Do you have a fragrance sensitivity?

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I can’t walk down the cleaning isle in the supermarket without getting an instant headache, so I avoid that isle all together. I hold my breath in the perfume area of department stores. I offered to bring in a girlfriend’s washing to find the basket of laundry completely overpowering in residue fragrance from fabric softener. Like many, I have a sensitivity and an aversion to synthetic chemical fragrance.

Fragrance sensitivity can be defined as an irritation or an adverse reaction to chemicals in a perfume or other scented products such as air fresheners, laundry and cleaning products, scented candles, perfume, deodorants, cologne and cosmetics.

People with asthma or other respiratory illness may be more susceptible to fragrance allergies.

Common Symptoms of Fragrance Allergy

  • mild to severe headache
  • sneezing, coughing and runny nose
  • breathing difficulties, dizziness, and fatigue
  • loss of concentration
  • skin irritation, itching, and rashes
  • muscle aches
  • watery, red, and itchy eyes
  • wheezing
  • swelling
  • nausea and vomiting
  • Strong fragrances from perfumes or colognes can even trigger a migraine

Secondhand Fragrance

In a public place people are sharing what is now being called ‘secondhand fragrance’. This is the combination of harmful chemicals being released into the public air space from air fresheners, cleaning products, scented candles, plus all the products people are wearing (hairstyling products, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, perfume etc). Everyone is involuntarily breathing contaminated air even if they choose to not wear fragranced products.

Dogs have 20 times more scent receptor cells than humans, and the scent-processing section of their brains is larger than ours.
Dogs have 20 times more scent receptor cells than humans, and the scent-processing section of their brains is much larger than ours. They don’t need synthetic fragrance in their environment either.

Fragrance sensitivity at the workplace

Some employers are becoming aware of this issue, and are accommodating fragrance sensitive people. Some companies have stopped using air fresheners, and use fragrance-free cleaning products in order to minimise fragrance chemicals in indoor environments.

Baking Soda is an odour neutraliser.

Synthetic Chemical Fragrance

Up to 95% of synthetic chemicals used to make fragrance recipes are derived from petrochemicals. To make matters worse for the unsuspecting public, many products labeled as ‘unscented’ are actually the fragranced product with the addition of another masking fragrance. Products with the ingredient ‘fragrance’ contain endocrine disruptors called phthalates.

If we think of natural and organic essential oils, Lavender for example, it contains a myriad of natural chemical constituents, around 100, and one of those is linalool. In the entirety of a natural and organic essential oil this constituent isn’t usually a problem. However there is also synthetic chemical linalool, an isolated man-made ingredient, which is much more likely to result in a sensitivity.

Sure makes it difficult for consumers!

Do your homework, look for certifications and ethical brands that can be trusted. An ethical brand, is also transparent with their complete ingredient list, and will assist you with any ingredient questions.

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Natural and organic essential oils of lemon and lemongrass in Sonett’s laboratory

Sonett products are free from enzymes, petrochemical surfactants, synthetic chemical fragrances, dyes and preservatives, bleaching agents, optical brighteners, genetic engineering and nanotechnology.

Sonett has a neutral range which is even free from natural and organic essential oils. There are those who are sensitive to nature’s essential oils as well.

The complete range of Sonett products has been independently certified according to the criteria of Ecogarantie, the premium label for ecological washing and cleaning products.

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Correct dosage for Laundry Liquid Lavender (using natural and essential oils only) with Sonett Measuring Ball.

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How often should you wash your sheets?

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Slipping into fresh sheets is one of life’s little pleasures!

You’re in bed for around 8 hours a night, naturally sloughing off dead skin cells, which dust mites feed on. You may perspire, there’ll be body oils as well, because one of the functions of your skin is as an elimination organ, and that phase is active during the night time.

Seven nights and you’ve clocked up 56 hours in bed!

