I met my guest Annie B. Bond many years ago when her publisher asked me to write the forward to her first book Clean and Green. We’ll be talking about how to clean your home with natural substances you probably have in your kitchen, plus a few more that are easy to find and inexpensive. We’ve both been cleaning toxic-free for years, so we have a lot of experience and knowledge between us. Annie is the best-selling author of five books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment (Rodale Books, 2008), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010), and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World. She was named “the foremost expert on green living” by “Body & Soul” magazine (February, 2009). Currently Annie is the Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief of The Wellness Wire and leads the selection of toxic-free products for A True Find. www.anniebbond.com
LISTEN TO OTHER SHOWS WITH ANNIE B. BOND
- Toxics Then and Now: Debra Celebrates Thirty Years in Print
- Eight Steps to Improving Your Food Choices
- Toxic Free Valentines
- Great Toxic-Free Holiday Gifts
- Cleaning for Your Holiday Party – Before and After
- Natural Solutions for Bugs
- Healthy Halloween
- Tips for a Toxic Free Home
TOXIC FREE TALK RADIO
Toxic Free Cleaning Basics
Host: Debra Lynn Dadd
Guest: Annie B. Bond
Date of Broadcast: September 05, 2013
DEBRA: Hi, I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And this is Toxic Free Talk Radio where we talk about how to thrive in a toxic world. And we need to be doing this show and you all need to be listening because there are toxic chemicals out there. They’re all around us.
They’re in consumer products. They’re even in our bodies. And many people, including myself, were born with toxic chemicals in our bodies because they’ve been ubiquitous in the world since the mid-1940s. So, a lot of people are being affected by toxic chemicals and not even knowing it. And that’s why I do this show, so that you can learn where there are toxic chemicals, what they’re doing to you and your loved ones, and what you can do to be free of their harmful effects. That’s the whole idea of being toxic-free, is to be free from the harmful effects of toxic chemicals.
Today we’re going to be talking about cleaning, cleaning products and cleaning products that you can make right in your own home. And cleaning products are actually one of the first things that I recommend to people that you start with in your home.
It’s just like a basic, basic, basic thing because cleaning products are so toxic.
The labeling of cleaning products is governed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission under something called the Hazardous Substances Labeling Law. And you may have seen on the backs of cleaning products that they have certain words like “toxic,” “highly toxic,” “extremely dangerous,” “poison,” “warning,” “caution,” skull and crossbones. And all of these are words that are required by law to put on these products because they’re so toxic.
And we’ll talk about that a little bit more what those words mean and what kind of toxic chemicals are in cleaning products.
We’ll talk about that today.
My guest today is Annie B. Bond. And I met her many years ago when her publisher asked me to write a foreword to her first book, Clean & Green. Now, Clean & Green, I still have my copy of Clean & Green sitting right here on my desk. And it’s the one that Annie herself gave to me all those years ago with her autograph on it. And I still use this book. This is one of the books that I think that—you know there are other green cleaning books that have been written since. But I think it was the first.
And it’s still, I would say, one of those classic books that everybody needs to have on their shelves.
She’s also written a book called Better Basics for the Home which has a lot. It’s kind of an updated version. It has a lot of cleaning formulas in it. Where I have spent the bulk of my time looking at what are less toxic products people can buy, Annie has spent her time researching and writing about what are the ways that you can do things at home to make things yourself.
Hi Annie! Thanks for being with me today.
ANNIE B. BOND: Thanks, Debra. I’m delighted to be here as always. It’s a pleasure to be on your show. Thank you.
DEBRA: Yes, you’re welcome. Annie’s been here several other times. And so, after you listen to our show live here today, you could go to ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com, you could just enter “Annie Bond” in the search box, and her other shows will come up because all the shows that we do here are recorded and archived. So, even if you want to listen to today’s show again, if you heard something interesting, and you want to go back and listen to it again, all you have to do is just go to ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com, look up the show and you can listen to the archives.
So, how is it in upstate New York today?
