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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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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.

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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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Cigarettes

Far be it from me to promote smoking but the purpose of this blog is to find plastic free alternatives to all legal pastimes and last time I looked smoking still was.

So if you fancy a plastic-free fag, by which, our American friends, I mean a ciggarette, then what are your options? Well you can go to Aberystwith and buy plastic free loose rolling tobaccos

But if that is too far how about growing (and curing) your own. I haven’t tried this – if you do please let me know how you get on! Please note they say “yes totally minimal packaging possible , reuse and recycle all the way only at ” so contact them before you order and say you are plastic free!

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Vinegar

Vinegar is great. You can use it for all kinds of things and is almost plastic free to buy.

Vinegar is made by converting ethanol (alcohol) into acetic acid – the main ingredient in vinegar.

Vinegar is typically a 4-8% solution of acetic acid; the rest is water.This makes it a moderately strong acid.

Read about pH of acids and alkaline here.

It can be made from any any alcohol – wine vinegar is made from wine (!), apple vinegar from cider, malt vinegar from beer and white vinegar from moonshine as far as I can tell!

Vinegars can be made at home.

Live Vinegar 

Most vinegars are sold processed and filtered but you can buy live vinegar.

  • This still contains the mother Mother of vinegar a cloudy monstrous swamp  of acetic acid bacteria and cellulose. This is created during the fermentation process of alcohol into vinegar
  • The ‘mother’ is alive and is made up from bacteria, enzymes and living nutrients.
  • The presence of the mother shows that the vinegar has not been processed or filtered.
  • It is the mother that gives vinegar all its claimed health benefits.
  • You can also use it to make more vinegar

Apple Vinegar

  • is good as a  hair conditioner and skin toner
  • It can also be used for cleaning
  • And almost everything else.
  • It can be  made at home!
  • Tescos do an apple vinegar in a glass bottle with a metal screwtop lid. Apart from the little plasticised disc in the lid they are as plastic free as you can get.

Find out more about apple vinegar here including where to buy the good stuff

White vinegar

White vinegar is made 

  • can be used for cleaning and pickling
  • It is  made from either acetic acid produced in a laboratory or from grain-based ethanol (alcohol)
  • It is clear
  • It can be bought cheaply in large glass bottles at most supermarkets. However they will have  either a plastic lid or a metal lid lined with plastic.  It is a plastic price worth paying for this versatile product.

Malt Vinegar

  • is for pickles, chutneys and chips.
  • Malt vinegar is made from beer which is allowed to ferment until bacteria turn it into vinegar.
  • It has has a deep brown colour.
  • It can be bought cheaply in large glass bottles at most supermarkets. However they will have  either a plastic lid or a metal lid lined with plastic.  It is a plastic price worth paying for this versatile product.

Uses

Disinfectant

Vinegar is a mild disinfectant. It will kill some microbes but not all. You can read more here.

Cleaning

Vinegar is an acid so good at cleaning inorganic soils and alkaline stains and grime but NOT grease and fats.

 Examples of alkaline grime is hard water, mineral buildup, soaps scum (acid attacking an alkaline).

Vinegar can be used to clean all manner of things – you can find a big list here

Clear dirt off PCs and peripherals with equal parts white vinegar and water on a cloth damp not dripping

Other Stuff

  • Erase ballpoint-pen marks
  • Burnish your scissors
  • Clean your window blinds
  • Clean your piano keys
  • Get rid of water rings on furniture
  • Restore your rugs
  • Remove carpet stains
  • Brighten up brickwork
  • Revitalize wood paneling
  • Wipe off wax or polish buildup
  • Revitalize leather furniture
  • Conceal scratches in wood furniture
  • Remove candle wax
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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.

 

 

 

 

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Bicarbonate Of Soda

This one product can replace hundreds of plastic bottles on your shelves. It does biodegrade. However there are issues about how it is obtained. I say it is a good product but use in moderation. Locally made soap  is a greener cleaning option to my mind.

What Is Bicarbonate Of Soda (Baking Soda)

Chemical formula NaHCO3.
Each molecule of sodium bicarbonate contains one sodium atom (Na), one hydrogen atom (H), and a carbonate ion (one carbon atom bonded to three oxygen atoms).
It is biodegradable
Bicarb is formed naturally as nahcolite  but most of the stuff sold is man made.
In 1846, John Dwight and his brother-in-law, Dr Austin Church, invented bicarbonate of soda. It was made from carbon dioxide and treated soda ash. 
There is more on soda ash here.
Most Bicarbonate of Soda is imported.
It is alkaline which is why it is so good at cleaning up grease and fats.

Nahcolite

It can  mined directly from the ground  as Nahcolite.  This is a soft, colourless or white carbonate mineral with the composition of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3). It may  also be called thermokalite.

Manufactured

Most Bicarbonate of soda is produced  by either of these heavily industrialized processes
The Solvay Process  Uses limestone, salt and ammonia to transform salt (sodium chloride). 
Mining –  Trona ore  is mined, then heated until it turns into soda ash also known as washing soda. Bicarbonate of soda is obtained along the way. Read more.

