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Source: Amazon

Synopsis

From the creator of the award winning film "Garbage! The Revolution Starts At Home" (Sundance Channel, Super Channel) comes a shocking tale about the products we use to clean our homes and bodies.

"Chemerical" explores the life cycle of everyday household cleaners and hygiene products to prove that, thanks to our clean obsession, we are drowning in sea of toxicity.

The film is at once humorous, as we watch the Goode family try to turn a new leaf by creating and living in a toxic free home, and informative, as director Andrew Nisker works with many experts to give audiences the tools and inspiration to live toxic free.

Chemerical tackles "the toxic debate" in a truly informative and entertaining way, not only by raising awareness, but most importantly by providing simple solutions.

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Chemerical by Take Action Films (Streaming)
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gardener
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Personally, I feel that a little dirt is healthy for our immune systems.
Kitchen: Normally I only clean counters, sinks etc with a little dish detergent or vinegar. I'll use a tiny bit of bleach if there's a really good reason or a stain just hasn't come off after a week or so. The exception is the stove - we have one of those glass tops and the commercial cleaner is the only thing I've found that takes the burned stuff off. I try to clean it with a cloth and dry it *before* use and that decreases the need for the commercial cleaner. I have a plastic "razor" blade that scrapes the big stuff off before I use the cleaner also.
Bathroom: Again, Vinegar is generally the only thing I use. We're on a deep well, so if sediments build up, I soak a rag in strong vinegar and leave it on the stain for 3 hours or more and it usually does the job.
 
steward
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I am in the process of getting rid of the poisons in my life. I've started making my own toothpaste and deodorant, and while I've never been much for 'beauty' products, I have gotten rid of soaps and such, and am relying on the cleaning power of water as much as possible.

As for cleaning the house, although I am not sensitive to cleaners and scents, I surely don't want to be sucking chemicals into my body. So I don't use nasty stuff to clean my home. Water, a little lemon vinegar, and no paper towels!

Who else has traded in their Pine Sol for something a little more earth friendly?
 
master steward
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Watching this video the overwhelming sensation is guilt.

The woman feels so guilty, it's debilitating.  It's getting in the way of finding solutions.

She did exactly as she was told.  She trusted these cleaners are safe.  She thought she was doing the right thing.

Now she discovered how harmful all this is.  That her actions are damaging her family.  No wonder she feels overwhelmed.  

The second thing that comes across to me is the overwhelming sense of being overwhelmed.  It feels like she and the family could have had more help and guidance learning what the alternatives are.  

 
pollinator
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I have not yet seen the movie but it sounds amazing from the trailer. I'm not sure if a movie will make effective changes in people. Affective, certainly, but past this I found a little book that I turn to every time I want to change a bad habit: It is my Reference book, my go-to for cleaning.
It is called "Greenup your Cleanup" and was written by Jill Potvin Schoff. What I like about it is that after explaining why you should go green, it takes you by the hand in each and every room and offers solutions to clean each and every item in your house: Showers and tubs, toilets for the bathroom, sinks, counter tops, cabinetry, appliances kitchenware for the kitchen etc.
It is a very natural way to look at how people makes changes: Not all at once but a change here, a change there, when you go to a dirty sink and think: I've got to get that clean!. then I look up into this little book and find my solution. Because it is a very piecemeal approach, you can take this advice today and make an effective change, another advice the next day and make another change... You are not bashed over the head feeling guilty about "the environment". Instead, she acknowledges that change is hard but the argument is "You want to feel better and not spend lots of money on cleaners that may harm your family? Well, you can use..."
I have made some changes and I feel better. No cosmetics [At my age, whom would I fool!] I collect all rainwater from roofs and use it in the garden. I have diminished my lawn, I don't use any chemical fertilizers... Instead, I make comfrey tea and use my chicken's manure to fertilize.
I'm not quite there yet for washing clothes and dishes [at 70+, there are conveniences that are hard to resist]. This year, I will disguise an outdoor toilet to look like a garden hand tool shed. It will be on skids so I can move it and use the humanure to plant a tree where the latrine was and place it over another hole.
 
master steward
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r ranson wrote:
The second thing that comes across to me is the overwhelming sense of being overwhelmed.  It feels like she and the family could have had more help and guidance learning what the alternatives are.  



I was amazed that, instead of suppling them with the vinegar, baking soda, washing soda and good soap, they made them search for them, without someone there to point them out or guide them to where everything was. I was happy when they took the daughter to go and make better lipstick--I could totally understand her not wanting to spend hours researching and wandering around stores looking for non-toxic make-up product during her college exams!

