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Mercola on Cancer .

Oct 24, 2016 - 0 comments

tory at-a-glance +

By Dr. Mercola

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. According to the latest statistics, about 181,000 men get diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the U.S.

However, while common, it has a survival rate of about 86 percent. Of those diagnosed, about 26,000 die from the disease each year.1

Unfortunately, conventional diagnostics and treatment options for prostate cancer leave much to be desired. Conventional diagnosis includes PSA testing and biopsy, which are prone to false positives and carry risks of side effects.

Treatment typically involves drugs, surgery and/or radiation, all of which are risky. There ARE safer, less invasive ways to diagnose and treat prostate cancer, however, so men would be wise to investigate their options.

Last year, I interviewed award-winning filmmaker and prostate cancer survivor Peter Starr on this topic, which is also covered in his latest documentary, "Surviving Prostate Cancer Without Surgery, Drugs or Radiation."2

A number of safe and all-natural strategies have been shown effective against prostate cancer, including nutritional ketosis, exercise and supplements. Most recently, researchers discovered a bioactive compound in the neem plant (Azadirachta indica) appears to have potent ability to quell prostate cancer.
Neem Has a Long History of Medicinal Use

Neem has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, and the ancient Vedas refer to neem as a tree "capable of curing every illness." It has well-established benefits for your skin, and is commonly used in personal care products.3

It also is used to ease gastrointestinal problems and strengthen immune function, and as both a spermicide and an insect repellent. As noted in the Biojournal of Science and Technology (BJST):4

    "[Neem's] leaves, barks, fruits, seeds and roots contain compounds with proven anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, anti-histamine, anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-ulcer, analgesic, anti-arrhythmic, anti-tubercular, anti-malarial, diuretic, spermicide, anti-arthritic, anti-protozoal, insect repellant, anti-feedant, anti-hormonal properties and anti-cancerous uses. …

    From various research articles it can be presumed that [neem] has chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic potential against cancer models … [including] acting against the breast cancer cells, against gastrointestinal tract and associated cancers … [and] ovary cancer cells."

Neem May Be a Potent Ally Against Prostate Cancer

Now, animal research suggests nimbolide — a bioactive terpenoid compound found in neem — may shrink prostate tumors by as much as 70 percent, and suppress metastasis by about 50 percent when taken orally for three months.5,6,7,8 No noticeable side effects were observed.

According to lead researcher Gautam Sethi, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore:9

    "Although the diverse anti-cancer effects of nimbolide have been reported in different cancer types, its potential effects on prostate cancer initiation and progression have not been demonstrated in scientific studies.

    In this research, we have demonstrated that nimbolide can inhibit tumor cell viability — a cellular process that directly affects the ability of a cell to proliferate, grow, divide or repair damaged cell components — and induce programmed cell death in prostate cancer cells …

    [A] direct target of nimbolide in prostate cancer is glutathione reductase, an enzyme which is responsible for maintaining the antioxidant system that regulates the STAT3 gene in the body.

    The activation of the STAT3 gene has been reported to contribute to prostate tumor growth and metastasis. We have found that nimbolide can substantially inhibit STAT3 activation and thereby abrogating the growth and metastasis of prostate tumor."

Other Research Supporting Neem as an Anti-Cancer Aid

While exceptionally promising in rodents, nimbolide has not yet been tested in humans, so further research will be required. The team intends to continue investigating the compound to evaluate its efficacy in combination with commonly used prostate cancer drugs as well.

That said, consuming neem either in supplement or tea form will automatically provide nimbolide.

Even though the whole herb will provide only a small amount of nimbolide (compared to the straight compound given to the animals in this study), previous research has indeed found neem extract to be useful against prostate cancer. In 2006, researchers reported that:10

    "[A]n ethanolic extract of neem has been shown to cause cell death of prostate cancer cells … by inducing apoptosis as evidenced by a dose-dependent increase in DNA fragmentation and a decrease in cell viability … So the neem extract could be potentially effective against prostate cancer … "

Lifestyle and Prostate Cancer

Treating and preventing prostate cancer (and other cancers) requires more than taking a supplement. Your diet is a vital part of the healing equation and exercise is another important metabolic optimizer.

Previous research suggests losing weight can reduce your risk of prostate, breast and colon cancer by as much as 20 percent, and this effect is thought to be due to reductions in these proteins and other inflammatory compounds stored in fat cells.11

According to a 2011 study published in PLoS One,12 aggressive prostate cancer was associated with obesity.

Another cohort study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention13 in 2013 found that men who were overweight or obese increased their risk of prostate cancer by 57 percent.

Here, the association between obesity and prostate cancer held for all cases — low-grade and high-grade, early stage and late, nonaggressive and aggressive prostate cancer.

When it comes to exercise, research suggests maintaining a high level of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in middle age helps cut men's chances of dying from prostate cancer by nearly one-third (32 percent).14,15

Exercise reduction of cancer is most likely related to improving insulin receptor sensitivity and PGC 1-alpha that increases mitochondrial biogenesis.

Optimizing your vitamin D level, which is ideally done through sensible sun exposure, is another key ingredient for cancer prevention. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to several common cancers, including cancers of the breast, colon and prostate.

Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine recently discovered that men diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer tend to have vitamin D levels below 23 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). According to this study, vitamin D may actually be used as a biomarker to predict cancer:

    "[B]ecause vitamin D is a biomarker for bone health and aggressiveness of other diseases, all men should check their levels, [lead investigator Dr. Adam] Murphy said. 'All men should be replenishing their vitamin D to normal levels,' Murphy said. 'It's smart preventive health care.'"

You can also improve your benefit from vitamin D by increasing your healthy levels through sensible sun exposure and not by swallowing it.
Other Important Anti-Cancer Nutrients

In addition to vitamin D, vitamin K2 appears to be a noteworthy player in prostate cancer.

German doctors evaluating the effect of vitamins K1 and K2 on the development and treatment of prostate cancer found that those who consumed the greatest amount of K2 had a 63 percent reduced incidence of advanced prostate cancer.16,17

Vitamin K1 intake did not offer any prostate benefits. Other nutrients and foods shown to influence your prostate cancer risk include (but are not limited to) the following:

• Foods rich in omega-3 fats have been shown to prevent prostate cancer from spreading.

One clinical study18 published in 2006 found that while omega-6 fats (the kind found in most vegetable oils) increased the spread of prostatic tumor cells into bone marrow, the spread of cancer cells was BLOCKED by omega-3 fats, suggesting that a diet rich in omega-3 fats could potentially inhibit the disease in men with early stage prostate cancer.

A more recent meta-analysis19 of available research, published in 2010, found that fish consumption was associated with a 63 percent reduction in prostate cancer-specific mortality, even though no association between fish consumption and a significant reduction in prostate cancer incidence could be found. This is related to the fact that toxin-free seafood is the ideal source of DHA, not omega-3 fats from plants that are poorly converted to DHA.

• Sulforaphane found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli has been shown to cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) in prostate cancer cells.20 Three servings of broccoli per week may reduce your risk of prostate cancer by more than 60 percent.21
Supplements That Support Prostate Health

Besides neem extract, other nutritional supplements that promote prostate health may be helpful in the prevention and/or treatment of prostate cancer, such as:

• Saw palmetto. This herb is widely used to improve prostate health, and can help raise testosterone by inhibiting up-conversion to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by as much as 40 percent.22 As explained by drug industry insider Rudi Moerck, Ph.D., (see hyperlink above), while many conventional experts believe elevated testosterone can promote prostate cancer, this risk appears more strongly correlated to the testosterone breakdown product DHT.

Testosterone levels in healthy men typically decline with age, which is one of the factors involved in prostate cancer, as your prostate gland requires testosterone to remain healthy. One doctor who is trying to re-educate people on this point is Harvard-based Dr. Abraham Morgentaler. He has meticulously demonstrated that restoring testosterone levels in aging men does not increase their risk of prostate cancer.

On the contrary, those with low testosterone are the ones at greater risk. For an interesting article that contains a lot more information about this, read Abraham Morgentaler's report "Destroying the Myth About Testosterone Replacement and Prostate Cancer."23

While the evidence is limited, a small number of laboratory studies suggest saw palmetto may be helpful against prostate cancer by targeting mitochondria, activating the apoptopic pathway and reducing inflammation.24,25

When choosing a saw palmetto supplement, be sure to look for an organic supercritical CO2 extract of saw palmetto oil, which is dark green in color. Since saw palmetto is a fat-soluble supplement, taking it with a small amount of healthy fat, such as coconut oil, MCT oil, avocado or eggs, will enhance the absorption of its nutrients.

A more recent meta-analysis of available research, published in 2010, found that fish consumption was associated with a 63 percent reduction in prostate cancer-specific mortality, even though no association between fish consumption and a significant reduction in prostate cancer incidence could be found. This is related to the fact that toxin-free seafood is the ideal source of DHA, not omega-3 fats from plants that are poorly converted to DHA.

• Astaxanthin in combination with saw palmetto. Research suggests taking astaxanthin in combination with saw palmetto can provide significant synergistic benefits. One 2009 study found that an optimal dose of saw palmetto and astaxanthin decreased both DHT and estrogen while simultaneously increasing testosterone.26

• Ashwagandha. This ancient Indian herb is known as an adaptogen, which can help boost stamina, endurance and sexual energy. Research published in 201027 found that men taking the herb Ashwagandha experienced a significant increase in testosterone levels. I recommend using only 100 percent organic Ashwagandha root, free of fillers, additives and excipients, to ensure quality.
Toxins May Increase Your Prostate Cancer Risk

Avoiding toxins is also important. As with breast cancer, many of the chemicals that are ubiquitous in our homes and environment have been shown to increase your risk of cancer. Some of the most common culprits are those that disrupt your endocrine function.