ANNIE B. BOND: Lovely, just beautiful! It has a touch of fall in the air, but it’s nice, dry, cool, and lovely day. Thank you.
DEBRA: Well, I think there’s a touch of fall here too even though we don’t have leaves falling like you do and it’s doesn’t get as cold here in Florida. There’s something about the angle of the sun. When it gets to September, it’s not so overhead and hot as it is in the middle of summer. And that’s kind of how I tell that autumn’s approaching here.
ANNIE B. BOND: Well, the angle of the sun makes a big difference . In February here, I always know there’s a shift because, suddenly, the sun is low, it shines on the windows more. It’s just these little subtle things that tell us where we are and what we’re doing…
DEBRA: …and what time it is.
ANNIE B. BOND: Yes.
DEBRA: Yeah, yeah.
So, tell us a little bit—I know that you’ve told us your story before on other shows. But let’s just start with how did you get to be interested in this subject, just a little brief synopsis. And why did you pick cleaning to be the first subject that you research and write about?
ANNIE B. BOND: Well, especially because if there is anybody that hates to clean, it’s me. So the irony of my writing a book on cleaning has never escaped people that know me.
Well, I thought I wanted to sort of comment and jump off on something you said about your research of products and I tended to research the formulas. And I think I’m happy to say that my books are probably a little obsolete by now because of the fact that there’s now a green product on the market for just about anything you want to do, a healthy non-toxic product for just about anything whereas back when I wrote Clean & Green in 1988 and ’89, for example, that just wasn’t the case.
And so, if you wanted to peel wax off the floor or something like that, you just have to dig into the formulas because there just wasn’t to learn about what to do. I just wasn’t finding enough products to cover everything. And so that was I think part of where I went in.
And I say my books are obsolete, but a lot of us love the sort of DIY, the whole do-it-yourself. And that’s the basic kind of feeling. And there’s a beautiful simplicity to, I think, just having a few ingredients in your kitchen to clean with. So, that certainly tapped into a genuine interest of mine.
But I, like you, came into this field unexpectedly. I was working at a restaurant that had a gas leak. And it sent 80 people to the hospital in 1980. I was waitressing, and so I was breathing in the fumes very deeply. And at that moment, I got what I have been told was permanent central nervous system damage.
And then, our apartment building was exterminated with a pesticide that’s been taken off the market because it’s so neurotoxic.
And so, that one-two punch to my body put me in the hospital for three months. I was extremely sick.
And I’m ever grateful to a sister of mine who just could not believe what had happened to me. I was fine, and then I wasn’t fine just on a dime. And she found one of the first environmental medicine doctors in the world at that time. This is by then 1980.
And so thank goodness for that or I would’ve frankly been in and out of state mental hospitals my whole life because I have various central nervous system kind of reactions. I am forever grateful.
And I spent the next eight years learning how to live in our society without chemicals. You just don’t know how many there are until you try to live without them. And I moved 10 times in four years and on and on. You think you’re fine, and then somebody half a mile away start spraying their trees for something, pesticide, and you happen to have your windows open and it all blows in. It took a long time for me.
But once I found a place to live that is a sanctuary in that way for pesticide drift, especially for me (it’s what I’m most sensitive to), I have lived a normal life for 25 years, whereas when I was really sick, I couldn’t even go through New York City without an industrial gas mask. But learning how to live without chemicals has completely transformed it so I can lead a normal life.
And as long as I come home to a healthy homes, then I can be exposed to things. And so, that’s what I love to tell people that aren’t even close to being as sick as I was. Just make your home a sanctuary because then it’ll help you recoup and recover regardless of what you sort of stumbled into out there.
DEBRA: And I’m so glad that you mentioned all that and told that part of your story. Toxic chemicals can do bad things to your body. It happened to you, and it happened to me. But both of us are examples of people who have recovered and can go out and travel and eat in restaurants and go to the movie and do all those things that people do that. But because we come back home to our non-toxic homes, then our bodies have the opportunity to recover from that exposure.
