Concerned mother and investigative chemist, Alexis Rochester, breaks down the differences between sanitizing and disinfecting. Alexis illustrates how to properly disinfect surfaces in your home and suggests very surprising and affordable do-it-yourself recipes to help you keep germs away without harming your health.
Her DIY recipes include everything from disinfecting spray cleaners to mold and mildew removers as well as a toxic-free ant spray. Alexis takes us outside to share how we can effectively remove and prevent weeds with her secret over-the-counter ingredient.
Finally, Alexis will share sustainable and nontoxic ways to breathe better and keep odors away as well as a healthy alternative for hand sanitization for just pennies on the dollar.
- How to Disinfect Properly
- Cleaning vs Disinfecting
- Natural Insecticide
- Safe Weed Killer
- Odor Absorbents
- Mold/Mildew Sprays
- FIVE Things To Keep In Your Home To Whip up ANY DIY
This episode is brought to you by The Building Biology Institute, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the holistic science that you can embrace in their seminars, courses, certification programs, fact sheets and videos on designing, building, remediating health-supporting structures in harmony with planetary ecology. Join informative thinkers and stay up to date with new research on their Facebook page and find out more and become a member online HERE.
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Lisa Beres: This episode of healthy home hacks is sponsored by the building biology Institute to learn more about creating indoor environments that support health and wellness visit their free resources at the BuildingBiologyInstitute.org
Narrator: How would you like to improve your health and keep your family safe? You're listening to the healthy home hacks podcast where we firmly believe enjoying optimal health shouldn't be a luxury healthy home authorities and husband and wife team Ron and Lisa will help you create a home environment that will level up your health. It's time to hear from the experts listen in on honest conversations and gain the best tips and advice. If you're ready to dive in and improve your well-being and increase your energy you're in the right place. Alright, here are your hosts vow biologists, authors, media darlings, vicarious vegans and avocado aficionados, Ron and Lisa Beres.
Ron Beres: Has this ever happened to you? You're on your hands and knees scrubbing sets in and scouring your home to get ready perfection. When an enormous truck-sized drop of sweat falls off your brow, landing conveniently on your freshly pressed shirt. And you notice the clock is still ticking. Even though your home is rarely at this level of clean, a special superpower takes over when company comes to visit. In this case, it's aunt Edna from Toledo, Ohio and like Ray Romano�s TV mom, Marie Barone, she's sure to make a snide comment or two or three should a dust bunny or bathroom mildew is spotted and heated theory you glanced at the clock. It's 1:30 pm and Edna's wheels, touchdown at two. Just one last swipe of the vacuum and you are good to go. Or are you suddenly your throat feels scratchy.
Your eyes begin to water. You're feeling congested, and here comes a pounding headache. The good news is the house is clean. The bad news is you feel like crap. Are the toxins, chemicals, and allergens found in the conventional cleaning products you use making you sick? Or are you allergic to Aunt Edna? I'm betting on the former. Hold on to your scrubby brushes because today we're diving into cleaning products and healthy homemade alternatives with our very special guest investigative chemist and mother, Alexis Rochester: of chemistry cache.
Yes. And to shed more light on this toxic subject is Alexis Rochester: and she is an investigative chemist bringing us the best, most accurate and proven science-based tips for cleaning skincare gardening and health and she is the owner and founder of Chemistry Cachet�and clean it before so you were to put food on it. And I guess that's a big issue that happens when we're talking about disinfecting and cleaning. So, I'd love for you to shed some light on it. Can you clean and disinfect at the same time? What do you recommend and what's the best thing to do?
Alexis Rochester:: So, there is a huge difference between cleaning and disinfecting and most products that you buy, they might say that they are disinfected, it's actually going to be a two-step process. Cleaning is going to be when you remove all the debris in the dirt or whatever you see on a counter or the floor that disinfecting you can't see. So, you don't know if you're removing the germs. It's something that goes on behind the scenes. You can use the same product to clean and disinfect, but only if the product you are that you bought says that it doesn't fix it has to say 99.9% of the germs it removes. So, I actually bought a product the other day just because on the back of it. It now says that you have to clean first and then you disinfect. So, you really have to make sure you're using a product that shows on there, that it disinfects. And then you have to do a two-step process to actually get that disinfecting going on.
Lisa Beres: Right. So, it is two steps. I think this rings true for hand sanitizing. Obviously, the CDC and these authoritative sources say, hey, hand washing is actually better than hand sanitizing because you're actually getting the dirt and the germs and bacteria off. Whereas if you just use hand sanitizer, you're not cleaning your hands. So ideally, you always want to be patient. That's why handwashing for 20 seconds is better. But a lot of people don't realize that they think the hand sanitizers the end all be all when in fact it's more effective, right? Because you're you're hitting it from both sides with the germs or bacteria.
Alexis Rochester: Yes. So, when you use hand sanitizer, typically Your hands are going to be dirty. And when you spray it on there, wipe it on there, it's not going to necessarily get all the germs off. That's why handwashing so much better because you are using soap and water. You're getting it all off your hands and it's going to be a lot more effective at getting rid of the germs, hand sanitizers good to use if you don't have anything else. It's a false sense of security in some ways. Yes, it is right. And not to mention, since hand sanitizers are such a hot topic right now with Coronavirus, and all of the things that we're going through worldwide, that there are a lot of toxic chemicals that can be hiding in the hand sanitizers, like synthetic fragrances and thickeners. And these kinds of things, preservatives, where you're not going to have that with your natural soap and hot water that you're hopefully watching for good 20 seconds, right? Would you say? Right, the two-second rule is definitely important. At least 20 seconds is really the best way to get your hands clean and to disinfect.
Ron Beres: Well, like this, this kind of goes hand in hand quote on you know, with a little time How do you properly disinfect the surface so everyone's worried about bacteria, the grime, viruses like you know COVID-19. Is this the same process? What do you do to clean a surface?
