_I had a wee run in with some bleach fumes a couple of days ago. The bleach won that particular battle but I, fortunately, won the war...I hope.

Without going into a ton of detail, due to no fault of my own I unintentionally inhaled bleach fumes because of someone washing a floor nearby with a strong concentration of bleach and water. A lot of bleach fumes. Enough fumes to make me feel "loopy" - that being a technical term. It left me with an allergic reaction that lasted for a few days and believe me I felt and looked crappy. I was actually concerned there for a while. I was wheezing and sneezing so much and my lungs and throat hurt that I was afraid it might affect my singing voice. It's only been a couple of days but my body has done its work and has started to rid me of the toxins I inhaled. We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made and I am trusting that everything is going to be OK.

I was looking online for some details on bleach, in particular inhaling it's fumes and came across the following -

Exposure to High Concentrations of Bleach can result in eyes burning, nose irritation and coughing. Exposure to extremely high levels of bleach, such as 500 ppm (a concentration significantly greater than household bleach), could result in respiratory damage, chronic bronchitis and airway hyperactivity. In some cases, death can occur. Always wear the appropriate equipment and protective masks when working near high concentrations of bleach. According to the Hazardous Substance Emergency Events Surveillance, a report published by the state of Maine, you should always report any symptoms that may occur, including coughing, nausea, shortness of breath, watery eyes, chest pain, irritation to the throat, nose and eyes, and wheezing.

Interestingly enough all of the underlined symptoms were my particular symptoms over the last couple of days.

Today, once I was feeling a bit more human I Googled some more, in between bouts of playing online Scrabble - SIDELINE NOTE: NEVER PLAY SCRABBLE WITH A DOCTOR - THEY KNOW MORE WORDS - and I came across this site. The Hidden Dangers of Cleaning Products. This is a worthwhile and quick read. Obviously the writer has read my prior blog posts., although he's not nearly as funny as me. As a matter of fact I'm sure he wears very sensible glasses. But, is this not what I have been preaching these past few months?

There is a better way. A cleaner, less toxic way to do things. One that doesn't leave you wheezing. One that you don't need to make sure the doors and windows are open for proper ventilation. I should say I do have bleach in the house. I use it maybe twice a year and in really low concentrations. For the most part I use vinegar and baking soda. I should buy stock.

Vinegar is a natural disinfectant. Straight 5 percent solution of vinegar—the kind you can buy in the supermarket—kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of germs (viruses).  You can drink straight vinegar - I don't recommend it, but you could. You can't drink straight chlorine bleach. Isn't that proof enough?

If people really thought about what they were spraying about their houses, mopping their floors with, washing their dishes, counters and bathrooms with, they would stop dead in their tracks. Please stop dead in your tracks and think before you drop dead in your tracks for good.

This Mama's Floor Cleaner

1 Cup Vinegar
1/4 Cup Baking or Washing Soda
1 Tbsp Liquid Dish Soap
Hot Water

Mop as usual. It's Clean. It's Fresh. It's Easy. It's Cheap. AND it works. No toxins.

Tonight is Spicy Soba Noodle night. I was really looking forward to it. Quick and easy. Yummy. Then I got home. Hubby is in between jobs and has been off for a few weeks. He starts work this weekend (thank God, but don't tell him I said that). He's trying to fill his days with things to do. I keep hinting that working on the garden would be helpful, but he decided to clean the oven. We'll he's not really cleaning it, the oven is cleaning itself. But, I'm sure he felt all proud of himself for pushing the button and turning the handle.

Now it's 7:10 and I still can't access my stove. I shut it off two hours early and I'm waiting for it to cool down and work for me. I'm sorry, did he not think when he put the dang thing on at 5:00 pm with the little timer flashing at 4 hours that maybe just maybe it might cause a problem?

So, I'm blogging. Except I have nothing to say. Actually I do, I always have something to ramble on about.

Here goes the ramble ... I love it when you find something simple, safe and effective. Ladies and Gentlemen - let me introduce you to Chamomile Tea. Here are some things that I use Chamomile Tea for -

  1. Drink it at night - duh
  2. In my bath - great if your skin is irritated, itchy, sun burnt, rashes. (add some ground oatmeal and your skin will be soooooo soft)
  3. On my hair - it lightens my hair naturally. I like that a lot!
  4. For mosquito bites - I discovered that this summer actually. Mosquitoes loved me this year. Put some chamomile tea in a spray bottle. Spray it on the bite and it has something in it that actually numbs the nerve endings (which is one of the reasons it is good for a sunburn too). It would stop the itching, and believe me I had welts this summer from those blood suckers.

