The Maids of Portland, Maine

Monday, January 23, 2012

Natural Alternatives To Toxic Fabric Softener

According to the Allergy and Environmental Health Association, both liquid and dryer sheet fabric softeners are "the most toxic product produced for daily household use." Most of the popular brands of fabric softeners contain many neurotoxins (substances that are toxic to the brain and nervous system) and other types of toxins. So, you're ready to forego commercial fabric softeners but you still want soft clothes. What are your options? Well, here are our 6 suggestions to detox your laundry:
1.) Add a 1/2 cup of baking soda to the water in your washing machine and let it dissolve prior to adding your clothes. This is my preferred method since the baking soda acts as a water softener and helps makes clothes super soft.
2.) Some people toss tennis balls or other rubber balls into the dryer with clothes. I'm not a huge fan of this method since the heat of the dryer can cause the rubber to off-gas onto your clothing. If you have an allergy to latex, this is definitely not the method for you. Plus, I wouldn't choose this method if you're drying delicate clothing items.
3.)Adding a cup of vinegar to the wash water can also soften clothes but I don't find this method as effective as the baking soda technique.
4.) To help with static, there's the aluminum foil ball technique. Tightly scrunch a piece of foil to form a ball. Throw it in with clothes in the dryer. There is some possible concern with increasing your exposure to aluminum (which has been linked to some brain disorders). It can also snag delicate clothes.
5.) Try to keep synthetic fabrics out of the dryer since they are the culprits when it comes to static. Natural fibers like cotton, bamboo, hemp, and linen are best dried on their own.
6.) And, of course there are natural fabric softeners available in most health food stores. I must admit, though, that I don't find them necessary. I try to purchase clothing made of natural fibers as much as possible and find my clothes are soft regardless whether they go through the dryer (free of fabric softeners) or are hung to dry.As you can see, there are plenty of options when you want soft clothes and to be free of toxins.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Five Simple New Year's Resolutions That Will Bring Your Diet into Balance

It seems like every January we make New Year's resolutions to eat better and save money, bur never follow through. But, let's break the habit this year by creating several super easy-to-do things to make a difference in your diet, and the planet.
~*~ Resolution: Incorporate three different colored foods a day into your diet. If you plate is looking pale, that means you are probably not getting much nutritionally from your food. One surefire way to make sure you are eating right is by keeping it colorful. Brightly colored foods like carrots, beets and spinach are nutrient-rich and packed with powerful antioxidants.
~*~ Resolution: Trade in the Twinkies for natural sweets. Packaged, processed, high-fructose corn syrup-rich treats gratify for seconds, but leave us feeling sluggish and bloated. This year, swap one of your go-to packaged sweets for the natural sugars of fresh and dried fruits.
~*~ Resolution: Cook at home one night a week. Eating and cooking at home saves money and keeps you in control of what you are putting in your mouth. Not sure what to make? Try a smoky root vegetable gratin or a hearty vegetarian chili.
~*~ Resolution: Take advantage of the delicious seasonal foods around you by inviting friends and family to a " garden to table" party, featuring locally sourced seasonal dishes. Link up with a local farmers' market for yummy seasonal fare, and encourage guests to bring their own dishes.
~*~ Resolution: Start a container tomato garden. Growing your own food is a great way to get hands-on with your diet, and tomatoes are chock-full of antioxidant-rich lycopene and vitamin C.
Plus, they taste great and can be used in everything from sauces to salads and sandwiches.