What happens for most people is they go out into the world, and they have no place to come home to that’s safe. And that’s why they end up with all these body burden.
We need to take a break, but we’ll be back. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And my guest today is Annie B. Bond, author of Clean & Green and Better Basics for the Home. We’ll be back.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Talk Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And my guest today is Annie B. Bond, author of Clean & Green and Better Basics for the Home. Annie, before we start talking about what are some things that people can do at home to make their own cleaning products, let’s just talk about the cleaning products we don’t want them to use, the stuff that’s in the supermarket.
I used to tell people that they could just go to a natural food store and buy anything, but that’s not necessarily the case anymore. I like making my own myself, and I do.
When I first was dealing with this many, many years ago, as you said, Annie, there was not many commercial products to choose from. And so I just started making my own. And I just continued to do that because it’s so easy. And that’s what I became accustomed to. But I do try a lot of the new products and see.
So, let’s talk about first the warning labels that are on the products. Do you want to make a comment about that?
ANNIE B. BOND: Yeah, I would love to! I’m glad you brought that up. It’s one of the things I often give people as a wonderful starting point because it’s a little overwhelming to get started.
ANNIE B. BOND: And so, I just sort of call them “signal words.” And they’re on the bottles, as you mentioned. And so what I suggest is you go to your cleaning cupboard, wherever that may be, if you have one or wherever you keep your cleaning products. And you go through the products, and you remove everything that has a signal word that’s stronger than “caution.”
And call your community recycling center, see when they have a toxic waste pick-up.
I know a lot of people recommend you use something up, but I don’t with toxic products.
DEBRA: I agree. I don’t recommend that either, yeah.
ANNIE B. BOND: So, that gives you a good starting point. At that point, you’ve removed solvents that are neurotoxic, a lot of pesticides, things like that, petroleum distillates that are flammable and neurotoxic and problematic in your house.
So, that leaves us in a range of products with a caution. I’m not suggesting that they’re all safe, because they’re not, but at least you’ve eliminated some of the real dangers. But detergents have cautions on them—and as well they should because a lot of children end up in poison control centers because they’ve drunk some detergent or something like that.
And you know, detergents aren’t natural materials. They’re not found in nature. In our society, it makes sense that we use a lot of detergents because, for a lot of myriad reasons (which we could talk about)— I use them myself because I have hard water.
And if I didn’t, I’d end up with a lot of soap scum and things like that. But they’re not 100% safe. But wouldn’t you agree that just clearing everything out that’s more dangerous than a “caution” is a good starting point.
DEBRA: I think that that’s an excellent starting point. And the thing is that if you see one of those warning labels on the product, then that is at least—there are so many products out there that should have warning labels that don’t. But in the area of cleaning products and pesticides, they have these warning labels on them. So if you see a warning label, don’t use the product.
Now, I agree with you, Annie, about the caution labels. And there’s one in particular, one instance I want to make sure that everybody understands. One of the things that they put warning labels on is for an inhalant dust hazard. And so something could have a warning label on it for that and have no toxic chemicals at all, that it’s just a dust hazard. And one of the examples is like polishing Bon Ami polishing cleanser, one of my favorite least toxic things that I’ve been recommending for years. In fact, at the time period, when Annie and I met, Bon Ami was one of the only cleaning products I can tell people to use.
ANNIE B. BOND: I remember, yes.
DEBRA: Yeah! And I remember, the very first book that I ever wrote, it was called A Consumer Guide for the Chemically Sensitive. I self-published it. This is way back in 1982. And all throughout the book, I kept saying, “Use baking soda for this. Use baking soda for that.” And a friend of mine looked at it and said, “The title of this book should be Use Baking Soda for Everything.”
But the point I’m wanting to make here is that there may be a warning label like on Bon Ami where it says “caution” because of the dust hazard, but there’s nothing in it that you need to be cautious about except breathing the dust as a particle.
So, if you see a caution, just take a look and see is the caution there because it’s a powder or is it there because there’s a slightly toxic chemical in it. And that’s just something to distinguish.