Alexis Rochester: That goes back to the two-step process that we were talking about. So, to disinfect the surface, the first thing you want to do is clean it and you can use you know, whatever you have on hand. You can even use soaking water but you want to make sure that whatever surface you're disinfecting is clean. So, you don't want to have any type of you know, food or dirt or crumbs. And then the next thing you want to do is use your disinfectant. Now it could be the same cleaning product that you have. If it has that disinfecting label on it but you want it really saturate the area and then let it sit for about five to 10 minutes and after that five to 10 minutes you can go back and wipe it off. And that is the best way to disinfect. A lot of the store brought disinfectants tell you to leave it on for 20 seconds because I haven't heard that that's a new interesting tidbit. They usually don't but I bought a product the other day because I was reading the back of the label and it says on there to disinfect, pre-clean the surface. Apply to the surface until it's thoroughly wet and then leave on for 10 minutes. Wow okay, and this is a popular I don't think people are reading that but I've never seen that on a label before. So, I think over the last several months they have added that on there because people just don't know to do that. And now are there certifications that we should be looking for that show that yes, this is proven to disinfect if we're buying a store-bought disinfecting. First of all, on the front, they'll have a label that says kills 99.9% and if it says that then it's a disinfectant and also on the back they will specify what it's been proven to kill so all the types of virus strands and bacteria will be listed on the back
Lisa Beres: I know on the back of the Lysol can, which we do not condone were healthy living experts. We know what he's spraying with Lysol, right, but Lysol actually lists coronavirus, because SARS was the coronavirus to people don't yet some people don't realize Coronaviruses are a family of viruses including COVID-19 we want something that works. We don't want anything caustic. You know, Ron's story at the beginning getting sick and not breathing and having sinus congestion or watery eyes and is on her way. And now we're sick, but our house is clean. So, what are some things in our home that we can use right now that can disinfect something safe, and that isn't going to cause toxicity to us in our family, right?
Alexis Rochester: So, there are two things that you have at home that you can use to disinfect. And these are very proven, so you know that they're going to, you know, keep you safe, but also not harm your health in the process. One of those is just going to be rubbing alcohol, and that's something that you buy in the first aid section. The best percentage is going to be 70% rubbing alcohol. And you just like I was saying before you spray a surface down to disinfect it, let it sit, and then you wipe it off. Another thing is hydrogen peroxide, the 3% that you buy in the first aid section, you can use that today. Disinfect surfaces at home and that shade for, you know, any surface. You can also buy food grade hydrogen peroxide which you can use for your cutting boards or, you know, anything that you're going to be eating off of. You can also clean your fruits and vegetables with that. Hmm, that's a good tip. Yeah, and it's very safe, because it's food-grade, so it doesn't have any stabilizers in it, the 3% that you buy the first aid section, that's going to be, you know, say for all of your surfaces, the only thing you have to watch out for with that is it does degrade pretty quickly. That's why it's in one of those dark bottles. Okay, that's the reason for the ugly brown bottle.
Yes, it breaks down very quickly. So, whenever you buy it, you want to make sure you buy kind of a smaller container because it does. Every time you open the bottle, the air is going to get inside it's going to break down. So that's the only thing you have to watch out for
Ron Beres: is that even better than distilled vinegar, for example, on vegetables,
Alexis Rochester: it is because vinegar doesn't disinfect. It's going to kill all the bacteria but it's not a registered disinfectant. So, if you want to be extra safe, you do need to get something like hydrogen peroxide and especially for your foods when you bring them home from the store. Does that affect the taste?
Ron Beres: of your food too? I would, I would imagine it probably tastes like hydrogen peroxide.
Alexis Rochester: I don't know what that Yeah, let's have a taste, but it is good to rinse it. You know after you clean your vegetables with hydrogen peroxide, just rinse it with water and it gets rid of any residue.
Lisa Beres: Would you dilute that Alexis because I would think you'd go through a lot of hydrogen peroxide? I guess you could put it in a spray bottle.
Alexis Rochester: Yeah, you can put it in a spray bottle and it does. The stuff that I buy from Amazon. It's just a food-grade it has on the back how you dilute it. And it depends on which brand it is but you do dilute with some water and you can just soak your fruits and vegetables just in a mixture in your sink and it will disinfect it off like water and hydrogen peroxide. Yes. And then it sounds like hydrogen peroxide might overall be the better bet than I mean obviously, they're both very inexpensive when you talk about finding these, you know at the drugstore. I know what
I've seen them and bought them we have them both that we were talking about dollars for each, right? They're very affordable and I would say hydrogen peroxide is probably more all-purpose because you can clean your foods with it your cutting board rubbing alcohol, you wouldn't want to use on something that you're going to eat. Right? But I think rubbing alcohol is better for, you know, just your basic surfaces now,
Okay, as a chemist could you add essential oils to the rubbing alcohol to cut that odor?
Alexis Rochester: Yes, you definitely can. Is there any reason that you wouldn't do though you can add essential oil to it. I add lemon to mine in anything like that is fine? You don't want to dilute it too much because you do want it to say 70% but a few drops of essential oil will not affect the percentage of alcohol.
Lisa Beres: Okay. And that brings me to tequila and vodka and alcohol which you know was all the everybody was talking about this when COVID first erupted and people are running out and buying alcohol that wasn't high enough proof right? All Thinking that that was disinfecting? Now if you get a high enough proof alcohol 70% or higher, that's fine, correct if you're going to have an inexpensive disinfectant,
Alexis Rochester: Right? I mean, you can use that it needs to be at least 120 proof to be able to clean with it. Okay, which that equals 60% alcohol. So that's, that's okay. And the CDC has even mentioned that you can use that if, if there's nothing else, you know, there's no rubbing alcohol, but it is expensive like you said, so I think that would only be the last resort.
Ron Beres: One thing I was curious to ask you was how do you properly use let's say homemade cleaners? So, I know for example, if you mix chlorine and ammonia, that is not a good thing. That's creating a gas. Right?
