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Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living Paperback – Jun 1 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Potter Style (June 1 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609803255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609803257
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 2.3 x 23.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #340,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

These days, more and more people are saying no to "better living through chemistry" and yes to a lifestyle that is less toxic and more environmentally friendly. This trend toward a more natural lifestyle has become something of a crusade for Annie Berthold-Bond, author of Better Basics for the Home. After developing hypersensitivity to even very low concentrations of chemicals, Berthold-Bond was forced to rid her life of as many toxins as possible. "It wasn't until I had to be away from chemicals that I began to realize how many we lived with. The extent of the contamination is startling--from hair spray and floor wax to dandelion killers and plastic shower curtains and other products that line our hardware stores and supermarket shelves."

This book represents the culmination of her search for a more sustainable lifestyle. Taking her cue from an earlier time, Berthold-Bond, former editor in chief of Green Alternatives for Health and Environment, offers more than 800 simple and practical alternatives to common household toxins, covering everything from skin care to gardening. And the good news is that adopting her suggestions and formulas isn't hard at all. "Mixing up face creams or wood stain isn't much different than cleaning the windows with vinegar, soap, and water instead of using Brand Name X, or making a cake with flour, eggs and milk instead of buying a mix," see asserts. "With a few simple staples we can clean our houses, wash our hair, rid the dog's bed of fleas, and do many other things as well." If you have your doubts, here is her formula for metal polish:

3 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon flour, and enough white distilled vinegar to make a paste. Scoop the paste onto a clean sponge, and polish the metal clean. Rinse with hot water and buff dry.

Sure, these days it's literally impossible to lead a life that is completely toxin-free. But you can significantly reduce your exposure, and picking up a copy Better Basics for the Home is a great way to get started.

About the Author

Berthold-Bond is a leading authority on environmentally safe alternatives.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm single, a downtown apartment dweller, and I've been using natural, homemade cleaning products for almost three years. I have read - and use regularly - several natural cleaning books, including another of Annie Berthold-Bond's titles, "Clean & Green." However, I have become interested in "green living," not just cleaning. That means switching from commercial household products to homemade products for personal care, pest control, etc. That is what led me to "Better Basics For the Home."
"Better Basics" is far easier to use and much better organized and written than "Clean & Green." It is set up in logical sections according to the products' uses. The index is very good. You can find a recipe quickly, although I would suggest you read through the book once and get a feel for how to go about things. Also, one of the best aspects is the "Sources and Resources" section near the back. If you live in an area without health food stores, woods or land suitable for growing your own herbs, then this will be essential for your ability to find ingredients to make your own green household products.
This book is also suitable for the beginner green cleaner. Most of the recipes, once you have the correct ingredients, are very easy to make and quick to put together. That being said, this book is also for people who are really serious about green cleaning, personal hygiene, pest control and other aspects of running a household. I say that because some of the ingredients used in many of the recipes are costly if you have to buy them instead of gathering them from your yard or a nearby wooded area. Also, essential oils - literally essential in green cleaning! - are expensive. (A little goes a loooong way, though.
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Format: Paperback
When I first bought this book it was very hard to put down. Most of the recipes are very easy to follow and are inexpensive. My favorite recipe for "soft scrubber" contains ingredients that I already add to my bathwater anyway, so it's nice to take a bath without worrying about any leftover chemical residue lingering in the tub with you. Another plus is the gentle, caring manner in which it's written. The author explains the benefits of going green without coming across as condescending or judgmental.
Keeping in mind that I think this is a wonderful book, and well worth the cost, there are a few things I'd like to point out. I found that a lot of the skincare recipes were geared for people with dry skin. This is understandable considering the author's dry/sensitive skin, but I wanted to let other readers know to expect this. I tried many of the basic lotion, cream, and soap formulas and found that many of them felt way too greasy for my skin-especially if they contained beeswax. There is a small section with recipes for people with oily skin. That was helpful, but the skincare recipes in general are probably a little more suited for dry skin.
I also found that some of the yields seem a little off. (This is more so for the skincare recipes than the cleaning recipes.) I follow all of the instructions very carefully, but still end up with yields that are sometimes significantly off. You can tell just by reading some of the recipes that it's unlikely they could yield what they say. Also, some of the recipes for the cleaning products seemed a little repetitive. (Not a significant enough difference between some of them to warrant separate recipes.
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Format: Paperback
What an wonderful book! I've been meaning to try moving to less toxic methods of cleaning my home, but had just never taken the time to do it. A few weeks ago when I was cleaning my bathroom, I looked at my bottle of tile cleaner and realized that if my two year old got a hold of it, it could kill her. So I got out a big box and put in every household cleaner I had that had a warning label on it -- then I hauled it out to the garage and told my husband that he had some toxic waste to dispsose of.
I picked up this book from my library, went out and bought everything I needed to replace ALL of the cleaning products I normally use, and spent all of about $12... Then I indulged in a couple of bottles of essential oils, and my house smells better than it ever has, and looks and feels as cleaner than ever.
The recipes are easy to make, inexpensive, and very effective. No more expensive, store bought, toxic chemicals in my house!
This book is an excellent place to start for beginners like me. I thought I'd better get my own copy before I put too many dog ears and spills on the library's! Next stop... my bathroom cupboards. =)
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Format: Paperback
I have used several recipes from this book, and the results were mixed. I think there's a lot of misinformation on the Internet about various "natural", "diy" methods. For instance, the author lists a toilet-bowl cleaning mixture of vinegar and baking soda. She says it's her favourite because it sizzles and seems to have powerful cleaning capabilities. This recipe has been advocated online, and I've tried it myself. But I've since read that the "sizzle" is coming from the baking soda and vinegar reacting to each other, thereby neutralizing their cleaning power. Vinegar itself is touted as a popular cleaner, but I've found it has its limitations. The dish soap recipe in the book did little for me; dishes were oily and smelly despite repeated washings. The lotion recipe (for skin) that I've tried worked decently once, but refused to emulsify the other two times I tried to make it.

Ultimately, it's a mixed bag. I think you can certainly learn some good information from it, but also know that just because it's in this book (or even on a diy/natural site online), doesn't make it true.
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