Baking Soda V Washing Soda

Baking Soda’s PH is not as alkaline as washing soda, so it doesn’t cause skin irritation and you don’t need gloves to handle them. It is not as harsh as washing soda but neither is it as effective a cleaner. It is also half as effective at softening water.
You can turn bicarb back into washing soda by baking it so that breaks back down into water steam, carbon dioxide and washing soda. I have never done this but by all acounts need to cook your bicarb in the oven for half an hour at 400 F (or 200 C). You can compare and contrast them here.

Bicarbonate As A Cleaner
Bicarbonate is alkaline. Alkaline cleaners work well because they emulsify grease.  Fatty acids are normally insoluble which is why they cannot be cleaned using water alone. The alkaline breaks down fat making them dispersable in water.
They also coat the dirt with negatively charged hydroxide ions which means the dirt particles repel each other. So rather than massing together in a big greasy clump they remain suspended in solution so again can be rinsed off. Read more HERE

Deodorising

Bicarb can be used to get rid of acid based nasty smells.
“Many carboxylic acids have unpleasant smells and tastes. They are responsible for:
the taste of vinegar
the smell of sweaty socks
the taste of rancid butter

Carboxylic acids are weak acids. This means that dilute solutions of carboxylic acids have higher pHs (ie are less acidic) than dilute solutions of strong acids such as hydrochloric acid, nitric acid and sulfuric acid.
Weak acids are less reactive than strong acids.” Read more HERE

Baking soda is an effective deodorant “because of its basicity. Many foul-smelling compounds are acidic. Neutralizing the compound gives it an ionic character which reduces the vapor pressure (meaning it is less available for the nose to smell it) and makes it much more water soluble (it can be washed away).” Source

Cooking
Bicarbonate can be used to make baking soda “Baking soda, is also used to make cookies, cakes, biscuits, and similar pastries “rise” during baking. In the presence of an acid, it easily decomposes into carbon dioxide and a sodium salt of that acid, and the trapped bubbles provide the textures we enjoy in those foods. Note that “baking powder” is a simple mixture of baking soda and a dry acid such as cream of tartar,” often with a starch added to provide bulk.

We Use It For

Cleaning the house
Deoderant
Toothpowder
Washing your hair

Buy

Bicarb is available fromk
Wing Yip Chinese Super Store in Manchester in bulk in paper bags
Wilco’s in a cardboard box
Dri Pac in cardboard boxes with plastic liners.
You can also get some great deals on ebay but it does come plastic wrapped. However when you think how much you can do with it, and how many plastic bottles it, replaces you might consider it a worthwhile trade off!

More

Borax, washing soda, bicarbonate or all three. What should you use for your cleaning needs? A comparison HERE
Information on PH balances and other cleaning products can be found HERE

See all out #plasticfree cleaning aids HERE

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Using Essential OIls

This is a post in progress. As I learn so I will add to it. For now this is what I know about and have used essential oils for….

What Are Essential Oils?
They are not actually oils because they do not contain fatty acids.
They are in fact terpenes
Terpenes organic compounds produced by plants.
They are often strong-smelling.
So essential oils are the strong smelling terepenes found in plants.
You can read more about this,here

Do I Need Essential Oils
Essential oils are resource hungry, have a large environmental footprint.
For example 5,000 to 10,000 pounds of rose blossoms to produce one pound of essential oil. You can read more about this,here
All of which makes me wary of using essentail oils. I do love the smell but I don’t like the idea that so many resources go into making one tiny bottle of luxury scent.
So I use them sparingly and only when they are needed.

Buy Ethically
Ideally you should buy local oils and never oils from endangered plants.
buy from a company that is clear about how they grow and harvest their oils. You can read more about this,here
Take a look at Pravera or Yorkshire Lavender

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 before you slather on any product containing them.
Do some further research into the oil you plan to use. Some are very strong and need to be used with caution.

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. 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, as yet,  no ill effects…..

Scented Oils & Creams

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

We Made

We use Citronella to make mosquito repellent. Read how HERE
We use in Eucalyptus Oil in these refillable inhalers. Find out more 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

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Hydrogen Peroxide

Bought a bottle of hydrogen peroxide from Big C Supermarket in Thailand. The bottle is glass the cap is metal. Plastic free you might think?  well, apart from the plastic lid liner and plasticised paper label. However it is  massively plastic reduced. You can also buy it Boots in a plastic bottle.

It is my choice of  antiseptic for my travel medical kit. I use it to clean cuts and grazes.

But, as I hardly ever cut myself I also use it as mouth wash to help whiten the teeth. But only occasionally because 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.

Bleach Hair

Use a 3% solution to bleach your hair

Ear Wax

Soften and loosen the earwax with warm mineral oil or a mixture of hydrogen peroxide mixed with an equal amount of room-temperature water. Place 2 drops of the fluid, warmed to body temperature, in the ear twice a day for up to 5 days. Be sure to warm the fluid because cold fluid can cause pain and dizziness. Web MD

And there are lots more things you can with hydrogen peroxide here.