Lisa Beres: Right. I mean chloramine gas, right. Yeah, a deadly, toxic gas.
Alexis Rochester: So, when you make homemade cleaners, you have to be really careful to mix things that are safe to use. So, water is a good mixer dish. So, rubbing alcohol, those are all safe to mix as a homemade cleaner, and homemade cleaner. You have to remember are going to clean, they're not going to disinfect. So, like we were saying before, you want to always make sure you're still doing that two-step process, you can make a homemade cleaner, clean your surface, and then follow up with a disinfectant. So homemade cleaners are usually made to be safe for all surfaces, they're not going to be harsh, they're not going to be really strong. One of our cleaners that we use mixes rubbing alcohol dish soap and water, and it makes a great all-purpose cleaner, but it is diluted rubbing alcohol so it's not going to disinfect. So, you want to make sure when you make your cleaners, you're also doing the two-step process and you follow up with a disinfectant which can be just the pure rubbing alcohol.
Lisa Beres: You said they sell two steps in one bottle. I don't know if you use them, but you said you've seen them. So just yet banana cleaner. Do you have an example? Is there a name brand that we would recognize?
Alexis Rochester: I mean this one that you were talking about the lifestyle brand? Yeah. This is the one that we have here. But this is something different I've never seen it says with hydrogen peroxide, so they're using hydrogen peroxide as their cleaner. It's not the aerosol spray. Okay, that's so this is some new product. I haven't done any digging on the other ingredients, but it's mainly hydrogen peroxide. This is just an example. There are many of them at the store. But even if they do say that they disinfect, you still should be doing the two-step process. Because it's sitting on the surface for however long five to 10 minutes, it's going to disinfect the germs. So, you want to still make sure you're clean your surface and then you want to make sure you disinfect. So even a store-bought, you know, disinfectant, you still want to make sure you do the two-step process just to be safe and make sure you get all the germs.
Lisa Beres: Ron would be late to the airport getting Aunt Edna. You just added more cleaning to our lives. Thanks a lot, Alexis.
Alexis Rochester: Well, you know, before this pandemic, people never thought about this stuff. But it's funny that all of a sudden people were interested in people who didn't know that there was so much. Actually cleaning is very scientific and you know, you want to make sure you're doing the right thing. So, it does take longer, but it is the safest way to do it.
Lisa Beres: Now, do you have to do that every day? Like what? Realistically, people aren't probably going to do that every day. So, what do you think once a week or just when you feel like you've got exposure to something?
Alexis Rochester: I would say it's only going to be when you have touched something that you know, like for instance, when you come in from the store and you've been around all these people and you've been touching things, you want to disinfect your doorknob when you come home because you've touched the doorknob you come inside so any surface that you are going to be touching a lot or anything like if you have had bags outside like you've been at the doctor's office and your purse was at the doctor's office, if you come home and put your purse on the counter, you want to disinfect your counters so I would say it's going to be just with the situation. I don't do it very often because I don't really go to a lot of places but anytime I go out to the store to the doctor's office, I always make sure to disinfect anything That I've touched when I came home.
Lisa Beres: Mm-hmm. And I know you have a little one at home. How old is yours?
Alexis Rochester: She's two.
So, you're being extra cautious. I know you're also recovering from surgery and knee surgery, right?
Alexis Rochester: So, yes, I'm being extra cautious for her and for me too, because I have arthritis so my immune system is not the strongest and I just want to make sure I'm doing whatever steps I need to do to make sure you know we both stay safe.
Ron Beres: Well, you�re doing excellent because I don't know too many people who disinfect the actual doorknob. People clean the house entirely and don't even touch that usually so I doorknobs.
Lisa Beres: Doorknobs are dirtier than the kitchen sink great.
Alexis Rochester: Yes, they are. They're very dirty doorknobs. Your phone is going to be one of the dirtiest things, you know anything that your hands touch. The door handles of your vehicle are going to be dirty. So, you want to disinfect those two.
Lisa Beres: Yeah, because everyone thinks about the toilet or the kitchen sink and it's the areas that we don't we tend to not think about I know women's purses. I had read a study that was just loaded with germs and bacteria on the bottom. Sometimes when you're out you don't have a place to hang your purse. I know a lot of places start installing hooks and now they sell hooks that you can bring with you. But that's not always the case even sometimes in a public restroom, there isn't a hook available, or your gym bag or whatever that you wiping down those surfaces and shoes I know as biologists or nerve building biology, environmental consultants, and we take our shoes off before entering the home. It's a very easy way that we bring oh my gosh, yes, DDT, pesticides, fecal matter from the bottom of our shoes. You name it DDT that was banned, you know, decades ago, still can be tracked and they did a study at the University of Arizona and found 60% of household dust is tracked down from the bottom of our shoes. Yes, the shoes are dirty. So yes, take that little alcohol or hydrogen peroxide spray or Lightly, I guess lightly on a wipe and then just wipe the bottom of the shoes. If especially if you're not setting up a station, we kind of have a place in our garage and we just take off our shoes and we come in, or you could set up shelves, in a closet near your entryway, whatever works for you and your family or a lot of people even leave them in the front porch. But just getting in a habit. The Japanese and the Hawaiians have been doing this forever. And look how healthy they are.
Alexis Rochester: Yes, it's true.
Lisa Beres: So, speaking about biology, Ron and I are building biology, environmental consultants, and that is through the building biology Institute, which is a nonprofit organization that's dedicated to holistic science that you can embrace in their seminars, their online courses, their in-person courses, certification programs. They have amazing fact sheets and videos on their website that help you design, build and remediate health-supporting structures that are in harmony with planetary ecology. If you
Ron Beres: To find out more about how to become a member like Lisa and me, I would go to building biology institute.org they are amazing. They're an amazing organization.
