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Mouthwash & Tooth Whitener

A peroxide mouth wash can help whiten the teeth. But only do this occasionally as there are lots of conflicting reports on the healthiness of such activities. This is a useful read 

Mouthwash Mix: 1 part hydrogen peroxide mixed with 1 part water. Rinse mouth, then spit out. Discard and left over solution or use it as extra solution.

For another great mouthwash recipe try this blog
or this one for lots more
And don’t stop at the mouthwash, there are lots of wonderful sounding things in there.

Read more about peroxide HERE

More

See a full range of homemade #plasticfree personal care products here 
And find out how to make lots more stuff HERE
Find all plastic free personal care products here…

Ingredients

An introduction to some of the stuff you need to make the above

Disclaimer
Be aware of the risks of listening to someone who
a) doesn’t have any training in this field,
b) most of what they know comes from Google,
That’s me I mean.

I am telling you of my own experiences for your information only. You should do a lot more research before proceeding.

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Sun Block Homemade

The following information is for guidance only. None of the following recipes or tips have not been tested on anyone other than me. I strongly advise you do your own research and proceed very carefully. Sunburn is painful, ages the skin and potentially very dangerous.

Disclaimer
Be aware of the risks of listening to someone who
a) doesn’t have any training in this field,
b) most of what they know comes from Google,
That’s me I mean.

If you want a better informed opinion I suggest you head on over to the Aromantics website. They will sell you everything you need to make sun tan lotion including recipes you can download as a PDF. They have been in this game for years and are far more qualified then I am.
The following is an account of my own experiences which may help you in your own research.

More

There is lots more information about sun protection here. Do read up before you decide to make your own.

A Tannning History

Fist you need to know I have no melanin at all. Which makes me well skilled in the art of tanning without burning and even more so in the art of hiding from the sun. But this knowledge was not easily won.

Growing up as I did I in the 70s in the north of England sun tan lotion was something of a mystery. If it was mentioned at all it was as an expensive and rather pointless luxury talked about in the more expensive women’s magazines. My Granddad was a window cleaner, a man out in all weathers, and he never used anything more than a flat cap for protection from the elements. Even my mother who had been to Spain and had a French pen friend scoffed at such nonsense. Vegetable oil she claimed was all any one needed for tanning. On the few occasions we did see the sun we would lie like chips frizzeling in the heat – till the oil ran out. This usually happened within the first few days as we never had much of anything in our pantry. My mothers housekeeping skills were not of the best.   But even in the short time it was available, I soon came to realise that oil offered  absolutely no protection from the sun.

Having run out of oil mother now claimed that even that was unnecessary. Her latest theory was that you had to burn blistering hard once. Then, when you finally emerged from your darkened room having painfully sloughed the destroyed outer layer skin, you would be immune to the destructive power of the sun. For ever after at the first hint of summer, you would tan a beautiful golden brown. Needless to say this didn’t work either. I burnt and shed but never actually tanned. Lucky we lived in Manchester where Summer, at least one with sunshine, was a rare beast and I only had to suffer this infrequently. But I have come to realise that even if you do build up an immunity to the sun you can still burn – Even people with tans.

I was 15 before I saw real sun. We went to France and a tube of sun tan lotion was bought to celebrate. However it was so expensive that it was severely rationed and we all ended up blistered and peeling and my faith in suntan lotion rather compromised. Most people it seems do not apply enough lotion. You need to be liberal which can be difficult if you are on a budget. And sun tan lotion used to be very expensive and though there are more budget options now, cost can be a consideration.

So I went over to the pale and interesting school. Which involved a lot of covering up. Again fairly easy in Manchester where we hardly ever disrobe.

But then I started backpacking. Maintaining a pallid complexion is hard work when you spend a lot of time outside, snorkelling or mountaineering. I minimise the risk with sensible hats and long sleeve shirts but beaches demand less clothes and swimming of course is always more dangerous with the risk of forgetting the time. Somehow because I am cool in the water I think I am safe to stay out just a little bit longer. And even a short walk up that blazing beach can leave me red and painful. But also and this seems
Really unfair, even cloudy days can lead to burning.

I realised that I needed sun tan / block lotion and lots of it. And it needs to be applied regularly. Even in cloudy weather. I came to this conclusion just as I was giving up plastic. So not only did I have to learn to use sunblock and had to learn how to make it. I have been using zinc based, home-made sun block lotion for about 5 years now. I know it stops me from burning because I burn when I don’t use it. Obviously it has not been tested in a lab and I cannot guarantee results. I still try to limit my exposure to the sun but I feel this cream definitely helps me. I offer this personal account for discussion only. If you do decide to make your own lotion please do more research.

Why Sunscreen
Sunscreens help prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin.
There are two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB
UVB is the chief cause of sunburn and linked to sun cancer. UVA rays, penetrate the skin more deeply, and contribute to photoaging.
You need a cream that protects from both.

SPF
Sun protective factor provided by cream is measured in SPF
SPF factors only measure protection against UVB. You will need a cream that also protect from other kinds of rays.

SPF4 filters out 75% of UVB
SPF10 filters out 90% –
SPF15 filters out 93%
SPF25 filters out 96%
SPF30 filters out 97%
SPF50 filters out 98%
SPF100 99%
Source

Zinc Oxide
I have settled on zinc oxide as the active ingredient in my sun block.
This is a fine white powder easily available on line.
It coats the skins and so reflects the damaging and burning rays of the sun.
It protects the skin from UVA, UVB and UVC. According to www.aromantic.co.uk website (where you can buy zinc and get advice on how to use it), It is one the oldest and most effective sunblock and
It can be easily added to base lotions and oils.

No to Nano Zinc

So zinc is great BUT it is a white powder and stronger mixes can sit on the skin like a pasty mask. Make your lotion too strong and you look like Marcel Marceau. You don’t burn but you look freaky. To counter this some suggest using nano zinc.
Nano or micronized zinc oxide is zinc oxide that  has been ground to a very fine powder to reduce the size of its particles. Anything with a particle size smaller than 100nm is considered a nano particle. This means it spreads more easily and does not leave a white sheen on the skin.The worry is that particles this size may be able to enter the body.
Because of that I use normal zinc. In stronger concentrations it does leave a slight white sheen. It can also leave white marks on dark clothes. Wear white linen is the obvious answer to this. Or work on your locked in a glass box mime.

Using Zinc In Homemade Sun Block

Notes
There are claims that certain oils like coconut oil have a natural SPF. This may well be true but I strongly advise not to rely on this.
None of the below have been tested in lab and you have no accurate way of knowing  what SPF your lotion has. Proceed sensibly!
If in doubt Make your lotion stronger then dilute as you tan.
Too much zinc and you end up with white clown makeup. In this case you may have been overcautious.

You can add zinc to
home made creams and lotions (if you want to make a lotion there are some recipes here)
ready bought lotions
a base oil such as coconut oil.

20% zinc oxide  will give an approximate SPF of 30. That is by weight. So you weigh your base say 100g of cream then you add 20% or 1/5th of zinc. Which is 20g of zinc.You can see from the ratios below that SPF 15 is not half of SPF 30 so you cannot use that scale to work out your SPF factors.
For SPF 2-5: Use 5% zinc oxide
For SPF 6-11: Use 10% zinc oxide
For SPF 12-19: Use 15% zinc oxide
For SPF >20: Use 20% zinc oxide

These ratios were taken from DIY Natural. They have not been tested in a lab proceed with caution

Recipes

Masking Creams
Zinc
Thicker cream
Very strong and thick. To be used on vulnerable areas that burn easily.