Based on a review of more than 1,300 studies, an Endocrine Society task force recently issued a new scientific statement28,29 on endocrine-disrupting chemicals, noting that everyone needs to take proactive steps to avoid them.

Similarly, a report30 co-produced by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), issued in February 2014, suggests an outright ban on endocrine disrupting chemicals may be needed to protect the health of future generations.

Touted as the most comprehensive report on endocrine disrupting chemicals to date, it highlights a wide variety of health problems associated with exposure, including prostate cancer. Some of the most ubiquitous endocrine disrupters to watch out for include:

• Atrazine.31 This herbicide is the second most commonly used agricultural chemical, and one of the most common water contaminants in the U.S.Atrazine is a potent endocrine disruptor, and studies show it can chemically castrate and feminize wildlife, and may induce both prostate and breast cancer.

• Phthalates

• Bisphenol-A and bisphenol-S (BPA and BPS). BPA, which mimics the hormone estrogen, has been linked to increased prostate size, decreased sperm production, hypospadias32 (penis deformation), erectile dysfunction33 and stimulation of prostate cancer cells.

Be aware your exposure may be far greater than you ever suspected. A 2011 study34 found that simply eating canned soup for five days increased study participants' urinary concentrations of BPA by more than 1,000 percent compared to eating freshly made soup.
Should You Get Screened for Prostate Cancer?

According to a report by the Institute of Medicine, approximately 30 percent of all medical procedures, tests and medications may be unnecessary.35 The American Academy of Family Physicians' (AAFP) "Choosing Wisely" campaign has also identified more than a dozen procedures that appear to have little value, and in many cases do more harm than good.36 Included in this list is routine screening for prostate cancer using a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.

The PSA test tends to result in over-diagnosis of prostate tumors, many of which are benign and do not actually require treatment. The U.S. spends $10 billion per year treating prostate cancer, but studies suggest the 30 million men who get screened annually for prostate cancer are actually put at risk due to the ridiculously high numbers of false positives.

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, 30 to 40 percent of men treated for prostate cancer actually have harmless tumors that would never have caused a problem.37 As noted by Dr. Jessica Herzstein, a preventive-medicine consultant and member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, "You're going to die with them, not of them."

Estimates suggest 15 prostates must be removed in order to prevent just ONE prostate cancer death, and these surgical procedures carry serious side effects including impotence and incontinence.

More than half of older men have pathologic evidence of prostate cancer, so PSA screening makes little sense. The PSA is an indicator of inflammation, and inflammation can be an indicator of health problems besides prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia or cancer. It's certainly not a definitive test, and should not be the sole basis for the decision to do a biopsy, as the biopsy itself can cause significant damage.

One alternative is to get an annual digital rectal exam. Your doctor can feel your prostate to find out whether it's hard, or whether there are noticeable nodules. Then, rather than getting a biopsy done right away, consider getting a 3D-color Doppler ultrasound done first. For more information, please see my previous article, "How to Survive Prostate Cancer Without Surgery, Drugs or Radiation."
To Prevent Cancer, Remember the Basics

Remember, your lifestyle can be more or less predictive of your cancer risk, so always start with the basics: Make sure you're eating a nutrient-dense, non-toxic diet, which basically means ditching processed foods and focusing your diet around whole, fresh foods, ideally organically grown to avoid toxic pesticides that can increase your cancer risk.

Avoid animal products from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), as these animals are routinely raised with hormones, antibiotics and glyphosate-contaminated genetically engineered (GE) grains. Processed foods in general are anathema to good health, but particularly when you're trying to prevent or heal cancer.

If a toxicology screen reveals high amounts of toxins in your body, a detoxification program would be in order. My absolute favorite form of detox is a full spectrum infrared sauna that has near-infrared frequencies and low EMF. Most infrared saunas have only far-infrared and are high in EMF. I believe selecting a sauna that keeps your head out of the heat is also important and I am working on developing one that meets this spec early next year.

You may also want to do a saliva panel to check your hormone levels. Low testosterone and/or excessive estrogen may be factors that need to be corrected. For low testosterone, you could start out with herbal supplements, high intensity exercise and/or intermittent fasting rather than jumping right into testosterone replacement therapy.

Also remember to check your vitamin D. For optimal health and cancer prevention, make sure you maintain a clinically relevant level of 40 to 60 ng/ml year-round. If you already have cancer, you may want to consider an even higher level.
You Can Prevent, and Beat, Prostate Cancer

Checking for insulin resistance goes along with your dietary intervention. If you're insulin resistant, you need to be particularly careful about cutting down on sugar, ideally limiting your total fructose consumption from all sources to less than 15 grams per day. Thankfully, nutritional ketosis is one of the best ways to improve your insulin receptor sensitivity.

If you are overweight, you can use fasting as a very powerful therapeutic tool and the best resource for that is Dr. Jason Fung's book "The Complete Guide to Fasting." I would strongly encourage you to listen to my recent interview with Fung.

Another powerful tool to maintain nutritional ketosis is intermittent fasting. Nutritional ketosis is not something you maintain for your entire life, but is part of a feast and famine cycling that allows your body to repair and regenerate while maintaining its ability to burn fat.

Once you've cleaned up your diet, adding certain herbal supplements such as saw palmetto (with or without astaxanthin) and Ashwagandha may help support your prostate health.

These are just some suggestions that can minimize your risk of prostate cancer and help treat it should you be diagnosed. There are many others. For example, increasing selenium and magnesium while decreasing calcium may reduce your prostate cancer risk, and simple strategies such as prostate massage can be a helpful adjunct to prostate cancer treatment.

The main take-home message is that you have options when it comes to prevention, diagnostics and treatment. Also remember that, while any cancer diagnosis is distressing, when it comes to prostate cancer, you likely do have time to pursue alternative routes of treatment. Rarely is it necessary to jump right into drugs, surgery or radiation. So try not to let fear rule your decision-making process.

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Oct 12, 2016 - 0 comments


    The garment industry has an enormous impact on your health and the environment, from pesticide and heavy water usage to toxic dyes and the carbon footprint of shipping
    Many laundry detergents contain toxic chemicals that contribute to water pollution. Microfibers are also released from your clothes during washing, contributing to declining water quality and destruction of wildlife
    Fabric softeners and dryer sheets are also loaded with hazardous ingredients that are best avoided to protect indoor air quality and prevent environmental pollution

By Dr. Mercola

Few shopping decisions are of no consequence these days. The foods you buy certainly have an enormous impact on your health and the environment, but so do the clothes you buy, wear and wash.

According to clothing designer Eileen Fisher, who was honored for her environmental work at the 2015 Riverkeeper's Annual Fishermen's Ball,1,2 "The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world ... second only to oil."

Keeping your clothes clean also has a dirty downside. Many laundry detergents contain toxic chemicals that contribute to water pollution and can pose a hazard to people with chemical sensitivities.

Dry cleaning is also notorious for the toxic chemicals involved, which can off-gas for days afterward. Microfibers are also released from your clothes during washing, contributing to declining water quality and destruction of wildlife.
The Price for Disposable 'Fast Fashion' Is Steep

As reported by Ecowatch:3

    "Fashion is a complicated business involving long and varied supply chains of production, raw material, textile manufacture, clothing construction, shipping, retail, use and ultimately disposal of the garment.

    While Fisher's assessment that fashion is the second largest polluter is likely impossible to know, what is certain is that the fashion carbon footprint is tremendous …

    A general assessment must take into account not only obvious pollutants — the pesticides used in cotton farming, the toxic dyes used in manufacturing and the great amount of waste discarded clothing creates — but also the extravagant amount of natural resources used in extraction, farming, harvesting, processing, manufacturing and shipping.

    While cotton, especially organic cotton, might seem like a smart choice, it can still take more than 5,000 gallons of water to manufacture just a T-shirt and a pair of jeans.

    Synthetic, man-made fibers, while not as water-intensive, often have issues with manufacturing pollution and sustainability. And across all textiles, the manufacturing and dyeing of fabrics is chemically intensive."

Environmental Impacts of Cheap Clothing

Inexpensive clothing has become so common today, it's not unusual for people to have closets overflowing with clothes they never wear, or to throw away clothes worn only once or twice.

But the low price tag is deceptive. Upon further scrutiny, each item of clothing exacts a significant toll on the environment, and on human health across the globe.

In some areas, cotton has led to severe ecological devastation. Ecowatch mentions Uzbekistan, the sixth leading producer of cotton, where irrigation for cotton plantations have led to the depletion of water in the Aral Sea and the subsequent failure of fisheries in the area.

In a mere 50 years, the water level in the Aral Sea has diminished to where it is now less than 10 percent of its former level. Fertilizers and pesticides pollute what little water remains, and the dry, exposed lakebeds have created "a public health crisis," as winds carry and spread the contaminated sand far and wide.

Organic cotton, which is more sustainable, accounts for a mere 1 percent of the cotton grown across the globe. Great benefits could come from expanding the organic cotton industry.