I love Chamomile Tea! Especially the hair part. Which reminds me of something funny that I noticed today. I was looking in the mirror and I had this reddish/pink section of hair.   It's quite something! Rather funky. Although I couldn't for the life of me figure out how my hair changed color seemingly overnight. Then it dawned on me - I cut up a beet last night for the salad at dinner (remember the beet from the farmer's market that cost an arm and a leg?). Cut up it looked like a lovely tie dye decoration from the 70's all red with white swirls but it bled like a stuck pig when I sliced it. My hands look like I had murdered something by the time I was done. I must have unwittingly touched my hair to put it behind my ear before washing my hands - and there you have it. Instant funky dye, natural and tastes good too - if you don't mind the hair. I kinda like it. I might do it on purpose one time.

Here's one final thing and it is not about food, well it is in a round about sort of way, but it's more about cleaning.

Here's a link that my sister-out-law sent me - I think it's a great site. Now I should note that I haven't tried all of the ideas here, but none of them can hurt. I will say that I've used it for uses #10, and 9 (which work great by the way) and I will NEVER admit to use #1.

Top 10 Uses for Used Coffee Grounds

Oh my, the stove can now be used, and I'm hungry. It's only 7:45. I'll be eating by 8:15/8:30. How posh.

So this is the final installment in my cleaning arsenal. My Funky De-Gunky. I don't use this all the time, but I wouldn't be without it. It is awesome! It's chemical counterpart would be like Fantastik (not the musical - the cleaner). The only thing is that it requires rinsing, which I have stated earlier I only do if I have to. I am typically lazy remember? This spray is great in my old stainless steel sink. Whenever I use it I think "Wow! This stuff is awesome!". If you want to whiten something and make it gleam, this is the stuff. It cuts through grease like nobody's business. (What does nobody's business even mean?) Anyways, I use it on my fridge, my sink, walls, stainless steel appliances and the list goes on and on. But it doesn't contain vinegar so no disinfecting that I'm aware of and it requires rinsing. Sho is awesome tho.

Funky De-Gunky

1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2    tsp Borax
1/2 tsp Liquid dish soap
2 Cups Hot Water
1         Spray Bottle (Find them at the Dollar Store)

Mix 'em up in the Spray bottle. Put on some funk and get rid of de-gunk.

So that's it. You can basically clean your entire house with the following ingredients.

Vinegar (I use the vinegar especially for cleaning, but regular white vinegar is fine)
Baking Soda (more uses than you can fathom)
Liquid Dish Soap (I use a natural one - but any will do)
Olive Oil
Several Spray Bottles (I buy mine at the Dollar Store)
Microfiber cloths (I got mine from Wal-mart in the car wash section)
Squeegee (for outside windows)

It's easy. You'll feel good about getting the chemicals out of your house and being good to your family. And THEY WORK as good and in some cases BETTER than their chemical laden and expensive counterparts! Your house will be clean, gleaming and most of all chemical free. No need for gloves. No need for paper towels. You may need  a new piggy bank to put in all the money you'll save. You may even find over time you have less headaches - even less migraines. I promise you won't turn into a hippy. You'll still be you only cleaner, naturally.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!


When I was a kid there was a lady who cleaned the church bathroom. Sister Redekop was very diligent in her work. She also had severe body odor and hairy armpits. Actually, she was generally hairy, at least the parts of her that were visible and I dared to look at. She also used vinegar to clean the bathrooms. For years the smell of vinegar reminded me of body odor and Sister Redekop. And still...

Miracle All Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner

1/4-1/2 Cup Vinegar (I use the type specifically for cleaning - balsamic is not recommended)
1/2 tsp. Liquid Dish Soap
2    Cups Water

Put it all in a spray bottle. (I got mine at the Dollar Store)

1 Package of lint free microfiber cloths (I got mine at Wal-mart)

You can clean so much of your house with this product it's nuts. I sound like the father from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" with the Windex. But it's true. This stuff is great!

Use on:
  • Glass Tables
  • Mirrors
  • Stainless Steel Appliances
  • Counter Tops
  • Bathroom Counters and Sinks
  • Furniture (but I'll talk about that later)
  • Windows (use a squeegee)
  • Floors (depending on type of floor) I use a damp mop method.
  • Walls and more ...
Some examples ...

I have glass tables in the living room. Spray it on, wipe with the cloth. Flip the cloth over to dry, and you're done.

Windows are a snap. Get a squeegee and you'll have a big job done in no time. Spray the window with your miracle cleanser. Give them a wipe with one your handy dandy micro fibre cloths. Then squeegee away. Streak free shine.

Bathroom - Spray it on the counters and sinks. Leave it on for a bit. (I clean the mirrors while it sits) and then wipe. Sparkly clean.

The value ...

This cleaner is cheap like borscht. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant. It works! And, if you imagine you're eating salt and vinegar chips while your cleaning it's rather fun and filling. The thing is, you know what is going on your surfaces. It's vinegar and some soap. You can drink vinegar (I don't recommend it unless its on a salad) and you can eat soap (unless you said bad words I don't recommend that either). The thing is it won't hurt you, but it cleans like a trooper and gets rid of the germs. It's good stuff. Try it. You'll get use to the smell. Remember Sister Redekop? If I can do it, so can you.