First I make my own rather thick cream and then add the zinc at 20% ratio. This makes a super thick cream which is difficult to rub on large areas but great for masking specified areas. I use it to protect my great big nose and around my eyes.
For general application it is too tough and sticky.
Find out how to make cream here

Oily Cream
Zinc
Cream
OIl
You can thin the above thick cream down by adding oil. N.B. You cant use water for this. Add water and your cream starts to separate when you try to rub it on.
Oily cream goes on way more easily but obviously the more you dilute is lower the SPF factor.
The advantage of this cream is that it is thicker than oil so easier to apply – less dribbling.
It does not separate.

Sun Block Oils
Zinc
Oil – I have used both coconut and rice bran oil

More recently I have cut out the middle man or rather the cream and started adding zinc directly to oil. It would seem that my mother was half right!
Which Oil?
I guess you could do this with any oil but I prefer a lighter oil less gloopy than say olive oil.
I have usually used coconut oil as a base because it is light and easily obtained in glass jars. Some claim that coconut oils has an ability to deflect burning rays but the claims made for coconut oil are prodigious. Do not rely on coconut oil alone.
The problem with coconut oil in the UK at least, it solidifies below a certain temperature. This sun tan lotion needs to be liquid and well shaken before use because the ingredients separate. So if you use coconut oil, warm and shake it before applying.
More recently I used rice bran oil which is much cheaper and easily available. At least that is the case in Thailand. It is a light oil and does not solidify.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE
The ingredients separate so the lotion must be well shaken before use. If you are using an oil that solidifies like coconut you need to be sure it is liquid and well mixed before use.

Advantages Of Oil
Oily creams and oils are great for the beach because I feel they don’t wash off so easily in the sea as home made lotions do. And the oil itself seems to act as an added protection against the general drying effect of salt water and heat. My skin doesn’t feel as itchy. But then I am only using two ingredients no fragrances, no preservatives.
They give your skin a rather nice sheen.
And it is As Cheap As Chips
Adding zinc to rice bran oil is super cheap which means you can liberally apply this lotion. Very good if you are on a budget. Plus I get to use the oil for other things.
The disadvantages? – well it is rather… oily…

Non OIly Sun Block
Zinc
Glycerine
This is a work in progress

But oily sun block is, well, oily. Anywhere near the hairline and it has the disastrous effect of making my locks all greasy. Not a problem on the beach where my hair is normally wet and again the coconut oil help protect it from going madly dry. But in town not such a good look.
Until now I have been adding zinc to a very thin, homemade lotion. It makes the lotion much thicker and I find it rather heavy to wear.

Since the oil zinc success I have tried adding zinc to neat vegetable glycerine. It seems to work fine but this is a work in progress.
The resulting lotion feels a bit sticky when you are applying it but that soon wears off.
It is much lighter than zinc creams.
The ingredients tend to separate so it needs shaking.
It is very very easy to make.

Store Bought Creams
Apparently you can add zinc to a store bought cream to make a suntan lotion. I have never tried this as I gave up shop bought years ago. But considering the success off adding it to oil I can see no reason why this wouldn’t work. Do remember that zinc makes your lotion thicker and much whiter. It might be a good idea to use a thin lotion as a base.
Apparently it helps if you warm them first.
Let me know how you get on!

Applying Cream
Sunscreens are unlikely to be fully effective after 2 hours
According to the skin cancer organisation  “you need to apply 1 oz – about a shot glass full. Studies show that most people apply only half to a quarter of that amount, which means the actual SPF they have on their body is lower than advertised. During a long day at the beach, one person should use around one half to one quarter of an 8 oz. bottle. Sunscreens should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the ingredients to fully bind to the skin. Reapplication of sunscreen is just as important as putting it on in the first place, so reapply the same amount every two hours. Sunscreens should also be reapplied immediately after swimming, toweling off, or sweating a great deal.

More

There is lots more information about sun protection here. Do read up before you decide to make your own.

Travelling Plastic Free For Months
This discovery massively reduces your plastic when travelling. I carry all my own home made plastic free toiletries with me to avoid creating plastic waste which can present something of a problem. A years supply of sunblock is a lot to carry. So now I compromise. I take my own zinc and buy coconut oil (or rice bran oil) while travelling. I mix the zinc into the coconut oil to make a sun tan lotion great for the beach.

Microfine Titanium Dioxide

This is another product you can use to make your own sun block.

“Microfine Titanium Dioxide is accepted as a safe Sun Barrier all around the world. This is because it is inorganic and has a record of having no adverse reactions to it. This makes it ideal for products used on a daily basis.
It can be used in Sun Screens, Moisturisers, Powdered Make-up, Lip and Baby products and virtually any Skin Treatment product.
Adding 5% Microfine Titanium Dioxide to a product gives it a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of approximately 10 and protects against 90% UVA/UVB and UVC radiation. Adding 10% gives it a SPF of 15-20.
Add during the heating of the Vegetable Oil in the Fat Stage of making your product.”
The following information is from the www.aromantic.co.uk website.

< span style=”color: #ff0000;”>Fragrance
Many recipes on line suggest adding essentials oils. In my opinion there is no real benefit to be derived from this as
they may make your skin more sensitive to light;
essential oils are resource hungry, have a large environmental footprint and should only be used on special occasions.
You can read more here

PLASTIC SPOILER

You can buy zinc on line.
It will come in a plastic bag- booo.
The best you can do is ensure the bags are polythene and so can be more easily recycled.
As I get huge amounts cream out of one small bag of ingredients, I consider it a worthwhile compromise.

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Creams & Lotions – Recipes

It is so easy to make your own creams and lotion that once you start you will never look back. The advantages are huge; you get to control what goes on your skin, be way more eco-friendly and save a whole load of cash. You can make almost anything the cosmetic companies sell but without the palm oil, dodgy chemicals and weird colours. Though you can have all those too if you want.

Lotion and cream is basically a mix of oills,waxes or butters with water combined using an emulsifier. Lotions are thinner, cream more solid.

Do you really need to make a cream? Many times you can use an oil or butter neat. But sometimes they are just too oily.

Many commercial creams including E45 use mineral oil. That’s derived from the same gloopy black oil we use to make petrol.

ingredients

To make cream or lotion you will need

Oil, butters & waxes.
There are hundreds of vegetable oils. Different skins like different oils and you will have to experiment to find what is best for you. Generally speaking the richer the oil the heavier the cream, the more water you put in the lighter the lotion. There are hundreds of vegetable oils. Different skins like different oils and you will have to experiment to find what is best for you.  See my guide to oils here.

Water
There is much talk of using distilled water but I use tap.

Cooking thermometer
VERY useful .

Emulsifiers:
Water and fat do not naturally mix, you need to use an emulsifier.You have to add other ingredients to turn what is basically salad dressing into lovely thick cream. So in addition to oils and water you will need an emulsifier.