Lisa Beres: One of the things that we get asked all the time is mold people, you know, they're very fearful of mold, they're not sure how to distinguish mold from mildew and one of the areas that we all I don't think anyone is immune to the mildew around the tub and the shower. Yeah, so what's a great recipe, something that's nontoxic that we could make to get rid of that mildew mold that we might find it in those high moisture areas of our home.
Alexis Rochester: So, one of the best things you can do is make a spray with tea tree oil and water. And tea tree oil is just a great antimicrobial, it's going to kill any type of mold or mildew on context. So, when you mix it with water, you can use that you know anywhere in your house and it's going to just immediately get rid of any of that mold or mildew in any type of residue. It leaves behind. You know, it's It can make it stain like grout or especially like around my shower where the shower door is any type of moisture, you know, you look and it's got little bitty pieces and mildew. So, this spray is just awesome for that and it's really easy to make and you don't have to get anything expensive. You can just use any type of tea tree oil that you find. I buy mine from Amazon, and it's I think it's about $9 for one of those bottles, but it lasts forever. Yeah, it lasts forever and you mix it with a lot of water. So, it's just a great and mold remover and you can also use hydrogen peroxide, but it's not as strong so I have a lot better luck using this tea tree oil mixture and it's good for any surface in your home. It won't harm anything. So, I use it in my natural stone and subway tile all pretty much all over the house. Really
Lisa Beres: You could use it in marble, granite countertops, all of that.
Alexis Rochester: Yes, you can use it on all of that and it's good for window sills. It won't stain anything. It won't get rid of at any time, you do need to use a little caution on a painted surface, but I use it on walls or anything that has a little bit of mildew. It's good for that's great. Yes,
Lisa Beres: Yeah. And mold is a whole other show. Well, the rule of thumb is if it's a 10 square feet or larger area that you suspect mold, it's time to bring in a professional and you don't want to be dealing with that yourself. And, if you suspect mold, you want to use precautions with gloves and a mask and things like that. And it turns out you have a mask now on hand that you can just
Alexis Rochester: Right.
Lisa Beres: Just be careful of that but you know, the general mildew just so listeners, you know if you're wondering about that the general mildew, it's normal. Bathrooms are very high moisture, you need to be using that exhaust fan and opening those windows every time you shower, right, because that moisture has to go somewhere and if it doesn't have an escape route, it's going to create mildew, which could lead turn into mold. mildew is just sort of more your surface. Level easy to wipe off with Alexa says wonderful recipe. But if you avoid if you ignore it and it gets out of control and it spreads and your mold needs moisture to thrive, it needs a food source and it needs moisture. So, if you're constantly getting that moisture in there and you're not keeping it clean or letting it air out, it could develop into a problem. So, Tea Tree oil is such a great idea. I love that I've used it many times and it is a very strong scent. I know that you have to be careful is this right Alexis with like touching it because it is really strong and a lot of these essential oils need to be diluted because they are very potent.
Alexis Rochester: Yes, it's very potent. So, you mix it with about half a cup of water so it's not going to be too strong but it isn't strong since some people are sensitive to it. So, I always tell people you know to make sure you have a window open or a fan on. That way, when you're spraying it, you're not overwhelmed by the scent but it is diluted enough to where it's not going to make you feel sick or give you a headache because it's pretty strong.
Lisa Beres: Okay, so would you say like 10 drops per half a cup of water?
Alexis Rochester: It's about 20 drops to half a cup to three-quarter cups of water. Oh, it's, yeah, it's a good mixture. And it's meant to be like a one-time to two-time uses. You don't want it sitting in a model for a long period. You want to make sure that it is used up within a few settings.
Lisa Beres: Okay, that's good to know. And does it need to sit on the mildew slash mold does it need to sit for a little while or just put it on and wipe it,
Alexis Rochester: I let it sit for about one to two minutes. You don't have to let it sit for an extended period. And you can see the minute you spray it, you can see it kind of working in especially like in the grout, you can see it just kind of getting rid of all the mold. So about one to two minutes is all you need to do.
Lisa Beres: Okay, so that's good just to recap. That's a good antimicrobial. We're talking about mildew and mold, very different from antibacterial that we discussed earlier. Okay, excellent.
Alexis Rochester: So, you mentioned a little bit about building biology. How did you get into that?
Lisa Beres: Oh, that is such a great question. I actually Over a decade ago, I was working as an interior designer. So, the interesting thing was my job was just making homes beautiful for people. And that was the end of that. And then I moved into a newly remodeled house here in Southern California and I was engaged to Ron, and I was living and working out of the house at the time. And, right after I moved in, my health started spiraling downward. I mean, I had chronic fatigue, I could not get out of bed in the morning, I was always getting sick, I had lowered immunity. I had really bad congestion and sinus issues, and Maria, edema and bloating and all of these things, hormonal havoc, and I didn't know why all of a sudden, I moved into this house and I went to about 12 different doctors, every kind of doctor, you could think of acupuncturist endocrinologist and these Indies. And no one could figure out what was wrong. They knew something was wrong, but they didn't know why or really how to treat it. And I had opened up a magazine and the natural building magazine and I saw an ad for the building biology Institute. And that they had these courses and how our toxins in our home are linked to these symptoms that I was having these illnesses. And I just dove head in and learned everything I could and became a BBC, which is a building biology environmental consultant. You know, at that time, my home had new carpeting, new flooring, new cabinetry, new vinyl windows, new fireplace, new sealants, you name it. And so, all of that off-gassing of these chemicals, I was breathing that in so I was living in a toxic soup. And Ron and I turned the course of our entire life into helping educate people on this topic because a lot I mean, so many people live in toxic homes, and they don't know it and they aren't taking medication for a symptom rather than getting to the root cause of what the problem is. And so, we dedicate our lives to helping people eliminate these toxins and educating them on the fact that they're there and what you can do to you know, live healthily, and create a safe sanctuary which we all need right now. Now more than ever.
Alexis Rochester: Yes. That's really cool.
Ron Beres: Hey, Alexis, I understand too that you have a remedy pesticide in particular for ants. It's an ant spray. Yes. And I gosh, I've tried so many things. I tried coffee grounds, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, but I understand you have the ultimate solution.
