August 22, 2015
[00:00] Introduction/Kimera Koffee
[01:22] Free Consultation With Brett Bauer
[04:23] Brett Bauer
[08:29] What Made Brett Change His Lifestyle
[12:43] Detoxing For The Fruitarian Diet
[17:12] Why Brett Focused On Toxins At Home
[21:51] Skincare and Detoxification
[24:01] Clothing and Toxins
[31:07] Toxins in The Air In Homes
[36:16] Mistakes People Make When Cleaning Furniture
[38:02] Dry Filter Vacuums
[43:54] Which Chemicals To Expose Children To
[47:15] Better Cleaning Methods
[53:23] HEPA Filters and Water-Based Cleaning Systems
[56:06] Diffusing Things Into The Air
[1:02:56] The Next Possible Big Things In Home Detoxing
[1:08:30] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey. It's Ben Greenfield here. Before we jump into today's podcast episode about the number one appliance in your home that churns out hidden toxins and what you can do about it, I've got two quick things to tell you. The first is that today's episode is brought to you by a high-altitude premium coffee that's been infused with, of all things, nootropics. What are nootropics? They're brain performance enhancing compounds that are found in nature. We've got things like alpha-GPC, taurine, l-theanine, and DMAE added into this coffee. If you don't know what any of those are, then just go to the URL that I'm about to give you and you can go read up on them. And also get a discount on this coffee.
I've been drinking it just about every morning for a huge cognitive boost, and of course I recommend that you try it too. So you can check this out at kimerakoffee.com. That's KIMERAKOFFEE.com. See what they did there? They spelled the coffee with a K, and the K, never mind. Anyways, check ‘em out, kimerakoffee.com. The discount code you can use over at kimerakoffee.com is Ben10. That's Ben10, and that will of course give you a 10% discount.
The other thing that I want to tell you is that the guy I interview in today's podcast, Brett Bauer, who is an expert in removing hidden toxins from your home and also an expert on cleaning your home the right way, he's offering all of you who listen in to this show a free consultation with him on how you should be cleaning your home, and how to identify and remove some of these hidden toxins, molds, et cetera that are floating around in the air in your home, on your carpet, on your furniture, et cetera. It's kind of gross, but anyways, Brett is going to help you out. So to take advantage of that, you just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/rainbow. bengreenfieldfitness.com/rainbow, where you can watch a nice little 10 minute video from Brett which he shot at his house overlooking the beautiful lake, which is actually near my house, and you can learn a little bit more about how he can help you get your home clean and remove all those toxins. So that's bengreenfieldfitness.com/rainbow. Check it out, bookmark it, write it down, whatever. And now, on to today's show.
In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“The highest exposure that we have a hormone disrupting chemical is actually the air inside our home.” “If truckloads of dirt with the same level of contaminants in people's homes, in people's carpets were dumped outside, it would be classified as a hazardous waste dump.” “Whatever laundry soap, laundry products you're putting on there have to be clean because your skin is eating them essentially.” “We have the largest, we have control in our homes. If you have toxins in the workplace or toxins driving down the road, there's not a whole lot you can do there.”
Ben: Hey, folks. It's Ben Greenfield, and my guest today is actually a guy that I used to live with down in Moscow, Idaho almost a decade ago. When I went to college at University of Idaho, a bunch of us guys lived in a house a couple miles from campus, and one of the guys there was Brett, Brett Bauer, who's my guest on today's show. And Brett and I used to have a ton of fun together. He had this, I remember I thought it was so cool, he had this awesome red BMW car with like this $50,000 sound system that was featured on MTV, and we used to drive that thing around and pump the music up down in Moscow. And we also did what a lot of folks who'd hang out down in university town do, we drank a lot of beer, we did a lot of hot tubbing, and eating junk food, basically doing what a lot of folks do when they're partying and living what I would consider now to be kind of a toxic lifestyle.
And Brett and I have reconnected recently, and I was pretty pleased to see that he, kind of like me, has taken a deep dive into fixing up his life, into detoxing, and into really taking a deep, deep dive into the alternative health scene and what it takes to live an optimized life when it comes to optimized human performance and longevity. And he's discovered a lot of cool things along the way, and especially when it comes to detoxing your home, even if you think you live in a perfectly pristine, clean home. I actually had Brett over to my house recently, and he found a bunch of issues in my relatively new, biohacked “perfect home” that I wasn't even aware of. And so I thought it would be really cool to get him on the podcast to hear his story of his detox journey and also to delve into some of the things that Bret particularly happens to be an expert in that. I really haven't talked to a lot of other people who have the body of knowledge that Bret has when it comes to some of the things that you're probably unaware of in your own home, when it comes especially to toxins, and hidden toxins, and even appliances that you probably use that could be doing some damage to you.
So as we move forward into the talk with Brett, I do also want to make you aware that if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/cleanhome, that's bengreenfieldfitness.com/cleanhome, all the resources that Brett and I talk about today, any of the show notes, 'cause I furiously scribble things down as I talk with my guests, and anything you want to know, I'll put over there at bengreenfieldfitness.com/cleanhome. So that being said, Brett, welcome to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show, man.
Brett: Hey. Thanks, Ben. It's good to talk to you again.
Ben: Up until recently, when you and I were hanging out here at my house, the last time that we parted ways down in Moscow, Idaho, I remember we lived together in that house over on Morton Street and I believe we had so much beer up in the attic that it was literally like bowing down the floors of the attic. That was the Brett that I knew was we just like we drank a lot and we lived a toxic lifestyle. What happened? Like what happened with your journey from that point up until we reconnected recently?
Brett: I kind of had a little bit of an interest in health, more so on diet at that point in my life. So I tried eat healthy other than the drinking and partying, but I wasn't aware that there was much more to it than just like, “Okay, well you have to,” I was kind of into customized nutrition at that point, so it's like different people need different macronutrients, and I had figured that out. But I wasn't really aware of toxin issues, or detoxification, or just the numerous other elements to health and wellness. So I just mainly was focused on customized diet. Of course I knew that drinking wasn't the best thing for me, but it was fun. And when you're young, all your detoxification pathways are open, and you have a sense of like you're going to live forever and it doesn't matter. But as I got older, I just learned that these things really mattered, and then moved over to Eugene, Oregon for a while and visit the hippies and kind of some crazy, weird people. That was kind of fun. And then I was searching, trying to optimize the diet, and I went to the International Raw Food Festival. It was kind of a fun little adventure. It's like all these, not just vegetarian, not just vegan, but raw food people.