All in all, I give this video 9 out of 10 acorns. Some of the scene changes were a bit odd, especially when their commercials came on for their Gum documentary. It sounds like a fascinating documentary, but it was really incongruous to be talking about cleaners one moment, then a black screen for a second and then their logo  and then a spleel about their other documentaries. I watched this with my 2 and 5 year old kids, and those ads were really hard for them to understand.

I was also amazed at just how much people really do use toxic cleaners. I've been using vinegar and baking soda and soap as my main cleaners since I moved out on my own, over 10 years ago. I've recently added in citric acid as a toilet cleaner (works great!) and hydrogen peroxide to mix with baking soda to create oxygen bleach for tough stains.

I really appreciated how this film showed not just the high level of VOCs in their house (how much IS one of those readers, anyway?) and the other affects of the toxic chemicals, but they also drove and visited places that make the toxic cleaners, where children have died from the toxins in the streams and ground water. But, instead of fixing it, the company just puts up a memorial and a CHILDREN'S PARK on the toxic waste.

For many permies, this video will be an eye-opener about how much people rely on toxic cleaners. Having learned not to used that stuff, it's easy to think everyone else is learning along with us...but they're not. This is definitely a film I would show to a family using these cleaners.

And, like Jocelyn noticed, the mother really does improve through the movie. You could see the brain fog she was slogging through at the beginning, and by the end she was more energetic, passionate, and elequent. Her completion (amd the completions of her kids) also all improved in that time span. It was really impressive!
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Jay Angler wrote:Personally, I feel that a little dirt is healthy for our immune systems.



You are so right on that: This country is so OBSESSED with cleanliness that we waste an incredible amount of food to the adoration of our God of Clean. How did our ancestors *ever* manage to survive without the millions of 'cleaning' products on the market?
I'll tell you how they did: They developed strong immune systems by being in contact with dirt and dangers. Every vaccination works this way: inoculate the patient with a weak/ dead microbe, and our system reacts by creating anti-bodies. We have a wonderful body if only we work WITH the system we were given.
We are LOSING the benefits of our immune system now because of this obsession: All these auto immune system diseases did not even exist when I was a little girl. [OK, it was a long time ago, but the trend still is.] I knew of ONE kid who had allergies. At schools nowadays, the nurse comes with a double-decker cart of "medicines" that our kids can't live without.
On this topic, I'd like to recommend a very interesting book titled:
I CONTAIN MULTITUDES, by Ed Yong. [ISBN  978- 0-06-236860-7]
It encourages us to see each organism not as ONE organism, but instead as a colony of organisms: Mess with this perfect balance in this splendid colony and the entire colony suffers. The best example off the top of my head is taking some antibiotics. the very word means "anti-life" (let that think in for a minute): It flushes all the good bacteria from your system and you find yourself having to take yogurt to counter the effects of the medicine-induced diarrhea.
And every organism works this way: In August, beekeepers see a real drop in the production of our bees. It coincides with the application of anti-fungals to our crops. Every digestive system helps in the putrefaction of food, (that is what digestion is, at its most basic: a break down of the food so our bodies can use the precious life sustaining stuff) and those 'fungi' in the situation of our bees helps them digest. Absent a good healthy digestive tract, they can't digest well and it really weakens them.
Girls/ women, if you keep getting yeast infections, that is due to an imbalance in your system, [There too, apply yogurt to the site- yeah, I'm not kidding- eating it will help in the long run but eating it will take a while and you will get immediate relief]. It is up to you after that to keep your digestive tract just on the acidic side to prevent recurrence.
 
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So if one wated to make safe laundry detergent. If that same one only had a walmart to buy from. as far as soap to add is the Jabon ZOTE brand a safe bet? https://www.walmart.com/ip/JABON-ZOTE/21320683
 
Nicole Alderman
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I went and looked at the Environmental Working Groups website to see the safety rating for Zote soap. It looks like it's as bad as Fels Naptha. They both get a grade of "C." Here's the two different Zote Soap bars:

ZOTE White Laundry Soap

May contain ingredients with potential for respiratory effects; biodegradation; nervous system effects



ZOTE Pink Laundry Soap

May contain ingredients with potential for respiratory effects; biodegradation; nervous system effects



So, I'm thinking Zote soap might not be all that great. But, castile soap bars are generally  all given a A grade. Some are "superfatted" and so aren't as good at fighting stains and are gentler on one's hands, like Dr. Bronner's soap. Dr. Bronners is usually pretty easy to find. I'm even seeing it online at walmart.com



Here's some stronger laundry soaps that have A grades:

Lion Bear Naked Soap Co. Laundry Soap, Unscented
http://lionbearnaked.com This isn't just soap, though. It's a laundry detergent. But it only has baking soda, washing soda, and soap in it. It comes in various sizes, including a giant bucket. Seems like a great option for those not wanting to make their own powdered laundry soap.