ANNIE B. BOND: Yeah, I would agree. And another product that I love—I was just trying to find my box, but I don’t want to be wandering around the house while I’m on the radio. So I won’t delve into that—is washing soda.
It’s actually very alkaline. And people get alarmed because the recommendation on the box is to wear gloves when you use it.
And it’s only because it’s very alkaline. It doesn’t really burn your hands badly—I mean, not even badly, it doesn’t burn your hands. But it’s sort of like being extra careful as to use.
I would think there’s probably a caution on that box as well because it’s so alkaline. But because it’s so alkaline, that’s also what makes it wonderful. That’s the product I found to peel the wax off the floors, for example.
So, in my research in the ‘80s, we moved into—one of our moving 10 sometimes before here—an apartment that had a wax, a scented wax, on the kitchen floor. And I just absolutely had to get it off. I ended up using a washing soda paste, very damp.
And it just peeled the wax right open. It was fantastic! That became my solvent alternative.
But it’s sort of like a slight slippery slope because you end up wanting to work gloves or being told to wear gloves. But there are no toxic fumes. But any time I want a solvent […], that’s what I use because it works so well.
DEBRA: I didn’t know that it acted as a solvent. But you probably said that in one of your books and I just forgot.
ANNIE B. BOND: Yeah, that’s exactly right. However, you have to be careful. If you use too much, of course it will peel paint off the wall. You could dilute it like a quarter of a tub to a gallon of water, you don’t have to worry about that kind of thing. But it’s amazing for like cleaning soot or heavy-duty engine oil spill or things like that.
The heavy duty cleaning, that’s when I use washing soda. And I just love it for those.
DEBRA: Well, we need to take another break. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. My guest today is Annie B. Bond, author of Clean & Green and Better Basics for the Home. And we’ll be right back. Don’t go away!
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And my guest today is Annie B. Bond, author of Clean & Green and Better Basics for the Home.
I want to tell you that on Clean & Green, there’s a subtitle that says 485 Ways to Clean, Polish, Disinfect, Deodorize, Launder, Remove Stains, Even Wax Your Car without Harming Yourself or the Environment.” And Better Basics for the Home says “868 Practical Formulas, All-Purpose Household Cleaners, Body Creams and Lotions, Laundry Products, Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living.”
So, either of these books, both of these books, they’re a tremendous treasure chest of information on how you can go about these simple tasks of daily life in a way that is not toxic. And a lot of these formulas, you can make just with things that you already have in your kitchen. And so it’s worth checking this out. Everybody should have both of these books. That’s my recommendation.
ANNIE B. BOND: Thank you. And I just loved writing them too. Of all the work I’ve done in years, I think that was right up. The Better Basics, both books, are right up there. It’s some of my favorite things I ever did. I love those formulas and testing every single one. I had a checkered kitchen floor once. And each check had a different cleaning system on it. Anyway…
DEBRA: Well, Annie, I don’t think they’re obsolete. I think that this is the way. I really think that we should be moving back towards taking responsibility ourselves to make the things that we have because, more and more, the toxic chemicals are hidden in places that we don’t even know about. They’re not on the labels.
In fact, cleaning products as a class of products, are not required by law to list their ingredients on the label. And that’s the reason why they have these signal words of “caution” and…
ANNIE B. BOND: Yeah! It’s just absolutely horrifying! That’s horrifying. It is really horrifying.
And there’s another aspect of this which I think is really an important one. And that is the price of it.
I was on a radio show in 1993 or something called Smart Money. And they asked me before I came on to compare the price of my formulas to going through the supermarket and find the equivalent products. And so, I religiously, very carefully, did analyze this ounce by ounce comparatively.
And so, the price for about a time for buying just the basics for cleaning the house in the supermarket was $63. And from my ounce to ounce, including a very expensive essential oil, which was tea tree oil—which at the time I think was $8 a bottle or something—it was $11. So, the contrast in the price of it is dramatic in its own right. So that’s really nice.
And then, I think that we just can’t get across enough how the simplicity of it is just such a lovely way to have be part of your life.