Ben: Where do they have that? Where do they have the international raw food festival?
Brett: They had it in Portland at that time that year. So I went to that and heard David Wolfe talk and how it was unethical, I was the guy with the beef jerky in my car by the way. I wasn't being offensive to anyone, it's just I believed you should eat meat, but I wanted to learn from whatever group. That's always been my belief. It doesn't interest me where the information comes from, I just want information. So I went to that and talked about optimal diet. And then there was this guy there that I ended up talking to that talked about a fruitarian diet and that being optimal from a structural standpoint. And it made a lot of sense. When you do comparative anatomy, our digestive tract, our teeth, everything is closest to the bonobo, which is subspecies of chimpanzee which is closest to us genetically. And so it's like, “Oh, this diet seems to make some sense.” And also there's a spiritual component in it that you're not killing plants or animals, you're just eating fruit. So I'm like, “I'm going to try this diet.” And he's like, “Oh, but you must first detoxify.” I'm like, “What? Detoxify? What do you mean?” He's like, “Well, you have to cleanse your system. You have to do a fast.” I'm like, “Oh, okay. So a day or two?” “Oh, no, no, no, no, no. You have to do a real fasting.” So I ended up going to his fasting clinic and doing a 17-day water fast.”
Ben: Was that at David Wolfe's clinic?
Brett: No, it wasn't David Wolfe's clinic. It was Loren Lockman. He's a guy who has [0:11:34] ______. Really great guy. Very much in the fruitarian diet. And he did that for 10 years successfully. Very healthy guy. Just eating a fruit and leafy greens for 10 years.
Ben: Wow. Holy cow. I had the 30 bananas a day guy on my podcast a while ago, and that's literally what he does is he's a fruitarian. It's the Doug, do you know the…
Brett: Oh, yeah. I know who you're talking about. It's been about a decade since I…
Ben: Yeah. Doug somebody, who's basically, I believe it's 80/10/10. 80% carb, 10% fat, 10% protein. Majority of your daily diet from basically mainlining fructose into your bloodstream via fruits. But obviously you and I had dinner together a few weeks ago and we were chowing down on, I believe they were venison skewers that my wife had made. So obviously you've moved on from a fruitarian diet, but what happened there? What happened when you did the detox and the water only diet? In this kind of experience, what did you discover?
Brett: The detoxification part of it was great. The 17 day water fast is spectacular and I would highly recommended it. It's one of the best, most effective ways to detoxify. It's not the best way, but it's the best way I knew at the time. I don't think it's for most people because you have to be pretty extreme to not be able to have food for that long. It's not as bad as it sounds, but the detoxification part was great, but then when I tried to diet, I get everything right, and I was like, I was actually there at Moscow [0:13:14] ______ Morton Street house, cleaning up the shop there, and I felt like an 80 year old man walking around like, “Oh, I don't have any energy and I was doing everything right.” As far as the protocol, it's like, “I'm eating fruit, I'm eating organic, I'm eating,” I've done everything right, but I had no energy at all. So I was like, I heard this technique a while back. If you ask yourself a question before you take a nap, you'll wake up with the answer. I'm like, “Oh, I'll try that 'cause I don't know what's wrong.”
So I took a nap there on the shop floor, and woke up, and I wanted a hamburger. So I thought, “Oh, you don't a hamburger. You need to call a support group.” I'm like, “Hey, I don't need support people. I just need a hamburger.” So I ended up going over to Zip's and getting two Papa John Burgers, two or three of 'em, and like some fries, eating them and then thinking, “Oh, I'm going to be really sick 'cause that's what they said.” I felt great. And it's like, “Okay. Well, the fruit diet is obviously not for me.” And since then, I learned more about customized nutrition, and some people are genetically more Eskimo-like, and some people are more Pacific Islanders. So some people can get away with the fruit diet, but yeah.
Ben: Yeah. And obviously, and we were talking about this a little bit before we started recording today's episode, when we had dinner a couple weeks ago, we obviously talked for like an hour just about diet and I know that today we're focusing on more like toxins, and a clean home, and some of the other areas that you have expertise in, but I know one of the things that we hit on was you really can feel like a million bucks when you switch to like a fruitarian, or a vegan, or a water-only fast type of diet, and those things really, really do work for cleaning out the body. But then you can get to a certain point where you begin to experience things like amino acid deficiencies, or fatty acid deficiencies, or micronutrient deficiencies that stem potentially from not including something like fermented dairy, or organ meats, or even, I wouldn't necessarily say Zip's hamburgers, but certain other things in your diet that can round things out. I think it sounds to me like what you've discovered was that, yeah, one of these type of more extreme detoxes can certainly clean up the body, but you do get to a point where you start to have to replace some of the other basic building blocks and return to perhaps, a more broad, almost like what we might call like a Weston A. Price type of diet, right.
Brett: Yeah. And that's the diet that I've been on for the last decade, that I believe, and the combination of Weston A. Price and then the leading expert in the world on customized nutrition, which is William Wolcott, he wrote “The Metabolic Typing Diet“. Really helps you zoom in on exactly where you are nutritionally because we're all genetically varied.
Ben: The Metabolic Typing Diet, that's what you said?
Brett: Yeah. He's the foremost expert in the world about customized nutrition, so I follow…
Ben: Who's that?
Brett: William Wolcott.
Ben: William Wolcott. Got it. Okay, cool. I'll make sure I put a link to his info in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/cleanhome.
So speaking of clean home, now you kind of specialize in removing toxins from people's home. And I mean like that was, like even when you first walked into my house, my relatively new house, you started talking about the smells, and the sight of everything, from the walls, to the carpet, to the air, like you're able to pick things up. As far as these type of toxins in the home go, why is it that you've decided to begin to focus on people's homes and your own home? Like why is it that you feel that this is so important, a place to start?