Meliora Cleaning Products Castile Soap Bar
https://meliorameansbetter.com/products/soap-bar This is supposedly a strong laundry soap bar. I'm thinking I might order myself some of these and get rid of my old fels naptha soap bars!




Oh wow! Meliora also makes laundry detergent, and it's just baking soda, washing soda, and their laundry soap. https://meliorameansbetter.com/collections/laundry/products/laundry-powder You can order it in a giant tin, too! Oooooh! And, they sell it in paper sacks, too, so you can use your own container at home and just compost/recycle the sack. Nice!




(Just went and looked up the laundry and dishwasher detergents that I use. Ack! The Trader Joe's Next to Godliness Environmentally Sound Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Powder gets a D grade! Not buying that anymore! And the Country Save Laundry Detergent has a B grade. It's not too bad, but I can definitely do better!)

Thank you for your great question! I really learned a lot researching it!
 
Nicole Alderman
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Today I made my own dishwasher detergent (yes, I use a dishwasher. With two kids and a tiny kitchen, it's a whole lot less overwhelming to put dishes straight into the dishwasher as they accure and then run the thing every day. It fills up every day, too!).

The recipes for dishwasher detergent really varied, so I just did a mash up of all of them. I honestly think the hot water does most of the work! The salt is for scrubbing power, and the baking soda and washing soda for cleaning/degrease and water softening (my water is already pretty soft, though). The alkalinity is good at cleaning food/other-organic-gunk, according to Erica Strauss's Hands On Home book. I added two drops of dishwasher soap to the load, too, just for good measure. The dishwasher is running right now--we'll see how they look when they come out!

My Dishwasher Detergent:

2    Cups Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate)
1    Cup Washing Soda (Sodium Carbonate)
1/4 Cup Salt (Sodium Chloride)
2 drops of dishwashing soap (dr. bronners liquid soap)
20190601_112121-1-.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20190601_112121-1-.jpg]
 
Marcus Brand
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Thanks for the info Nicole. Have you ever heard of homemade laundry soap plugging up machines and piping?
 
Nicole Alderman
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I'm pretty sure the buildup is caused by the SOAP part of homemade laundry soap/detergent. I cloth diaper, and for a while made my own laundry soap AND also laundry detergent. This is because SOAP can cause buildup in diapers, making them not absorb pee well, and also make them get ammonia build up (and therefore bottom rashes).

So, I used to make a laundry soap (fels naptha, baking soda, washing soda), as well as a laundry detergent (oxygen bleach, baking soda, washing soda). The three chemicals in the laundry detergent are all perfectly safe for us (I checked on the Environmental Working Group website), and should be perfectly safe for pipes. They are all chemicals used in conventional laundry detergents, but without any of the other fillers.

I'm thinking that if the soap is what's causing buildup on diapers, it's probably also what causes buildup in pipes.

If you're worried about buildup in your pipes, I would cut the soap portion in any homemade laundry detergent. Maybe use 1/2 or 1/4th the amount, or just use the soap to treat stains.
 
gardener
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I know sometimes when people make their own soap that they go a bit heavy on the fat so that they are more likely to have used up all of the lye. So sometimes the soap is a bit fatty. The fat builds up, so I guess it's possible that it builds up inside the pipes as well. But I have not witnessed it myself.
 
Nicole Alderman
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So, I've been doing a bit of research. It looks like things like washing soda, baking soda, and oxygen bleach are NOT detergents, either. They're alkaline cleaning agents that are also water softeners (at least according to http://butterbeliever.com/homemade-laundry-detergent-soap-diy/). Detergents are "surfactants" which is "ingredient with a molecule structure that decreases water tension, and is partly hydrophilic (water-soluble) and lipophilic (fat-soluble), meaning it attaches itself to dirt, but also to the water used to clean, allowing the dirt to be washed away." Soap does that, but it also has fat in it, and it looks like that fat is what causes buildup, especially if the soap is "super-fatted" so there isn't any harmful lye left.

I found a site of people who had "stripped" their clothes (you use certain chemicals to get rid of the build-up in the clothes). These were people who had been washing with their own  laundry soap (sadly, there's no "control-group" of people who stripped their clothes that were washed with conventional detergents). The worst were those that used Ivory soap to wash their clothes (Ivory is not a laundry soap, and so probably has a lot more fat in it than fels naptha). Here's the water from when they stripped it:


That's a lot of dirt that came out! Of course, if you look at the color of that "dirt," it looks more like dye coming out of the clothing from the strong stripping agents and hot water...