However, while free of pesticides and many other harmful chemicals, organic cotton still requires a lot of water, and organic cotton fabrics may still be dyed with potentially hazardous chemicals.

Each year, an estimated half a trillion gallons of fresh water is also used in the process of dyeing textiles, putting added strain on declining fresh water supplies.

Add to that the carbon footprint associated with shipping — from field to various manufacturing facilities where the fabrics and final items are made, onward to retail stores across the globe — and the end result is still far from ideal.

The entire supply chain needs to be cleaned up, but organic cotton is still a big step in the right direction, considering the serious harm being done by pesticides.
Toxic Garment Dyes Wreak Havoc

Textile dyeing facilities tend to be located in developing countries where regulations are lax and labor costs are low. Untreated or minimally treated wastewater is typically discharged into nearby rivers, from where it spreads into seas and oceans, traveling across the globe with the currents.

An estimated 40 percent of textile chemicals are discharged by China.4 According to Ecowatch, Indonesia is also struggling with the chemical fallout of the garment industry. The Citarum River is now one of the most heavily polluted rivers in the world, thanks to the congregation of hundreds of textile factories along its shorelines.

Tests by Greenpeace reveal the river water contains alarming amounts of lead, mercury, arsenic, nonylphenol (an endocrine-disrupting chemical) and many other toxic chemicals — all of which are dumped by textile manufacturers straight into the river without even the most basic of chemical filtration or treatments.

The final clothing items also contain nonylphenol, and it can take several washes before it's all washed out. This means the chemical is also entering your local sewer system.

Nonylphenol is considered so hazardous that many European Union (EU) members have banned its use in the garment industry. It's not even allowed in imported textile goods. The U.S. has no such restrictions, however.

Each year, Americans buy an astounding 22 billion items of clothing, and only 2 percent of these items are made in the U.S. Transportation alone, since each item has been shipped numerous times from country to country by the time it ends up in a retail store, creates an enormous amount of air pollution.
The Dirty Side of Clean Clothes

Once you've purchased a piece of clothing, you come to the next area of concern: washing the item. Not only do most laundry detergents contain harmful chemicals, but the garment itself may be contributing to the problem of toxic pollution by releasing chemicals and fibers.

• Flame-retardant chemicals are found in many garments, for example. Virtually any garment promising to be stain or water resistant also contains hazardous chemicals.

Worn against bare skin, such items could be a source of toxic exposure, but even in the best case scenario, these items contribute to water pollution when washed. Flame retardants do not break down into safer chemicals in the environment.

They may travel great distances from the point of origin, accumulate in people and animals in the food chain and have long-term toxic effects.5

Exposure to these chemicals at a critical point in development may damage your reproductive system, and cause deficits in learning,6 memory, motor skills and behavior. Some have also been identified as carcinogenic.7

• Phthalates are another chemical hazard. While not typically associated with clothing, a recent pilot study found that cotton and polyester fabrics pick up both flame-retardant chemicals and plasticizers such as phthalates from indoor air.8

Phthalates are chemicals used to make plastics more pliable. They leach out from the plastics as the product ages, and are toxic to you and the environment. 9

Phthalates have carcinogenic effects and affect reproduction10 and development.11 When clothing carrying the chemicals is washed, the chemicals enter wastewater and are released into the environment.12

• Microfibers are another common water contaminant that originate in our laundry rooms. Each washing of a synthetic fleece jacket releases 1.7 grams of microfibers. The older the jacket, the more microfibers are released.13 Tests reveal acrylic fibers release the most microparticles.14

Up to 40 percent of these microfibers leave the wastewater treatment plant and end up in the surrounding lakes, rivers and oceans. To address the problem, scientists are now calling for appliance companies to investigate the effectiveness of adding filters to catch the microfibers.15

A recent study from the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) directly linked plastics and man-made fibers to the pollution in fish.16 Microfibers, which are more prevalent than microbeads (found in face scrubs and similar items), are particularly dangerous as the fibers are easily consumed by fish and other wildlife, accumulating in the gut and concentrating in the bodies of other animals higher up the food chain.

Textile fibers are found in both marine and freshwater fish. When Abigail Barrows, chief investigator for Global Microplastics Initiative, sampled over 2,000 marine and freshwater fish, 90 percent had microfiber debris in their bodies. High concentrations of acrylic and polyester fibers are also found in beach sediment near waste water treatment plants.17

Making matters worse, these microscopic plastic fibers soak up toxins like a sponge, concentrating PCBs, pesticides and oil in ever higher amounts as you move up the food chain.

Different types of machines may release different amounts of fibers and chemicals from your clothes, poisoning wastewater runoff and clogging the water supply with hormone disrupting chemicals and plastics. Research found that top loading machines released about 530 percent more microfibers than front loading models.18
The Toxic Impact of Laundry Detergents

Laundry detergents also pollute rivers and lakes, contributing to algae overgrowth and fish die-offs. Surfactants and phosphates (the latter of which is used to soften the water and suspend dirt) are among the most destructive pollutants.

According to a previous report by Mother Earth News,19 sodium nitrilotriacetate (NTA, an organic nitrogen compound), and organic polyelectrolytes could be used as substitutes for phosphates. Both are believed to be biodegradable, and overall would pose far less of a risk to the environment. Enzyme "pre-soak" stain removers may be among the worst, as they contain about two-thirds phosphate.

Still, even biodegradable detergents can be problematic when used in massive quantities by hundreds of millions of people. As noted by water treatment solution company Lenntech:20

    "Detergents can have poisonous effects in all types of aquatic life if they are present in sufficient quantities, and this includes the biodegradable detergents. All detergents destroy the external mucus layers that protect the fish from bacteria and parasites; plus they can cause severe damage to the gills.

    Most fish will die when detergent concentrations approach 15 parts per million [ppm]. Detergent concentrations as low as 5 ppm will kill fish eggs. Surfactant detergents are implicated in decreasing the breeding ability of aquatic organisms.

    Detergents also add another problem for aquatic life by lowering the surface tension of the water. Organic chemicals such as pesticides and phenols are then much more easily absorbed by the fish. A detergent concentration of only 2 ppm can cause fish to absorb double the amount of chemicals they would normally absorb …"

Fabric Softeners Are Also Loaded With Harmful Chemicals

According to the "Guide to Less Toxic Products"21 by the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia, fabric softeners often contain quaternary ammonium compounds, or "quats," and imidazolidinyl, both of which are known to release formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde can cause joint pain, depression, headaches, chronic pain and a variety of other symptoms. Studies suggest formaldehyde can damage your DNA and may even lead to cancer. For about 5 percent of people, quats are an extreme sensitizer that can cause a variety of asthma-like symptoms, and even respiratory arrest.22

Fabric softeners also contain carcinogenic coal-tar dyes, ammonia and very strong fragrances. A single fragrance can be made up of literally hundreds of chemicals, none of which have to be disclosed or tested for safety. Most are derived from petroleum products, which means high potential for human toxicity. Fragrances are one of the leading causes of allergic reactions.
Why You're Best Off Skipping the Dryer Sheets

Next, you probably put your clothes in the dryer, which has its own ramifications for your health and environment. First, dryer exhaust contains carbon monoxide,23 an odorless gas posing well-known health dangers, depending on the concentration in which it's inhaled. Consider this if your child's bedroom window is close to your dryer vent.

Scented dryer sheets are commonplace as well, and as your clothing dries, toxic vapors are released into your house, thereby compromising your indoor air quality — and out into the neighborhood.

Anne Steinemann, Ph.D., professor of civil and environmental engineering and public affairs at the University of Washington, has done a large amount of research into what chemicals are released by laundry products, air fresheners, cleaners, lotions and other fragranced consumer products. In one study,24 in which she evaluated dryer vent emissions from 25 common brands of scented laundry products, she showed that:

• More than 600 VOCs (volatile organic compounds) were emitted, and none of these chemicals were listed on any of the 25 product labels. However, clues to the presence of these VOCs include label listings such as "biodegradable surfactants," "softeners" or "perfume."

• Two of the VOCs are considered by the EPA to be carcinogenic (acetaldehyde and benzene) and unsafe at ANY exposure level.

• Seven of the VOCs are classified as "hazardous air pollutants."

• The highest concentration of emitted VOCs was acetaldehyde, acetone and ethanol.
Alternatives That Make Sense

It is safer, less expensive and kinder to the planet to shift to less toxic laundry products. Seeking out clothing made from organic fabrics made according to sustainable practices also needs to become more the norm than the occasional exception. Yes, such garments are more expensive (right now), but they also tend to last longer with proper care. And at the end of the day, we all need to start paying attention to the larger picture.

In this case, "fast fashion" is taking too great a toll on the environment and, ultimately, human health — including your own — even if you don't happen to live near a garment or textile factory spewing toxins right into a local water source. Conscious consumerism needs to be high on our agenda as we move forward, because the world is getting more toxic with each passing day.

There's definitely something to be said for the minimalist trend where you own fewer but higher quality items made in a sustainable way that you can wear for many years to come. Here are some tips and suggestions for cleaning up your laundry and developing a more sustainable wardrobe:

• Opt for organic cotton, organic hemp and/or wool items, ideally colored with nontoxic, natural dyes when possible. While this will not solve all of the environmental problems related to the garment industry, it's a huge step in the right direction.