Brett: I think it's so important for several reasons. One is we have the largest, we have control in our homes. If you have toxins in the workplace, or toxins driving down the road, or walk down the supermarket aisle and you smell stuff, not a whole lot you can do there. But in your home, you have a whole lot of control. And you have a lot of exposure time as well. Most people spend 10, 12, 15 hours a day in their home. So you have control and you have a lot of exposure so you can potentially get a lot of benefit by getting rid of the toxins, and there's a lot of toxins in our home. It's not like we have these nice little log cabins like “Little House On The Prairie” days. It's not the way it is anymore.
Ben: And when it comes to the home and the major exposures that people might have in their home, what are some of the main things that you see as far as the areas of people's body that are most prone to gain exposed to toxins in the home?
Brett: There are several different ways that people get exposed. One thing, I'll start off with it, I think it's a really, really important thing that is simple to fix is when people take a shower, what happens in most people, unfortunately they don't live in North Idaho where you and I do, or Spokane, Washington where we have [0:18:47] ______, we have good clean water, most people have chlorinated water. And what happens is when you take a shower in chlorinated water, that chlorine evaporates, turns in the chloroform gas, and it gets in your lungs. And it's large, large quantities because you're breathing as warm water, it's warm steam filled with chlorine and it's equivalent, approximately every minute of showering is equivalent to drinking eight ounces of chlorinated water, which most people who are health oriented would be like, “Oh, I'm not going to drink chlorinated water.” And the nice thing is that there's a simple fix. You can just get a shower filter. They're not very expensive. I'm so particular that I take a shower filter with me if I go stay in hotel, whatever, I've got my shower filter. Oh, yeah, even when I used to work out in gyms. I would go in there kind of sneaky, like, “Well, I'm taking apart the shower.” You know, ‘cause I’m not gonna poison myself.
Ben: What do you use? Is there like a brand of shower filter?
Brett: There are different ones you can get. If you're on a budget, you can just get a cheap one and it'll get a lot of it. I like the Aquasana one because I've researched their company, they seem to have really good products, and yet a reasonable price point. Also, they make one that comes with an additional hose to it. So like a shower wand, which people may or may not like, but the advantage to that is you can actually put it into your bath tub. So if you're taking a bath, you can use it as a chlorine filter for your bath so your bath has no chlorine…
Ben: Gotcha. I'm looking at it on Amazon right now. The Aqua S-A-N-A?
Ben: Okay. Got it. So you can literally take that and if you're travelling, you can put it in your bag and bring it to a hotel. And if you're showering in a hotel, you could use that shower water filter?
Brett: Yeah. That one's a little bit bigger. It's a little bit bulkier. I use one that's about the size of a fist, a big fist. It's a little more portable for my portable one. It’s kind of doing its job, it gets most of it. Or you can carry it out. It's a little bit bulkier, but if you're taking a bath, that's definitely the way to go. Or if you just have one in your home, that's definitely one I keep in my home, something like that.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So obviously there's a whole list of personal care products like deodorants, and sun screens, and soaps, and shampoos, and anything that you put on your skin can be a hormone disrupting chemical, and we've talking about those type of things on the podcast before. Are there things that you do as far as not necessarily omitting issues like that, as far as like choosing your personal care products, but as far as things that you would put on your skin to help you actually detox? Like do you do anything from like a detoxification standpoint as far as things that you would use your skin as a delivery mechanism for?
Brett: I haven't done much about other than Epsom salt, magnesium-type baths. I'm really reluctant to put anything on my skin because it's like if I wouldn't eat it, I wouldn't put it on my skin is the basic principle that I've learned because you do absorb it so quickly. So I use very, very few personal care products at all. And if you do, I highly recommend really doing your research. There are a few brands that I've researched. For a while, I was dating a girl and she was really into multilevel things, and we found the first organic skincare company that has no toxins, no parabens. They created emulsifying technique to where they didn't need any artificial preservatives. It’s for make-up and [0:22:48] ______ for women. But for me personally, I might put some coconut oil on, or I'll use a natural sunscreen for my face, something like that.
Ben: Yeah. That sounds like me. Coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, those are two of my standbys for deodorants and just like skin moisturizer. Extra virgin olive oil has a ton of flavanols, polyphenols, all sorts of really cool things for the skin. And then coconut oil, of course, is a fantastic deodorant. But it's pretty amazing how minimalist you can go and still have healthy skin.
Brett: Yeah. I totally agree with that. And to me, the health of your skin is more of an indicator of the health of the inside of your body. Getting the right oils internally, the right fats internally, and not having a ton of toxins in your body.
Ben: Yeah. One of the things that we talked about was clothing. And you were filling me in on some of the issues with clothing, and dryers, and the way that we clean our clothing. Can you get into clothing a little bit?
Brett: Sure. I'll tell you an interesting story. First, clothing didn't seem like much of an issue. It's like, “Well, I'm not eating my clothing. It's not like lotion or coconut oil. It's like I'm absorbing it in my body for goodness sake.” So what happened is I had this natural cleaner that's like no VOCs, and I was like, “Oh, you know what? I'm going to use this as my laundry detergent. I don't have to research laundry detergent. I'll just use this. It's no VOCs. It should be good.” So I'm using that as laundry detergent. It smelled good. And kinda later some friends of mine are like, “Hey, Brett! I like your highlights in your hair.” And I'm like, “No, I don't have highlights in my hair.” These little brown streaks in my hair, they're like, “Well, what are those brown, you have pretty black hair.” I mean it looked good, I guess, but it was like, “What's going on?”
So I was concerned because I realized, “Okay, something major is going wrong in my body.” And it's like, “I do everything right. Why would I have something major going on?” So I sent my hair into a lab, turns out that there was a ton of aluminum. So much so that it was bleaching my hair. So I'm like, “Where am I getting aluminum exposure? I mean I don't drink soft drinks or anything like that.” Well, it turned out that that non-toxic cleaner, multi-purpose cleaner had aluminum in it as a brightener. And so what was happening is those aluminum particles were getting into my clothing, and absorbing into my skin, and then detoxifying through my hair. And so I learned that whatever laundry soap, laundry products you're putting on there have to be really, really clean because your skin is eating them. Essentially, it's absorbing into your skin, getting into your body. So after that, I did a lot of research on different laundry soaps and whatnot. And the problem is that the less toxic ones, I mean obviously chemicals do a great job cleaning as far as, if you call it cleaning, as far as removing stains or whatever. But it's hard to find a really good quality one. But I did find one that had really good reviews and that I've been using, and that's Molly's Soap Suds. Food Babe actually recommended that. I know she's kind of controversial…
Ben: Did you say the Food Babe?
