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 Eric Talaska
Hello, this is my first entry here. I appreciate this service Debra provides. I have a concrete slab floor with oil based floor paint on it that is 2 years old. It has surely outgased toxic fumes a lot already. How do I keep it from outgassing or otherwise releasing toxic fumes or chemicals? Is it better to remove it and then start over with something nontoxic? If so, how do I safely remove it? If leaving it on is recommended, what can I put over it that would keep it from outgassing? Thanks.
Question from SLJ
I admit I like to use Febreze now and then to refresh the fabrics in my house. However, with a dog and two cats I now would like to explore alternatives. I haven’t seen any natural substitutes that are safe for fabrics and smell nice. Does anyone have any suggestions?
I haven’t seen any such products, but I don’t see EVERYTHING 🙂
Question from Sydney Blum
I am looking for a non-toxic snake repellent. I tried an herbal mixture from Australia and the snakes just sat in it without a care. Any ideas that really work?
Readers? Anyone have any experience with this? We only have small garden snakes here, so I don’t know how to repel snakes.
Question from Bob Jordan
Awhile back you ran a dessert recipe I don’t remeberer which and suggested a number of alternatives to the sweetener in the recipe one of which was honey. I should have commented then but better late than never, honey when heated to high temperatures becomes a glue like substance. Ayurvedic has long considered it a no no to cook or bake with honey. My source for this information is the Ayurvedic Cookbook by Amadaea Morningstar and Urmila Desai.
Question from vivian
I came across your website while trying to get information about the safety of silicone cookware. I received a bright red tart pan for Christmas, and the first time I baked with it I noticed a distinctly odd odor. The nose is considered the “first line of defense” from an evolutionary standpoint, and if you can smell chemicals, they probably are leaching into your food. Silicone by itself may not be harmful, but what about the materials used to color it? I will definitely not cook with this again, the flavor and odor, while subtle, is definitely a cause for concern! Also, people’s ability to detect odors can be vastly variable, so many people will never notice this…Thanks for a great website.
Question from Cindy
Debra, I thank you for your site!
I need help. I live in a very old house and the floors need to be replaced, there is old ratty carpet and lineoloum tiles that have holes and the kitchen is very old hardwood which I dont know if there is a product I could put on it to save it, as I am very chemically sensitive. It was coated with poloyurathine years ago and was beautiful (when I first moved in). I later had a severe chemical exposure, which Iam doing all to recover from. I dont know how to purchase a floor and to be sure of getting the best–that wont outgass.
I want hardwood flooring for the rest of the house. my husband want to go to Lowes and purchase tile (Lineloum) for the living room since it is the worst.he said perhaps if we let it outgass in the garge or attice a few months it would be ok as we did do that with the bathroom years ago. I have put this off till it is no longer a option to just leave it..Please anyone help. I have suffered so much I pray I can find a good floor I wont react to.
I’ve been looking at www.naturalhomeproducts.com and they have hardwood flooring that seems to be very “green” friendly but I dont think I can afford it plus they ship it and you have what you have. I dont want something I cant use. Their flooring is called “junkers”.
Can i get something from lowes that has no formalhydeand low-or prefably no voc’s.
Please help. I am sincerely in need and frightened!
There are several questions already on the blog that have answers which can help you.
Q&A: Flooring has some brands of flooring recommended for people with chemical sensitivities.
Q&A: Wood Floor Bargains has some suggestions for places you can purchase the least expensive prefinished hardwood floors.
Type “flooring” into the search box at my website’s search engine for more information on flooring.
Question from Mindy
I washed my sleeping bag in the bathtub and the outer surface of it must still bleed color (it is blue) and when i finished soaking it, it stained the tub (which had been refinished over a year ago). I tried bon ami with the rougher surface of a sponge and it didn’t seem to work very well. Then I tried using a wet pumice stone which I read about in a household cleaning book I have and it seemed to start getting some of it off, but not completely.
Do you have any great solutions for this that are non-toxic and will restore my tub back to the pristine white, not that the blue is ugly?
This seems to be the week for getting sinks and tubs white (see next entry below). Readers?
Question from Eric Talaska
There are a lot of windows in my home with Vinyl PVC window blinds. I called the manufacturer to find out if they have lead and they don’t, so that’s good. But since they are made of Vinyl PVC, isn’t that toxic as far as outgassing, especially for the windows that the sun hits the most? I’m wondering whether I should go to the extent of replacing them with something more natural such as wood blinds. The blinds are two years old, so have outgassed some already, but I wonder how much more outgassing is left? Should I be concerned about the blinds that do not heat up from the sun? Will they still outgas without heat?
Question from Julie Westbrook-Finch
I am gradually changing over to natural products, but I have a question about safety.
I know you can’t mix certain things like bleach and vinegar due to causing toxic fumes so how long after using normal bleach in the toilet do you have to wait before changing over to using something natural like borax and vinegar or a natural toilet cleaning product? Do you need to wait a certain amount of days without using bleach before its safe?
This question also applies to putting bleach down drains and plugholes, how long do you need to wait before using natural products so they don’t clash and make toxic fumes?
You’re not supposed to mix bleach and vinegar together, but I don’t think there would be enough bleach left in a toilet to react with vingar after one or two flushes. If you want to be super-cautious, wait a day or two before using vinegar.
Drains would clear as soon as you flow water through them.
Question from Cindy Walker
My husband and I are really trying to go organic and natural all the way.
Now there is one big problem. For years we have been having pesticides sprayed in our basement, etc. You see, many years ago when we moved into this home, it was rampid with centipedes. It started in February 1995. I would get up in the mornings and since I arose earlier for work, would use the bathroom on the other side of the house. Every morning there would be many centipedes in the bath tub. This went on for months and I would always tell my husband about this. Finally, months later on a Sunday morning, I showed him at least 9 centipedes and body parts laying in the tub. Uggh! Thats how we got into pest control.
Now we want out. If anyone has any suggestions about anything natural to put around the house, basement, it would be greatly appreciated. These critters come up through all the drains, in the tube, bathroom sink and kitchen sink. They hang on the ceilings and pretty much like to take over the house. If it was not a lovely house, I would have been outta here long ago!
Thanks much and appreciate any time to this matter.