DEBRA: Yes, I totally agree. Well, tell us what are the basic things that you use to clean your house. And then, I’ll tell you mine.
ANNIE B. BOND: Yeah, I think that there’s a really important—I mean, I have a story. Right now, right here, my daughter just moved into a new apartment. It’s new to her, an apartment, with a couple friends. And they ended up getting a couch. They’re recently out of college. And so, there have been a couch that they have that was in somebody’s basement, and they sold it out.
And they put it in their living room. And of course, it does reeked of mold and mildew.
I could tell the story of my suggestions to her which will give you the basics in a way. But also, something awful has been spilled on something. So, the first thing I suggested that she do is she can take out her bottle of tea tree oil, which I know she had, and put a teaspoon of tea tree oil to a cup of water and spray the entire couch because it’s a broad spectrum fungicide and the smell will lift in a few days and so will the mildew. And in fact, that really, really helped enormously.
But then she had some stains on some carpets and some funny smells. And it was hard to know what was what. And so I want to talk a little bit about baking soda and vinegar because a lot of people mix the two, and there’s sort of a bubbling. And it’s important to realize that when you get that bubbling, you’re actually neutralizing the power of the other.
So, just going with straight vinegar, it’s really good to have an acidic cleanser. And that kills a lot of bacteria, mold, germs and things like that. It’s wonderful for that.
The alkaline with the baking soda has a whole other smell/odor neutralization. And also, alkaline minerals tend to go through gunk and eat it up and dissolve it and make it easier to clean. So that’s why baking soda is great for cleaning the bottom of the oven, for example, if you make it wet enough and you use enough of it.
So, we didn’t know if some of the odors were alkaline or if they were acidic or whatever. But you would alternate baking soda or vinegar.
So, she started them by sprinkling baking soda to neutralize odors that were more acidic based actually. And then, she would clean that up and then vacuum really well. And then, she would spray with vinegar.
For example, who knew, I found, over the years, I’m very sensitive to perfume. And vinegar is the best way for me to get rid of a perfume smell.
DEBRA: Oh, I’m so glad you said that because this is one of my top questions on my blog: “How do I get perfume out of whatever?”
ANNIE B. BOND: And I have an infrared sauna in my house because I have a terrible case of Lyme disease. And that’s back when they treated it with high heat. And after going to my doctor’s office in my bathing suit in the middle of January, I’m just like, “I can’t do this anymore.”
Actually, I was in the sauna, in this high heat, and we had a fire alarm. And I had to go on the parking lot right in my bikini… in January… and I’m near upstate New York. So that was that for doing that.
Anyway, somebody came to my house, used my sauna, and they had tons of perfume on them. I could not get the smell out. I tried everything! And then, I had sprayed the whole thing with vinegar. And within an hour or two, the smell is gone.
DEBRA: Excellent! Excellent, excellent.
ANNIE B. BOND: Yeah, that was a great, great find. But that’s why Debra and I, to the audience here, are great resources because we’ve spent years struggling with these odors and things.
DEBRA: Yes, exactly!
ANNIE B. BOND: And it’s not always easy, learning how to peel wax off of the floor or get perfume out of the sauna, who knows?
But at any rate, I love vinegar now. If you have germs you’re worried about, you could spray straight vinegar on a bathroom door knob. I mean, there are things that work really well for that.
My favorite recipe of all…
DEBRA: Wait! Before you tell us that, we need to take a break, so I don’t want you to get started with the recipe. But we’ll cover it after we come back.
ANNIE B. BOND: Okay!
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And my guest is Annie B. Bond, author of Clean & Green and Better Basics for the Home. And we’ll be right back.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And my guest today is my very dear and very long time friend, Annie B. Bond. And we’re talking about how we clean our houses with just the basic, fundamental thing.
Annie and I have both been through our own trials with being exposed to toxic chemicals. And we’ve both recovered and live normal lives. So we have a lot of experience with this.
Okay, Annie, this is…
ANNIE B. BOND: Thanks, Debra. I appreciate it.