Brett: Yeah. She was the one that I first saw that recommended it.
Ben: Yeah. We recently actually interviewed the Science Babe, and that was a really controversial interview because we talked about the Food Babe and some of the stuff she says that gets blown out of proportion or that might not be accurate. But it was kind of interesting. Kind of a segue that we probably shouldn't dive into right now, but you said this Molly's Soap Sud stuff is what you use now. And that's what you use, that's your laundry detergent?
Brett: Right. And I do, I mean I have to admit that I do have some toxic chemical poisonous laundry detergent if I can't get the stains out, if I can't get my clothes clean, I'll use that and then I'll re-wash it once or twice with the Molly's. So that's what I use. And then the second thing that's super, super important is dryer sheets. People think, “Oh, just throw a dryer sheet in. It'll make it fluffy, non-static,” all that sort of thing. And I think Mercola recently did an actual rate on dryer sheets and how toxic they are. They're horribly toxic for two reasons. One, they're leaving those non-regulated toxins all over your clothing you absorb into your skin. But they're also blowing into the air. If you've ever walked into a room where the dryer's just smell that good, fresh smell, well that's just petrochemical, hormone disrupting chemicals blown all into the air.
So there are some good alternatives to dryer sheets. They make wool dryer balls, you can get 'em on Amazon for fairly inexpensively. If you put vinegar, vinegar seems to work the best. I spent a long time trying to figure this out, asking people. You can use vinegar in the rinse cycle of your wash. That seems to help. And then some people will use metal. They'll use an aluminum foil ball and I bought 200 key rings off of eBay and put 'em on the corners of some wash cloths. And what happens when the metal moves around in the dryer, it's discharging the static buildup. And so that'll help get rid of the static. The dryer balls helps spread out the clothes and let the air go through them more effectively. So those three things are good substitutes for toxic dryer sheets. And that's one of the most toxic things you can possibly imagine.
Ben: Okay. So just one more time, you're actually putting aluminum into the dryer?
Brett: Yeah. I personally didn't use, some people use like a tinfoil ball and they'll put it in the dryer. I didn't like that idea because I've heard that aluminum foil can break down again and there's a risk of that aluminum getting in your clothing. So that's why I personally use, I bought 200 key rings off of eBay and put four on each, one on each corner of the washcloth, and it's like 120 washcloths that I throw in the dryer that are dry. And so they have the metal, the stainless steel, which is not going to be breaking that aluminum. But it moves around the dryer and is discharging the static buildup.
Ben: Interesting. And those are just key rings?
Brett: Yeah. Just little key rings. Fairly small. It was just kind of a DIY hack that I came up with.
Ben: That's pretty cool.
Brett: Yeah. So that works pretty well. And then paying close attention when you dry your clothes to not over dry them. I usually take them out when they're just slightly damp. That's probably the biggest key to avoiding the static.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. And these are just like literally key rings you buy off eBay, you put them on wash cloths. Any particular kind of wash cloth that you use, or just any wash cloth?
Brett: Cotton fabric is the only kind I use. I don't use any polyester, anything like that. Polyester comes from petrochemicals. So, yeah, just 100% cotton wash cloth. Doesn't have to be nice or new. I put one on each corner, put 5 or 10 of them in there, and it works really well for me.
Ben: Nice. Cool. I've never heard of doing that. That's really interesting. Okay, cool. I'm taking notes, by the way. If you're listening in to Brett and I talking and this stuff's going over your head, don't worry. I'm taking notes. I'm going to put them all in the show notes. Okay, how about the air? How about toxins in the air in your home? What do you do about that?
Brett: There are a lot of toxins in the air. And it's kind of deceptive because people think, you see dust on your tables in your house and you think we call it dust. You drive down a dirt road and it's dust. Well there's a big difference between the dust outside and the dust in your home as far as what it contains. Mike Mutzel from High Intensity Health Radio said that the highest exposure that we have of hormone disrupting chemicals is actually the air inside our homes. Because the dust in our home is composed of the different things breaking down your home. Carpet, paint, fire retardants, that is one of the biggest things. Environmental Working Group just did a study on the top 12 most hormone disrupting toxins, and fire retardants was one of the top 12. And virtually everything for liability reasons, furniture, televisions, all these things are just sprayed and are filled with these fire retardants, and they break down, and they get into the air. The new house smell, people walk in, “Oh, the new house smell! It's so nice.” Well, that's not just freshness, that's volatile organic compounds, toxins breaking down into the air from the paint fumes, to the formaldehyde in the carpet, and formaldehyde is a very potent endocrine disruptor. And as you know, whenever you have a hormone disruptor, its adverse leading effects your performance, mood, body fat, all sorts of things.
So there are three primary things that are really problematic. It's formaldehyde, xenoestrogens, which come from most petrochemical plastic-based items in your home, like carpet, and then the fire retardants. There are so many different toxins in the home. People sleep in their homes, they use hairspray. Like they'll shampoo their carpets, they'll say, “Oh, I got to get my carpets clean.” And so they'll all pay someone 100, 200 Dollars to come in, and what do they do but spray a bunch of soap that's not organic Dr. Bronner's soap. It's just full of toxic chemicals. And then that soap is sitting on the carpet for months, wicking out the smell, which is filled with toxic petrochemical xenoestrogen hormone disrupting chemicals. So our homes are really loaded with toxins. And…
Ben: When it comes to the fire retardants and things along those lines, do those legally have to be included on some of the materials in the home? For example, mattresses, or carpeting, et cetera, what can and can you not do legally when it comes to, whatever, the home inspectors and stuff like that?
Brett: I don't think it's as much that there are actually laws that specify, I mean I'm sure there are in different categories, but it's more about companies covering their backs for liability reasons. Because if somebody drops a cigarette on their couch and it lights the house on fire, that couch manufacturer can be sued. And so they just dose things with fire retardants 'cause it doesn't cost that much to do and it covers them from lawsuits.
