Monday, July 19, 2010

Only 100% Natural Pacifier Sold in the U.S.

My first child had little interest in pacifiers. My second, however, came into the world with a serious oral fixation that could only be quenched by a pacifier (AND around the clock nursing, AND every toy and household object she could fit in her mouth…). Fortunately, she took to the flatter orthodontic shaped pacifiers, which are supposedly better for the teeth. Unfortunately, all orthodontic pacifiers in the U.S. used hard plastic shields – until now.

Meet the Natursutten Pacifer. The first non-toxic 100% natural rubber pacifier in the U.S. (courtesy of Denmark).

Playtex, Soothies, and GumDrops pacifier brands all offer one-piece, non-toxic silicone pacifiers (NOT natural rubber though). However, to date, the all-silicone pacifiers in the U.S only offer the rounded nipple – not the ortho nipple. Natursutten offers both.

Natursutten Pacifiers contain no artificial colors, cancer-causing substances, chemical softeners, parabens, PVC or phthalates. In addition, they are actually more hygienic than pacifiers with plastic shields because Natursuttens are molded into one piece, leaving no joints or crevices for dirt, old water, and bacteria to hide. And did I mention how cute they are?

TIP: I actually think the Natursutten is going to help us with pacifier-weaning (which we plan to do by age 3). Although the Natursutten is soft and pliable and easy to suck, somehow it does not have the same magnet pull as a plastic shield, so I find my daughter taking it out (on her own) more often and just setting it aside when she doesn’t need it. Before you know it, she won’t need one at all anymore. In the meantime, at least I can feel better about indulging her – now that there is a natural option to turn to.

Where to buy:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Clean Stainless Steel without Chemicals

When we upgraded to stainless steel kitchen appliances I was clueless as to how to clean them. It wasn’t long before my toddler’s fingerprints were all over them. I tried soap and water, but that just made the surfaces smudgier. I then found out about commercial stainless steel cleaners – and what a horror THOSE ingredient were! I could not fathom breathing the toxic fumes or the thought of my kids touching the chemicals on the fridge door and then sticking their fingers in their mouth…on a daily basis. No way. That’s when I discovered the hidden power of microfiber!

Spray some NATURAL window cleaner (7th Generation, etc) onto the stainless appliance and wipe it down with a clean microfiber cloth (available in bulk at Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, etc.). Be sure to wipe down the whole appliance in one direction (vertically or horizontally), wait about 10 seconds, then wipe it down completely in the opposite direction.

If your appliances are extra grimy (from peanut butter fingers, etc). FIRST use plain soap and water on the soft side of a SPONGE -- wiping (for example) horizontally. Let dry for about 10 seconds, then spray the appliance with natural window cleaner, and wipe vertically.

TIP: Save money (and plastic bottle waste) by making your own batch of window/stainless cleaner. I make mine by mixing distilled vinegar and water (1:1) in a spray bottle, and adding a few drops of lavender essential oil (to mask the vinegar smell).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Toxic Shower Curtains

Could your shower be poisoning you? If you’re using a VINYL shower curtain or liner, then the answer is yes. Anything made of vinyl (aka polyvinylchloride or PVC) off-gasses harmful, cancer-causing, hormone-disrupting chemicals (aka phthalates) for the entire life of the product. NOT just when it is stinky and new (although – that is when it is most toxic and most negatively effecting the air quality in your home). In a bathroom, vinyl is more toxic than in any other room of your home because the steam you use to shower, bathe or shave makes it off-gas at a significantly higher rate.

A great, equally effective alternative to vinyl shower curtains and/or liners is a polyester liner or curtain. It keeps the water in the shower just as well as vinyl – and is much easier to clean. In one of my bathrooms, I use a polyester liner and a 100% cotton outer curtain. In the other, I use just a thick 100% cotton curtain. Cotton, hemp, bamboo, or canvas curtains can be used without any liner – but you do need to ring them out after each shower.

To prevent mildew, I toss all my shower curtains in the washer about once a month with a couple cups of distilled vinegar or a few drops of tea tree oil. Remember to use perfume-free detergent, since artificial fragrances contain phthalates as well. Just hang the curtains back on the curtain rod to dry and you’re good-to-go by morning.

TIP: Other vinyl items that will negatively affect the air quality in your home: toys, flooring, wall coverings, countertops, mini blinds, water pipes, window frames, etc.