DEBRA: You’re welcome. This is our last segment. So let’s get down to just the nitty-gritty of let’s both talk about the basics of what we do to clean our houses. So how do you scour your sink?
ANNIE B. BOND: Okay! So, I was going to start with my favorite bath tub cleaner, but let me just move to the sink. I mean, my bath tub cleaner, I would use for the sink too. But this is what I love to whiten my sink. It’s sort of a newer discovery, but it’s sodium bicarbonate. And Eco [Verb], for example, has a box for their laundry. Whitener, it’s a combination with hydrogen peroxide. And it is an incredible whitener. So, I’ll fill the sinks with water, and I’ll add a quarter of a cup or so of sodium bicarbonate and let it sit there for a while, an hour or two, and it just sparkles.
But if you can’t find it, or that’s a little too complicated, the best scrub that I know of is you pour about a half a cup of baking soda into a bowl, and you squirt in enough of a green dish detergent, that liquid dish detergent, into the bowl and stir it—or an all-purpose cleaner or soap, liquid soap, would be fine. And you’d stir into a texture like frosting. And then, you scoop it on a sponge, and you scrub with that.
And the thing I love about this is that it rinses incredibly well. So, for someone who grew up back in the days when the scouring powders is used for clean the bath tubs, and you end up sitting in the grit because you could never really rinse it well enough, this is a fabulous product because it just rinses beautifully. It cleans well.
I have people writing me from all over the world about this formulas as being the best ever. And people have tried to monetize it and put it in packages and everything. But it’s very simple and it’s the easiest thing. And so I never don’t have that around.
Also, as a heads-up about that, it works really well too for cleaning stainless steel appliances. You just have to rinse it.
And if you can’t get all of the residue off for stainless steel, you just spray it with a little bit of vinegar and that will neutralize the baking soda actually. And you wipe it all off in the end. So, that’s a wonderful product.
And then, for cleaning the windows, for example, a lot of people went the wrong way in the early ‘90s thinking—because a lot of editors would say on radio, “Just clean your windows with vinegar, and that’s all you need.” And then, a lot of people abandoned non-toxic cleaning because they did that and they got streaks. And the reason, most simply, is because the residual wax and the cleaning in their window cleaner that they’ve been using for so many years have to be taken off first. After that, the vinegar alone would have been perfect. But they need to add a little dab of detergent in liquid or soap into the water and vinegar spray for the windows, and then they’ll be fine from then on with just vinegar. But that’s a good thing.
DEBRA: I use vinegar to clean my windows, but I dilute it half and half with water. And I use a soft cotton cloth, like a cotton rag, to clean the windows because it’s better than paper towels.
ANNIE B. BOND: Oh, absolutely! Yeah, no, that’s lovely. And you wouldn’t have had the residue problem. So many people have the residue problem where they just need to start the first time with a little bit of soap or detergent in that.
Washing soda is available in the laundry section of the supermarket. If you like sort of an all-purpose spray cleaner, if you put about a half a teaspoon of washing soda to about a cup of really hot water in a spray bottle and then a few squirts of liquid soap or detergent and shake it up. That’s a great all purpose cleaner. The washing soda will take away some of the heavier dirt and stains. And I think it’s a great product.
You could try up to a teaspoon of washing soda. But the problem is that it will clog the sprayer. So you just need to not add too much.
What else? What would be another basic thing?
ANNIE B. BOND: Laundry. Well, one thing to never do is to use the commercial dryer sheets or use any detergent that has a scent in it. The chemicals in those products are absolutely sort of mind-boggling. I did a whole research once on dryer sheets, and I couldn’t believe how many people have become seriously ill from asthma especially from using a lot of dryer sheets. The chemicals in them are really striking.
And so, I recommend, if you want to soften your clothes, that kind of thing, you could add a half a cup of vinegar in your rinse water. But the key is really to go unscented everything to start with.
DEBRA: Absolutely! In fact, we were talking before about taking everything out of your house with a warning label on it. I strongly suggest that you take everything out of your house that’s scented as well unless it has a natural essential.