Ben: Now when it comes to this stuff, like we've talked about this on podcast before, like how you could make your own cleaning chemicals and ditch your toxic cleaning products, and use stuff like vinegar, and lemon juice, and hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda, and I'll link to articles I've written about this stuff in the show notes 'cause I've got like a whole article on just like detoxing your home and using natural cleaning supplies, for example, so that you're not getting a bunch of this stuff on your floor, in your carpet, et cetera. But then there are all these microscopic particles floating around, everything from toxins, to mold, to fungi, to things that maybe have crept into your home, and anything else, volatile organic compounds, or formaldehyde, or the carpets that you bring in, et cetera. Now one of the things that you talked quite a bit with me about when you came over was how in many cases when we're cleaning our home, we're blowing a lot of these microscopic particles of contaminants into the air. Can you talk a little bit about the big mistakes that people make when they're doing things like cleaning their furniture or cleaning their carpet?
Brett: Sure. The biggest issue is that people use dry clean methods to clean their homes. They'll use dry dust rags, they'll use a dry filter vacuum. And in order to properly trap and contain dust, you'll have to use water. If you use a little duster or a dry dust rag, that's just moving the dust around and actually making it worse. And dry filter vacuums are really not a very good design because they have holes to let the air through. Filters have holes to let the air through. And if you have big holes like a Shop-Vac, it's going let a ton of dirt through, but it's going work real well. It's going to have a lot of power. And then if you have the new HEPA vacuum, The last 5 or 10 years, it had become very popular, well then it has super small holes. So it traps a lot more of it, and then those holes plug up really quickly, and then the vacuum does not work very well. It quits picking up the dirt other than just the stuff that's on the surface. And so then, like you notice in your home, you're like, “Gosh. Why is all the dirt in my carpet,” after I showed it to you, even you guys have been vacuuming diligently, because we think our vacuums are picking it up, but they're really not because that filter plugs in a very, very short period of time.
Ben: So what is a dry filter vacuum. ‘Cause I'm not really… and that was one thing that kind of blew my mind when you came over was, I am not a vacuum expert, I don't know that much about them. But can you explain what a dry filter vacuum actually is? Like how it works, what it does?
Brett: Basically any vacuum that you get from a store is going to have either a bag or a filter. For the majority of history, since vacuums came out, they used a bag, just a regular vacuum air bag that you would change. And those have bigger holes, so they would pick up better, they'd allow more air through, but they would blow more dust. Whereas with a HEPA filter vacuum, which is very popular now, I remember talking to an air filtration expert years ago, and he was telling me about HEPA filters. I was like, “What is a HEPA filter?” And he's like, “Oh, it's a super small filter with small holes that they use for cleaning rooms and things like that?” And I said, “Well, why don't they put those on a vacuum cleaner?” He said, “Well, it would never work because the holes are too small. It would just plug up quickly and the vacuum would quit working.” Well, this guy was right from a practical standpoint, but he wasn't thinking in terms of what would sell.
And so [0:39:06] ______ HEPAs on vacuums, and some of the dirtiest homes I go in have vacuums with HEPA filters because they think they're working, they'll have Dyson's or whatever fancy vacuum, and it's like, 'cause they just simply don't work very well. They might at first, and people are like, “Oh, my vacuum's working well. I can see the container full of stuff.” Well, you look in there and it's a real fluffy material. It's not like compact dirt. It's real fluffy. Most of what that is is actually the fiber from your carpet. And the reason that the carpet's coming up is because it's leaving the dirt, and stain, and grit behind, and then the fiber's wearing out, and then the vacuum's picking up the carpets. Instead of getting the dirt out of the carpet, it's literally getting the carpet out of the dirt.
Ben: Interesting. So you're vacuuming up your carpet, the dirt is actually staying in there. So the HEPA filter's basically filtering just the carpet fibers?
Brett: That's the majority if what you're getting is carpet fiber, lint, that sort of thing. It is getting a percentage of the dust. And then once the HEPA plugs up, instead of burning out the motor, which is what it would do, because if air's not going out of the vacuum, it's going to overheat the motor, it's going to burn it out, so it ends up leaking past the sides and then blowing a lot of the particles lodged in your carpet into the air, which stays in the air for six to eight hours, which is why they say dust after your vacuum 'cause people kind of know that vacuum blows the dust in the air, and then the dust goes back down to the floor. So dry filter vacuums are very, very problematic, which is, I will not turn one on in my home. I would not turn one on in my home.
Ben: Okay. So dry filter vacuums, what are examples of brands of dry filter vacuum?
Brett: Any and every vacuum you can think of from a $20,000 Kirby, to a $500 Dyson, to a Eureka, I mean there are hundreds of different brands. Anything you look at is going to have a filter. And they originally designed another filter for marketing purposes because they could sell you the vacuum cheap, and then you had to buy the bags, the belts, the filters. It's like buying a laser. It's not very expensive, but you have to buy replacements all the time.
Ben: Right. Interesting. Okay.
Brett: And the other problematic thing, I'm sorry to interrupt, is that what happens is all of the stuff gets into that container. And it's warm, it's dark, it's filthy in there, and so it's the perfect breeding ground for mold, germs, bacteria, viruses, everything else. And then people literally turn on their vacuum, and then what they're doing is, a vacuum simply circulates air. That's all it does. So it's pumping all of your family's air through that container full of filth. And they call it cleaning…
Ben: That was actually what scared me when you came in my house and we took out my vacuum, we started vacuuming around, and then we basically opened it up, and you could see all this mold and just nasty contaminants in there just from living, just from living in our house. It's not like we live a toxic lifestyle, but I mean this stuff just kind of builds up from people tracking things into the home, and from folks coming over, and from water. And we had a small like mini flood at one point, so probably a little bit of mold. And basically what it came out to was every time that we're vacuuming our house, we were just like blowing all the stuff out into the air through this dry filter vacuum.
Brett: Yup. And that's the way every single brand of dry filter vacuum works. I mean because they all have holes.