Alexis Rochester: Yes. So, we have a mixture and it uses vinegar, salt and dish soap, and water. You mix it in a spray bottle and the vinegar in the salt combined, they do a good job of killing me. So, if you've got ants in your kitchen, they come through everywhere, and you spray this solution and it's good at killing them. It also deters them from coming back to that area. And it also has dish soap in it as I mentioned, and that just helps the solution kind of stick to the ants. We also have readers use it for all types of bugs, they use it for roaches or little, you know, whatever comes into your house you can use it on but it's specifically good for ants.
Ron Beres: And that's because it's suffocating the exoskeleton of the ant, right?
Alexis Rochester: Right and then the vinegar is acidic so it just all works together and it's great to use for all types of ants. We even have readers use it outside an ant bed space, they just pour the mixture on an ant bed and it also gets rid of them. Fire and sugar ants; whatever type of ant you have.
Ron Beres: This is great and I understand that ultimately it gets rid of the chemical trail that goes back to where is the nest.
Alexis Rochester: Yeah, yes, we want to stop the source of where the answer coming from. But this sounds like this is a major deterrent for them to be in certain parts of your home where you don't want them to be like in your cupboard.
Lisa Beres: Right. I mean, we've all experienced that. I'm sure whether it's your kitchen. One time we had them infiltrating our bathroom on the third floor of our home was three stories high and so the top floor shower like these, these we all know answer aggressive, little, pesky, annoying, aggressive, and so they'll get anywhere they want to get and in that case, it was summer and they want the cool water they want to get into like moisture area that you Yeah, moisture food. And anytime I spray that solution, it, you know, kills the little trail and then they don't come back through that same hole. So, it's really good to turn them off. Mm-hmm. And that's the pheromone trail that they leave to tell the other ants where to go. So, I know the soap is important. I know in the past we've used just soapy water; we've used just vinegar; we've used coffee grounds and cayenne pepper and lemon juice and a lot of different natural remedies. But this one's really, I love the one that you just said salt, vinegar, and a little dish soap. And is there any water in there?
Alexis Rochester: Or no? Yes, there's water. And there are about two cups with that solution. So, the water just helps everything mixed together and it makes it safer for your surfaces. So, if you were to spray it on your countertops or your you know, wood floor, this just makes it safer. It's not as strong,
Lisa Beres: Okay, and it doesn't matter what kind of salt it can be. Can it be sea salt or regular?
Alexis Rochester: The best thing to use is just fine table salt and that makes it mix better. So, if you have sea salt, you can just grind it That's a little bit, but anytime to solve that's fine can be used?
Ron Beres: Does it leave a sticky residue? You know, I've never heard of the salt thing. It�s very interesting because I've not heard that before. But with that I would imagine, right and is there a crust or something that's left behind?
Alexis Rochester: It does leave a little bit of a residue, especially with the salt. So, on my blog, just under the recipe, I tell people, you always want to let it sit there a little bit, make sure the answer is gone, and then just wipe it off with a wet towel or cloth. And it won't leave a lasting residue as long as you wipe it off.
Lisa Beres: That's really good to know. And I know, we all know about Roundup, Monsanto's roundup as a weed killer and how incredibly toxic and dangerous that is. And I think the World Health Organization classifies it as a class 2B carcinogen. We don't want to be using that. One of the things that we have told our readers and listeners over the years is white distilled vinegar, really great for killing weeds, but I think you've taken that to another level. And I'd love to hear your input on like what's a good natural weed killer that is even more effective than just white vinegar.
Alexis Rochester: So, this is a similar solution to the one we just talked about with the ants, it uses the same ingredients and it's a little bit more concentrated. And it's a great weed killer and we have a secret ingredient in ours is arthritis rub. It's a liquid rub for arthritis. I know that sounds kind of funny, that's crazy. But the active ingredient is going to be capsicum in that and it just makes the whole solution work quick. So the vinegar the salt, the dish soap and water, it will kill a weed and with our added secret ingredient it just makes the weed killer work a lot quicker so if you think it might rain or a lot of people are worried about moisture, you know if you spray something on a weed and moisture you know do the next morning comes through it might not kill the weed as quick. So, with this active ingredient, it just makes it work quicker. And like you were saying regular vinegar is good at killing weeds. It will you know make the weed wilt and kill it but this solution will help it get to the root so you won't know the week coming back. And it's good at all types of weeds, especially those that you find like in the cracks of your driveway or your flower beds. It's just a really good solution and it works quickly and it won't harm the surrounding foliage or is that a concern? It is a little bit of a concern if you have some type of runoff. So if you sprayed in a flower bed and you've got a sprinkler that comes through and, you know, kind of washed and stepped down, you want to make sure that you don't spray it too close to a shrub or a flower that you want to keep. So not your roses. Yeah. A lot of people are worried about their trees. It's not strong enough to harm a tree or anything like that, but you don't want to spray it on your grass or on a flower that you planted because if it does, it will kill other things. After all, it doesn't know how to discern what type of plants are sprayed on. Right. So I always tell people you know, at least about a foot to two feet from a shrub or flower is the safe way to spray it in it. won't harm a tree. It's not strong enough to harm anything, you know, with a massive root system, but it is a really good option and it works quickly too.
Lisa Beres: Okay, so just to recap for listeners, so it's vinegar, salt, dish soap, and this, where do you get the rub but the art
Alexis Rochester: Well, that I found that in the first aid section in my store, I bought it personally to use on, you know, arthritic pain. And I noticed on the back that it had capsicum is one of the active ingredients, and I just mixed it, just for the heck of it one day, and it made the solution work quick. You can buy it on Amazon, you can buy it at your grocery store, and it's a liquid arthritis rub. Oh, it's a liquid. So
Lisa Beres: The capsicum Are you buying the capsicum by itself? Or are you buying it contained in a product in arthritis aisle? Or is it just that within the rub?
