July 29, 2008

All-Natural Cleanser Has Roots in Medieval Legend

By Paige Phelps, The Dallas Morning News

Jul. 29--Vinegar of the four thieves sounds like a summer blockbuster starring Hollywood's latest hunk. In fact it's far from it, as DeSoto mom Christine Stewart found out.

"I began to search for the strongest, all-natural, nontoxic cleaner available," writes Mrs. Stewart on her Web site, "and I soon found information about Vinegar of the Four Thieves."

According to one version of the legend, she explains, the vinegar was used for protection against contagion by four thieves caught looting the homes of plague victims in 17th-century France. City officials couldn't understand why the thieves hadn't died of the disease. When they were caught, the legend says, the Parliament of Toulouse mitigated their sentence as long as "they revealed their secret preservative."

The formula was what Mrs. Stewart, 38, had been searching for. She says she is a lifelong germophobe, always using solvents and cleaners to wipe down her house and office. But it was while she was pregnant with her first child that she started reading about the potential dangers posed by the chemicals she was using.

"I was horrified to learn of the long-term damage I could be doing to myself, my child and the planet with these chemicals," she says. She took her research about vinegar of the four thieves and turned it into a product labeled All-Natural Alternative to Antibacterial Disinfectants, part of a line she calls For My Kids.

Although her disinfectant makes no claim to be antiseptic, antimicrobial, antibacterial or antifungal, Mrs. Stewart says the ingredients used are commonly believed to have these properties.

Among the ingredients added to white distilled vinegar are lavender, rosemary, rue, wormwood, sage, peppermint, garlic and other certified-organic herbs and spices. The entrepreneur says the product can be used to clean kitchen countertops, doorknobs, telephones and anything on which you use your store-brand spray.

"It is a healthy alternative because it contains none of the harmful toxic chemicals found in disinfectants," she says. She also manufactures other organic and herbal products, including a hand wash, lip balm and salve for scrapes, burns and insect bites in her product inventory.

Paige Phelps

For My Kids All-Natural Alternative to Antibacterial Disinfectants can be purchased at Petal Pusher's Garden Emporium, 813 Straus Road, Cedar Hill (small bottle $7.99; large bottle $12.99); Years to Your Health, 503 East 2nd Street, Irving (small bottle $7.95; large bottle $15.95); or at www.formykidsonline.com (two ounces $6.49).


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