Preservatives
Optional. Oil on its own does not go off – there is no water for bacterial to feed on. Once you have added water to oil then it can. Now your creams are vulnerable to bacteria. Preservatives will help “keep” you r cream. I don’t use it as it can cause skin irritations. And I find cream without I less itchy on my skin. I have had a few pots of cream go mouldy but we are talking maybe 5 in the years I have been making my own creams. You can read up and buy preservatives here Aromantics

Pots
to put your cream in.

Notes On Emulsifiers

The most complex ingredient in cream is the emulsifier. The water and oils are simple enough but this is what makes them bind together.

There are a few completely natural emulsifiers  but they  do not give consistent results.
Most commercially used emulsifiers are manufactured. They are most often derived from coconut oil and palm oil. More recently, rapeseed has been used.
But some are produced from pig fats. Check what you buy.
I have tried a few with varied success BUT
A combination of VE Emulsifier, MF Emulsifier and Cetearyl Alcohol works every time and can be used to make a wide range of products from thick creams to thin lotions.

VE Emulsifier or Glyceryl Stearate is a vegetable-based emulsifier
Cetearyl Alcohol is a vegetable based emulsifying wax
MF Emulsifier or Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate  can be fermented from lactose (milk sugar)but more commonly comes  from nondairy sources such as cornstarch, potatoes and molasses.


Palm Oil
Please note that all the above also may be derived from or include palm oil. Be sure to buy from a good practice supplier. For example there should be something this note on Aromantics VE emulsifier “The Palm oil that is used in both in MF/VE emulsifiers comes from suppliers that are either members of the Round Table of Sustainable Palm Oil or a subsidiary company or who are members of FEDIOL which supports sustainability. FEDIOL is a European industry federation based in Brussels”.
You can read more about palm oil here.

 

Process

Heat the Fat Stage ingredients in a double boiler (or a metal pot on hot water) until above 75°C. Use a thermometer to check.

Boil the water add the MF emulsifier and other Water Stage ingredients to 75°C.

Take off heat. Now pour the Fat Stage into the Water Stage in a slow steady stream before they drop below 75°C.

Mix well – I use a hand blender.

Allow to cool. Whisk occasionally to achieve a nice creamy consistency. As the mixture cools it becomes thicker and more creamy. It will reach its thickest consistency when it has cooled down to room temperature.

When the temperature is below 40°C you can add active ingredients
perfumes or essential oils and other magical things to make you look years younger.

You can also add specialist ingredients to make for example sun tan lotion or self tan.

Put the Cream into jars and label.

Take Care

That everything you use is clean, very clean.
Make sure you have enough pots to store your cream in.
That you label it – and date it. Believe me you will forget!

Recipes & Kits

Here are some sample recipes.

Supermarket Cream (My recipe)

You can buy all these ingredient from the supermarket.  I cut the olive oil with the lighter almond oil because I find it rather heavy.
Makes One liter of cream – have a big pot ready!

Fat Stage

 

  • 20g Cetyl Alcohol
  • 70ml Almond Oil Tesco’s or Asian Shop
  • 30ml Olive Oil
  • 20g coconut oil Tescos or Asian Shop
  • Water Stage
  • 800ml water
  • 40g MF emulsifier
  • Fancy Aromatics RecipeTo be honest I think this recipe has way to many ingredients but I like this company, I have used their products many times and think that this will probably make a nice cream. It is also useful to have a recipe that lists by percentages.You can experiment and use different oils, or even less oils. Just make sure the percentages stay the same. For example you can cut the thistle oil and use 10% Apricot Kernal Oil.

    By percentage
    Fat Stage (above 75°C)
    2% Cocoa Butter
    3% Macadamia Nut Oil
    7% Apricot Kernel Oil
    3% Thistle Oil
    2.5% VE Emulsifier
    2% Cetearyl Alcohol

    Water Stage (above 75°C)
    4.5% MF Emulsifier
    69% Boiling Spring Water
    2% Glycerine

    Third Stage (below 40°C)
    1% Preservative 12 or Eco
    1% Vitamin E Simulated Natural
    2% NFF Complex
    1% Essential Oils of your choice

    From Aromantics

    Rich Tropical Delights Cream (My recipe)

    Much easier far fewer ingredients. I cut the olive oil with Almond because I find it rather heavy.
    Makes One liter of cream – have a big pot ready!

    Fat Stage

  • 25 g VE Emulsifier
  • 20g Cetyl Alcohol
  • 70ml Almond Oil
  • 30ml Coconut Oil
  • 20g Shea butter
  • 10g Cocoa butter
  • Water Stage
  • 800ml water
  • 40g MF emulsifier
  • Design Your Own
    You can adapt the mix of oils for the above recipes based on your personal preference.
    If you want to design you own cream from scratch, follow these guidelines…
    style=”font-size: medium;”>Emulsifiers 5-8%
  • Oils 12-20%
  • Water, Additives, and Botanicals to 100 %.

 

Trouble Shoot
Cream too thick? You cannot add more water once the mixture has cooled. This ruins the cream – it will not rub in. You will need to make a thinner lotion and mix your creams to achieve the desired consistency. You can add more oil and mix well. This of course makes your cream more oily.

Lotions

If you want a thinner cream add more water at the water stage.

Kits

If this is your first time making lotions I can also recommend the Aromantics cream making starter pack from www.aromantic.co.uk  It comes with everything you need including, sadly, 30 little plastic pots to put it in. All the ingredients were wrapped in plastic bags as well. Hmmm. On the plus side, the cream is really easy to make and they send you several different recipes.

Anti Aging, Sun Tan Lotion & Fake Bake
You can add  specialist ingredients to your base to make for example sun tan lotion or self tan.

Buy

Aromantics is a good and ethical supplier of ingredients but expensive. I buy a lot of stuff in bulk from other suppliers. Ebay is a good source. Prices vary so do shop around.

I store my creams in old jars but for display  I have bought some glass jars with metal lids.

Plastic Spoiler

Most plastic base ingredients come in plastic bags but I get huge amounts cream out of one small bag of ingredients so I consider it a worthwhile compromise.

Making Personal Care Products 

Its quicker then  trying to choose between a hundred different shampoos and it’s really simple, fun to do, so much cheaper  and  I get to control what goes on my  body, where it comes from and what environmental impact it has.

Lots more info here on  toothpaste and other products  
and making other stuff – here.

Making creams while travelling

You cannot carry a years supply of home made cream in your rucksack so here are some ideas about making your own home made creams in hotel bedrooms.

Kits
If this is your first time making lotions I can also recommend the Aromantics cream making starter pack from www.aromantic.co.uk  It comes with everything you need including, sadly, 30 little plastic pots to put it in. All the ingredients were wrapped in plastic bags as well. Hmmm. On the plus side, the cream is really easy to make and they send you several different recipes.

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What’s In Your Toothpaste?

What’s in your commercial toothpaste? For starters ther may be plastic micro beads!Did you know that at least 12  Crest  toothpastes have been identified as containing  microbeads of polyethylene (PE).