These people used Fels Naptha soap (I'm just picking the white clothes pictures, since we can be sure the color isn't from the dyes in the clothes!):



This person just used washing soda, baking soda and oxygen bleach. They used no soap:



One big thing I found when washing diaper was that they really needed to churn a LOT longer than the washing machine defaulted to. Mine, on it's "heavy duty" setting, only churns the clothes for 15 minutes before spinning and rinsing. I got build up in my diapers, even when using the right diaper detergent. I had to strip the diapers, and they did indeed look like the loads above. And that was when using a conventional detergent made specifically for diapers! Then I started churning it in the water for 45 minutes, and doing two rinses (one hot, and one cold). BINGO, the diapers no longer got build up.

My carry away from this is that no matter what you use to wash your clothes, you will probably get some build up if you don't use (1) enough water, and (2) let them churn longer! They really need the mechanical action of churning to get the gunk out. If you're doing diapers, wash on HOT to get the fatty poo out of the diaper. Normal clothes shouldn't need hot water, as it might set some stains. But, if you've got fat stain on your shirt, use hot water to get it out!
 
Nicole Alderman
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I'm still doing research on ingredients, as I can't believe that all baking soda and washing soda do is "soften water." I use baking soda to clean various things, and it works much better than just water. There must be more to it than just "softening the water"

https://oconto.extension.wisc.edu/files/2011/02/Baking-Soda.pdf

Cleaning: Baking Soda acts a cleaning agent because it is a mild alkali and can cause dirt and grease to dissolve easily in water for effective removal. When it is not fully dissolved, like when it is sprinkled on a damp sponge, Baking Soda is mildly abrasive and can lift dirt for easy removal as a gentle scouring powder. Since it’s gentle, Baking Soda is safe and effective as a cleaner for glass, chrome, steel, enamel and plastic. Because Baking Soda is a pure, natural product that is also a food, it is non-toxic, unlike many other household cleaners. It is safe to use around children and pets and is ideal for cleaning food preparation surfaces. In your home use Baking Soda to clean sinks, tubs, tile, microwaves, plastic containers, even teeth without scratching. Industrially, Baking Soda is used to clean large machinery and commercial kitchen equipment.
Buffering: Because of its chemical makeup, Baking Soda has unique capabilities as a buffer. Buffering is the maintenance of a stable pH balance, or acid-alkali balance. As a buffer, Baking Soda tends to cause acid solutions to become more basic and to cause basic solutions to become more acid, bringing both solutions to a stable pH around 8.1 (slightly basic) on the pH scale. A buffer also resists pH change in a  solution, in this case maintaining a pH of 8.1. In this way Baking Soda can be used as an antacid in the human digestive system, neutralizing acids from acid indigestion and heartburn and relieving the associated discomfort. (See directions for this use on the Baking Soda box.) When used as a paste on skin or in the bath, Baking Soda soothes the irritation of poison ivy, insect bites, sunburn, and prickly heat. The natural buffering of Baking Soda also means that it’s a safe and natural way to maintain appropriate pH levels in pools, where stable pH keeps water quality at its best, and in septic tanks, where stable pH provides a healthy environment for the beneficial bacteria that break down wastes.



https://meliorameansbetter.com/blogs/news/16879135-washing-soda-meet-your-ingredient

The washing soda acts as a water softener, which allows any detergent or soap to interact with dirts and fabrics instead of getting tied up in interactions with Calcium and Magnesium (hard water) ions. Washing soda is also alkaline, meaning it will raise the pH of the water. Higher pH water is more effective at cleaning. So, just as described on the commercially available boxes, it really is a ‘laundry booster’ in that it helps both the water and the soap do a better job of cleaning.



Found a really neat booklet from the Cleaning Institute, that actually goes into the chemistry. https://www.cleaninginstitute.org/sites/default/files/assets/1/AssetManager/SoapsandDetergentsBook.pdf

Bleaches (chlorine and oxygen) whiten and brighten fabrics and help remove stubborn stains. They convert soils into colorless, soluble particles that can be removed by detergents and carried away in the wash water. Liquid chlorine bleach (usually a sodium hypochlorite solution) can also disinfect and deodorize fabrics. Oxygen (colorsafe) bleach is more gentle and works safely on almost all washable fabrics.



Basically, most "dirt" on our clothes is acidic, and reacts with the alkaline cleaners, helping to remove it. Alkaline stuff (washing and baking sodas and oxygen bleach) help soaps work better, and also have the ability to remove stains, especially in hot water and agitation, which help mobilize fatty stains.


(I have, literally, had a tab open with this for weeks. Somehow, despite closing my browser multiple times, every time I bring my tabs back, it has all this stored. I LOVE permies. Facebook loses everything if I click one wrong button, but not permies! But, I figure at some point I'll lose what I wrote before I can finish researching, so I'm just going to post this now so I can finally close my tab!)
 
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