Alexis Rochester: Yes. Okay, that's why you use the red so it's kind of a way to get liquid capsicum. Most of the stuff you find is a powder which you can Add that we have a section on our blog that kind of tells you what to use if you can't find this particular rub, but with it being liquid.
Ron Beres: What's your blog name again?
Alexis Rochester: Yeah, it's chemistrycachet.com. it's a liquid, so it makes it mix better.
Lisa Beres: It's under different name brands, or are you just looking for something that has that in the ingredient?
Alexis Rochester: You're just looking for something that has that, we kind of break it down because this has become such a popular recipe that people are selling out of this particular type of rub on Amazon. So, we have a couple of different options if you're having trouble finding it, but as I said, I find it at my grocery store, they still have it and it's just about $1 or two, it's very cheap. It lasts forever for this solution. So, it's very affordable. And it's just an easy way to get that ingredient as a liquid and it just makes the solution work better.
Lisa Beres: How much water goes into the weed killer.? How are you diluting that?
Alexis Rochester: This one does not have any red water in it actually, this one is going to be a lot more vinegar. So the solution is mainly vinegar, just for the higher acidity and then it has salt and it has dish soap and then it has a few teaspoons of the Arthritis rub Okay, so this one doesn't have water like the other one because it's a lot stronger you're using it outside on your weed and that's what you want to make sure you kill the weed and root okay?
Lisa Beres: Which is so important right? That's really yes yeah annoying to do a lot weeding and then find it back a couple of weeks later.
Alexis Rochester: Right. It's very hard to get the roots.
Ron Beres: Alexis, this is unique from what I understand you're about to share with us too is that I know of, for example, we have a handful of air purifiers in our home and one of our air purifiers uses a filtration blend of what is zeolite and carbon for air filtration. You know, but I understand you have an amazing tip for a natural one ingredient odor absorber.
Lisa Beres: Yes, so the zeolite rocks like you were talking about you can buy those just in a bag and they come in big chunks. They look like rocks. And you can put those throughout your home and they will absorb odors well. You can put them in your kitchen and your bathroom and you can leave them soon. out. And they, as I said, they just look like rocks. And you can take them outside and put them in the sunlight and it recharges them and then you can use them again. So, I've had my bag for a few years, and it just lasts a long time. And I just keep recharging it and I take him back inside. As I said, it's really good for the kitchen, you know, after you've cooked and there's a lot of food odors. You can set some of those out, they will absorb the odor people using for pet odors. They're just very easy to use. And you can buy them on Amazon. They also have them in pet supply stores. It's interesting. Yeah, that's the first time I had heard about zeolite was like Ron said the air purifier that we use and love one of the top brands that we suggest that uses a carbon zero light blend was good at removing formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen that's very prevalent in our homes today. And in fact, our producer of this show had done a kitchen remodel and the contractor said Oh don't worry, we're not using any toxic you know, sealants or anything like that. formaldehyde-free kitchen cabinetry because our cabinets the MDF is a very prevalent source of formaldehyde exposure with the adhesives that are used. And they like couldn't even breathe or sleep; it was so potent, the smell. That's why that new home smell when we get sort of as Ron talked about, you know watery eyes and scratchy throat and sinus issues and headaches from all these chemicals and VOC�s like formaldehyde, they're off-gassing into the air that we're breathing. And you know, we think we think this new home smell is so wonderful. And in fact, it's chemicals it's a chemical smell. So, the zeolite is good for absorbing not just odors but even these chemicals which I think is so fantastic. I didn't know you could recharge them that's pretty amazing.
Ron Beres: Yeah, I didn't either. That was impressive because I typically have to change the filtration system every one to two years right with the amount, they're giving you so I'd be interested to know if that's something that can be recycled or. Alexis, this is off-topic here.
Lisa Beres: Alexis is going to put all the cleaning companies out of business and all the air purifiers. And we're just gonna go shopping to the drugstore, down the first aid aisle.
Alexis Rochester: It�s really good being able to recharge them. Now there are different types that you can buy, you know, some of them are small because people use them in like fish tanks or with their pet show, I buy the real big ones. And those are the ones that you can recharge because they're so large.
Lisa Beres: How big are the large ones?
Alexis Rochester: The ones I have are probably about an inch diameter. They kind of vary in size, but the bigger the better. So, you don't want the ones that are real, you know, little like pebbles and the big ones you can recharge outside.
Lisa Beres: Wow, that's interesting. You wouldn't know when it was time to recharge. If you start smelling the odors or you just have to kind of let your nose guide you.
Alexis Rochester: You just kind of have to figure it out. So, I had some sitting out and I could tell you know after I cooked it just really wasn't helping with the odor so I recharge them outside. You can also recharge them in the oven. Like my heating A month but usually the type that you buy, it'll have directions on the back out of recharges.
Ron Beres: Mm-hmm, that's excellent. What area does it cover? So, if you had a small bowl of these rocks, would that be like a six-foot square area? What would be typical?
Alexis Rochester: It�s a small area. So, if you have a really big open kitchen area, you would probably want to have multiple bowls sitting out of the rocks. If you have like a small area, like a three-foot-wide closet or something small, you know, one small bowl with would work well for that. So, you want to have more if you have an open space because it does need, I would say probably about three to four-foot-wide type of space is what it would cover. And so, they're really good for bathrooms and bathrooms laundry. Yes,
Lisa Beres: Yeah, yes. is where you're gonna get moldy. mildew who what damp towels from the gym, those smells that you just want to get rid of.
Alexis Rochester: Right? Mm-hmm.
Lisa Beres: Laundry baskets, that kind of thing. That's really great. Can you give us a recipe that listeners can make one Now, you know when they can't hand wash taking the car or wherever they're going on the road, something that they could make simply and affordably?