 

Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide 3% - 500ml Care 200ml Hydrogen Peroxide 6 Percent Solution
Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide 3% – 500ml
£13.45
Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide 3% – 500ml
£13.45

You can buy Hydrogen Peroxide on line from Amazon and other places. You can find more online products and read our Amazon policy here,

NB may come in a plastic bottle – you will have to decide if this represents a plastic free saving. I think so  because I get to do so much with it.

Other plastic free beauty products can be found right here.

Want to find more travel related plastic free tips? Check out the travel category

 

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How to clean your teeth plastic free

Cleaning your teeth involves so much plastic what with the tooth brushes and tubes of toothpaste. Lucky for you I have researched a number of plastic free products for you to try.

Do You Need Dentifrice 

You might want to consider if you even need to use a dentifrice. According to many a good brushing will do the job just as well…

“You can remove food debris and plaque from your teeth without using toothpaste.
Dental plaque is a sticky, colorless biofilm of bacteria and sugars that is constantly in the process of forming on our teeth. Dental plaque is acidic, and can break down tooth enamel and cause cavities to form. Plaque can also irritate your gums, causing gingivitis (red, swollen, bleeding gums), infections and eventually tooth loss.
Plaque is the primary cause of cavities and gum disease. If you don’t consistently remove plaque from your teeth it can harden into an even sticker substance called tartar, which provides a perfect environment for bacteria colonies to grow under your gums and on your teeth.
One of the best ways to control plaque is brushing your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day. But you don’t need toothpaste to do this, just a soft toothbrush and good brushing techniques will remove plaque.

Home Made Dentifrice 

Some products such as bicarbonate of soda and salt can be used neat to clean your teeth. here
Otherwise its a combination or different abrasives in the form of a powder or paste. The key to making tooth powder is to find something abrasive and ugh to remove the plaque but not so harsh it removes the enamel .
You can find my recipe listed here
Though after reading all the provisos you might prefer to buy ready made.

Ready Made Toothpaste

In A Tube

There are still some tooth pastes come in metal tubes BUT be aware that all metal tubed toothpastes I have come across have a plastic cap and the tubes are lined with a plastic liner. If you are happy to go ahead one such is

Marvis Classic Strong Mint Toothpaste

Apparently ” What makes Marvis unique is the range of exotic flavours – enticing and addictive tastes that produce a whirlwind of sensations. Marvis search the world to bring you irresistible new and original flavours that turn the simple act of teeth brushing into a daily pleasure of discovery and taste.”

In A Jar

Recently started using Georganics toothpaste, and would highly recommend. Comes in a glass jar with metal lid and the seal is biodegradable. It does come with a little plastic spoon, but if you email them, they’ll send yours without one (they’re also hoping to swap to wooden spoons soon).
with thanks to Rebecca.
You can visit the website HERE.

And thanks is to Carriad Wholefoods for letting me know about Truthpaste natural toothpaste which also comes in a glass jar. They stock it and you can buy on line. These come in glass jars with metal lids.

Chances are the lids are plastic lined but it’s an improvement.

Teeth Whitening & Mouthwash

Someday you can use peroxide to whiten your teeth. I say it is revolting.

You can also use it as a mouthwash.

Brushes

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.

Bamboo Brush

But there are a number of all-natural, bamboo toothbrushes on the market some of which I have reviewed. You can find out more here.

Bamboo Brush With Nylon Bristles

In my opinion, these work better than all bamboo toothbrushes. Some claim the nylon bristles are biodegradable others dispute this claim. Best to treat this a reduced plastic option. Read more here.

Biodegradable Cornstarch Bristles

This is an interesting new project that might lead to better things.

A Biodegradable Cornstarch Toothbrush?
Sounds interesting – check out this Kickstarter campaign

My name is Alan Chen, and I’m the inventor of Smiti, an eco-friendly toothbrush with a stylish, minimalistic design that helps to reduce waste and save the environment.

I invented Smiti after researching how much our daily habits contribute to harming our planet. As the father of a little baby, I really want to contribute to a sustainable future for generations to come. We can all do little changes in order to help.

Smiti is a stylish, gentle and efficient toothbrush that does the job while helping to reduce waste. The interchangeable head of Smiti is made of 100% biodegradable PLA from naturals renewable sources such as corn starch, cassava root and sugarcane. The aluminum alloy handle can be used for years, and at the end of its long life, be recycled.

Using Smiti as a part of your daily dental hygiene routine can greatly help reduce the plastic waste caused by traditional toothbrushes.

I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign, where until March 27, 2017, Smiti is available to pre-at a great discount. Smiti comes in Black, White, and the exclusive Kickstarter color Rose Gold.

Learn more by checking out the Smiti campaign page: http://kck.st/2kbnkZN
Find pictures and more information in the Smiti Press Kit:

More

Find other plastic free personal care products here…

Making Other 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 making your own personal care products