can keep up with, so don’t assume that if it’s not on Debra’s List, there is something wrong with it. I love having you all write in asking about specific products because then I know exactly which products you are wondering about and can address them. Sometimes I learn about new products from you too that I am not aware of and add them to Debra’s List.
Now about Method Cleaning Products, I’ve already answered this at Q&A: Method Cleaning Products.
Remember to use the big purple SEARCH button and search for your question before posting. It might already have been addressed and you’ll get an instant answer!
Question from PJ
When I read suggestions from yourself and readers about various cleaning products (hand soap, dish soap, dishwasher soap, laundry soap etc.) I have noticed that Trader Joe’s brand products are seldom mentioned. I am wondering if you are unfamiliar with them, or if they have been found by you to have questionable ingredients? I have found them to be more reasonably priced than other organic products. Please comment.
I also wondered if you are familiar with Country Save brand laundry detergent? The powdered form has NO odor. I am sensitive to many fragrances, including plant based ones, and have been so happy to find a non-toxic product without added fragrance. When I read about people taking the time to make their own laundry detergents, I wonder if Country Save would be a good alternative for them? (Their web address is: www.countrysave.com) I buy it locally in a 10 lb. (80 load) box for $12.99. Ingredients: sodium carbonate, sodium sulfate, sodium borate, sodium alkyl aryl sulfonate, linear alcohol ethoxylate, coconut diethanolamide.
Thank you for your dedication to making the world we share a healthier place.
I am familiar with Trader Joe’s cleaning products and they are fine. I haven’t put them on Debra’s List because they do not sell their products on a website and Debra’s List is geared mainly to online sources of nontoxic, natural and earthwise products, though many of them are also sold in stores. Also, I don’t have Trader Joe’s here in Florida, though it was one of my favorite stories when I lived in the San Francisco area.
Country Save is also fine, and I’ve added it to Debra’s List.
However, neither of these are organic (as you stated in the title of your post), to the best of my knowledge (haven’t looked at Trader Joe’s recently) but they are natural.
Question from Debbie Saleh
Hi Debra –
I normally use non-toxic products to clean my home, I bought Kaboom shower cleaner over the weekend since I was completely out and didn’t want to make a trip to Target to get Method shower cleaner (which I really like…)
What is your take on Kaboom products? They say the cleaner will not release toxic fumes, but is the product itself non-toxic?
At the website for
Kaboom Shower, Tub and Tile Cleaner, there is a little link that says “View Safety Information.” When you click through it says:
Inhalation…remove to fresh air, consulta a physician. Hmmmm. And your supposed to use this product in a little tiny unventilated shower enclosure? I wouldn’t.
No MSDS sheet is given on the website.
Question from Laura
I have severe MCS but am living with famiy who think I’m “loony” After many months and many seizures there is at last a change being made in the laundry detergent!
When transitioning from using a heavily fragranced laundry detergent to All Free and Clear what can be used to “detoxiify” the washer and dryer? They are Fisher Paykal Ecosmart with a metal tub but the newer porous looking plastic elsewhere. Also, will the clothes eventually lose the fragrance from the previous detergent or will they need a special treatment?
Readers, what is your experience with this?
Question from Stacy D
Does anyone have any information about the safety of dental sealants? Our dentist wants to put them on my son’s teeth to prevent cavities but I am suspect of putting plastic in his mouth. I could not find that much information about them.
Question from Tim
My outdoor swing on a covered porch has persistent mildew on the fabric (not sure what it is), but is there a solution to kill the mildew, while not discoloring the fabric?
Thank you (and so does anyone who sits on the swing)
Question from Carol
Is it harmful in any way to wear watches that use batteries? It’s extremely difficult to find wind-up watches.
I don’t have any information on the possible health effects of watch batteries. I’m assuming they would have a very low EMF field.
If you want an EMF-free watch, see the No-EMF Watch at lessemf.com, which has a
“reliable time keeping Citizen Miyota NO EMF automatic movement that never needs winding or batteries”
Anyone know about health effects of watch batteries?