Ben: Now one question. I mean kind of playing devil's advocate here, but I've talked before in the show about how like kids who grow up on farms, or who have exposure to pets, or get exposed to germs or bacteria and things like that when they're kids, they wind up with stronger immune systems, with fewer issues with autism, and ADD, and leaky gut and a lot of these issues that seem to be related to autoimmune disorders. If we are keeping this kind of stuff out of the air, like airborne contaminants or germs trying to create like these pristine homes, isn't that potentially like living in a bubble, like creating a weak immune system?
Brett: If you were talking about natural materials, I would totally agree. Like the Chinese women would not bathe before they gave birth for that reason, so that they would get, so that their babies, when they were nursing and everything else, would be exposed to all these different forms of natural bacteria. That's not what we're really talking about inside the home. We're not talking about natural forms of bacteria. Scientific American wrote an article and they sampled the dirt inside people's homes. And they said if truckloads of dirt with the same level of contaminants in people's homes, in people's carpets were dumped outside, it would be classified as a hazardous waste dump. So it's not just natural germs, bacteria, like being out in the garden, or being out in the forest, or being outside.
Another study recently showed that the contaminant level and bacteria levels in our carpets is like 20 times dirtier than a sidewalk. If you dropped a sucker on a sidewalk, you wouldn't give that back, or some food, you wouldn't eat it or give it back to your kid. But some people will drop it on their carpet and they will even though it's 20 times dirtier cause there's not air circulation in our homes. Our homes are sealed up and filled with toxins. And even with the best cleaning equipment, you never can get your home optimally clean. I totally agree with that idea of exposure to natural bacteria. But exposing them to formaldehyde, fire retardants, toxic petrochemicals, that's not going to build their immune system.
Ben: So we're talking about the difference between something like getting exposed to a positive immune factor such as some kind of contaminant that you might get from the soil outside in the forest that could potentially make your immune system stronger versus getting exposed to something like staph infection in your carpet?
Ben: Okay. Got you. So…
Brett: And also…
Ben: Go ahead.
Brett: And also I was going to say that it's interesting. You look at the age of puberty continuing to decrease. And many of those are hormones disrupting chemicals and they're constant continual everyday exposure, little babies crawling across the carpet, breathing those petrochemical fumes, those petrogenic compounds, those xenoestrogens, that's going to affect their hormones and cause premature puberty and other problems.
Ben: Scary. So dry filter vacuums, dry cleaning methods just like using a feather duster to spread all this stuff around sounds like it might not be the best choice for cleaning, especially things like carpet, hard floor, mattresses, furniture, stuff like that. What are some of the ways that you would recommend we'd be cleaning this stuff without spreading things around? Like what are some non-dry methods?
Brett: Well, you want to use water. You can clean anything with water. It's the best cleaning agent that there is. So like if you look at the difference between sweeping the floor with a broom versus having a damp mop going across the floor, see one's going to stir up a lot and not pick it all up, whereas the damp mop is going to, and I'm not talking about a chemical swiffer that has these horrible toxic compounds in it. I've heard of some people's pets dying because chemicals from the swiffer on the floor and their dogs licked the floor and it actually killed their dogs.
Brett: Yeah. I'm not joking. I have some customers that told me that. So I'm not talking about a swiffer that's “oh, this is nice, it's damp”, I'm talking about water, H2O, a damp mop. So avoid the chemicals, use water. You can see the difference. Water's going to tend to trap the dust. You use water to wash everything else. The other thing is there are two different manufacturers that make a vacuum cleaner that uses water. And that is what I recommend because water has several benefits in a vacuum, two primary benefits. One is it traps the dust. Traps like 99.99% of the dust. And it doesn't plug up. And that's a really, really big issue. Because when you run a vacuum, when you run two vacuums beside each other, you think, “Oh, they both work right?” Because they're making noise and the carpet looks clean. We have no way of telling initially how deeply it's cleaning, and dry filter vacuums, as I explained earlier, plug up. Whereas water doesn't have holes in the way that a bag does, so it just traps the dust and it maintains its power.
So they clean much, much better. In fact, using a water vacuum, you are actually able to get to have 20% of the dust of a home that was using a dry filter vacuum. So it can actually potentially work five times better because you're not blowing the dust in the air and you're getting a lot more out of the carpet and furniture. And that is really, really the key to having clean air in your home. You can run air purifiers all day long. Every time you sit on the furniture, every time you walk across the carpet, every time there's a little bit of breeze going through your home, it's going to blow and stir up the dirt off of the hardwood floors, off of the carpet. Again, not just dirt, but really bad endocrine disruption toxins.
Ben: Yeah. I told you about this, I have a central HEPA air filter in my home. I use this one called an AllerAir, and the air in my home, at least I was under the impression that it was, is pretty clean. But it's not getting trapped in a water-based cleaning system like you've just described. And when you came in and started showing me some of these contaminants in my carpet, and we even used a flashlight to kind of hold up and look at some of the things that are getting blown around in the air as I was vacuuming, it was kind of shocking. And one of the thing that I didn't really understand and that I think probably we should explain to our listeners is how exactly water-based cleaning system actually works. How is it that a vacuum is using water to trap a lot of these contaminants, or mold, or fungi, or germs that are floating in the air? How's it actually work from a mechanical standpoint?
Brett: You asked a good question. If you simply filter air through water, like if you put water in a Shop-Vac, it's not going to work very well because what happens is you'll get a big air bubble through the water. Within that air bubble is a bunch of dust and contaminants. So you have to break up the air bubbles, and that requires a technology which first came out in 1936, when the first water vacuum was invented. And what it does is it spins around and it creates centrifugal force and it breaks up the air bubbles in the water base to where all the air bubbles get broken up, so all the surface area of the air is exposed to the water. And so therefore, it traps virtually all of the dust. And then of course, it does have a certified woven cloth HEPA filter as a backup. So the tiny particle that might have skipped across the water would get trapped in that. And it's washable, so you can wash it or blow it out every few years with an air compressor. There's a second air filter. The water's primarily what's doing the work.
Ben: So basically, you fill up the vacuum cleaner with water, the water is used to trap all these contaminants and everything. And then once you've finished vacuuming, you just dump the water outside the house?
Brett: Yeah. Dump it outside. A lot of people dump it down the toilet, but the water replaces the filter, the water replaces the bag. You don't have to buy bags, or filters, or anything like that. You just put a half gallon of water in it, or a gallon of water depending on what kind of basin you have, dump it out when you're done, all the contaminants are trapped in there, which, instead of dumping out a dry filter vacuum like yours where you get a big breath of all that crud, it's all trapped in the water.