• In lieu of toxic detergents, opt for unscented, nontoxic alternatives. Soap nuts, for example, do a fine job of cleaning items that are not heavily soiled. Castille soap or Arm and Hammer Washing Soda are other DIY alternatives.

• Fabric softeners are typically unnecessary, but if you feel you need it, try this DIY recipe from the Kid Feed blog:25

    "In a recycled gallon-sized vinegar jug, add 2 cups baking soda and 2 cups distilled white vinegar. When mixture finishes foaming, add 4 cups of hot water and essential oils (optional) to desired strength. (Try using 20 drops each of lavender and lemon.) Shake before each use, and add about 1 cup for large loads in the rinse cycle."

• Dry your clothes naturally on indoor or outdoor drying racks.

• If using a dryer, skip the dryer sheets. To prevent static cling, use wool dryer balls or a wad of aluminum foil instead, or simply remove your clothes from the dryer before they're completely dry. The remaining moisture helps prevent static cling. Let your clothes dry fully on a drying rack. Another trick is to launder natural and synthetic fabrics separately, as synthetics cause most of the static problems.

Naloxone: Easier access proposed for overdose antidote for morphine, fentanyl and other opioids

Mar 16, 2016 - 0 comments

Families could help drug users

Harm reduction advocates have wanted the antidote to be more easily available as well, including the staff physician at Halifax's Direction 180, a methadone clinic.

"Families are excited about the possibility that they might have something in their home that might contribute a little bit to being able to help their loved one," David Saunders said.

Overdose deaths don't happen only at parties or on the street, Saunders said.

"Over the last three or four years there have been multiple cases of people who have died at home or close to home with family members," Saunders said.

"Other than calling 911 and trying to access help, [they] have their hands tied. There's nothing they can do."

Cape Breton drug users will get kits of opioid overdose drug naloxone
​Fentanyl antidote key to preventing Nova Scotia deaths, says activist
That could soon change. Health Canada says it's concerned a growing number of people are dying from opioid overdoses. The department is proposing to make naloxone an over-the-counter drug.

The move is a "great step in broadening expansion or access, but it is not a silver bullet," said Cindy MacIsaac, executive director of Direction 180.

She wants Health Canada to approve a nasal spray version of the drug, a step taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November. Naloxone also should be added to the provincial formulary so that its cost is covered by Pharmacare, MacIsaac said.

cleaning tips 2

Feb 24, 2016 - 0 comments

23. How To Clean A Microfiber Couch
Microfiber is one of my favorite materials. It’s just so soft and cozy, and my kids love making designs in the seat cushions. BUT, it does have a tendency to showcase stains, even minor ones — there’s a fix for that! And, it only requires one ingredient. It will practically look brand new after a good scrub.

Make sure you get a WHITE sponge and WHITE bristle brush so that there is no accidental color transfer onto the couch when you are scrubbing.

(I used a light brown sponge because that's what we had on hand and it matched to color of our sofa; so you could go that route as well. )

Pour the rubbing alcohol in the spray bottle and SATURATE the stained area.

I know this seems counterintuitive, but rubbing alcohol evaporates much faster than water so it won't leave a water mark

Spray bottle, white sponge. white scrub brush, rubbing alcohol.

Take your sponge and start scrubbing the area.

Don't be afraid to use all your muscles and scrub hard. :)

You'll start to see the dirt coming off onto your sponge.


If your sponge get's really dirty before you are finished, switch it out for a new one to avoid rubbing old dirt onto clean areas.

Let the areas your sprayed dry. They will look darker than the rest of your couch and will feel kind of hard to the touch, but don't worry about it.

That's what the bristle brush is for.

Once the couch is COMPLETELY dry, take your bristle brush and with swirling motions, refluff the areas you cleaned.

Seriously, I was getting ready to try and convince Jake to let us get a new couch, but it looks NEW.

24. Non-Stick Grill Means Less Mess
This is more of a cleaning prevention rather than a tip, but that’s ok because there’s nothing fun about scraping charred chicken off of a grill. Who knew an onion could be so magical?! Get the full instructions here.

How to naturally make your grill non-stick

I couldn’t believe this worked! To make your grill non-stick all you need to do is cut an onion in half and rub the cut side on the heated grill grate.

25. Reconditioning Cast Iron
I’ve only owned one of these beautiful pans for a few years now, and I’ve come to learn that they take a lot more care than your traditional non-stick pan. You certainly can’t just throw them in the dishwasher, but they should last you for many, many years if not forever! This method takes a little bit of patience (the cleaner has to soak in for 2 days), but it does a bang up job.
The purpose of this post is to demonstrate how one can recondition a piece of cast iron cookware using items you probably have in your house or apartment. This process uses no specialized equipment (like an electrolysis tank) or large amounts of a nasty chemical (lye). It also does not require power tools or very much elbow grease.

You will need:
1 can of aerosol oven cleaner
plastic bags
ordinary white vinegar
a scrub pad or #0000 steel wool
olive oil and/or Pam cooking spray

The first step in getting this Wagner #6 cleaned up is to remove the old ruined seasoning. To do this use a heavy plastic bag and the aerosol oven cleaner.

Spray the skillet and coat heavily with the oven cleaner and then place the pan in the bag and wrap it up. I'm using a sandwich bag to keep the cleaner off of my hands as it can burn your skin.

The bag will keep the oven cleaner from evaporating so it can work longer. I reapplied oven cleaner every 2 days and it took a week before the old seasoning washed completely away. This is where you need patience. Let the oven cleaner do the work, it will remove all the caked on seasoning and no damage will be done to the piece being cleaned.
Once the old seasoning is removed you can wash the piece in hot water and lots of soap.

The next step is rust removal. I used vinegar and hot water to soften the rust. Some people like Coca-Cola for this task.

I used a quart of generic white vinegar in 2 gallons of hot water. The skillet sat in this mix for 30 minutes after which I lightly scrubbed the entire piece with 0000 steel wool. Some collectors like the Chore-Boy brand of non-metallic scrubbing pad for this job.

Whether you use steel wool or a scrub pad the point is to merely remove the surface rust. You are not trying to buff or polish the skillet. After washing towel dry the skillet.

At this point the skillet was ready to be seasoned. If you live in a humid environment (I don't) you may need to begin the seasoning process as soon as you have removed the rust. Untreated cast iron begins to rust immediately in a damp climate.

For this skillet I used the same method I wrote about here . The skillet was placed in a 250 degree oven for 20 minutes to dry completely. After this I turned the oven up to 550 degrees and let the Wagner #6 heat up for 45 minutes. The blazing hot pan was removed from the oven and rubbed with a medium coating of olive oil. The hot cast iron absorbs the oil and a decent dark brown patina is visible on the iron in just a few minutes. Keep rubbing the oil into the metal until it begins to build up. At this point grab some new paper towels and rub the oil off the skillet until it just looks wet. Put the piece back into the oven but turn the oven off. If the cast iron has a rough finish you can leave it alone until it cools. If the piece has a smooth finish wipe it down every 5 minutes to prevent the oil from forming droplets on the surface. After 30 minutes prop the oven door partially open to cool. Keep wiping the cooking surface with the oiled paper towels.

Cleaning your cast iron after use is one of those things that is easier than many people think. As a bonus, if you use and take care of your iron properly it gets consistently better over time.

If you remember only two things from this post please remember:

1) Use your cast iron often. Frequent use improves the seasoning which makes the iron more nonstick. The improving nonstick quality is, in turn, going to make cleanup easier. Cleaning the cast iron properly will not degrade the nonstick properties and will make cooking with the iron even easier. It is kind of a Yin and Yang thing.

2) Clean the iron with the least aggressive method that will do the job. If a quick wipe with a paper towel and a rinse under hot water is sufficient then don't use a stiff brush and soap.

Use and cleaning are interrelated with cast iron. You should be giving your iron a nice slow warm up on a fairly low heat setting. Let a skillet warm up for 5 minutes at medium low rather than cranking the heat to high and trying to use it in 2 minutes. Adding too much heat too quickly to cast iron is about the only way to warp it in daily use.

Add oil to your preheated skillet right before adding the food. This prevents sticking which makes cleanup easier.

After cooking remember that cast iron stays hot for a very long time. Let it cool until it is warm enough to handle without a hot pad. Letting cast iron heat up and cool down slowly is important. If your cooking application requires rapid changes in temperature you should be using aluminum or copper. Horses for courses as the idiom says.

Most of the time all I do to clean a piece of cast iron is to run the hottest tap water into the piece while gently using a brush to remove any food items. I then dry the piece by putting it into the oven at 250 degrees or putting it on a stove burner set to low. Using heat to finish drying is critical for both removing all traces of moisture (especially for those who live in humid areas) as well as sanitizing the cookware.

26 Cleaning Cloudy Glassware

Buy a BIG container of vinegar, and then each time you run a cycle, just pour what looks like about a cup into the bottom. You’ll still want to use dishwasher detergent (I use Cascade Complete). You don’t have to mess with putting it in the rinse aid slot, or any slot, just pour it right in the dishwasher and start it up. If your glasses are really cloudy, it may take a few cycles to get them completely clear.

Cheers to sparkling glassware

27. Removing Hard Water Stains
…the natural way! Hard to believe that a lemon can be so powerful. Not only that, but you don’t have to deal with that harsh chemical smell, only the scent of fresh lemons! This method is a heck of a lot cheaper, too! Simply cut a lemon in half, and give your faucets and good rub down. Let it sit on there for a few minutes or longer, then rinse with warm water.

