I rarely meet people that deal with food allergies that don't deal with eczema, too. If you are one of the lucky ones who does not, you have no idea how blessed you are! I honestly thought Tyler would suffer with some degree of eczema nearly everyday of his life. But, thankfully, I was wrong!
One of the first things I did this past spring started out as more of an attempt to be frugal than anything else. The response I saw from it, however, inspired me to do tons of research and eventually led to us being eczema free.
So, what did I do? Made my own cleaning products!
Yes, I know it sounds crazy. But I was tired of paying an arm and a leg for cleaners that made me cringe each time I used them near my children. They were, after all, chemicals.
I also had an idea in the back of my mind that these chemicals might be aggravating Tyler's eczema.
The first cleaner I experimented with was laundry detergent. I had used All Free & Clear since Tyler's birth. This, it turns out, is what is recommended for those with eczema. Funny how I had this step in place while he was still in the womb!
But, I wondered if this really was best. I did a lot of research to find a cheaper alternative. I also read that homemade detergents were easier on eczema. Great!
While there are many recipes out there with basically the same ingredients, I found mine in this ebook I purchased.
Here is the recipe:
1 cup of Ivory soap flakes
1/2 cup washing soda (not baking soda but also made by Arm & Hammer. Look for it with laundry detergents (runs about $3) or buy it on Amazon here.
What works best for me: I run the bars of Ivory soap over the cheese grater to make the flakes. Then I throw all three ingredients in my food processor. After about a minute of food processor magic, I have a nice fine powder. The supplies listed above will make a ton of this stuff so it is very cost effective, even if you have to buy the pricier Amazon version.
I admit that until I started looking at my household cleaners in a different light, I always used Comet or Soft Scrub to clean my bathtub (and sinks). Ever notice how foul and "chemically" that stuff smells? Even though I tried to get the residue out when I cleaned, I tried to make sure my husband or I took a shower before Tyler took his bath just to make double sure the reside was gone.
Then I discovered that baking soda has that same scouring power only is less harmful to the skin. Yes, I'm talking about that stuff that sits in your cupboard that you cook with. Did you know some people use it as soap, shampoo and even toothpaste? That says a lot about how gentle it is.
What works for me: Sometimes I just sprinkle the baking soda alone and scrub away. (I keep it in an old Parmesan cheese container.) If I have a really dirty job, I squirt a little dish detergent on it. (I'm currently looking for a gentler coconut-free version of this but for now I use Palmolive)
Where to buy: I get a 12lb bag of baking soda for about $4 at Sam's. I'm sure many of other wholesale clubs sell it. You can also buy the little boxes used for cooking. Amazon carries the larger boxes, too. All Purpose Cleaner
OK, I didn't have as much luck here with homemade in this but I found an alternative I am truly happy with. The recipe I tried (and failed with) was also from the ebook. My issue was the baking soda leaving a film. There are other recipes out there but they all pretty much use baking soda.
So, I gave up and bought something organic and non-toxic. While I wouldn't advocate eating it, of course, if something is non-toxic, I feel like it will be gentler and safer for our eating surfaces and Tyler's skin.
One caution for this, if you avoid coconut like we do, read labels very, very carefully. (I have a feeling you already do that, right?) Many products that are non-toxic contain this allergen. Here is what I selected: Shaklee Get Clean: Basic H2 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate. I bought mine from ebay. Here is a link to some currently out there. I use 1/4 tsp for about a liter of water. This bottle will last me for YEARS.
Most the hard floors in my home are wood laminate so that impacted the recipe I chose. I think I combined a few recipes so I'm not even sure who to credit. But here is the recipe I use:
1/4 cup vinegar (you can buy half gallons at most grocery stores) 1 quart of water a few drops of Basic H2 (see above)
What works for me: I put this little concoction in a spray bottle and spritz on the floor. Then, I take a terry cloth mop and wipe. If needed, I dry it with a towel. (You do not need to rinse this.)
Sometimes I use a little essential oil to cover the vinegar smell. If you don't, the vinegar smell disappears when the floor dries...I promise! :)
So what is the gist of this step (and many of the future posts) to clearing up eczema? Avoid a multitude of chemicals whenever possible!! They are not good for your skin or your health!!
You don't have to use the recipes I suggest here. Google homemade cleaners. Find a recipe or two to try. Allow yourself to fail and try something else. This is an excellent step in the right direction. If you have any questions about this step, don't hesitate to leave a comment or email me!!
Join me next Monday when we look at another way to clear up eczema.