Ben: Now one of the things that you can combine this with that you were talking to me about is a HEPA filter. You were talking about how some HEPA filters don't really work that well. Can you explain how you combine a HEPA filter with one of these water-based cleaning systems?
Brett: Absolutely. So some of the water vacuums, the better ones, have a HEPA as their secondary filter. HEPA filters are great filters if things are done right, if it's in a clean environment. The air has to be really clean. Like in a clean room, it's very clean to start with, and the HEPA just traps the very smallest particles so that it doesn't plug up. So it takes years and years before it ever starts to plug up. The second thing that's important is the material that the HEPA's made out of. Many of the HEPAs that you'll see are made out of like a spun glass like a fiberglass material. Some people have had concerns about it being asbestos and those glass materials dislodging from the filter and blowing in the air. So it's best if you have a filter that's actually made out of woven cloth. They're more expensive, which is why virtually every vacuum, dry filter vacuum filter uses the spun glass, 'cause they're cheap, they make more money when they re-sell 'em. But the water vacuum, but usually the HEPA is actually just a woven cloth one so that if any of those particles do come off of the filter, it's just like the [0:54:38] ______ on a t-shirt. It's not very harmful to you, like [0:54:41] _____ could potentially be.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So in terms of the actual vacuum cleaner itself, you want to use something that's got like a water-based cleaning system combined with a HEPA air filter?
Brett: Ideally, that's what you want. Absolutely.
Brett: And again, just to clarify, we're not talking about a shampooer here. Some people think water vacuum, they're thinking of the shampooer. We're not talking about putting water on the carpet at this point. The water's the filter. That's all it is. And so instead of a bag or a filter, water is the filter.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Now how about, as far as like rather than just cleaning the air, diffusing things into the air? Like when I interviewed Evan Brand on the podcast, we talked about this research on what's called “Shinrin-yoku”, or forest bathing, over in Japan and how there are these phytochemicals released by plants, particularly, in this example we were talking about coniferous forests, like pine, and how essential oils like pine or evergeen, when you smell them in the air, can help to decrease cortisol levels. Are there things that you can diffuse into the air that can kind of like compound the added detoxification or cleaning effect of using like a water-based cleaning system, or a HEPA air filter?
Brett: Absolutely. So there are several different brands of water vacuums. The one that I like the most has been around since 1936. It has a two-speed motor and it has an area on the back where the exhaust comes out where you can put a cloth and you can actually put essential oils right on there. So if you wanted that calming effect, you could put some pine oil. If you wanted, you could put lavender on there. It has a calming effect. There are a lot of essential oils. There are many, many different benefits. But the advantage of using the water machine is it's actually a certified standalone air purifier as well. So you can sit it out on low all day long and it'll clean the air and make your home smell really, really nice.
It's interesting, as you know, up here in the mid-West, you've got a lot of fires and a lot of dust. A few days ago, we had a great rainstorm, and the quality of the air is just so much better now because the water washed the air. And so that's what I use in my home is I use a water machine to purify the air, and it smells clean and fresh. And then I'll put some peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, whatever fragrance I want in there. And by fragrance, I mean essential oil, to make the air smell good as well. So you can use it on low to clean the air all day long. And then if your house kind of just, if you cook something in the house, it starts to stink, or whatever, you can turn it on high and use it as a super quick air purifier. Run it for half an hour, and hour while you're out and about, come back, and the air smells really good.
Ben: Awesome. Cool. So you can basically get like a one-two-three combo of using the water-based systems to clean your mattresses, or your furniture, or you carpet, and then using the HEPA air filter to clean the air, and then finally diffusing oils out into the air. And you can do this all with, for example, like a water-based vacuum rather than an air-based vacuum?
Brett: Yeah. So the other [0:58:21] ______ is that you have the ability to pick up water as well. So if you happen to be like me and you left your kombucha container filling out another one and you weren't paying attention, and then you wake up the next morning, you have half a gallon of kombucha on your carpet, that happened to me the other day, embarrassingly enough, and I just got my water vacuum out, and I sucked up all of the kombucha, and then I put in the exhaust, pulled the carpet back, put the hose underneath and blew underneath it for an hour, and then I was able to air dry the carpet and the padding to where I wouldn't have an [0:59:02] ______ of molds, or moisture, or mildew, or anything like that because I had the right equipment. Water vacuums are absolutely amazing because they're air purifiers, they're wet dry vacuums, they clean your furniture, clean your mattress, clean your cars. I mean just everything, and they maintain their power. They don't blow the dust, germs, bacteria, anything like that. They even trap molds…
Ben: Yeah. It's only a very small subset of the population that needs to worry about giant kombucha spills in their house, but probably are several of our listeners who have to deal with that issue. So Brett, I know that you dig in to a ton of this stuff, by the way if you're listening in, one of the other things that I'm working on an article about right now is infrared sauna detox protocols, and this is a totally different topic that Brett has been educating me on, on how to combine things like high dose niacin with infrared sauna to get a really really cool detox effect. And I'm going to be honest with you, if you're listening in, the things that Brett and I talk about, we could probably fill an entire couple hours of podcasting with. But because we generally like to go about an hour or so on this show, I think I probably filled your head with enough info for now.
Some of the things that Bret and I have talked about, I'm going to put a link to it in the show notes, like the shower filter that Brett talked about, along with like the Molly's Soap Suds, and the metabolic typing information. I'll put all that over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/cleanhome. But the other thing that I know Brett is going to do for you guys is, Brett, you're preparing a video on some of these concepts on like how to use water-based systems, HEPA air filters, essential oils diffusers, et cetera to ensure that you basically completely detox the air and the carpet in your home. And you're producing some kind of a video, right?
Brett: Yeah. I'm putting together a little video that explains it a little better because it's a little more complicated than can be explained just over a phone call. So I'm putting together a more comprehensive video that explains how you can really get your home clean, and what methods, and techniques, and tools you can use.