Crest 3D White Radiant Mint • Crest Pro-Health For Me • Crest 3D White Arctic Fresh • Crest 3D White Enamel Renewal • Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White • Crest Sensitivity Treatment and Protection • Crest Complete Multi-Benefit Whitening Plus Deep Clean • Crest 3D White Luxe Lustrous Shine • Crest Extra White Plus Scope Outlast • Crest SensiRelief Maximum Strength Whitening Plus Scope • Crest Pro-Health Sensitive + Enamel Shield • Crest Pro-Health Clinical Gum Protection • Crest Pro-Health For Life for ages 50+ • Crest Complete Multi-Benefit Extra White+ Crystal Clean Anti-Bac • Crest Be Adventurous Mint Chocolate Trek • Crest Be Dynamic Lime Spearmint Zest • Crest Be Inspired Vanilla Mint Spark • Crest Pro-Health Healthy Fresh • Crest Pro-Health Smooth Mint.
This list may be out of date as companies have agreed to cut microbeads

And Crest are by no means the only company to do this. But you won’t know
as plastic isn’t and was never listed in the ingredients. Just to clarify – that’s even when the pastes did contain plastic beads. That’s a fact  I find worrying.

Why are they there? It seems they  added for decorative purposes only. However dental hygenists are concerned and I quote Trish Walraven
“I am not saying that polyethylene is causing gum problems. I’d be jumping too soon to that conclusion without scientific proof.  But what I am saying definitively is that plastic is in your toothpaste, and that some of it is left behind even after you’re finished brushing and rinsing with it.”
Bits of plastic get stuck in your gums! But  I strongly reccomend that you read her excellent article  in full and then consider using a different dentifrice.

Companies have agreed to phase out microbeads. At least in countries where there is a pressure to do so but frankly I would take matters into your own hands and search out a plastic free alternative immediately. You can find some options here

What Else Is In Your Tooth Paste? 

“Every toothpaste contains the following ingredients: binders, abrasives, sudsers, humectants, flavors (unique additives), sweeteners, fluorides, tooth whiteners, a preservative, and water. Binders thicken toothpastes. They prevent separation of the solid and liquid components, especially during storage. They also affect the speed and volume of foam production, the rate of flavor release and product dispersal, the appearance of the toothpaste ribbon on the toothbrush, and the rinsibility from the toothbrush. Some binders are karaya gum, bentonite, sodium alginate, methylcellulose, carrageenan, and magnesium aluminum silicate.
Abrasives scrub the outside of the teeth to get rid of plaque and loosen particles on teeth. Abrasives also contribute to the degree of opacity of the paste or gel. Abrasives may affect the paste’s consistency, cost, and taste.”
Read more about toothpaste and how it is made here

Break down of the ingredients

Standard (non-organic) toothpaste typically contain a set of ingredients that include:
Abrasives to clean bacterial film and debris from your teeth: Examples: Calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, hydrated aluminum oxides, magnesium carbonate, phosphate salts and silicates. Silica is the whitening ingredient in most whitening toothpastes.
Detergents for cleaning and the foamy lather we expect from toothpaste. Examples: sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium N-Lauryl sarcosinate.
Fluoride – all American Dental Association (ADA)Accepted toothpastes contain fluoride, even organic ones.
Flavor including sweeteners such as saccharine. No ADA-Accepted toothpaste contains sugar.
Treatment additives such as tetrasodium pyrophosphate for tartar control, potassium nitrate or strontium chloride to reduce tooth sensitivity, Stannous fluoride and triclosan for reducing gum inflammation and removing plaque.
Humectants to keep the toothpaste moist. Examples: glycerol, propylene, glycol and sorbitol.
Binders to stabilize the toothpaste formula. Examples: mineral colloids, natural gums, seaweed colloids or synthetic cellulose.
Source

Abrasives are the cleaning and polishing agents in commerical toothpaste.
They account for about a third of the toothpaste by weight.
Most abrasives are chalk or silica based.
They include dicalcium phosphate, sodium metaphosphate, calcium carbonate, silica, zirconium silicate or calcium pyrophosphate.

Abrasives differ in strength.
Abrasives help remove plaque and stains. However they can also,wear away the tooth enamel
The more abrasive the paste the more wearing it is

Relative dentin abrasivity (RDA) is a a way of measuring the effect that the abrasive components of the toothpaste have on a tooth.[7]
The RDA scale was developed by the American Dental Association The higher the abrasive value the greater the wear on the enamal. Toothpaste makers regularly measure their product’s abrasivity. It’s necessary for FDA approval,

BY US law, a dentifrice is required to have a level lower than 250 to be considered safe .

RDA Score
Level
0-70 Low abrasive: safe for cementum, dentin and enamel
70-100 Medium abrasive: safe for enamel, dangerous for cementum and dentin
100-150 High abrasive: dangerous for cementum, dentin and enamel
150-250 Very high abrasive: harmful limit, damaging for teeth
250 and above Not recommended

4 brushing teeth with water
7 baking soda
8 Arm & Hammer Tooth Powder
15 Weleda Salt Toothpaste
30 Elmex Sensitive Plus
35 Arm & Hammer Dental Care
42 Arm & Hammer Advance Whitening / Peroxide
44 Squiggle Enamel Saver
45 Oxyfresh
48 Arm & Hammer Dental Care Sensitive
49 Tom’s of Maine Sensitive
49-52 Arm & Hammer Peroxicare Regular
51 Crest with Scope
53 Rembrandt Original, Closys
57 Tom’s of Maine Children’s
60 Biotene Gel
63 Rembrandt Mint
68 Colgate Regular
70 Colgate Total, Arm & Hammer Advance White Sensitive, Colgate 2-in-1 Fresh Mint, Colgate Total
78 Biotene
79 Sensodyne
80 AIM, Close-Up, Biotene Paste with Fluoride
83 Colgate Sensitive Max Strength, Tooth and Gum Care
87 Nature’s Gate
91 Aquafresh Sensitive
93 Tom’s of Maine Regular
94 Rembrandt Plus
95 Crest Regular
97 Oxyfresh Powder
101 Natural White
103 Mentadent
104 Sensodyne Extra Whitening
106 Colgate Platinum, Arm & Hammer Advance White
107 Crest Sensitivity
110 Colgate Herbal, Amway Glister
113 Aquafresh Whitening
117 Arm & Hammer Advance White Gel, Arm & Hammer Sensation Tartar Control
120 Close-Up with Baking Soda
124 Colgate Whitening
130 Crest Extra Whitening
133 Ultra Brite
144 Crest Multicare Whitening
145 Ultra Brite Advanced Whitening Formula, Colgate Baking Soda Whitening
150 Pepsodent
155 Crest Rejuvenating Effects
165 Colgate Tartar Control
168 Arm & Hammer Dental Care PM Fresh Mint
175 Colgate Luminous
176 Nature’s Gate Paste
160-190 Crest Pro Health Formulas
200 Colgate 2-in-1 Tartar Control / White

While most seem to think an RDA of around 50 is fine these guys take it lower.
“The lower the number, the less enamel/dentin it is likely to be worn away. The higher the number – the more wear on your dentition. The ideal toothpaste would not have a RDA index higher that 7; therefore dentifrices with a low abrasivity index are desirable.”

https://www.lincolndentalcenter.com/relative-dentin-abrasivity-rda

FYI
Lush toothy tabs were graded accordingly, and here are the results.
Oral Pleasure: 31 (Low abrasivity)
Dirty: 43 (Low abrasivity)
Miles of Smiles: 43 (Low abrasivity)
Bling!: 54 (Low abrasivity)
Limelight: 64 (Low abrasivity)
Sparkle: 70 (Medium abrasivity)
Boom!: 96 (Medium abrasivity)

And…

The Cleaning Efficiency Index’ (CEI)
This is a very interesting article but sadly I can find no links to original research. Google hasn’t come up with anything either.