The bottom sheet is likely to be more grubby than the top sheet, so if you don’t use fitted sheets you can wash the bottom sheet weekly, replacing the top sheet as the bottom sheet for the next week and alternating. That’s one sheet washed per bed per week instead of two.

If you have a bottom fitted sheet and a top flat sheet you can’t alternate so weekly wash is recommended.

Pillowslips should be changed daily for acne sufferers. If acne is present on chest or back, then sheets need to be changed daily as well.

While you’re laying in your bedding around 56 hours each week, you don’t want unnecessary conventional laundry optical brighteners or any other residues on sheets and pillowslips either.

Stay well aware from using products that use synthetic chemical fragrances, as many people are sensitive to them, resulting in mild to severe headaches, sneezing etc.

For washing bedding our favourite is Laundry Liquid Lavender alternatively if you wish to be completely free from even natural and organic essential oil aromas then useLaundry Liquid neutral. Of course there’s Laundry Powder as well.

TIP: Use a small squeeze of Liquid Gall Soap in your wash for an extra cleaning boost, particularly where body oils are present.

You’ll find you don’t need a conventional fabric softener with Sonett Laundry products, however, we do have Laundry Rinse which you add to the final rinsing water.

Laundry Rinse helps to rinse out any laundry liquid or powder residue and neutralises the rinsing water which is important for allergy-prone people. It also brightens up colours, smoothes fibres and softens fabrics.

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Dust Mites

House dust mites are present in most human environments, thriving in warm moist places such as mattresses, bedding and carpets, and feeding mainly on flaked-off dead skin. They are sensitive to dry conditions,
changes in temperature, and ultra-violet light. House mite faeces, get into the air easily and can provoke a strong allergic response when inhaled.

Up to 85% of people with asthma are affected by the faeces of house dust mites. Those with the most common form of eczema – atopic eczema which is closely linked to asthma – are also affected by dust mites.

Low-temperature cycles in washing machines don’t get rid of dust mites, say scientists, 30 or 40°C washes only killed 6% of house dust mites compared with 100% at 60°C, Korean researchers found.

Allergy UK agreed with these latest findings presented at an American Thoracic Society conference. They advise allergy sufferers use 60°C washes.

Hot tumble drying items for half an hour after drying outside in UV light also kills dust mites.

There is a close link between asthma and allergies, around 40% of Australians have some form of allergy, more than 80% of people who have asthma also have an allergy.
Source: Asthma Australia

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You may find our Are Your Laundry Products Safe? blog of interest.

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10 Ironing Tips

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1) Iron Temperature

Progress from garments needing the lowest temperature to those requiring the highest.

2) Ironing in the Bedroom

Ensures you’re handy to drawers, closet and hangers. Items on the bed helps with easy selection for lowest iron temperature garments to highest temperature garments.

Tip: Hang up or fold your garments immediately after ironing them.

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3) Clothing Care

Always read your clothing labels for care. Turn your garment inside out, if it isn’t already, because ideally they should be inside out for washing machine and line drying process. Iron fabrics inside out to protect them from becoming shiny.

4) Pressing Cloth

Iron delicate fabrics with a pressing cloth — a clean cotton cloth or pillowslip will do just as well.

5) Ironing Board Cover & Soleplate

Keep your ironing board cover/pad clean and in good condition. Damage to the pad may transfer to your garments. Ensure the soleplate is clean.

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6) Direction

Always iron in back and forth movement, not circular, which can stretch out clothes.

7) Regularly Clean Water Reservoir

Remove mineral deposits from the water reservoir when the steam action begins to decrease. In an unplugged cold iron pour 100ml Sonett Decalcifier into the water reservoir. Plug in the iron and heat, let it steam for about 15 minutes. Unplug the iron, and position it, soleplate down, on a small glass dish that has been placed in a larger shallow pan. Allow the water to drain from the vents for about an hour. Drain away any remaining solution, and flush the reservoir with filtered clear water before using the iron again.