28. Knives & Lemon Juice
I’ve had such a hard time with rust spots on knives, but I’ve finally found a way to keep it from happening. The huge wooden knife block on my counter was the culprit! Well, when they were stored in there still wet from the dishwasher, that is. I put them in a drawer now so they have a little more air for drying, and it seems to help. Gosh, I didn’t realize how easy those rust spots were to remove with just lemon juice! I’ll be keeping a bottle of that handy from now on. Let your knives (and other rusty silverware) soak in lemon juice for 10-15 minutes or as long is it takes for the rust spots to go away

29. Cleaning Makeup Brushes
Did you know they make a shampoo designed specifically for makeup brushes? I’ve only washed mine a handful of times MY ENTIRE LIFE. That sounds bad, but I just forget. I guess I’m fortunate that I don’t break out much, but if you do, this could be the problem! Yucky bacteria getting spread all over your face every time you use it — definitely worth the time to clean them regularly.

30. Shower Cleaning Wand

What You Need:
Dish Wand (got mine at the dollar store!)
Dish Soap

Simply fill your wand with half soap and half vinegar. Yeah. That's it. Shake it up and get cleaning!  I hung mine up in the shower using a suction cup/hook thing (also a dollar store find) so it's always within easy reach. Then before I get out of the shower I give it a quick scrub and rinse! Easy-peasy!

31. No-Streak Window Cleaning
Don’t you hate it when you finally get around to washing your windows and they end up looking worse once you’re finished?! It’s not easy getting streak-free windows. Wash windows with cleaner and white cloth. Then use newspaper to get rid of streaks.


1 Cup of Water

1 Cup of Vinegar

3 Drops of Dish Liquid

32. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers
I’m convinced these actually do contain some source of weird magical powers. I mean, how does it do it?! You’d be surprised at how many things you can clean with one of these white miracle sponges. Even nail polish doesn’t stand a chance in a match against one of these guys.

After a few minutes of wiping down appliances, light switches, and cupboards (also lightly textured), I was compelled to go all around the house looking for stuff to clean. These things are great at getting into the tiny cracks & crevices of virtually any surface!

My other favorite uses for Magic Erasers:

Removing scuff marks from floors, doors, and baseboards (…not only scuff marks, but also years of black grime & built-up hairspray on white baseboards in the bathrooms & door panels of cabinets/doors)

Making tennis shoes look like new again

Cleaning white grout effortlessly

Removing set-in tea stains in the Mr. Coffee Instant Tea Maker (pitcher & tea holder)

Cleaning the textured plastic parts of the computer monitor, keyboard & mouse

Removing set-in stains from drink coasters (…even those ceramic ones)

Cleaning in the tiny nooks & crannies of the electric can opener

…but wait, there’s more!

remove dried paint from door hinges
remove tarnish from silver
remove mold & mildew from anything plastic
clean & polish gold jewelry
remove soap scum in the tub and shower
remove marks on walls
clean splatters inside the microwave
remove marks on vinyl siding
clean mirrors in the bathroom (keeps shower mirrors from fogging)
remove adhesive residue after removing stickers
remove waterline mark around the pool
remove hair dye from countertops & floors
clean light-colored suede
remove black scuff marks from baseboards (where the vacuum cleaner hits)
clean the outdoor side of window sills stained from leaves, dust and dirt
clean plastic coolers inside and out (…even dirty grimey ones used by men with greasy hands!)
remove rust spots & stains on countertop
remove cooked-on stains in pots and pans
remove soot off the walls near the fireplace
clean within the grooves of lawn ornaments
clean sticky/dusty range hood over the stove
remove nail polish spills or stains
clean airbake cookie sheets & bakeware (the kind with all those tiny grooves)
clean oven shelves & the grates on the grill
remove wet nose marks from pets on the windows (even car windows)
remove toothpaste splashes from bathroom mirrors
remove melted plastic on the side of the toaster oven
remove grimey green algae from cement (bird baths, steps, ponds, etc)
clean stained elbows from dirty work
remove green mildew from siding and gutters
remove paint spills & oversprays
remove toilet bowl rings (cut a piece off & let it set in your toilet overnight; don’t flush it; doesn’t always work)
remove built-up algae, water deposits, etc from ceramic flower pots
clean dish drainers that are gunked with lime and build-up
remove bird poop from concrete bird bath
remove coffee & tea stains that remain inside a mug, caraffe, thermos even after washing
clean the plastic agitator inside your washing machine
clean window screens (even when they are still in the window)
remove built-up baked on grease inside the deep fryer
clean inside the crock pot
remove melted plastic on a glass top stove
clean swimming pool steps
remove baked on brown spots on cookware
clean antiques & collectibles
polish collectible coins (UPDATE: coin experts recommend that you do NOT clean coins.)
clean & shine things up before you sell them in a yard sale
clean boat & outdoor furniture upholstery
clean vinyl striping on motorhomes, vans, boats
clean car tires, including white walls
clean pebbled surfaces like the outside of plastic coolers
remove pet & child vomit from carpet or clothing
remove scuff marks on motorcycle & ATV helmets
remove grass stains from shoes after mowing the lawn
remove scuff marks from hangers/shoes in the walk-in closet
clean oven door
remove pollen from patio furniture, cars, etc.
remove soap scum and gunk from around the bathroom faucets
remove hairspray build-up on countertops and vanities
remove soap scum inside porcelain & utility sinks
clean stained caulking along the kitchen sink & countertop
clean your bicycle, even the tires & rims
clean tile & grout
remove mildew from tents, vinyl canopies, awnings, fiberglass items
remove paint overspray that has dried
remove shoe marks from the kickplate of house doors & car doors
clean inside your car (along the handles, window ledge, arm rests, dashboard)
remove scuff marks and dirt from linoleum floors
remove stains on leather seats, purses, chairs, etc.
remove food stains inside plastic food containers
remove brake dust from tire rims
remove dirt and grime on a vinyl convertible top
remove nail polish from walls, carpets, wooden objects, plastic
remove soil or scuff marks from ceramic tile flooring
clean non-skid surfaces with tiny grooves (bathtub floors, refrigerator handles, pool steps, cooler lids)
clean & shine bathroom faucets & fixtures
remove magic marker, permanent marker, and ballpoint ink from virtually any surface
clean doll faces
clean textured handles on major appliances (dishwasher, refrigerator, stove)
remove fingerprints and dirt on light-colored kitchen cupboards
clean inside of the refrigerator
remove crayon marks from walls
remove dirt from plastic trash cans
remove dark paint on light-colored carpet
clean soap scum and oils from hot tub
clean a car’s vinyl interior (gets into the tiny crinkles in the vinyl armrest, etc.)
clean white porch railings, columns & pillars
remove bugs from car windshield, grille, and bumper
remove paint scratches on your car from minor fender benders
remove rust and corrosion that’s built-up on the outside of pipes (kitchen/bathroom)
clean & shine hubcaps
remove built-up grime on the car steering wheel
remove finger prints & build-up on the keyboard and mouse
remove oxidized paint from an old car
remove built-up gunk from vinyl seats
remove tar from your car’s paint
remove set-in stains inside glass and plastic pitchers
remove scuff marks from the back of car seats (from kids’ shoes)
clean kids’ plastic toys
remove dirt and grime from athletic shoes and shoes with leather uppers
remove stains on the underside of the toilet seat and around the toilet seat hinges
remove fingerprint & handprints from light-colored doors & walls
remove scuff marks from your patio furniture
remove built up dirt & grime from RV awnings and door frames

33. Cleaning A Shower Head
Again, just ONE ingredient! The best part about this little trick is that there is no scrubbing involved. Just let it sit for an hour and you’re good to go. This not only looks better, I’m sure it improves the water pressure as well.

Can you believe the difference!? It looks brand new again. And all the little holes spray water now too!
To clean your shower head, pour distilled white vinegar in a plastic baggy and secure it to the shower head with a rubber band. Let it soak for 1 hour. Wipe clean with a wet cloth. Easy fix for a clogged shower head!
Afterwards, I dabbed a rag into the bag of vinegar and shined up the fixtures.

34. Cleaning A Bathroom Exhaust
I’m not sure that I’ve ever done this before — oops! I pay extra special attention to my bathrooms when I clean, but the ceiling is the last thing on my mind. Make the job easy with a blast of canned air! My hubby uses this stuff for his keyboard. I wonder what else you could use it for?

35. The Kitchen Sink
One of the most important places to clean often! Germs and bacteria collect here like a cesspool. Learn how to clean it the natural way without using harsh chemicals. It’s also much better for the surface of your sink – making it look new for longer. And, don’t forget to get the bottom part of that black rubber ring that lines the disposal! Have you ever put a brush under there? It’s gross.