Researchers studying stains, abrasivity, and cleaning ability found that a relationship exists between the relative abrasivity and the cleaning ability.  They came up with what they call ‘Cleaning Efficiency Index’ (CEI).
Let’s look at a couple examples of how this ‘Cleaning Efficiency Index’ works.
If for example, a product was low abrasive AND low cleaning ability, it’s efficiency index score was low too.  If a product was high abrasive AND high cleaning ability, it’s efficiency could still be low.
The Cleaning Efficiency Index really ranks the combination of abrasivity in relation to cleaning ability.
What researchers were looking for was a product ingredient that was low abrasive AND high cleaning ability.  This combination would give the highest ‘cleaning efficiency’ index score. Read the full article HERE

More

See all our posts on plasticfree dental care, HERE

Read

Ask the dentist
WIkkipedia
Remove stains safely Orel Wellness
Structure of teeth

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Inhalers Homemade

Seems you can buy refillable inhalers. You soak the cotton wick in essential oils of your choice, put in the inhaler and sniff away.

If you live in the States you can buy these rather nice ones in glass and aluminium from Amazon.com  3.5 inches x .75 inches, outer shell is aluminum.

If you live in the U.K. you have to make do with these ugly plastic ones from Ebay. Yes, I know, plastic – but reusable rather than disposable.

More

To clear stuffed noses try Eucalyptus oil

http://plasticisrubbish.com/2015/12/07/nose-clearing-eucaplyptus-oil/

Find more #plasticfree personal care products here

 

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Eucaplyptus Oil

Replace plastic inhalers with a bottle of eucalyptus oil – but be careful, very careful how you sniff!

Using Essential OIls
Essential oils are concentrated and so should be used with some care.
Do not apply neat to the skin.
It is good practice to do an allergy test
Do some further research into the oil you plan to use

Disclaimer
Be aware of the risks of listening to someone who
a) doesn’t have any training in this field,
b) most of what they know comes from Google,
That’s me I mean.

Considerations
Essential oils are resource hungry, have a large environmental footprint and should only be used on special occasions.

More
You can read more about essentials oils, what they are and how they are obtained here

I am telling you of my own experiences for your information only. You should do a lot more research before proceeding. None of the following have been tested on anyone other than me. All I can say Is that I have used essential oils for a long time with no ill effects…..

Welcome aboard but please, proceed with caution….

So thanks to the beastly cold I was waking every hour of the night unable to breath and feeling like an anvil had been rammed up my nose with a sledge hammer. The day was spent choking on my own thick, green, glue-like secretions and panting heavily through my mouth. Thankfully being in Thailand meant being close to chemists that sold medicines I could work with. By which I mean stuff I knew what to do with and recognized as medical aids not bats in a cage or some kind of incomprehensible mushroom. I love China but it can be hard to find a normal looking medicine.

The Big C supermarket has a chemist shop called Pure. It sells Eucalyptus oil which is made (extracted?) from the leaves and twigs of eucalyptus trees. It comes in a cute little glass bottle with a metal screw top lid. I have never tried it before but I had vague memories of it being used to clear noses. And, whoa, it sure does. It has a powerful strong smell  and after only a few whiffs  I could feel the mucas retreating and my nasal passages drying out. It was wonderful.

In no time at all I had developed a  full blown dependency and was acting like a badly-stressed, over-laced Victorian with her smelling salts. Every few minutes I would rummage desperately in by bag,  pull out the small, decorative bottle and sniff away.

While extremely effective, this method of application is not without its disadvantages. First the hotel staff looked a more than little startled as I snuffled past, pasty-faced and watery-eyed, a bottle jammed firmly up one nostril. Secondly I would occasionally miscalculate and get oil on my sensitive nose red and tender from days of vigorous blowing. It stings. a lot! Do not apply this oil neat to the skin.

So at night rather than rub it one my chest (winces at the thought), I liberally spattered my jim jams with dollops of the stuff. Phwoar!  I slept peacefully enfolded in a nostril-clearing, buzzing haze of fumes. Sure I smelt like an old folks home and woke up with a dry and scratchy throat but it was a small price to pay for an almost undisturbed night.

Google claims Eucalyptus oil is good for pain and swelling (inflammation) of respiratory tract mucous membranes, coughs, bronchitis, sinus pain and inflammation, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and respiratory infections. It works as an expectorant to loosen coughs, antiseptic, fever reducer, and in vaporizer fluids. Other uses include treatment of wounds, burns, ulcers, cancer, genital herpes, and nasal stuffiness, as an insect repellent, a fragrance in perfumes and cosmetics, a mouthwash, antiseptic, liniment and ointment, and in toothpaste, cough drops, and lozenges.

Web MD states that “Though eucalyptus is used medicinally for many purposes, there isn’t enough scientific evidence so far to rate it as effective for any of them.” It also states quite firmly that “eucalyptus oil should not be taken by mouth or applied to the skin full-strength. (!)

I don’t advise you use it for treating serious medical conditions. If I had cancer or gential herpes I would be looking  for something with a better proven medical track record. But I can certainly suggest Big C Eucalyptus oil as a plastic free way to alleviate nasal stuffiness.

You can buy refillable inhalers which would be a more discrete and safer way to self medicate.

Cold gone and  I still have almost all a full bottle of oil left so  I will be looking for other uses.

Dental Floss

I think that the floss dispenser itself might be plastic though the floss is biodegradable silk. Any one know?

1 x Radius Floss, handspun Silk Floss Waxed with Candelilla Wax 30 meters
1 x Radius Floss, handspun Silk Floss Waxed…
£6.98

Online from Amazon as above or Big Green Smile

This is the blurb from the website…

  • “Radius Biodegradable Silk Floss is made from all natural, pure silk coated in candelilla wax.
  • This is not a vegan product.
  • Radius Silk Floss is the only certified organic fully bio-degradable floss. It is made from 100% pure silk farmed by a Columbian Fair Trade Co-op.
  • Radius Silk Floss is completely compostable.

I have never used it so I don’t know how plastic free the whole product actually is – is the box plastic wrapped? I would assume so. What is the silk wrapped around? But the floss itself is plastic free. Two steps forward, one back I would guess.

Any input gratefully received.

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Mosquito Repellent

It’s that time of night when sitting on the balcony becomes a feat of endurance rather than a pleasure and it’s down to those vile biting mosquitos. Time to take action… but what kind. I could of course slather myself in DEET…

DEET Was developed by the American Army and remains the most effective form of bug repellent known to man. It is a great weapon in the fight against malaria. But it can irritate my skin and has had other negative press. Plus it comes in plastic.

So what of the alternativee? Needless to say the internet offer everything from wristbands to essential oils. Lots of testing has been done which conclude that these range from considerably less effective to completely useless. “Two devices in particular came under harsh criticism from the scientists: bracelets containing herbal extracts and sonic mosquito repellers, which claim to use high-frequency sound to drive away mosquitoes.” And dont bother with citronella candles. You can read the rest here.
That said there is some evidence that certain essential oils (including citronella) might  work.SO let’s discuss the options.