Tips:

  • Using filtered water in your water reservoir helps with less build up.
  • When you’re finished ironing, empty the water from your iron while the iron is hot. This will reduce the moisture that remains in the water compartment. Allow the iron to cool before you put it away.

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8) Cut your ironing time in half

Place, foil, shiny side up, under your ironing cover of your ironing board. The heat reflects, meaning while you’re ironing one side of the garment you shouldn’t need to iron the other side.

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9) Sonett Starch Spray & Ironing Aid

Starches, smoothes, and cares for all textiles made from cotton, linen and fabric blends. It makes ironing easier, even with dry and crumpled laundry. Your garments stay free from creases, are dirt-repellent, and retain their shape for a longer period of time.

  • Organically grown Rose Geranium and Lavender – aromas that definitely help with the ironing job!
  • No need to use steam when using Sonett Starch Spray & Ironing Aid.
  • Spray about 20cm away from clothing.
  • Don’t get spray on the floor or it may cause a slippery floor.
  • Unlike conventional ironing starches, Sonett Starch Spray & Ironing Aid does not contain petrochemical silicone as friction-impeding ironing aid. We use purely plant ingredients, mostly from organic cultivation. Has to be a better choice for you, your family, your skin, the air you breathe and your clothes.
  • Also comes in economical 1 litre refill.

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10) Many garments can be hung on hangers to dry, especially those from a delicates wash and not require ironing at all.  Hang other items as soon as possible after bringing in the laundry anyway, it’s better than having items crumpling and creasing in the ironing pile, and making more work.

Use Sonett Laundry Rinse in the final rinse of the wash cycle, to make garments easier to iron, as it smoothes fibres and softens fabrics.

Sonett Laundry Rinse
Suitable for all types of fabrics and washing programmes. Add to the final rinsing water. Sonett Laundry Rinse helps to rinse out any laundry liquid or powder residue and neutralises the rinsing water (important for allergy-prone people). It brightens up colours, smoothes fibres and softens fabrics.

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Laundry Rinse also comes in bulk 10 litre.

 

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How to restore and care for your winter woolies

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Wool Care 

For restoring the protective hydrolipidic film to garments made from wool and silk.

Washing Machine: Dissolve only ½ teaspoonful of Wool Care in approximately 30-40 ml of hot water, then pour this solution into the fabric softener compartment of the washing machine for a wool/delicates wash.

By Hand: Dissolve ½ teaspoonful of Wool Care in hot water and fill bucket up to approx. 1 litre using cold water. Place in moistened stressed woollen clothing such as jackets, milled jackets, wool felt hats, jumpers etc into the lukewarm solution, wash through several times and leave to soak for about ½ – 1 hour. Rinse in lukewarm water, press out and leave to dry on a towel.

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Olive Laundry Liquid for Wool & Silk

– Effective, gentle wool care
– Pure plant surfactants
– Hand washing or delicate machine wash
– Maintains elasticity and softness of your textiles
– Delicate fragrance of certified organic lavender essential oil
– Free from petrochemical ingredients, synthetic chemical fragrances, colours, optical brighteners or complexing agents
– Free from preservatives, enzymes and GMO
– 100% Rapidly Biodegradable

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Olive Laundry Liquid for Wool & Silk neutral

Same benefits of Olive Laundry Liquid for Wool & Silk above, however neutral range is for the very sensitive, and those with allergies.
– Free from aromatic natural essential oils

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The Benefits of Wool

  • Wool is a breathable fibre that provides instant warmth unlike synthetic materials.
  • It regulates itself to individual body temperature and really is warm in winter and cool in summer.
  • Wool is naturally water-resistant, repelling moisture vapour through its fibres and making it resistant to rot, mould and mildew.
    Wool is absorbent and healthy. Wool fibres naturally draw moisture away from the body and can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture without becoming clammy from perspiration.
  • Wool’s unique structure means that it doesn’t retain body odours.
  • Wool competes successfully with high tech manmade fibres in sports wear. Merino wool is generally accepted as the premium option for high performance base layer clothing.
  • Sustainable and renewable
  • Durable
  • At the end of its life, wool is bio-degradable in soil
  • Flame-retardant
  • Naturally anti-allergenic. Wool doesn’t collect static which attracts dust and dirt and so those with allergies to dust mites. Wool quilts, mattress protectors and pillows are recommended for those who suffer from allergies, asthma and/or eczema.