ANNIE B. BOND: Absolutely! I mean, my daughter and I, I rented a small cabin for us, a cottage, at Cape Cod this summer. We walked in and we both almost keeled over because of the smell just from the laundry room.
I boxed everything up and put it out in another shed. And it took about a day for the fumes to go. But I don’t know how people live with those. It was so powerful. Yesterday, I had a repairman come to my house, and he just reeked of perfume. And I realized that what it was was the scent from the detergent on this clothes. He wasn’t wearing any scent, but he smelled like a girl because it was the detergent.
ANNIE B. BOND: Yeah! It was the detergent. Absolutely! It’s unbelievably strong. And so, I whole-heartedly agree. But many chemically sensitive people can tolerate—many if not most maybe—many of the pure essential oils. And so I don’t hesitate to use those if needed for certain types of things because they are very antibacterial and antifungal and antiseptic.
And if you want a scent, I can put a few drops of lavender essential oil in a cotton cloth and put it in a dryer sometimes if I want to sort of freshen up the smell of it. But there are many things you can do without having to resort to synthetic chemicals.
DEBRA: That’s right! And in the beginning when I first started learning about all of this, I thought, “Oh, scent is scent.” But it isn’t. What we’re talking about as being harmful is the synthetic fragrances that are made from petroleum, from crude oil. And they’re very, very different from the natural fragrances that are made by plants.
ANNIE B. BOND: And your body knows it.
DEBRA: Yeah, your body does know it. Some people can’t tolerate any of them if your body has been damaged by the synthetic ones. Some people can’t tolerate the essential ones. But when I found out that I do fine with essential oils, it was just so wonderful to have those real fragrances as opposed to the artificial ones.
Did you know that we can actually thank Coco Chanel for artificial fragrances?
ANNIE B. BOND: Oh, really?
DEBRA: Yes, because it was just at the time in history when they started discovering that—I mean, scientists were playing around in the lab. And before Coco Chanel, all fragrances were essential oils. But what happened was that women would put it on, and by the end of the evening, they couldn’t smell it anymore, or the men that they wanted to impress couldn’t smell it anymore. And then, Coco Chanel happened to be in a laboratory, and she saw this synthetic fragrance. She smelled it and realized that it lasted . And she said to the chemist, “Please make me…”
And what she wanted was a fragrance that was not like anything in nature. She wanted something totally abstract. And so, that’s how we got the first perfume, Chanel no. 5 was the formula #5 in the laboratory. That’s why it’s called Chanel no. 5.
ANNIE B. BOND: Wow!
DEBRA: And from there, artificial scents started going throughout the industrial world.
ANNIE B. BOND: Wow! What year was that? Do you have any idea?
DEBRA: 18-something I think or early 1900s. I don’t remember.
ANNIE B. BOND: Yes, incredible.
DEBRA: Yeah, this is how these things happen.
Anyway, we’ve got just about a minute left. Is there anything, any final words, you’d like to leave us with?
ANNIE B. BOND: Yeah, I would say just to do it. It’s just amazing. Some people do it all at once. Some people do it step by step, But the baby sleeps better. The house smells better. Everybody’s more relaxed. It just makes a huge difference. So it’s more of a sanctuary at home. And it’s a wonderful thing to do.
DEBRA: It is, I agree. And I think that I just like to close with a point that you started off with about having your home be your toxic free sanctuary, knowing that there’s a place that you can go where, even though it might not be 100% toxic-free (because air is still coming in from the outside), but there’s so much that we can do in our homes that so significantly reduces the amount of toxic chemicals that our bodies are being exposed to that it can literally turn your life around.
Annie and I both had that experience of just working on the toxic exposure that we have in our homes and really doing nothing else because, at the time, there was nothing else to do. And just taking that one step has restored our health and allowed us to continue to have good health. Just taking that step has allowed us to no longer be suffering with the toxic exposures.
I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. This is Toxic Free Talk Radio. And we’ll be back tomorrow.