Alexis Rochester: So, the best thing to do, like we were talking about before is you want to get 70% rubbing alcohol. And you want to just use that pure in a spray bottle. So, I just put them in one of those little tiny spray bottles, you want it to be 70% for the best disinfecting properties, so I just put it in a spray bottle. That's what I carry around. It is a little bit harsh on your skin using it all the time, especially because we're constantly you know, doing that now. So, you can add a little bit of aloe vera to it and to kind of soften it but again, you want to be using that straight 70% rubbing alcohol, okay, and I've seen a lot of companies are making it now. And I've looked at the ingredient list and it's just, they're just using 70% rubbing alcohol so it's cheaper just to buy that and put it in a spray bottle.
Lisa Beres: Aloe Vera is also a moisturizer. Or is it more just to give it the gel consistency,
Alexis Rochester: it's moisturizing. And it does add a little bit of, you know, the gel-like texture. I use a natural one. So, it's not real thick. It's kind of more of a liquid. So, it doesn't necessarily make it like the store-bought. But it can be a little bit softer on your hands.
Lisa Beres: And then how about like a little bit of vitamin E oil as a natural preservative? would you suggest that in there too,
Alexis Rochester: You can add a little bit of that, you know, just even a few drops can help it not only preserve it, but it can also make it a little bit softer on your hands.
Lisa Beres: Because alcohol is so drying people don't realize that like especially people that are overusing the hand sanitizers. It's so drying right on the skin and it can break when your skin starts cracking. You're kind of defeating the purpose because now you're allowing bacteria to get into your skin.
Alexis Rochester: It's also very painful. I've had that situation happens, just testing all the cleaners that I make. So, I know what that's like, but you do want to make sure you're using it. If that's all you have on hand, so like we were talking about before, you want to be washing your hands because it's going to clean your hands and disinfected by getting rid of all the debris that's on your hand.
Lisa Beres: Washing your hands and 20 seconds sing Happy Birthday twice, or the ABC�s. Right and really and then really get in there. And learn how to properly wash like you get in between the fingers like this. You get in under the fingernails like this.
Ron Beres: We need a moisturizer.
Lisa Beres: Yeah, but this isn't hand washing. Nowadays you got to get in there.
Alexis Rochester: You also want to go up pretty high because if you're wearing short sleeves, I mean, I almost go up to my elbow. If I've been especially in a doctor's office or you know, someplace like that. You just really want to take it up high. So.
Lisa Beres: it's a great tip, right. Yes. Yeah. If you're worried about someone sneezing on you, you know, get the arm higher up.
Alexis Rochester: Just the whole arm, just right in there, and don't be afraid to wash your hands.
Alexis Rochester: It�s really important also to take a shower when you've been out a lot of people don't think about their hair, you know you're out in public people might be breathing on you. It's not as huge of a concern, but it's something you want to keep in mind that it's not just your hands that are getting germs, it's other parts of your body. So, you want to make sure that you shower often. You know, it's not just your hands that get dirty.
Ron Beres: Trick question. So, you're at the gas station, you're filling up your car with gas, you realize the car handles probably infected with tons of germs. What do you do?
Alexis Rochester: Viruses, bacteria, and you've already touched it
Ron Beres: Well, you�ve just left your car. Now you're touching the handle of the gas pump. So, in your you're going back to your car, what do you do? What's your process?
Alexis Rochester: Well, I keep little clean X's or little napkins with me and I don't touch anything. with my bare hands. I always try to use like a little cloth or a little napkin something that I have to keep my hand as far away from what everybody else has touched. If I did already touch the handle, that's when I'm going to take that rubbing alcohol out. to spray my hands, I'm probably going to spray a little bit of the surface of that. I'm going to make sure that anything I've touched inside my cars is going to be disinfected, spraying everything down, letting it sit for a long time. And but I always try to make sure that I use something besides my hand to grab the nozzle. You're so Pro. You know, the thing is, I've been doing this for a couple of years. So, way before COVID-19 so I guess I was a little bit ahead of the curve, but I don't know, I guess I guess it's good to do now.
Lisa Beres: Now you've met your match because Ron is not revealing. He is very he's been like, I don't want to say germaphobe but you know, and he taught me because as we were traveling a lot you know, I would reach up to turn the vent you know the air to get some airflow around and be like I don't touch that with your finger. Yes, yeah.
Lisa Beres: And now since then, I've written articles on how disgusting and germy airplanes are set. Now with COVID-19, they're going to be cracking down. It's kind of Again, they're finally going to be watching those disgusting tray tables.
Alexis Rochester: And those awful.
Lisa Beres: I don't know if I've ever been on a plane where I put the tray table down and it was clean. Yes. And so yeah, you know even the armrests and the controls the kiosks that the screens where you're pushing your finger at, you know, making sure to use a knuckle this would go for whether it's a kiosk or screen or even at the gym like the gym equipment. Using a knuckle, I know they're going to be more stringent wiping things down too. But you just don't know if the sweaty guy like Ron was just on it.
Alexis Rochester: The funny thing is, is I was at the hospital just a few months before COVID happened and a lady commented because I was touching everything with my elbow. I opened up the elevator with my elbow. I just didn't use my hands for anything and she said what are you what are you doing? Is there a reason for that? And I said germs. She just kind of looked at me funny. But you know, now that all this stuff is going on in the world, people are kind of understanding that
Lisa Beres: Bump, fist bump for hand touching. Yeah, right. We gotta. We don't want to be paranoid, but it's just common sense. And it's good, Alexis that you are like, Oh, well, that's what I do. Because you know, Yes, you did. You're not sick. And you just have to kind of get rid of those social, you know, perceptions of, oh, who cares what people think, you know, you've got to just do what feels right to you. And if you notice something like that you want to protect yourself, because this is about and of course, building up your immunity, which is what we tout is at the end of the day, your strong immune system is everything. If you have a strong immune system, and you know, we didn't get it, we didn't discuss a lot of the toxic chemicals that are in the traditional name brand cleaners. But that's what this show is all about today is how can you avoid that stuff that's taxing your immune system and making you more susceptible to germs when you use these recipes that we went over today, and use these natural products that are completely nontoxic. You're going to be less susceptible to getting or catching a virus and catching a germ or having like, major health repercussions from that. So always, always, always go for the least toxic thing. And in this case, DIY saves you money, it saves your health. And I guess once you get in the habit, Alexis, right, once you get in a habit, you've got all these bottles, you know, it just probably becomes second nature. Like it sounds a little overwhelming for people at the beginning. But I think once they have their little arsenal of healthy products, you know, it's just about refilling them,
Alexis Rochester: Right? And it's also just handy. You know, sometimes you go to clean something and you don't have the product on hand. You think oh when I'm out of this, you can just whip together something that you have on hand and it's just, it's convenient to know how to make, you know, alternative recipes. Mm-hmm.
