Bye-Bye Bathtub Blues: Bathroom Chemical Alternatives

Going off to university changes your world—in many different ways. For one woman—let's call her Sandy—her most memorable change was related to household cleaners. In her second year, she moved out of the dormitory and into a shared house with three other roommates. The house, which was an older character home, only had one bathtub but no shower.

One day, two of Sandy's roommates knocked on her door with a box of baking soda in hand. "We'd like you to stop using chemical cleaners in the bathtub. My skin is falling off."

chemical cleaner alternativesRaised eyebrow. "But how will I clean the tub?"

"With baking soda." They held the box up. "We bought this for you—to get you started. Give it a try."

Yet another raised eyebrow and thought to herself, "Baking soda is for baking."

Sandy grew up in a home where everything sparkled and smelled of bleach. Counters, floors, mirrors, bed sheets, towels, you name it—all had been subject to chemical disinfectants.

She asked herself, "How can I sit in the tub knowing that others had sat in the tub, and the tub hadn't been properly cleaned?"

But Sandy had seen her roommate's peeling fingers and feet. If her chemical cleaners were causing that, she'd begrudgingly give it a try.

What she discovered was astonishing. The fine powder of the baking soda lifted and removed bathtub grime more easily than the other, coarser chemical cleaners. Because she had never worn gloves while using the chemicals, she noticed that the skin on her own hands weren't drying out like they did when she had used chemicals. The bathroom smelled

She had never thought of these things before. That was the most astounding part of it! much better, and she felt better about sitting in the water knowing that no chemical residue was in the bath water with her.


By her third year, Sandy was blending baking soda with borax powder and orange essential oil. Sometimes she used tea tree oil or cinnamon oil for their antimicrobial properties.

By her fourth year, she was a complete convert on all things chemical. Not only were the alternatives less expensive and less harmful, they also worked better! Her campus radio show highlighted these discoveries and interviewed fellow students, such as biochemistry, ecology, and environmental science students. The science was behind everything that she was learning.

Now all she had to do was convince her mom to try something new. Her mom had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Sandy was frustrated that her mom couldn't agree that a link between her cancer and chemicals might exist, and not only from chemical disinfectants but also from the 500 chemicals that penetrate her skin every day—from cosmetics, deodorants, moisturizers, nail polish and nail polish remover, hair products, and so on. But that is another story.

The happy ending is that, because of her switch to chemical-free alternatives for cleaning the bathroom, her roommate's skin improved. When Sandy got married and had her own children, she knew more than ever that she was doing the right thing for her babies' skin and overall health



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