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Tips On How To Care For Your Bath Towels

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After your shower there’s nothing nicer than wrapping yourself in a fluffy towel. You don’t want to use a towel that looks drab and doesn’t smell so great.

Wash and dry bath towels before using them for the first time. Most towels have silicone or other finishes. Washing the towels removes these and aids absorbency.

Don’t cram too many towels in at the same time into your washing machine, as the water and Laundry Liquid or Powder need to be able to surround and move freely.

Always hang your towels to dry properly after each use on a heated towel rail as they’re vulnerable to bacterial growth and mildew quickly.

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Thanks to the use of citrates and soap in combination, no extra addition of softener is necessary, irrespective of the prevailing water hardness.

Towels should be washed in warm water with gentle and effective Laundry Liquid Lavender or Laundry Liquid Colour is gentle on colours. You don’t want chemical residues on your towels from conventional laundry products, particularly optical brighteners, that remain on your skin.

Use gentle and effective Bleach Complex and Stain Remover only when and if required.

Avoid conventional fabric softeners as they contain silicon that will coat the fibres leaving a waxy layer and make the towels repel water which compromises absorbency, and the washing and cleaning process.

Towels are crunchy when they have detergent residue left in the fibres. You’ll find Sonett Laundry products leave towels reasonably soft anyway, however for extra softness add Laundry Rinse to the final rinsing water. Laundry Rinse helps to rinse out any laundry liquid or powder residue and neutralises the rinsing water (important for allergy-prone people). It brightens colours, smoothes and softens fibres. Laundry Rinse is fragrance free for sensitive souls, but if you like fragrance just pop in a few drops of your favourite essential oil into Laundry Rinse.

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Give your towels a shake when taking them out of the washing machine. This will help fluff the loops that aid absorbency. Don’t iron towels as this will reduce absorbency.

Wash your towels once or twice a week and don’t leave your towels sitting in the washing machine, get them out on the line absorbing antibacterial UV rays for prompt drying. We’re not keen on using the dryer, it’s hard on towel fibres.

How to fold a towel 

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Good-quality bath towels can last for 10 years with proper care. Always check the label on your towels for particular care instructions before proceeding with washing and drying.

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Of course we support organic cotton towels shopping. Search for ‘organic cotton towels Australia’ and you’ll find plenty of suppliers.

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Allergies, Eczema, Asthma and Dust Mites

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House dust mites are present in most human environments, thriving in warm moist places such as mattresses, bedding and carpets, and feeding mainly on flaked-off dead skin.

Up to 85% of people with asthma are affected by the faeces of house dust mites. Those with the most common form of eczema – atopic eczema which is closely linked to asthma – are also affected by dust mites.

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Mites will not be killed in a cold or warm wash but mite allergens (faecal matter) will be made safe and washed away. Low-temperature cycles in washing machines don’t get rid of dust mites, say scientists, 30 or 40°C washes only killed 6% of house dust mites compared with 100% at 60°C, Korean researchers found.

Allergy UK agreed with these latest findings presented at an American Thoracic Society conference. They advise allergy sufferers use 60°C washes.

Hot tumble drying items for half an hour after outside drying also kills dust mites.

Dust mites love humid climates – dehumidify.

Dust mites are sensitive to dry conditions, changes in temperature, and ultra-violet light.

Use an organic cotton dust mite proof cover for NEW mattress and pillows, as a preventative measure to mites getting into the mattress and pillows.

A latex mattress is inhospitable to dust mites. No dust mite cover required.