Ben: Cool. Yeah. And I mean, again I know a lot of us like to think that our homes are really clean. And I honestly think that, I've written an entire book over on the website that goes into everything from like, mitigating dirty electricity and hard wiring your home with ethernet, to creating your cupboards and any wood in your home using low volatile organic compounds, to even choosing like more natural carpets, and furniture, and organic mattresses, et cetera, and I was still pretty shocked when Brett came over and showed me some of the things that were floating around in the air and in the carpet in my house.
So I would highly recommend that you check out the video that Brett's making as well. And I'll put a link to that also over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/cleanhome. So definitely, definitely check that out because this is some pretty cool, cutting edge stuff that Brett is delving into.
Brett, I have kind of a random question for you to kind of put you on the spot. What do you think, you seem pretty tuned in to the whole like health, detox, alternative medical industry, what do you see as like the next big thing coming down the pipeline as far as either something that people need to be aware of when it comes to things to be concerned about, or whether it comes to some kind of like a natural solution or a protocol that you discovered or that you're excited about?
Brett: I would absolutely say without a doubt, it would definitely be the detoxification aspect of it. What you've learned and are going to share with your listeners about the sauna detox with niacin, it is a total game changer. Dr. Mercola thought, at the Longevity Now Conference, and he is very in tune with detoxification methods, and he just absolutely was amazed when he saw it. He was like, “This is the most effective detoxification method that there is.” And it's proven. And he's like, “Yeah, I always avoided detoxification because there wasn't much science around it, and there wasn't much data, and I wasn't really confident about these different methods. But when we learned about that, it just absolutely shocked him. The thing about it is there's not really any money in it. It's not like, “Oh, you have to buy this brand of, whatever.” It's just detoxifying. It's detoxifying…
Ben: Yeah. It's just like a sauna with niacin, right?
Brett: That's all there is. There's nothing proprietary. So there hasn't been a push, but the benefits people experience when they get all of those toxins out of their body is just enormous. So I think in the next few years, that's going to go very viral, is more and more people learning about it. And I think they're going to have profound benefits in their health because of all the toxins in the world, and it's just impossible to detoxify them without a normal method. You have to use another method, and that method is absolutely amazing. I totally think it's the next upcoming thing.
Ben: For those of you listening by the way, as far as that goes, I won't leave you hanging on that because just based on discussions that Brett and I have been having, I've got about a 3,000 word article on this whole infrared sauna, sauna detox type of stuff coming out very, very soon. It may even be out by the time this podcast gets released. So don't worry, I'll fill you in on that as well. And then of course everything else that Brett and I talked about today, from the shower filters, to dry vacs versus wet vacs, to the type of soap suds that Brett uses, to everything else, I'll put over on the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/cleanhome. And over there, you'll also get to watch a video that Brett's going to make for you guys to kind of to show you some of the cool things that he does in his own house and some of the things he helped me do in my house to really make sure everything was truly detoxed.
So the other thing is if you have questions, if you have comments, if you have feedback, if some of the stuff was unclear, I know some of it we kind of went over pretty quickly, like how to buy 8 billion key chains on eBay and throw 'em in your dryer, leave your comments and your questions in the show notes over there at bengreenfieldfitness.com/cleanhome, and either myself or Brett will reply and point you in the right direction. Because ultimately the goal here is to really help you not only live longer, but feel really good and not experience a lot of the hormone disruption, and the brain fog, and the frequent sickness, and all the other issues that a lot of people have, even though you may be, whatever, eating healthy and taking the right supplements because there is a lot that goes above and beyond just, say, like eating, or exercising, or popping pills, and it goes into making sure that you're living in a really good, clean environment because, let's face it, most of us don't live on a pristine mountaintop in the Himalayas. We just got to deal with the realities of life in a post-industrial era where a lot of this stuff is just getting pumped into our home whether we like it or not. So Brett, thanks for your time and thanks for coming on the show today.
Brett: Oh, you're welcome. Thanks for having me, Ben.
Ben: You know, it's obviously a much, much different discussion and a far different way of hanging out than we used to hang out and punish boxes of Corona, but I think that ultimately this is a little bit more healthy way to go, yeah?
Ben: Alright. Cool. Well folks, again show notes are going to be at bengreenfieldfitness.com/cleanhome, along with the video from Brett. Thanks for listening in and have a healthy week. I'll talk to you later. Thanks, Brett.
Brett: You got it.
If you read my recent article about how to biohack a sauna, then you’ve already heard of my friend Brett Bauer. Brett is a guy who I lived with in college. When I used to hang out with him, he was a hard-partying guy who drove a fancy red car and lived a fast lifestyle. But since then, he’s experienced an amazing health journey that’s taken him from alcoholism to fruitarianism to raw veganism to water detoxes to, finally, eating grass-fed beef and sweet potato fries with me and my family on our back porch. In my conversations with Brett, I’ve been blown away by his body of knowledge on everything from sauna detoxes to water filters to removing hidden toxins like mold and fungus from your home. And in today’s podcast, Brett and I delve into the #1 appliance in your home that churns out hidden toxins: your vacuum cleaner. During our episode, you’ll discover: -How many pounds of chlorine you can absorb through your skin in a single shower, and an easy, portable way to ensure that you can filter your shower water to avoid absorbing water toxins through your skin… -The shocking toxic potential of the clothing you’re wearing, and the best, most toxin-free way to clean your clothing… -A way to have soft clothes without static, ditch your static dryer sheets and use a little-known DIY stack in your clothing washing and drying process… Eliminate fatigue and unlock the secrets of low-carb success. Find out how in The Low Carb Athlete – 100% Free. Sign up now for instant access to the book! Email* I'm interested in…* YES, HOOK ME UP! -The big, big problem with using dry cleaning methods like dry washcloths or dry filter vacuums to clean your home, and how these actually spread microscopic contaminants throughout your home… -How you can inadvertently be spreading staph infections, mold and fungi around your house every time you clean your home… -What to look for in a HEPA filter (and why all filters aren’t created equal)… -And much more… Resources we discuss in this episode: –A free home cleaning and toxin removal consultation with Brett –William Wolcott’s Metabolic Typing Diet book –Aquasana Shower Filter –Molly’s Soap Suds –Sauna Detox with Niacin Protocol –My How To Detox Your Home article
Read more at: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/lifestyle-podcasts/what-is-the-healthiest-vacuum-cleaner/