Lisa Beres: Okay, so give us leave us with five or six things that we should have in our home based on what we talked about what we're going with shopping tomorrow, let's pick up or we're going to order on Amazon. Let's pick up the things we need.
Alexis Rochester: So, you want rubbing alcohol 70%, hydrogen peroxide and it comes in 3% you want that. Vinegar, just the regular cooking vinegar. It's usually 5% acidity, that's always good to have on hand.
Lisa Beres: Can you use apple cider vinegar as a substitute if that's all you have?
Alexis Rochester: If that�s all you have, you can I don't like it as much because of the coloring, it can stain. Okay, surfaces. So distilled white is going to be the best option but, if you don't have that on hand, whatever you have is fine. Okay, that you want to buy the white distilled vinegar, good dish soap, just concentrated dish soap. They have so many different types at the store.
Lisa Beres: And we recommend a natural dish soap with no unnecessary colorings and things like that. So just go for something basic.
Alexis Rochester: Right there and there are many options with the store. Just you want to make sure you always have just soap on hand and in a concentrated solution is best for that.
Lisa Beres: Dr. Bronner's is a great soap.
Alexis Rochester: Also, for a lot of the recipes we talked about salt, salt is good to have on hand. We have a blog post about How to Clean with salt. You can use it for a lot of unique things. So that's something good to have on hand. So how many is that?
Lisa Beres: Did we say tea tree oil?
Alexis Rochester: That�s right. And, and that one I buy it on Amazon. They have it at stores, grocery stores, you know anytime that you can find works really good for that recipe and I think, how many was that?
Alexis Rochester: The good extra credit that you're adding would be the zeolite rocks.
Ron Beres: Alexis, how did you get into this toxic-free product mission? How did this all start for you?
Alexis Rochester: I would say it just something that I started looking into. You know, as I said, I have arthritis. I was trying to just come up with ways to you know, minimize the chemicals that were in the home and it just made me more aware of what was going on behind the scenes and I started digging into ingredients and especially also my mom has asthma, so breathing issues, everything you know, I wanted to create things that were going to be as strong just in cement or you know, in the air.
Lisa Beres: Right. So, there's so many, there's so many caustics and respiratory irritants in these cleaning products that, you know, not only people are using but professional cleaners. So yes, they have a very high incidence of certain cancers because of these products and respiratory issues. And so you're just doing a good job for not just yourself and your family but, the world when you switch to healthier products and also as these things get into our waterways when they're being disposed of, they affect the waterways and the aquatic life and all of that so we have a responsibility not just in our own homes but for our planet of course, and I know you I know we didn't talk a whole lot about essential oils besides I think tea tree but I know you have a recipe for hand sanitizer for the holidays where you use like peppermint and some wonderful scents. Yes, giving those as gifts to people making your own hand sanitizer and then putting in some beautiful scents and packaging those up as I think That just makes such an amazing gift for others
Alexis Rochester: Yes, and essential oils you know there's not a lot of research on him so you have to be careful what you're using. Like I said the tea trio we talked about is one of those it's just very research it's very proven, which is why I like to use it and peppermint oil is another one of those it's very researched it's also really good for those things and I use them you know mainly for the sense to you can add a scent to any type of homemade cleaner with essential oils and you know, it's safe, it's easy, it has a good scent. You just still have to be careful about you know, the clean and disinfecting with the essential oils because there's just not enough research out there. So that's a lot of reasons why you're not seeing a lot about it. A lot about it with all the Coronavirus stuff people aren't talking about it because there's just not enough research hopefully there will be you know, in the coming years with that but right now you just have to be careful.
Lisa Beres: Yeah, and I know there's a brand clean Well, I don't know if you know that brand, but they use time. Yes, they have an interesting ingredient and it's actually on the EPA is approved the list of disinfectant cleaners for COVID that's another one. Thyme. Yeah, Thyme oil. So, it's amazing. A lot of the things we've been eating and cooking with, we can clean with.
Ron Beres: We are kindred spirits. our listeners know that but as we leave here, I want to leave them with some fun facts about you. Okay, you get a lot of inspiration from old movies, you're a fan of looking up facts related to cleaning and skincare from that period as well. Which is so telling. right because what our grandparents were doing was effective at cleaning the home. Thank you for bringing this to our attention and our life. Alexis, great connecting with you.
Lisa Beres: You know, we always say, grandma knew best with our cleaning recipes. You know, our grandmas used all the natural stuff because that's all they had. And we love that you go into these 1940s and 50s movies and like to research what they use for not just cleaning but skincare. I know that's something you discuss on your website as well as natural skincare. So, thank you again, thank you so much for your time. Knowledge and for your inspiration and passionate about what you do and for making the world a better place. Thanks for being with us.
Alexis Rochester: Awesome. Thank you
Lisa Beres: And listeners. We hope you enjoyed the show. Please tune in next week for another episode and we're going to teach you how to turn your home into a safe sanctuary.
Narrator: This episode of the healthy home hacks podcast has ended. But be sure to subscribe for more healthy living strategies and tactics to help you create the healthy home you've always dreamed up. And don't forget to rate and review so we can continue to bring you the best content. See you on the next episode.
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