Why DEET
Just to reiterate N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (deet) DEET is the most effective insect repellent ever.
Then (2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-piperidinecarboxylic acid 1-methyl ester (icaridin), p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD), and ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate (IR3535)-based repellents also provide protection against biting arthropods,
Malaria & Other Nasty Deseases
Malaria is extremely dangerous and kills masses of people each year. DEET Will protect you from mosquitoes and many other disease bearing blood suckers. If you are in a malarial prone area then it is an essential means of protection and I advise you consider it. Medical plastic is exempt from the boycott. To quote DEET must be the “first choice for those visiting areas where malaria or other arthropod-borne diseases are endemic remains formulations with higher concentrations (20–50%) of deet.
Higher concentration icaridin and PMD preparations are the most useful alternatives to deet where they are available”
Read more here

How Strong?
What do these concentrations mean? A higher concentration of DEET means it will last longer. 20% DEET offers up to 6 hours of protection. 50% DEET which offers 12 hours of protection. If you sweat heavily you’ll need to re-apply it more often, obvs.
According to the British Medical Journal anything with over a concentration of 50% DEET will not be any more effective. Read this very good write up that discusses all the issues and gives clear advice on how DEET should be used. Access it here.

Bad DEET
But if you are not at risk from malaria you might want to limit your exposure to DEET. While DEET is generally thought to be safe there are reports of possible reactions. On a personal level I find it irritates my skin but then again so do most perfumes and some soaps. However it is not just me. Reactions to DEET have been documented. And they can include Hives or mild skin redness and irritation. The more you use the worse it gets. People using products containing a large amount of DEET over a long period of time may have more severe skin reactions that include blistering, burning, and permanent scars of the skin.
Wikipedia are even more worrying and report that
In the DEET Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) in 1998, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported 14 to 46 cases of potential DEET-associated seizures, including 4 deaths. The EPA states: “… it does appear that some cases are likely related to DEET toxicity,” which may underreport the risk as physicians may fail to check for history of DEET use or fail to report cases of seizure subsequent to DEET use.[21]
The Pesticide Information Project of Cooperative Extension Offices of Cornell University states that “Everglades National Park employees having extensive DEET exposure were more likely to have insomnia, mood disturbances and impaired cognitive function than were lesser exposed co-workers”.[22].
Read it here

Which Alternatives Work
So for those munchy twilight hours when the biting, but non-malarial carrying beasts are out DEET seems rather a chemical sledge hammer. In these cases I have been using Cintronella essential oil mixed with Rice Bran oil as a mosquito repellent. Based on nothing more than a quick skim of alternative bug sprays on the internet and the fact I have some Citronella oil. The internets claims all kinds of wonderful qualities for Citronella but I tend not to believe them. So consequently I didnt know if my homemade repellent really worked i.e.if it actually repels Mosquitos. But I felt it did and it certainly seems to soothe bites and reduce irritation. So I decided it was time to do some research.

Citronella
Citronella is  obtained from the leaves and stems of different species of Cymbopogon grasses. And it might just work. This is a quote from some research that seems reputable.  “From the available literature and information, we can conclude that the complete protection time for citronella-based repellents is less than 2 hours”
Read more here

But 2 hours is all I need. I can live with the occasional bite at other times it’s the twilight feeding frenzy I object to.

Using Essential OIls
Essential oils are concentrated and so should be used with some care.
Do not apply neat to the skin.
It is good practice to do an allergy test
Do some further research into the oil you plan to use

Disclaimer
Be aware of the risks of listening to someone who
a) doesn’t have any training in this field,
b) most of what they know comes from Google,
That’s me I mean.

Making Mosquito Repellent
You should never use essential oils neat so the Citronella has to be blended with a base oil. And there is very little data avaialable on what kind of percentages to use for the oil to be effective against biting beasts.

Generally Most essential oil/ aromatherapy sites say that mixes of essential oil to base oil should not exceed 5%.
A good rule of thumb when seeking to make a 2% dilution is to add 12 drops of essential oil to each fl. ounce (30 ml) of cold pressed carrier oil, lotion, vegetable butter or other natural lipid/moisturizer.
There is a useful dilutions chart here

And then there is this:
For adults:
Sensitive skin: .5 to 1 percent dilution = 3 to 6 drops per ounce
Normal, healthy skin: 1 to 2.5 percent dilution = 6 to 15 drops per ounce
There is lots of useful information here

My Mosquito Oil
So I added Citronella to a base oil at a 5% ration. I have used coconut oil, rice bran oil and rapeseed oil as bases. All work well.
I spread this on all exposed flesh when the sun begins to set. I only apply it once.

Obviously we are not talking about huge percentage of active ingredient here. Certainly not the 30% of DEET creams. How effective this oil is I have no way of knowing. I can only say it seems to work for a limited period of time.
AND PLEASE NOTE
These blends have not been tested for skin reactions or allergies. It is worth remembering that DEET lotions have been used for years and have been well tested.
I am telling you of my own experiences for your information only. You should do a lot more research before proceeding. And proceed with caution.
None of the above have been tested on anyone other than me. All I can say Is that I have used essential oils for a long time with no ill effects…..
Also
Essential oils are resource hungry, have a large environmental footprint and should only be used on special occasions. You can read more about essentials oils, what they are and how they are obtained here.

Buy

Plastic Alert
Vegetatable oil will nearly always have a plastic element unless you are lucky enough to find a refill service. Even if you buy in glass the lid will be plastic lined. But even so this represents a huge reduction in you plastic consumption. Read more and links on where to buy, here.

Same goes for essential oils.

More

There is an interesting breakdown of mosquito myths here. Plus some useful advice on how to avoid them.
And this is an interesting article on using plants to deter insects
And I am looking into this.
“PMD: Lemon Eucalyptus (Corymbia citriodora) Extract
The principal repellent component of lemon eucalyptus extract is PMD, which is the main by-product of lemon eucalyptus hydrodistillation.
The active component is prepared through acid modified extraction of leaves or a synthetic version of PMD is used in the majority of commercially available preparations.”
Read about it here.

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Condoms & Lubricants

If all goes well on Valentines day you may well be planning some intimate moments. Time to check out condoms.

Condoms come in the following materials….

Latex: made of latex rubber from rubber trees a natural and therefore biodegradable. Which has led to claims that that latex condoms are biodegradable. Which is hotly debated! Latex condoms contain addatives to make them (amongst other things) stronger. Many people say that even if they do eventually decompose, (not proven),  it takes such a long time as to make any claims of biodegradability  misleading. Certainly the anti-balloon camp do not consider latex balloons to be biodegradable despite what the balloon industry say. So, for the time being, lets leave latex on the shelf for further study.

Synthetic materials: polyisoprene, polyurethane and silicone. All of these are non- biodegradable materials.

Lambskin: sheeps intestines – no good for you vegans out there but definitely biodegradable.

Lets find out more

Here is some blurb from the British Condom shop about Trojan NaturaLambs, the make of lambskin condoms they sell

“These condoms are made from a natural membrane and while that may sound strange at first, they are one of the most comfortable, intimate, and largest condoms on the market. Most notable is their ability to transfer heat.

NaturaLamb condoms also have the exclusive Kling-Tite draw string at the base for added safety.

NOTE: These condoms do NOT protect against STDs, only unwanted pregnancy!”

