Living with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Do you suspect that you may have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity? Or has a medical doctor diagnosed you as such? People from various parts of the world have problems tolerating synthetic odors such as those from cigarette smoke, perfume, pesticides, exhaust fumes, cleaning products and more.
Where healthy individuals typically don’t notice the chemical odors in their environment, chemically sensitive people seem acutely aware, and sickened by these smells and the toxins that are emitted.
For many, the reaction is so debilitating that the person with MCS begins to dread and fear encounters with other people and situations where they may be exposed to toxic products.
Some people are making predictions that scent-free workplaces are the wave of the future, which would certainly benefit those whose systems can’t seem to tolerate such things.
But for those who still must live their daily waking life surrounded by chemicals and aromas that cause nausea, confusion, headache and much more, the following tips may help:
Make your own natural cleaning products
Do you ever wonder how the house is supposed to get clean when every time you spray the bathroom cleaner or scour the sink you feel ready to throw up and/or pass out of exhaustion for 2 hours?
If so, you may appreciate these non-toxic cleaning alternatives that allow you to tackle every room in the house.
Baking soda and white vinegar
Baking soda and white vinegar work great as an abrasive cleaner.
Make a scrubbing paste by pouring some baking soda onto the area that you want to clean, such as the tub. Pour a small amount of vinegar on to make a paste, then use it to scour the entire area. Rinse thoroughly and wipe everything down with a hot water-soaked rag until everything sparkles.
Unclog drains with baking soda and vinegar
You can unclog your bathtub and sink drains by pouring about a cup of baking soda down the clogged drain followed by a cup of vinegar.
Stuff a cleaning rag into the drain and wait about 15 minutes. Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain, then let the water run into the tub and drain completely.
Make your own laundry detergent
There are many recipes on the web for homemade laundry detergent.
The main ingredients are natural bar soap (ie ivory, or any castile soap) and washing soda.
If you’ve ever wondered what the difference between washing soda and baking soda is, washing soda is baking soda that’s been heat treated.
You can make it at home by spreading baking soda into a flat Pyrex pan filled about halfway up to the top, and baking in the oven at 400 degrees. Stir halfway through the process.
Grate the soap into the cooled washing soda, blend in a food processor and store in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Nontoxic all-purpose cleaning spray
Mix up a nontoxic all-purpose cleaning spray.
Clean the counter tops, cabinets and other surfaces of your home using a homemade spray that smells great and disinfects, too.
- 5 drops of thyme oil
- 15 drops of lemon oil
- 3 to 4 drops of your choice of either cinnamon oil or peppermint oil
into a 4-oz. spray bottle.
Add 1/4 teaspoon witch hazel or vodka and fill the rest of the bottle 3/4 of the way with distilled water.
Shake before using, spray, and wipe. Smells wonderful and cleans up nice, without toxic chemicals.
Steer clear of harmful pesticides around your home and yard
Create natural flea and tick sprays for your dog or cat
Use natural, essential oil based flea and tick sprays on your dog or cat.
It’s easy enough to mix up a combination of citronella, peppermint and clove oils and rub this mixture into the dog’s neck and along his backbone.
Regular flea and tick treatments contain powerful poisons that can affect your health and also, may not be good for your dog.
If you check the list of cautions on a box of flea and tick treatment, you will discover a litany of potential side effects, one of which is seizures in your pet. Do yourself and your furry friend a favor, and consider using alternatives to these potentially harmful products.
It doesn’t take too much extra time to spray your dog using a natural flea and tick preparation, and be diligent in checking him for pests at the end of the day.
Diatomaceous earth for pest control
Use diatomaceous earth for pest control.
This is a non-toxic, fine particulate powder that destroys many different kinds of insect pests, including bed bugs, by drying them out when they walk through it.
You can buy it in bulk and add to a small condiment dispenser with squeeze tip lid.
Or, purchase a diatomaceous earth puffer or duster, which will allow you to dispense the diatomaceous earth in an extremely fine layer, into the small cracks and crevices of your home.
Diatomaceous earth can also be used safely in your yard and under the foundation of your home.
Natural methods to control garden pests
Combat garden pests the organic, nontoxic way. Insects that attack garden plants can be controlled using various natural methods.
Companion planting works by planting garden vegetables next to specific herbs and aromatics that emit powerful odors which naturally repel garden insects, viruses and bacteria.
Aphids can be easily knocked off the leaves of your plants with a spray of the garden hose.
Pluck caterpillars and beetles off and crush with your fingers, wearing suitable protective gardening gloves.
Add cardboard collars to the base of your young plants to prevent destructive insects from climbing up the stem.
Try spraying invasive weeds with a mixture of vinegar and water in a spray bottle, being careful to treat each weed individually without damaging the actual garden plants.
Make natural compost
Fertilize garden vegetables by making natural compost.
There is no need to use chemical based fertilizers on your garden vegetables.
A compost pile can be located in a far back corner of your yard, with an even mix of shredded leaves (brown matter) and grass clippings (green matter) as the bulk of the organic matter. To your compost, add kitchen waste such as coffee grounds, egg shells, fruit and vegetable waste and biodegradable paper such as tea bags.
Your natural garden fertilizer should bake in the sun and you should turn it over periodically to facilitate decomposition. The worms will do the rest of the work for you, and soon you’ll have lush, rich, fertile soil to grow the most beautiful and healthy produce on the block.
Fertilize roses, hydrangea and acid loving plants using crushed egg shells and coffee grounds.
Store these waste items in a stainless steel receptacle on the kitchen counter. You can even buy a kitchen composter with lid if you’d like things to be pretty.
Next time you’re about to head out to the back yard, grab the container of coffee grounds and egg shells. Sprinkle both in a circle around the base of your acid-loving plants.
No need for expensive and toxic fertilizers made in a chemistry lab.
Reduce the amount of chemicals in your clothing
Choose 100% Cotton
Try to choose 100% cotton over poly blend clothing.
Cotton breathes better and tends to feel better against your skin.
Additionally, cotton comes from a plant, so you’re doing your body a big favor by choosing this over synthetic clothing.
Sometimes there’s no getting around having to wear acrylic or another type of synthetic material – think winter coats, bathing suits, sweaters and dress pants. You can lessen the potential for a reaction to the clothing by washing it in warm water and drying in a clothes dryer on high heat several times before wearing. Doing this should get rid of the smell and the offending chemicals. Make yourself aware of the washing/cleaning and drying instructions of individual items first. You won’t want any clothes to shrink.
Try buying gently-used clothes
Shop for clothing at thrift stores. Try to buy clothing gently-used if possible.
This means that you won’t have to worry so much about what the clothing is made of, because the chemicals should have already out-gassed.
This isn’t so dismal as it sounds. Clothes shopping at consignment stores can be a lot of fun, and you’ll be saving tons of money. Just be sure to select a reputable store, and when you bring the clothes home, take them right from the bag to the washer and then dry on hot immediately after just to be safe, having checked the cleaning/drying instructions first.
Wash new clothes
Following manufacturer’s instructions, wash new clothing several times before wearing it.
Many people don’t realize that even 100% cotton clothing is chemically treated with pest control products so that it will hold up better in storage, in transit, and on the store racks.
If you shop online for clothing be especially aware of chemical odors. Some clothing brands smell so strongly of pesticides that these odors don’t even seem to dissipate even after several washings.
Stick with brands you know
If you find a good brand of clothing that’s constructed of cotton and other natural fiber fabrics, stick with that brand, and look for it when you buy secondhand clothing either online or at consignment shops as well.