What You Need
Liquid dishwashing soap
Distilled white vinegar
Baking Soda
Sea Salt
Lemon (or lime)
Old toothbrush
Soft sponge
For daily cleaning, a mild soap and nylon sponge or soft rag can be used to wipe your sink down. All-purpose or glass cleaner can be used in a pinch, but it's important to avoid ammonia, bleach, or abrasive cleaners on stainless steel. Abrasive sponges should also be avoided; all of these can alter the sink's finish.
Thoroughly rinse out your sink. If you have a stainless sink, salt and acid in food can potentially damage the finish, so it's important to rinse food and liquids to prevent pitting.
Sprinkle baking soda onto the surface. Working it into a paste, rinse thoroughly.
Line the sink with paper towels soaked in white vinegar. Allow it to sit for 20 minutes and then dispose of the paper towels.
Rinse the sink with warm soapy water.
For the faucets and handles, wipe with a mild soapy solution. The toothbrush can be used to get in the hard-to-reach areas. If spots remain, a cloth soaked in white vinegar can be used. Once you're finished cleaning, thoroughly rinse once more time and dry with a soft rag. Your sink should now be fresh and clean!
To clean the garbage disposal:
Sprinkle a half cup of baking soda down the disposal then add one cup of white vinegar. The mixture will fizz and make a bit of noise, allow this to work for a few minutes while you boil a kettle of hot water. Pour boiling water down the drain.
Fill the drain with two cups of ice. Pour a cup of salt (rock salt is great if you have it, I improvised with coarse sea salt) over the ice cubes. Run the cold water and turn on the garbage disposal until the ice is gone. The ice/salt mixture will help loosen the grime and debris from the grinding elements
Cut a lemon or lime in half. With the water on and garbage disposal running, add the fruit halves, one at a time, to the disposal. The fruit will help clean and deodorize your drain.

36. Cleaning Your Toothbrush
I use to boil my toothbrushes every so often, until one time I got mouth full of loose bristles while brushing my teeth. Boiling kills most of the million of germs that collect on your brush, but also takes its toll on it. There’s an easy solution for that, and it only takes about 15 minutes. Once again, it’s white vinegar!

How To Clean A Toothbrush Naturally

Did you know that toothbrushes harbor hundreds of thousands of bacteria just after one use? That’s not including all of the bacteria your toothbrush picks up from being kept in your bathroom either!

Most of us keep our toothbrushes sitting on the bathroom counter, which is actually the worst place to store them. When the toilet is flushed, unsanitary airborne particles make their way on to your toothbrush.

Why You Should Clean A Toothbrush Naturally

Some recommend dipping the toothbrush in mouthwash to kill the bacteria, but why should we use harmful chemicals when simple natural ingredients are even more effective!

All you need is one ingredient from your kitchen!

Where You Should Store Your Toothbrush

To prevent having your toothbrush gather anymore unnecessary bacteria, just keep your toothbrush stored in another room.

Ever since I was a young kid I always kept my toothbrush on top of my bedroom bureau as I never liked leaving my toothbrush in the bathroom next to everyone else’s. Mostly for the fear of someone accidentally using mine, sure everyone thought I was crazy, but actually, it saved me from being exposed to all of the airborne bacteria!

If you do keep your toothbrush stored in the bathroom, make sure to at least always close the toilet lid when flushing and cover your toothbrush.

How To Clean Your Toothbrush Naturally

What You Need:

-White Vinegar


-Colloidal Silver

-Glass Cup or Jar

How To Do It:

1. Pour several tablespoons of white vinegar into a glass jar and dip your toothbrush in. Let the toothbrush sit in the mixture for at least 15 to 30 minutes.

White vinegar is commonly used as a natural cleaner, it will kill the bacteria and microbes on your toothbrush.

2. Make a mixture of ½ colloidal silver and ½ water. Dip your toothbrush in mixture and let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes.

Colloidal silver has antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties and is very effective in removing the harmful bacteria from your toothbrush

37. Cleaning A Bathtub Drain

Here are the tools you will need to do the job. A screwdriver (depending on your drain you may need a phillips head instead of a flat head), A pair of skinny pliers, some baking soda(mine is from Target, and you’ve never bought your baking soda at Target, you should, the Market Pantry brand is super cheap, like .29 cents), some vinegar, and a few paper towels.  
Begin by looking at your drain.  Your plug might look different than mine, but they all pretty much are the same in that they unscrew, and then have a screw underneath  that you can remove. I start by removing the top part, that says push on it.  I simply unscrew it with my hand
I put a screwdriver in and removed the insert.
Under that you will generally see a +, you may not be able to see it if there is a lot of hair built up.  This + is the  reason that hair gets caught up.  I am doing my teenage daughter’s drain today and she has really long hair.  Long hair means she uses lots of shampoo and conditioner.  Using lots of shampoo and conditioner causes a build up of gunk in the drain, along with a bunch of hair washing down together, and it’s no wonder that the water can no longer get down the drain!  Now comes the gross part.  I’m not going to lie, sometimes the hair, soap, and conditioners smell really bad when you pull them out.  They’re starting to rot. Put your paper towels down in the tub along side of the drain, and pick up your pliers.  Insert them into the drain and pinch and then pull up.  You should come up with a clump of hair.  Make a face and put it in the paper towel.  Continue doing this until the drain looks clear.  I sometimes use a combination of the screwdriver and the pliers if I can’t reach all the hair, and if you don’t have skinny pliers, you may be able to just use your screwdriver, but the pliers are easier.

The next thing I do is just a great maintenance item.  I pour about a half cup of baking soda down the drain, and then pour in vinegar until it bubbles up to the top of the drain.  I leave that for about 15 minutes, and then pour really hot water (not quite to boiling) down the drain.  This will help disinfect the drain and clean it too.  That’s all there is, now reassemble your plug in reverse of what you needed to do to get it apart.  

Now turn on your water and watch it go down the drain beautifully.  Pat yourself on the back because you just save yourself some money, and by the way, Drain-o won’t clear up this type of problem anyway, it’s not a clog stuck in the drain, it’s stuck on that little + .
I know this is a little gross and if you don’t have the stomach for it, ask your hubby to give it a try before you call someone!
Now the next time your drain runs slow, you will know just what to do.  Hope you found this helpful!  I appreciate you stopping by.

38. Naturally Cleaning An Oven
It turns out you don’t need that awful, smelly oven cleaner to get all of that stuck-on grime out of your oven. Just a few natural products you probably already have in your kitchen. It’s definitely about time I got around to this because everything I cook smells like pizza! I have a layer of burnt cheese coating the bottom. Then, once you have it clean, be sure to put some foil down there so your next cleaning job will be a little easie

A few steps on how to quickly get rid of the grime and debris that make your kitchen smell horrible every time you turn on your oven.

Things You Will Need
Baking Soda
A bowl or a squirt bottle (Preferably a squirt bottle)
A dirty oven
A spatula

Step 1:

Picture of
eco-clean oven04.jpg
First things first
Remove the racks. Using a spatula, scrape up as much of the debris as you can, and throw it away. Most of the big stuff should come up pretty easy. Tip: move the trash can closer to the oven....


Using about a cup of baking soda, more or less depending on the size of your oven, sprinkle it all over the floor of your oven.


This is where a squirt bottle comes in handy. Spray vinegar all over the baking soda. Use your fingers or a rubber spatula to spread the baking soda around so that it comes into contact with the vinegar and every dirty part of your oven floor. Let sit for 10-20 minutes.

(alternative: Mix vinegar and baking soda in a bowl to form a paste, and then spread that over your oven floor. Make sure to pour the vinegar slowly because it fizzes up pretty high.)

39. Cleaning Your Blinds
Mix equal parts vinegar and warm water in a bowl.
Slip an old odd sock on your hand and wipe all the grimy dirt away.
When your sock gets really dirty, rinse it in some clean water and repeat the cleaning process.

40. Removing Scratches On Ceramic
I tried scrubbing them with baking soda like Heloise said I should. Nothing. I tried the Magic Eraser. Not so magical.

I was ready to buy new dishes. I decided to stop in at our local Ace Hardware.   The helpful clerk suggested I try this.Just in case, I also picked up the more abrasive version.I ended up using both. I applied the Liquid Bar Keepers Friend with a damp sponge and a little elbow grease. For the really tough scratches, I added a bit of the powdered version and applied a little more elbow grease.  The results speak for themselves.

41. Permanent Marker Removal
Have you ever found permanent marker on your hardwood floors?I certainly have.And now you won’t need to worry if you find yourself in the same spot I did. Permanent marker removal is super easy and fast with the right tools.
Looking for tips on permanent marker removal? Removing permanent marker from your hardwood floors is simple and fast with the right tools.Put a dab of white toothpaste on the marker.Then rub like crazy with a damp washcloth or paper towel. (I like to use my microfiber cloth.)And you’re done!

42. De-Pill Your Clothes
Those annoying little balls of fiber you get all over some of your clothes — how in the world to get them off in a clean sweep? Don’t do what I do and try to pick them off one by one. There’s an easier solution to this and it just involves one of your old disposable razors and some tape. Smart!
Just borrowed the razor from the shower and some masking tape I had laying around and went at it. Or you could go buy a lint shaver from the store, but I find this to much more successful since I have done both. Just make sure to do it slowly so you don’t accidentally slice a hole in your clothing. I have done that before, sadly.
1. Wash
2. Shave
3. Use a lint roller or tape to pick up the pilling

43. Iron Out Carpet Stains
It makes sense, right? The heat from the iron should activate the cleaner and hopefully pick up nasty stains (like poo or Kool Aid). I mean, I always let my kids run around with red drinks on my white carpet. They also eat Nutella on my white couch. No really, it turns out that this trick does work pretty well, even on old stains, and the gal who tested it is hilarious! Go check it out.Paper Towel Time
As soon as you spot Kool-Aid spilled on the carpet, blot it up with plain white paper towels. Absorb as much liquid as possible right away to help minimize the amount of the beverage soaked up by the carpet fibers and to prevent it from soaking through to the carpet pad. Once you've absorbed most of it, fold another paper towel and press it over the spill for 30 seconds or so. The added pressure helps you reach moisture trapped deep down between carpet fibers.