Some more….

I am sure the packaging will contain plastic elements but then so will all the others. This appears to be the best option for condoms you can compost. The next question is would you want to?

Lube

Lambskin condoms can be used with both water-based and oil-based lubricants. However most commercially produced lubricants come in plastic bottles and many contain paragons, a preservative that causes some people concern. If you want something completely natural, go for for coconut oil. If you like this blog you know we love coconut oil – but don’t take our word for it, read this is a great write up about coconut oil in the bedroom.

NB If you find the smell overwhelming you might like to buy an odourless coconut oil. In Yorkshire? – you can buy coconut oil here

If you want to go for a traditional product here’s a good write up on what is available in the world of lubricants.

Buy From Amazon

Trojan Naturalamb Luxury Non Latex Condoms (10 Pack) Biona Org Odourless Coconut Oil 610 ML x 1
Trojan Naturalamb Luxury Non Latex Condoms …
£28.99
Made from sheeps intestines
Biona Org Odourless Coconut Oil 610 ML x 1
£10.00

 

Amazon Products

Being committed to local shopping, I prefer to buy that way whenever possible. I would encourage you to do the same. One of the joys of living plastic free is mooching round the local shops seeing what you can source. But sometimes you can’t buy local so I have put together an Amazon catalogue.

Yes we do get an affiliation fee for this, and no we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.

 

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Toothbrushes – bamboo

I have tried natural toothbrushes and I am not that keen. They quickly go kind of pulpy and I didn’t feel  they are up to the job. So have gone back to my electric toothbrush consoling myself with the thought that
a) the heads are half the size of a normal plastic toothbrush
b) I make my own toothpaste and
c) these are my TEETH.

Buy 

When I first started my boycott you could only buy bamboo brushes on line. Now you can get them from many health food shops and even Waitrose.  I haven’t tried them for the above reasons but here are two makes I have used.

Ceba

After months of vigorous scrubbing my plastic tooth-brush  had come to the end of its working life. Greatly excited I got out my wooden and natural bristle, completely biodegradable toothbrush .
These brushes are made by Cebra and they say in the blurb…

  • wooden toothbrushes – made from sustainable wood (beech)
  • with natural (as opposed to acrylic) bristles
  • can be disposed off easily and in an eco friendly way
  • superb cleaning power and very gentle on teeth and gum
  • lasts as long if not longer than a plastic toothbrush

Sad to say it didn’t work for me. There was not enough in the way of friction. The bristles quickly got soft and pulpy then started to disintegrate.
But maybe they will be good for you. If you fancy trying them you can get them here.

Save Some Green

James of Save Some Green Uk sent me some bamboo brushes to try I was hesitant. Eager to give the natural toothbrush another chance, worried in case I didn’t like them and so upset James. But James will be happy to hear the interim feed back on the all natural brush. This has a bamboo handle and natural fibre bristles described on the website as follows
“These toothbrushes are made from bamboo which will rot down to nothing, causing little impact to the environment plus they are BPA free.
I have been using it in conjunction with my electric toothbrush for the above reasons. Now I tend to be an enthusiastic scrubber. I use the electric brush to scour my mouth so vigorously it hurts. So it is nice to have a softer option. This partial use also gives the bamboo brush time to dry out which I thinks helps keep it firm.
I have been following this regime for over 3 months now and the brush is holding up well.
I am assuming that packaging is all biodegradable but the white internal wrap has me baffled. I have asked James for some more info.
You can get them on-line from savesomegreen.co.uk . This online shop is aware of problematic plastic misuse and have a great packaging policy. Tell them you want no plastic packaging and you will be heard.

More #plasticfree dental care can be found here

You can find lots more beauty tips here – plastic free of course!

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Tampons with applicator – plastic-free

Much as I love the Mooncup ( an internal, reusable, menstrual cup ) there are times when it is just a little bit, well, hands on! Occasionally you need to use disposable internal protection but the impact on the planet, and possibly your body, weighs heavy on your mind. And quite rightly so!

Step up Natracare who realising that “Most applicator tampons are made from 100% rayon or a mixture of rayon and conventional cotton, overwrapped with polypropylene, a by product of the petroleum industry. The applicator tubes of many brands are often made from plastic.”  have brought out a completely compostable, organic cotton tampon with cotton cord. It has a biodgradable cardboard applicator. The tampon comes wrapped in paper and packed in a cardboard box. “They are non-chlorine bleached and women can be reassured that they do not contain synthetic materials, such as rayon, or chemical additives such as binders or surfactants. Certified organic cotton removes the risk of direct exposure to residues from chemical pesticides and fertilisers used on traditional cotton.”

Testing

I was given some to sample which I dished out to the laydeez. I and they can confirm that they work as well as any other. But over here at PIR we test rigorously and I did the bag test. You know the one where you carry round your emergency tampon that gets jumbled up in the bottom of your bag Yes for sure some people out there have special little wallets – I don’t. So here’s a bit of news for the rest of you bag sluts: the paper wrapper lasts just as well as plastic. Weeks later a bit battered but still fine. You can see the full range of Natracare products  here ,  and stay tuned to PIR for more reviews. Coming up next – pantyliners (how I hate that word) You can find lots more plastic-free, menstrual products here

Non Applicator Tampons – massively plastic reduced

While the actual tampon is as above and plastic free, the wrapping is plastic. “Our non-applicator tampons are wrapped in polypropylene due to obligatory medical device regulations!”

BUY

You can buy these products in shops. If you want to get them on line try Ethical Superstore or Amazon 

More plastic free menstrual aids here

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Antiseptics & Disinfectants

This post talks about

This is an area where you want to do your own research and decide what level of protection you need. I do not use antiseptic or disinfectants because I don’t do surgery on my kitchen table or have a low immune system. I keep stuff clean and it seems to work. BUT this is a subject about which I know little. This is my understanding of it. I strongly advise you to do your own research.
Here goes…..

Microbes

The world is full of microbes – micro-organisms – or germs.
“Microbes are single-cell organisms so tiny that millions can fit into the eye of a needle. They are the oldest form of life on earth. Microbe fossils date back more than 3.5 billion years to a time when the Earth was covered with oceans that regularly reached the boiling point, hundreds of millions of years before dinosaurs roamed the earth.
Without microbes, we couldn’t eat or breathe.Without us, they’d probably be just fine.”
Which is maybe why we seem determined to wipe them out.  Microbes are everywhere. Inside you outside you swarming all over that keyboard you just touched to type in that fantastically appreciative comment.

They can be divided into four main groups – bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.
Some are good such as the composting microbes, some are bad such as the pneumonia germs, some  just bumble about doing what ever it is they do in their teeny tiny world.
“By and large, the vast majority of the microbes on this planet are not those that make us sick. We have only scratched the surface to what microbes are out there, and more of them are harmless or even beneficial to us,” Says a scientist.

Kill THEM!!!!!!

But still we want them dead. And here’s how.

Antiseptics & Disinfectants

What are they and now are they different

  • Antiseptics are antimicrobial substances that slow or stop the growth of micro-organisms (germs)
  • They are used on living tissues and cells on external surfaces of the body and help prevent infections. Though they are antiseptics they are often called skin disinfectants,
  • Antibiotics  destroy micro-organisms inside the body, NHS website says…Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent some types of bacterial infection. They work by killing bacteria or preventing them from reproducing and spreading. Antibiotics aren’t effective against viral infections, such as the common cold, flu, most coughs and sore throats.
  • Disinfectants  destroy microorganisms which infect nonliving objects.