Latex pillows are inhospitable to dust mites, wool or silk pillows, and doonas, are naturally resistant to dust mites.

Put blankets, pillows and doonas in a plastic bag and pop in the freezer for 48 hours to kill dust mites. You must wash these items after they have been in the freezer to ensure the residue from the mites is gone.

Every two to three months, children’s soft toys should be frozen in the freezer and then hung out in sunlight for six hours.

Dust mites cannot survive on hardwood floors, as opposed to carpet.

Always wet dust and wash cloth in a 60° wash.

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Sonett Neutral range for people with allergies, asthma, eczema, for babies, young children and all those who have sensitivities: 

Laundry Liquid Neutral 2kg and Bulk 10kg, Olive Liquid Laundry for Wool & Silk (and delicates) Neutral 1 litre, Multi-purpose 2 in 1 product Dishwashing Liquid Neutral & All-Purpose Cleanser 500ml, Hand Soap (and body soap) Neutral 300ml dispenser and 1 litre refill.

Pin pointing allergies is often a process of elimination. Using Neutral range of laundry and household cleaning products is part of that process.

  • Purely plant surfactants
  • Free from any petrochemical ingredients
  • Free from fragrances, colourings and complexing agents
  • Free from optical brighteners which remain on the skin, preservatives, enzymes, GMO
  • Completely 100% and rapidly biodegradable

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9 Tips To Improve The Air In Your Home

Home is our sanctuary but is the air you’re breathing in your home uncontaminated?

Furniture, cabinets, carpets, pressed wood products, cleaners, pesticides, adhesives and mould are just a few of the household contaminates that contribute to the air we breathe.

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1. Bring in plants

Plants are so amazing. Plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, they can also absorb toxic elements in the air, including formaldehyde and benzene.

Click here for > Best Houseplants To Purify The Air

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2. Get some fresh air

Open some windows on opposite sides of your home for cross ventilation. Should also be done in the colder months as well.

3. Regularly change your air conditioning filters

4. Avoid synthetic chemical cleaning products

Don’t replace dirt on the surfaces in your home with chemically laden cleaning products. Unclean substances don’t really clean.

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5. Avoid synthetic chemical air fresheners

  • Choose natural essential oils and a diffuser
  • Fresh flowers such as daphne, jasmine and freesias
  • A bowl of quince fruit gives off a delicious fragrance
  • Baking Soda absorbs nasty smells

Two of our favourite cleaners that include natural and organic essential oils for a sweet smelling home are Orange Power Cleaner with citrus freshness and Multi Surface and Glass Cleaner with lavender and lemongrass.

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6. Candles

Paraffin wax candles are petroleum based; aside from their toxic fumes, most commercially sold candles are artificially scented, containing many different chemicals. Instead, look for cleaner burning pure beeswax candles with a cotton wick.

A beeswax candle is also said to be a natural ioniser when it is burning, purifying your air of dust, pollen, odours, toxins, mould and mildew whilst leaving a light, natural honey scent.

We use Queen B Pure Beeswax Candles

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7. Dusting

Always wet dust, dry dusting just spreads dust around. We recommend a clean moistened cloth and Multi Surface and Glass Cleaner. Throw it in the wash after use.

8. Vacuum weekly & wash floors

Wash floors with a removable cotton cloth that you can pop in the washing machine. Sponge mops just move the dirt around.

Use Sonett Floor Mopping Liquid or diluted All Purpose Cleanser.

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9. Clay paint

Clay paint can contribute to better air quality in a number of ways, it’s nontoxic making it ideal for those with chemical sensitivities. Clay has the ability to absorb toxins. It’s mould resistant and it releases negative ions into the air.

10. Remove your shoes

Think about the surfaces your shoes have been on. Make a practice of removing them at the door and slip into some comfy house shoes or slippers.

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With a little homework there’s always healthier home options, organic latex and cotton mattress (as above), cotton sheets, wool quilts instead of polyester etc.

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