Sudsy Solution
Mildly soapy water helps lift the sugary drink out of the carpet fibers. Mix 1 teaspoon of a gentle liquid dish soap into 2 cups of warm water. Dip a white cloth or durable white paper towel into the solution and blot the spot repeatedly at first, and then wipe from the outside of the spill toward the center. For a large spill, wring the cloth out over the sink occasionally and rinse it out to remove some of the Kool-Aid. Dip the cloth back into the soapy water, and continue wiping until you no longer notice the Kool-Aid color on either the carpet or the cloth. Dip the cloth in the soapy water one more time, and press it over the affected area, setting a heavy object such as a glass pan on top of it. After 10 minutes, lift the cloth; rinse it out and wipe the area again with just water. The added wait gives the soap time to lift remaining residue from the carpet fibers. Blot the area dry afterward with a fresh white cloth.

Salt Stain Lifter
If Kool-Aid remains visible after you clean the spot with soapy water or other cleaners, dampen the problem area with a wet white cloth or white paper towel, and then sprinkle salt over the stain. After 30 minutes or so, vacuum up the salt. The salt absorbs colored liquids such as Kool-Aid, lifting the substance out of the carpet.

Ironing the stain out.....
The post did warn against using blue Windex, but blue was all I had and I just figured a blue stain wouldn’t be any more disgusting than a brown stain, so you know, I wasn’t too worried about it, even if it were to fail.

I squirted.And then I ironed.

At first, I was pretty sure nothing was going to happen besides that my towel would soak up a puddle of Windex. But, eventually, some nasty brown stuff started pulling through the towel.

But I could still see the stain, and I figured, as I usually do, that if some is good, MORE IS BETTER.

So I sprayed and ironed and repeated.

44. Cleaning Air Vents
Don’t unscrew it and take it off! No need. Grab a butter knife and a rag to easily get in between each little crevice. Have you looked closely at your air vents lately? You might just need to do this. I find it helps to take a vacuum hose to it first to get a bulk of it out so you’re not having to clean your rag over and over.
First, gather cleaner of choice, a metal butter knife, and a cleaning rag.
Second, wrap the cleaning rag around the knife- if it is a thin rag, double the layer.
Third, spray the vent with cleaner (whatever you’re comfortable with, be it 409, or an eco-friendly non-toxic cleaner, or just water. Seriously, whatever floats your boat.) and insert knife between the metal slats.  Clean side to side.
Fourth, readjust the rag as necessary so you have a clean area of the rag to use.  Rinse and repeat.

45. Cleaning A Vacuum Filter
So many more uses for your dishwasher than you can imagine. It’s like a machine! Oh wait, it is a machine. Vacuum filters are extremely pricey (like ink is for a printer), but if you can get that thing clean, there’s no need to replace it. Check out this tip on how to clean your vacuum filters in the dishwasher!

46. Getting Mold Out Of The Shower
mold started to creep in on the grout along the shower.  It kept spreading and spreading, and there was really nothing I could do because my husband told me not to scrub too hard or else the grout would disappear and then we’ve have mold inside the walls and then we’d have real problems, not just cosmetic ones.

then i came across a tip: bleach and cotton beauty coils, used for perms  So I went to Sally’s Beauty supply and picked up a package. I’m pretty sure it was only $1.99 – and I already had bleach, obviously, so this project only cost $2!

I cut a piece of the cotton coil, soaked it in bleach, and let it sit overnight on the mold.  (Tip: I put a disposable pie pan in the tub, poured the bleach in the pan, then soaked the cotton in there before transferring it to the mold – helps with the dripping!  Then I just used a q-tip to press it into the mold so I wouldn’t get bleach on my fingers):

47. Cleaning Your Blender
To really get your blades clean, fill your blender with soap and warm water, then turn it on!

48. Nail Polish & Tile
How to clean up a nail polish spill:

1. Make sure to clean the mess as soon as possible. The longer it sits, the harder it is to clean.

2. Pour nail polish remover over the spill and let it sit for a minute or so.Then wipe it up with paper towels.

3.  Next scrub the floor with a magic eraser to remove any stains that are still there.

4. For extra stubborn stains spray a little hair spray and let it sit a few minutes. Then wipe clean with paper towels.

5. When the polish is removed clean the whole area with soapy warm water.

49. Cleaning Toys
What I like about vinegar, is that it is safe. You can use it throughout your home to clean laundry, surfaces, and even your produce.Since going Paleo, we have been buying a ton more produce, and I have found that it is easiest to come home from our shopping trip, and wash all of it in the sink with vinegar and water.
You load up the dishwasher with anything that is plastic or rubber.  Then just add in 1 1/2 – 2 cups of vinegar and wash. That’s it!  For those toys that can not be put into the dishwasher, you can create a Citrus Infused All-Purpose Cleaner. It can easily be used to spray and wipe down the big toys or wooden toys.

50. Magical Carpet Cleaner
1. Scrape up the liquid (I had already done this weeks ago).
2. Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on stain to let absorb for 10 minutes and then vacuum.
3. Mix one tablespoon clear dishwashing liquid and one tablespoon white vinegar with two cups of warm water.
4. Using a white cloth (I strongly believe in microfiber washcloths), sponge the stain with the detergent/vinegar solution and blot until all the liquid is absorbed.
5. Sponge off with cold water and blot dry.

51. Cleaning Silver
I lined my sink with tin foil. I used Kroger foil but it was extra strength. I don’t know if that made a difference or not. I filled the sink with hot water, 1/2 c. salt and 1/2 c. baking soda. I stirred it up a bit and added an urn. Here is the amazing part. After only 5 minutes I rolled the urn over to check it and look what had happened
This method is for cleaning only. It doesn’t polish silver…but I’m not sure that’s even necessary. Polishes have chemicals and I read that sometimes silver tarnishes faster when it’s polished. I have no idea if that’s true or not…I only wanted to share the information.

52. Nail Polish & Carpet
And I thought nail polish on tile was a disaster! I really hope this tragedy never befalls me, but in the unfortunate case that it does, I’m glad I’ve found this helpful tip. This is truly magic!  

After letting the polish completely dry on the carpet I tested 2 of my favorite carpet cleaners: Woolite Pet + Oxygen and Oreck Stain Remover.  Both took a lot of the color off but required a lot of scrubbing.  I didn’t want to scrub too hard because I didn’t want to make the carpet look shaggy and worn.  Next I tried De-Solv-It since it had taken a lot of the color off the wood flooring, however it’s pretty greasy so I’m not sure if I’d really want to put this on my carpet.  Here are the results after testing those three products.  Good, but not great.

Next I decided to try rubbing alcohol because it was the magic product that got the fingernail polish off the wood flooring.  I poured a very small amount of rubbing alcohol over the spot where I had “spilled’ the polish and right away I noticed a difference.  With a bit of scrubbing, with a wet rag, the rubbing alcohol took most of the color out of the carpet, however there was still some color in the deep fibers of the carpet.  I sprayed it with a little Woolite Pet+Oxygen and scrubbed a little more and these were the results.

Not perfect but pretty dang good, much better than the other 3 products!

I tried adding a little more rubbing alcohol, and a bit more scrubbing but the remaining color wouldn’t budge.  There were only a few carpet fibers that were still stained so I took the piece of carpet in the house and did what any OCD person would do, I cut them out.  Yep, that’s right, I cut the remaining pink fibers out of the carpet.  There weren’t a lot, just a few but it’s what made the difference between a slightly pink spot on my carpet and a perfectly white corner of carpet!

When I cut them out I made sure to cut each piece at a different length so that the missing pieces would still blend with the remaining fibers around the spot.  I tried to cut right under where the pink stain stopped.  Here are the results.

Perfect.  You can’t even tell there was ever nail polish there!  I’m sure many of you are thinking “I could never cut my carpet!” but to calm your fears I want to reassure you that you’ll never notice.  After cutting the pieces out I ruffled the carpet with my finger and couldn’t even see where I had cut them out.  If it’s not obvious on a small scrap of carpet like this one, I promise you’ll never see it in a large room.

Not that I want anyone to spill nail polish on my carpet but I will say that I feel more confident now that I know how to get it out!

53. How To Clean Your Mattress

What You'll Need:
16-ounce box baking soda
Essential oil
Vacuum cleaner

Before beginning, flip or rotate the bed, which is smart to do every six months to extend mattress life and prevent sagging. While you're working on your mattress, toss your bedding in the wash, and fluff duvets or feather beds in the dryer.
Open the box of baking soda and add 10 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Close the box and give it a good shake to distribute the essential oil and break up any large clumps. Lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, and ylang ylang are all soothing scents that would be wonderfully calming. And essential oils are naturally antibacterial.

Sprinkle the baking soda over the bed, using the entire box. Now it's time for a mattress massage! Rub the baking soda mixture into the bed, which really gives your mattress a deep cleaning. Let the baking soda and essential oil work its magic for at least an hour.

While you're waiting, wipe down the walls around your bed and the bed frame, creating a nice and clean sleeping area. After an hour, vacuum the mattress, working slowly to ensure all the baking soda has been removed.

Along with freshening your bed, the mixture helps lift dirt and residue while wicking away moisture. And giving your mattress a good vacuuming ***** away any lurking dust mites, which makes everyone sleep easier.