You would use an antiseptic to clean your hands, a disinfectant to clean your breadboard and an antibiotic to kill pneumonia
Wikkipedia tells us  that Some antiseptics are true germicides, capable of destroying microbes (bacteriocidal), while others are bacteriostatic and only prevent or inhibit their growth.
Antibacterials are antiseptics that have the proven ability to act against bacteria.
Antiseptics are not antibiotics.

Using Antiseptics and Disinfectants

This is not meant as advice I am just relating my personal choices. I never use disinfectants or antiseptics. I clean with  soap and bicarbonate ( which is mildly antiseptic but not as good as vinegar).

Most Common Uses

Disinfecting The Home

Food preparation, kitchens and bathrooms are the obvious places for disinfectants. You don’t want bad germs in your food.
I do the obvious things like wash my hands before eating and after I have touched anything dirty. I keep cooked and uncooked food separate. I don’t eat raw meat. I store food in clean conditions. I wash the chopping board if I have used it for meat before I use it for anything else. I have two boards that I use when preparing food. I clean fruit and veg before eating.
For all of this I use soap and hot water. soap and a good scrub.  I don’t think think that anything else is necessary. ,
Also disinfectants kill all microbes, the good the bad the stuff we don’t know what it does yet. Which is unessecary and possibly harmful. There are arguments that living in a sterile atmosphere lowers resistance to infection as the body has not built up any resistance.
Clean not sterile is my mantra.

We need to talk about vinegar…..

Commercial disinfectants are extremely effective. Green alternatives are billed as kinder less harmful. They are certainly less harmful to the microbes because they don’t work as well.

Vinegar & Essentail Oils
Vinegar is the much touted disinfectant of choice for the plastic free.
It is about 5% acetic acid. It’s the acid that kills bacteria and viruses, most probably by denaturing (chemically changing) the proteins and fats that make-up these nasties. It is  good but not as effective as common commercial disinfectants.
Vinegar will not kill  salmonella, “which can transfer from raw meat to chopping boards and onto other foods to give us food poisoning.”
Ammonia, baking soda, vinegar, Borax, “are not registered with EPA and should not be used for disinfecting because they are ineffective against S. aureus.

Undiluted vinegar and ammonia are effective against S.Typhi and E.coli 53, 332, 333.
Neat vinegar also kills flue virus.

Hydrogen peroxide can also be used
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved hydrogen peroxide as a sanitizer. It can kill salmonella.
Research published by the Journal of Food and Science in 2003 showed effective results of using hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate apples and melons that were infected with strains of E.coli.
Essentail Oils – there is even less evidence for  efface of essential oils and they take a lot of resources to produce.

Cleaning A Wound

For a long time hydrogen peroxide was used as an antiseptic on open wounds and grazes. Now many recommend against it saying it also kills off healthy tissue and beneficial bacteria. In short using any antiseptics on an open wound is an area of medical controversy.

“In clinical practice, antiseptics are broadly used for both intact skin and wounds, although concerns are raised based upon their effect on human cells and wound healing. Opinions are conflicting. Some authors strongly disapprove the use of antiseptics in open wounds.[6-8] On the other hand, others believe antiseptics have a role in wound care, and their use may favor wound healing clinically.[9,10]

Web MD claim that  cool running water “is the best treatments for common wounds, and that you should rinse the wound for at least five minutes to remove it of debris, dirt, or anything else that may be in there. The water will clean the wound out well enough for your body to take over without harming the still living tissue around the wound.

I don’t get many wounds and when I do, I don’t use antiseptics. Most cuts and scrapes seems to clear up with out infection – even when travelling in some of the dirtier places. Again, not a recommendation just an observation.

Skin Disinfectants ( Antiseptics)

Removing bacteria from the skin is done to prevent the spread of disease. The area of skin you need to keep cleanest is your hand which carry microbes from place to place  by touch.

Soap

The easiest way to disinfect the skin is to wash with soap and water. But don’t bother with anti bacterial soaps. “Washing your hands is extremely important for preventing the spread of infectious illness, especially at critical points like after using the toilet, changing the baby, or handling raw foods. But consumers can’t assume that antibacterial soaps are better for this than other soaps.”

Soap doesn’t kill bacteria but removes it .

“harmless and harmful microbes stick to the oil your hands naturally produce, and, absent removal, willingly hitch a ride until they reach their ultimate destination (inside of you or somebody else) where they can in some cases wreak havoc…. [washing hands]… for at least 20 or more seconds at a time, is a highly effective way of removing bacteria despite the fact that the bacteria doesn’t die, but is simply flushed away when you rinse (or wiped off on a towel).”

Alchohol

If you have no soap and water or that is not appropriate you can try alcohol. Both ethanol or ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol, or isopropanol can be used as antisceptics and have similar effects. However ethanol or ethyl alcohol is the stuff that makes you drunk isopropyl alcohol, or isopropanol (also known as rubbing alchohol or surgical spirit) is made from propene derived from fossil fuels and water. You can read more about it here

If you want a petroleum free product use ethyl alcohol.

ethyl alcohol.

Can be used as a skin disinfectant. It effective against a wide range of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi, and kills most bacteria, fungi, and many viruses on the hands and skin.

It is commonly used as skin antiseptics, often in the form of wipes Wise geek

It is

  • effective against a wide range of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi,
  • kills most bacteria, fungi, and many viruses on the hands and skin
  • is commonly used as skin antiseptics, often in the form of wipes or gels, and for disinfecting surfaces
  • Its main  main effect on microorganisms seems to be to coagulate essential proteins, rendering them ineffective, and causing cell death or inhibiting reproduction.
  • It may also have a dehydrating effect and may interfere with the functioning of cell membranes. Wise geek

Mouth  & Mouthwashes

Now this I do use. I have a troublesome wisdom tooth that occasionally flares up. I can keep it at bay with a rigorous tooth cleaning regime. When it is bad I use a salt mouthwash. And I have used hydrogen peroxide which seems to work.

Sodium chloride (salt) solution can be used  as a mildly antiseptic mouthwash.

Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a mouth gargle The Merck Manuals recommended diluting the 3% hydrogen peroxide 50 percent with water, but suggest it as a rinse and part of a treatment for trench mouth, for example.  The FDA has approved 3% solutions of hydrogen peroxide for use as a mouthwash.  Most sources said to use it only for a short time, however, such as part of a treatment of a mouth infection.  A report from Well-Connected (written or edited by physicians at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital) recommended against extended use, saying that overuse may actually damage cells and soften tooth surfaces. We were not able to find any authoritative information about hydrogen peroxide and canker sores.

Hydrogen peroxide may be amongst the better options.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved hydrogen peroxide as a sanitizer. It can kill salmonella.

Research published by the Journal of Food and Science in 2003 showed effective results of using hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate apples and melons that were infected with strains of E.coli.

You can use of hydrogen peroxide is to bleach hair. The concentrations are between 3% and 6%.

It can be used to clean blood stains out of clothes and brighten colours but do be careful it doesnt actually leave bleach marks.