54. Magic Laundry Cleaner

Hydrogen Peroxide, Dawn Dishsoap and Baking Soda. 3 things everyone pretty much always has on hand. You do 2 parts peroxide and 1 part Dawn and baking soda. I mixed up a lot so I did 1 cup of peroxide and 1/2 cup of the Dawn and soda.

Mix it up really well - it obviously starts to bubble up from the peroxide. With the baking soda, it sort of becomes thick and paste-like. After I had my solution made up, I headed down to our laundry room and got to work  treating the stains.

I had a stain that had been there for 2 years and washed and dried a million times to really set the stain in.

So I dumped a bunch of the mixture onto the stain. I used a brush to scrub the stain remover into the stain. As per the instructions, I let it sit for 1 hour to let it really soak in.I applied the stain removed to like 8 outfits, scrubbed it in and let them all sit for an hour. Then I just washed them like normal. I put the remaining solution into a water bottle for future use!  The stains are 100% GONE!

55. Tub Cleaner

The claim in this Pin is that you can spray on a solution of one part vinegar and one part dish soap, leave it for an hour, then wipe your tub clean. Does it work, no scrubbing or scouring involved?

So I mixed up a solution of one part Dawn dish soap and one part vinegar, sprayed it on half my tub (so I could compare the two sides for more clear results). About an hour later, I came in with a rag, wiped that side down, and this is what I found:
Score! I did not scrub one tiny bit and my tub is sparkling white. The pictures just don’t do it justice. I could actually see the line down the middle where the solution touched the tub. Look


see for pictures of these solutions.......

1. Ceiling Shelves
The vertical space above your furniture can be cleverly utilized with built-in shelves that hang down from the ceiling for your books, frames, and other items that don’t need to be used on a daily basis. All of that shelving without taking up any needed space! This can be done in just about any room of the house.

2. Small Space Dining
No room for a dining room table? Use a console table at the end of a couch in a living area that’s next to the kitchen. It doubles as a place to eat, craft, rest, and work! This would also be a convenient place to set a drink down while you’re on the couch.

3. Between The Studs
Small homes and apartments don’t typically have a lot of storage space. Even finding a place for the broom can be challenging! This is where taking advantage of the wall space in between the studs in your walls comes handy. I’ve seen this done in closets for jewelry, bathrooms for small toiletries, kitchens for spices, and laundry rooms for brooms and mops.

4. Corner Shelving
If you look around your home, you may be shocked to see all of the corner space that is not being used to its full potential. Installing floating shelves will not only create extra storage space, it will also become a visually appealing spot for your little knick knacks and decorations.

5. Behing-The-Door Towel Rods
Don’t forget about the tiny space behind your doors! It’s perfect for hanging towels without taking up any of the space on your walls. How’s that for a tiny bathroom hack!? I do feel that you would need a door catcher, though, to prevent the rods from banging up against the wall.

6. Large Mirrors
No matter the space (big or small), mirrors can completely transform a room. Not only do they create more light, they also give the illusion that the room is much larger than it really is

7. Corner Nightstand
You might not have room for a nightstand, but a small corner shelf can at least give you a place to put a small lamp, store a book or two, keep your chap stick near by (hehe), and charge your phone or tablet.

8. Above-The-Door Shelf
And this is how you make a tiny bathroom work– by getting crafty with the unused vertical space above the door. I like this idea for the nice guest towels that you don’t want the kids using

9. Under Bed Storage
Using the space under your bed for storage is a no-brainer, but what if you could make your very own rolling bed drawers to make getting to your things a little easier! Just be sure to get plastic bins that are at least 2 inches shorter than the bottom of your bed frame.

10. Ottoman Bed
This is one of the most creative small space solutions I think I’ve ever seen! Even if you’re not hurting for space, this would come in so handy when you have more guests than you could otherwise sleep. This convertible ottoman is simply a slip cover that goes over the bed when it’s not in use. Clever!

11. Under-The-Stairs Conversion
Although not always easy to get to, the storage space that is usually under the stairs is nice, but what if you could convert that space into something useful like a mini mud room, desk, or reading nook!? As long as you have some drawers and hooks for backpacks, scarves, umbrellas, etc., I think this would be more valuable than a dark storage space that you have to get down on all fours to get to.

12. Sliding Walls
Too many walls in a small home can make it seem even smaller, but what if you had the versatility of a wall that you could slide open or closed based on your needs? Keep it shut when you need the privacy or quiet time, but then simply slide it open to create a larger, open space for entertaining.

13. Closet Space For Furniture
If you have a room that isn’t big enough for your furniture, consider using the closet space for the extra square footage needed. Perhaps a changing table, desk, or dresser. Just remove the doors and use the top half for storage.

14. Wall Storage
When it comes to small spaces, you can’t let any wall space go unused, especially in the bathroom where sometimes the only place to store towels is under the dirty sink. For a quick, easy, and lightweight shelf idea, consider using baskets instead of traditional shelving.

15. Pull-Down Desk
Most people need a desk or craft table of some sort in their home, but don’t necessarily have the room for something that is only used a couple of times a week. I’m not sure that I’m digging this idea for a desk (no way I’m putting my computer and office supplies away to fold it up!), but it would be perfect as an extra craft table, especially for the kids’ school or lego projects

16. Clever Spice Shelves
This is the question in most kitchens– where to put the spices?! Ideally you want them near the stove where you’ll be using them, but that is not always an option. Ashley from Domestic Imperfection, came up with this brilliant idea using the empty wall space in the pantry!

17. Tiered Counter Storage
Just like with homes and buildings, where there is no room, build up! For small bathroom or kitchen counters, consider a tiered tray to hold all of the essentials without taking up as much room on the counter.

18. DIY Slide-Out Cabinet
If you have any narrow spaces in your kitchen that aren’t being lived up to their full potential, consider a DIY pull-out cabinet that will keep your kitchen essentials convenient without taking much space! Look at how many cans, jars, and spices this one holds– almost an entire pantry’s worth!

19. Small-Space Command Center
Having a centralized spot in the home where everyone can go to check the calendar, see what’s for dinner, or make notes is a great way for a family to stay organized, and that’s all you need is a small wall or corner of the home.

20. Skinny Sofa Table
Coffee tables are great for setting a drink down, but not really worth it if you don’t have the floor space. The best way to gain table space without taking up any room is with a skinny sofa table like this one over at Always Never Done (full tutorial there). Not only does it add visual interest and charm to this living area with the addition of lamps and decorations, but it’s also a convenient place to set down a glass of wine!

21. Curtain Separation
For siblings that share a room, consider using curtains to separate their space while still leaving a nice open feel. This also looks nice in a studio apartment to separate the living area from the bed. This is an easy room divider solution, especially if you can’t do any construction as a renter.

22. DIY Kitchen Organizer
Use the space behind your pantry door to store all of your small pantry goodies like spices, foil, and plastic wrap. I’ve seen this done with something as simple as a hanging door shoe rack, but I love this DIY kitchen organizer and spice rack because it look so much nicer! It really looks like it was an original addition to the pantry.

23. Over-The-Cabinet Basket
No hardware needed! Just place this basket over a cabinet door and use it as a garbage bin in the bathroom or for extra storage in the kitchen (or any room). This might also be the perfect solution for a travel trailer or boat where space is really limited!

24. Tank Top Space Saver
If you own as many tank tops as me, you may already know how many hangers they take up, not to mention how much rod space! With just a few shower curtains rings and a velvet hanger (to keep them from sliding), you can store those bad boys all on ONE hanger. I wouldn’t do this with tanks that wrinkle, but the cotton, long and lean type are perfect for this contraption.

25. Backsplash Storage
Instead of placing everything (coffee can, sugar, butter, salt & pepper, cork screw, etc.) on the counter, keep the space free and use your backsplash as storage! This idea was found over at No.29 Design by Christina. Go check out her before and after pics and where she got the hardware for this project.Must See !!

26. Floating Vanity Shelves
Small counters and limited drawer space seem to be THE biggest problem in a small bathroom. Where are we suppose to put all of our brushes, lotions, and q-tips?? Take advantage of the wall space next to your vanity with floating shelves for all of the items you use often. Check out the details over at Graceful Order

27. Tilt-Out Trash
No room under the sink for your ugly garbage can? No problem! Build one of these tilt-out trash cans that doubles as a cutting board! It takes up hardly any space at all, but provides a little extra counter space, and more importantly, keeps the garbage can out of site.

28. Over-The-Faucet Shelf
I’m starting to think that there is a shelf made for everything! Even something as simple as using the air space over your faucet might just provide the extra counter space you need. You can find a variety of styles and sizes on Amazon.

29. DIY Over-The-Sink Storage
Limited on drawer and counter space? Place a cubby shelf over your sink (or the wall next the vanity) to keep your toiletries handy but out of the way! I couldn’t find a tutorial for this, but it looks like it was made out of recycled pallets. You’d probably just want to make sure you put a good sealant on there to keep it protected from the moisture

30. Bookcase on it's side, is a Storage Bench
Aside from making the seat cushion, this is probably one of the easiest furniture hacks! You’ve got to love Ikea for this reason alone. I really like the idea of turning a simple bookshelf on its side to create a storage bench seat. This shelving unit from Ikea is perfect! The compartments are the ideal size for baskets. Also, check out this detailed tutorial here including instructions for the seat cushion.